by Sally Matheny
What's the adoption process like? I’d compare it to riding your first-ever roller coaster ride. While waiting in line, you see the process. Your desire to do it is beyond measure. But the excitement and eagerness mingles with an ever-increasing anxiety in the pit of your stomach.
In honor of Adoption Awareness Month, I shared the first part of our adoption story in my last post.
Today, I'm sharing the rest of our adoption adventure.
Just like waiting in line for a roller coaster, it helps to hear the excitement of others’ as they finish. However, ultimately, there’s no way to prepare fully for your first experience. When it’s time, you simply take a step forward, and away you go!
The First Call
Eighteen-months of waiting on a call from the adoption agency left me with ample time to wonder. Wondering how our lives would change with a new addition to the family. Wondering if we would measure up to birthparents’ expectations. Wondering if anyone would ever choose our family for their child.
The home study required for adoption is only valid for eighteen months. After our initial home study expired, we questioned if we were doing the right thing. The agency told us the eighteen months was the world’s timeline, not God’s. After much prayer, we felt at peace. We began the process of renewing the home study.
Within three weeks, a call came from the adoption agency. A birthmother wanted to meet us! The baby’s due date was only a month away. And it was a boy!
What if we had given up and not renewed our home study? The adoption agency was right. It had been the world’s timeline—not God’s.
Our meeting with the birthmother was indescribably beautiful. At first, we were all nervous, but as we began to talk, an overwhelming peace and joy filled our hearts. We shared our story with the birthmother, what led us to adoption, and how God was working through it all.
The birthmother cried as she told us we were the answer to her prayers. Life had not turned out as she’d hoped. She had made unwise decisions but was working at getting back on track.
She said the baby’s father was also struggling. She spoke with love and compassion as she spoke about him. He never had a chance to witness what a good husband or father looked like.
Even though his life was tough as a kid, he “never chose to turn things around, to work, or show responsibility” as an adult. His choices in life continued to spiral downward until, for the safety of her and the baby, she finally had to leave.
She loved the baby but there was no way she could take care of him. More than anything, she said she wanted him to have a good daddy. He would not get that if she kept him. She wanted to protect her son from negative influences, from possible harm, and place him in a loving home. Her greatest fear was that the baby would grow up resenting her. Through my tears, I assured her that as he grew, he would hear how much she loved him.
My heart was totally unprepared for this part of the adoption journey. I had been praying in general for all birthmothers making tough decisions. Up until then, my perception of our child’s birthmother had been very abstract. Now, she had a face, a name, and a personality. Best of all, she had an enormous heart of love.
As we all sat in a circle, the adoption counselor asked my husband to close our meeting in prayer. I was sitting beside the birthmother. I asked if we could all hold hands. I desperately wanted to hold the hand of this precious woman. A woman who loved her son so much she would part with him in order to provide for him.
As my husband prayed aloud, I prayed additional, silent prayers for this woman. I prayed for God to protect her health, her mind, and her heart in the days ahead.
We hugged and cried some more before leaving. But the smiles on our faces showed the evidence of God’s presence.
There was still the challenge of getting the birthfather’s consent. With every passing week, I continually asked God to calm my nerves. There was nothing we could do but trust God with the outcome.