Oh, sweet readers! I cannot wait for you to dive into this post from my dear, precious friend Heather! Heather and I met 10 years ago on the Walk to Emmaus. She had just brought home her first child through adoption, and I was 5 months pregnant with our first child. I loved her kind spirit immediately! We have stayed in touch throughout the last decade and I am so grateful God continues to weave our paths together. To put it concisely: She is the real deal, y'all! Spend just a few minutes with her and you will see that her love for Jesus is not just lip-service.
But I'm not going to waste your time with my words...just get started reading hers!
IN HER OWN WORDS....
There is a song being played frequently on a Christian radio station that we listen to called “My Story” by the group Big Daddy Weave. It alludes to the fact that we ALL have a story that God is writing called “your life.” What I hope you feel from this chapter in our life called “adoption” is the hope and grace of Jesus, how His love is greater than any heartache or struggle and how He is present in all circumstances.
Our story begins as a young, excited about the future, eager to tackle life, newly married couple. We were living a little distance from all our family and happy about starting our life in a new town. After a few years we made the decision that we were “ready” to start our own family (quite comical to think about now, as if you could ever be “ready” for the adventure called children!). Things didn’t progress as we had hoped, and we entered the terrifying world of infertility. Months go by and we reach the end of that period, having prayed and prayed about how far God would have us pursue children via fertility treatments. In the meantime, we had become close friends with a couple who had adopted a beautiful baby girl that we had grown to love as our own. This was no coincidence that we became friends with them! No, God was knitting us together with fellow believers who were experiencing the same struggles that we were facing.
We decided to pursue adoption with our whole hearts and use Bethany Christian Services as our agency. It feels akin to jumping of a high cliff into deep waters below, but we were confident that this was God’s plan for us. The adoption process is tedious, time consuming and at times frustrating and humiliating. And yet, God’s love was manifested time and time again through our wonderful social worker, our friends and family, and our church family. After waiting for 3.5 years we got THE phone call that a precious birthmother would like to meet us after viewing our information at a Bethany office nearby…so this was IT, the moment we had prayed about and dreamed about for years! Nerves were tense and emotions were high, but our meeting went very well with her and two weeks later we got another phone call to come to the hospital and meet our new son. He was absolutely perfect, beautiful and healthy! God had answered our prayers in a mighty way and we will forever and ever be thankful for this special sacrificial gift from our son’s birthmother. Her gift of life to our son has blessed us for the last 10 ½ years and we love him more and more every day.
|Catherine, 8, Rhett, 4 and Grant, 10|
When our son was around 18 months old we started the paperwork to pursue the adoption of a second child. We were busy with our very active son and when he was 27 months old our social worker needed to visit us one night with an urgent message. Our special birthmother had become pregnant with another child and had given birth to a baby girl. We were being asked if we would consider becoming her parents – to which Brad, my husband, enthusiastically responded ‘Yes!!’…while I am too stunned to fully form a response! We had 24 hours to gather a few things before driving to pick her up from the hospital. Just like that, God in His big huge love for us had given us the privilege to parent our son’s sister. She was a tiny little thing, born a few weeks early, but oh so perfect and beautiful!! Overwhelmed with how blessed we were, we got busy with the hectic pace of parenting two little ones, and we were so thankful for both of our gifts from God!
Fast forward to our son turning 5 years old and our daughter is 2 ½…the time of year was spring of 2010 and I realized for several days in a row that I just felt terrible. Like flu symptom terrible! Days and days of feeling awful and finally it occurred to me that maybe, possibly, surely couldn’t be…I might need to take a pregnancy test. I was in full-blown denial, so I put it off for many days and finally decided to do it. It was positive, very much positive, and I was very much in utter and total shock!!! A visit to my doctor (whose ecstatic face I will never forget from that day as long as I live) confirmed that yes, we were going to have a baby the old fashioned way! Oh my stars! God are You for real??! This could not be explained medically, logically, any kind of way – which makes it a flat out MIRACLE! There have been so many people who just wanted us to explain how it happened after so many years, but y’all…guess what? That’s what a divine miracle from God is – it cannot be explained by our pitifully inadequate human minds! I had a textbook pregnancy with no complications and on December 21, 2010, we welcomed a little brother to our family and he was big, healthy and so perfect. Why did God give us this gift? I cannot answer that question. All I know is that He did. It wasn’t expected at all, but we cannot praise or thank our Father in heaven enough while we live this side of eternity for blessing us this way.
|These kiddos love their Bulldogs! Hail State!|
Thank you, Father, for the gifts that are our three wonderful children. They each came to us in different and unique ways, just as they are each different and unique in their personalities and temperaments. But I’ll tell you this – they are LOVED the same, they are each so cherished by us and we cannot imagine our family without the three of them as siblings. God redeemed some very dark and discouraging times for us spent in the valley of despair with a joy and hope that is indescribable. What I wish most for people to understand at the end of this chapter is this: IF our story had not resulted in two adoptions and one child born biologically, IF our prayers had not been answered this way, IF we had never been given the blessing of children…we would STILL praise His holy name! Still.
You see, as we were still in a time of “waiting” I had come to a point of total surrender after dealing with witnessing person after person after endless person have babies when I couldn’t. Coming to a place of utmost surrender to God is very hard sometimes, and it surely was for me, but can I tell you what happens? Total peace. A peace that only God can give you. I prayed and told God, “I will love You, I will serve You, I will praise You...even if the answer is ‘No.’”
God is in control anyway, this was just my acceptance of that fact. At this exact moment in my life (I remember it vividly), when I prayed this prayer, our son’s birthmother was already pregnant and we just didn’t know it yet. I’m telling y’all, God is in every detail of your life, every little detail. And He is Good, His love is amazing, His redemption of our dirty filthy souls is incomprehensible.
I urge you to pray for the orphans in this world who feel all alone, for the fostering homes who are doing their best to show love to hurting children, for waiting families whose arms ache with the desire to hold a child of their own, for adopted children who transition into new home environments, for Bethany Christian Services and other adoption agencies and their staff as they minister to families, birthmothers and children, and for birthmothers who show the biggest love imaginable by entrusting a part of themselves, their child, to families that will care for and adore them always. Adoption is a beautiful reminder of Isaiah 61:3: “To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."
Dear Jesus, help me to always display Your splendor in my life. Amen
“My Story” ~ Big Daddy Weave
If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine
If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Wow! Just wow! Could you still praise Him, serve Him, love Him - even if the answer was "No."? I'll be honest. When I read Heather's words, I was seriously convicted about the times when I have been angry or disappointed or felt like God hadn't heard my cries because His answer wasn't what I wanted or in my time. The Fleming's story is such a beautiful story of faith and patience and trust in His time...it has been such a blessing to know Heather and Brad and to watch their beautiful children grow up under their loving guidance!
Two more posts, y'all! I can't wait to share my sweet friend Laura's journey as well as the one that has impacted me most - my beautiful niece Cristina! Stay tuned!