Alex and Geneva Limbaugh began their adoption process from Kyrgyzstan in September of 2014 and returned home with their 7-year-old son, Tristan, on February 6, 2016. It was this process that allowed the Limbaughs to become parents, and Alex to become a dad.
As a first-time father, particularly through adoption, Alex could often get lost in the waiting. The days of uncertainty, the lack of information, and the seemingly insurmountable paperwork and details needed to complete the process were weighty. Though there were many times of discouragement, the Limbaughs found a unique way to combat discouragement while also strengthening their marriage. Throughout the adoption process, they would go out for coffee or dinner a couple times a week and have what they called “parenting meetings.” Together, they would discuss and brainstorm different issues they may have to face as parents. Alex looks back on these meetings as a tremendous help during the process, “They were not only helpful in discussing real situations that we may face; they also helped us support each other through not only the difficult times of waiting out the process but also in helping us both see what kind of great things were to come for us. We often finished these meetings feeling excitement and anticipation about what was to come rather than discouragement over the wait of it all.”
While they were waiting, the news came that they would likely be parents to a son. Alex began to envision all of the things he could do with his son, such as athletics, reading, and riding a bike. He realized that these activities were all things that he liked to do but may not necessarily be things his son would enjoy. His wife’s perspective helped Alex to develop an excitement about a multitude of bonding possibilities—that included an appreciation for a child’s uniqueness. He says of his wife’s influence on him as a new father, “Her perspective really has helped me becoming a father because we have a child with a unique personality. He has unique likes, dislikes, and he may not always want to do the things I want to do with him, but he definitely wants to bond and it has been great to experience this adjustment with my perspective and with the reality of it all.”
Alex’s visions of bonding would not be completely different, though. He tells a story of the first time Tristan kicked a soccer ball:
“Tristan told our translator that he wanted to play, but the ball and the boys were too big. I wasn’t going to let that stop Tristan from playing soccer! Geneva and I went to Bishkek Park Mall and bought a miniature soccer ball . . . and though his coordination was not great, he gave it everything he had and kicked the ball to me. He absolutely LOVED it. His little laugh was harder than we had heard it in all 10 days with him.”
Though the journey has not been easy for the Limbaughs or Tristan, Alex relishes the role and the weight of being Tristan’s father. He understands all that Tristan has been through and how a young boy whose favorite Christmas present was his very own pair of clean socks has “has every right to be sad, bitter, angry, and upset about everything he has been through.” But, the Limbaughs admire him so much for his overcoming spirit, and Alex states that Tristan’s resiliency “really kind of kicks me in the face when I start to feel negative about things.”
As a new adoptive father, Alex shares his two biggest pieces of advice for fellow men:
- Make sure you are equally present and available for your adopted child, especially right after your child is placed with you.
- Most importantly, always have faith in God. “The whole process of adoption was the strongest test to my faith I have ever had and I feel that it strengthened my trust in God immensely,” he states. God was even in control during their discouragement in the times of waiting because Tristan was not yet available for international adoption until right before the Limbaughs were matched with him.
Though challenging, Alex enjoys seeing how the adoption process has helped him to truly appreciate what God has done in adopting and loving His followers perfectly as His children. He is very excited that Tristan will now have the opportunity to know this kind of love God has for His children.