Friday, October 11, 2013

An Adoption Story | The Daniel Family

Every time I receive an adoption story, it makes my heart swell with joy. Adoption is such a beautiful picture of the gospel. Through these stories we see such profound spiritual of brokenness to redemption, and beauty from ashes. The Daniel's story is no different. In reading about their adoption journey, I was humbled, encouraged, challenged and convicted all at the same time. In their story, you will read about the the selfless, bold, and difficult prayers they prayed for reunification. As much as they desired to adopt this little girl as their own, they humbly prayed for both reunification and healing for her and her birth family instead. Such beautiful hearts and selfless prayers. Keep reading to hear about all that the Lord has done in the life of this sweet family.

DJ and I know Jeremy and Staci through church. Jeremy is the Recovery Groups Pastor at our Denton Campus, but because we work for different campuses, we actually do not know him all that well. We were able to see glimpses of their adoption process from afar (via emails to the church staff and updates on social media) so I was so glad to read the full version below. Read it and be encouraged, friends. The Lord is good and his grace is evident in their story. 

We are the Daniels and are excited and honored to be guest bloggers! We enjoy opportunities to share with others how the Lord has worked and moved in our family through the beautiful gift of adoption.  Here is our story, from the beginning…

I always had a desire to adopt and my husband married me understanding this, although at the time his heart was not in the same place. Through years of prayer and the Lord faithfully working on both of our hearts we knew we were both ready to begin looking into adoption. I had always had the specific desire to adopt a child that was in CPS custody. As we learned more about the process we learned that in order to adopt a younger child from CPS you must be willing to foster. We were not exactly sure we were prepared to go this route but nonetheless felt the Lord moving us in this direction.  So, about 10 years into our marriage and 2 years after the birth of our second biological child we started the process to become a licensed foster home.

We received our first placement, Aniyah, 5 days after becoming licensed.  I will never forget that day when this beautiful, exhausted 8 month old baby girl was carried into our home wearing a ragged blue onesie. We held her and loved her instantly despite the fact I couldn’t even pronounce her name (yes, my oldest who was 4 at the time had to teach me a cleaver way to remember how to say her name).  Our boys, Kaydon and Layton, took to her right away and loved her as their baby sister, even though she was a complete stranger.  Our Father was so gracious to allow our hearts to be knitted together instantly and to be able to love her as our own while acknowledging that she was not ours and that we must be open handed with her.

While our intention of fostering was to adopt, I felt the Holy Spirit convict me early on that our role as her foster family was to work alongside with the system to obtain the goal of reunification with her biological mother. For me, that meant that my prayers were not prayers of asking for adoption but rather crying out to the Lord begging that He would save her and break her free of generational sin regardless of the home in which she was raised. I remember rocking her at night and confessing that I was not Aniyah’s savior and reminding myself that our God can move in mighty ways and He doesn’t have to use our family to do that, but we should be faithful with the time He has given us, however long that might be.

Another way our family was lead to work towards supporting reunification was by being open to a relationship with the biological mother.  Again, the Lord was so gracious by granting us favor with this young lady and through the years of fostering Aniyah we have developed a good relationship with her and she has opened up her heart to us and has shared some of her past with us.  On Aniyah’s first birthday we were able to have a CPS supervised birthday party with our family and the birth family. Two completely different cultures coming together to love on and celebrate the life of this precious baby was such a sweet testament of the Lord’s faithfulness. 

The process of fostering Aniyah lingered much longer than we had hoped. We came across many obstacles and it was two and a half years of a lot of back and forth of preparing for her to leave our home just to find out she is staying a little longer. It was over a year and half before her goal was changed from reunification to adoption. While this was an exciting day it was also a heavy day. Adoption comes with loss and the reality of that was vivid for us along this road.

After two years of court hearings, mediation, a trial and an appeals process, Aniyah was finally free for adoption and our court date was set. June 26, 2013 is a day our family will always celebrate. It was such a beautiful day. Aniyah had this sweet, excited spirit about her that day as if she knew what was going on even though she had no idea we were legally not her family. She was dressed in a beautiful white dress that morning and she runs down the stairs and yells, “Look daddy! I’m a Barbie!” as she is twirling around.  We made the all too familiar drive down highway 35 to the Cooke County courthouse like we had many times before, but this time it was different. We entered the courtroom surrounded by sweet family and friends and testified before the judge that we understood the weight of becoming this little girl’s parents. I took a moment to look around and see tears streaming down many faces. That day we were finally able to say that Aniyah was part of our family, forever!

Fostering and adoption is not an easy calling, but it is one of great reward. Through this journey, our family has had to learn to persevere and trust in our God’s sovereign hand in a way we never had to before. You never know where this road will lead you. During the two years of fostering Aniyah we also fostered her half biological brother for 8 months. Right before his first birthday he was reunified to his biological father and his wife. While this was difficult for our family, it is now amazing to see the Lord’s plans for this sweet boy’s life played out. He allowed us to be a safe, loving place for baby boy while preparing his forever home with his biological father. The Lord continues to pour His mercy on us by allowing his family to be so kind and loving to us. We have grown to know them well and are able allow Aniyah to continue to have a relationship with her brother.

We have also continued to grow our relationship with her birth mother. We were given the opportunity to foster two more of her younger biological siblings but felt God closing those doors. Now I am able to see that He has had different plans for us. Plans for us to now walk with the biological mother not by fostering her children but by having the freedom to form a deeper relationship with her as we have entered into an open adoption.

We could have never anticipated how this would all play out. It hasn’t been an easy road but we would not have wanted it any other way. Our Father has been so faithful to use all the obstacles to grow our family and teach us in a tangible way how to approach all our children with open hands. We also could not have done this without the amazing love and support of our family and friends. It was our community that was able to speak truth to us when we were doubting and faithfully prayed over us and showed up to the courthouse to encourage us when we were scared and rejoiced with us when it was time to celebrate. Our family has been truly blessed and forever changed by the calling of adoption the Lord has placed us. 


1 comment:

  1. We see God's love and amazing grace played out through this experience.what a gift Aniyah is to our family.i now have 3 amazing grandsons and 2 amazing granddaughters and each of them is a treasured gift from my heavenly father.He always gives the very best gifts. jan daniel