By Jenny Riddle
When a family grows through adoption, God has been planting seeds in their lives even before an application for adoption was filled out, even before a child is born. Several Lifeline families shared glimpses into the seeds God has sown in their family’s lives through adoption.
Sowing Faith Throughout Plot Twists
Daniel and Markie Baird (a family who adopted from Ukraine), experienced great challenges throughout their adoption process. Their lives were upended when they had to give up a job they loved as house parents at a residential family reunification/counseling program and move across the state. Then, hours before they were scheduled for virtual court in February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Their judge attempted to keep court, but air raid sirens forced everyone into a bomb shelter. They remember, “The next several months were a haze of unknowns, attempts to do things on our own, surrendering our plans for God’s, and an exponential period of growth in our faith and trust in God.” Through many logistical challenges and workings of God, the Bairds were able to bring their daughter home from Ukraine in the midst of a war, and God used that time to “draw [them] into deeper dependence on Him.”
Shane and Jennifer (a family who adopted domestically) also experienced faith-building circumstances. During their journey to grow a family, they experienced four miscarriages, infertility, a failed adoption, negativity from others, and the closing of their first adoption agency. Jennifer shares, “It would have been so easy to throw in the towel and quit.” Every aspect of their desire for a family felt out of their control, and the path was full of heartache. They found themselves at a place where they could choose faith or to walk away. They chose faith: “We had no control but placed everything in God’s control and in God’s hands. We had to trust God’s plan and timing is perfect.”
Justin and Madyson (a family who adopted from Hungary and Bulgaria), started their adoption journey with the intent to adopt a child 0-2 years old from India. In a twist of plans, they adopted a five-year-old boy from Hungary and are bringing home a six-year-old boy from Bulgaria. Although “the events or circumstances that led us to that ultimate outcome were ones we could’ve never planned . . . we are grateful to God that he moved our hearts in such a way to put us into our boys’ lives.” They trusted God’s timing and direction to put them in “the right places at the right time to be able to say ‘yes’ to [their] sweet sons at the exact moment they needed a family.”
Sowing Relationships With Birth Families
David and Mary Katherine (a family who adopted domestically), always had a strong desire to have a relationship with their son’s birth family. Through her years working in a Pregnancy Resource Center, Mary Katherine gained a unique perspective of the “hardship women face when experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.” David and Mary Katherine decided, “While it comes with many unknowns and difficult considerations, we know that it is best for him (and us, too!) to have this relationship.” Currently, they prioritize regular contact with their son’s birthmother but let her “lead the way” when it comes to communication. They want their son’s birthmother to feel like part of their family, and they have seen how meaningful their relationship is to this brave lady. They are excited to see the fruit of their efforts as she “regularly expresses how happy she is to have us and to have placed her son into our family.”
Shane and Jennifer initially did not want any contact with their future child’s birth family. They explain, “We were scared to death and intimidated of the process and didn’t know an open adoption could be what was best for a child.” The more they read, studied, and discussed it, God transformed their hearts. They moved from preferring a closed adoption to a completely open adoption. Now, they have an “amazing” relationship with their child’s birth family. In addition to their child’s birth parents, Shane and Jennifer also have contact with their child’s siblings and his birth grandparents. Jennifer reflects, “The birth family has ministered to us as much as we have to them.” The fruit from this relationship is only beginning, and they can’t wait for their son to be able to tell of this story in years to come.
Sowing Strength in the Doubts
Adoption is not an easy process, and the journey is full of twists and turns. Daniel and Markie Baird admit, “Throughout the adoption process, we rarely questioned God’s call to adoption, that is until the period of time that followed us finally getting [our daughter] home.” When the family arrived home, a simple medical admission turned into a five-week hospital stay that included medical transfer flights, surgeries, and multiple seizures. They acknowledge the doubt was their fear: “At the end of the day, our cynical minds and fears allowed us to doubt that our capacity to provide for Jocelyn was enough . . .” The Bairds recounted God’s faithfulness in the past, “. . . By refocusing our hearts back to the source of life and our rock of salvation, we were able to reorient the period of questioning to a source of worship.”
When Jake and Hanna (a family who adopted from Colombia) brought their children into their care in country, Hanna experienced post-adoption depression. She recalls, “Time in country was significantly harder than I could have imagined, and suddenly my mind was filled with doubt, fear, anxiety, and darker thoughts than I had ever faced in my life. . .. The ways I have come to rely on the Lord in the last 14 months have been some of the most painful and hardest battles I’ve faced, but it’s all been worth it.” Hanna began to heal as she sought out help from professionals to support her and put healthy supports in place for her children. Jake and Hanna have continued to do the hard work of building trust and attachment with their children. As a result, they’ve seen God knit their family together through His strength.
When we recognize God’s hand in planting, we are led to worship the One who brings the harvest. As our families walk through twists, doubts, and decisions throughout all stages of the adoption journey, Lifeline is committed to walking with them with understanding and support. Please contact us whenever we can celebrate, pray for, or come alongside you in any way.