Almost every adoptive parent I have spoken to (and even some folks who aren’t adoptive parents… yet) seems to tell a story that begins with “We’ve always talked about adopting…” Our adoption story does not begin that way. At all. In fact I can tell you almost to the day when it *did* begin.
In February 2010, something unprecedented happened in our family: a baby turned one, and we did not have another baby on the way yet. It wasn’t a devastating event in any way, just an unexpected one, one that got us thinking. Within a few days of that momentous occasion, we had a very unmomentous conversation that went something like this:
Me: Hey, I just had a crazy thought. If it gets to June’s second birthday and we aren’t pregnant yet, we should think about adopting.
* * * * *
It was the first time, to my recollection, that the thought had ever entered my mind. I fully expected Trevor to look at me like I had six heads, roll his eyes at me, and go back to his reading. Whether he did that in his head or not, I didn’t know, but his lips said, “Okay.” I later found out that that very night he had marked February 1, 2011 on his Remember the Milk online to-do list with a note to think about adopting.
Those of you who are quick on the math (or work regular shifts in our church nursery) are probably thinking, “But wait… Juniper won’t be two until next month! How is it that you guys are already so far into the process?” Yeah… I don’t really know how to explain that one either. I can only tell you that what began as “Maybe we’ll think about this… someday… if we don’t get pregnant again first… which we probably will, so it doesn’t matter anyway” morphed into, “Hey! We’d better get this thing moving in case I get pregnant and we don’t get to do it!” in less than three months. When God changes hearts that quickly, it’s a good idea to sit up and pay attention, we figured.
In June 2010, we submitted our preliminary application. We found three countries that would be a good fit for our family, and then we sat on our hands for another two months, thinking, praying, discussing, waiting.
August was to be decision month. After all, we’d at least made it halfway to our original deadline. If I was pregnant that month, we’d set adoption aside for now. Maybe come back to it later. Maybe not. If I wasn’t pregnant, we’d go for it, full force, no turning back. It seemed to us a reasonable way to test that we were hearing God’s voice correctly, or at least to give Him one last chance to “let us off the hook” from this crazy turn our lives were about to take.
That month, for one full, bittersweet week, we thought I was pregnant. We were sure I was. We were thrilled and disappointed and relieved and confused all at once. But there it was, God had spoken. We thought.
But then, I wasn’t pregnant. Just as quickly as we had built up this new picture of what we thought was going to happen, it was gone. And this was just the beginning of the emotional roller coaster that the first few months of our adoption story were to be.
Our heads were spinning, but our hearts were set. We submitted our formal application in mid-August,* and the rest, as they say, is history.
More to come…
*I realize at this point in the story, it could sound as though we are simply desperate for another kid, by hook or by crook. I feel I need to clarify that we are very content with our four sweet girls. If they were all the children God had for us, we would be blessed abundantly, and we do not take that for granted. The fact remained, we both felt there was room in our family for more. And with so many children in the world in desperate need of a family, why wouldn’t we do this?