Soon after Brad and I floated down the aisle of holy matrimony, we began dreaming of exactly what kind of offspring we might produce. Would they look like dad or more mom? Would they be smart, athletic, outgoing, artistic or a quiet thinker? These and other exciting questions seemed endless, as were the moments that passed as we sat silently stunned in our doctor’s office nearly six years later.
After several years of doing virtually everything medically affordable, morally acceptable and physically possible, our dreams shattered around us. We would never see exactly what the combination of our love and genetics would produce. One of our deepest desires had been squashed. If it is true, as Proverbs 13:19 directly says, “A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,” then a desire unaccomplished can produce severe bitterness. And on that day, bitterness was knocking loudly at the door of our souls. Fortunately, we never answered that knock.
As one chapter in our life came to a close, a new chapter of adoption began in January 1999. Our emotions were everywhere: exciting, intimidating, overwhelming, and scary were a few favorites. Starting the journey, we were faced with some major decisions. First, will we go domestic or international? Next, is an agency better for us than a private lawyer? From there, closed, semi-open or open adoption?
So we prayed, read books, and rested heavily on the providence of God. We decided on a semi-open, domestic adoption with an agency that ministers to the birth family pre and post placement of their child. We wanted the birth parents to be given the opportunity to receive counseling and support as they navigated knitting their hearts back together. We were hopeful of what the Lord might do.
The Lord saw fit for us to go another route in the adoption process with the dreaded words, “open adoption.” My worst fear was becoming a reality as I assumed co-parenting to be my destiny. I was not happy! God was about to teach a lesson on trust.
This all came about by us telling a friend about our desire to adopt. We were told the more people that knew you were adopting, the better... and we would heartily agree. Our friend Shelley had a family in her home group with a pregnant teenage daughter. This 14 year old initially wanted to parent, but decided to put her son up for adoption. Shelly mentioned us, and she seemed interested. But weeks passed and life moved that conversation to the back of my mind. We were still focused on the two agencies we had signed up with and finishing all the paper work.
Then it happened, Shelley called and asked if she could give more personal answers to this family asking questions. I replied, “o...k!?” I’m not quite sure what she said to them, but in no time I was talking directly to the birth grandmother. The next day, I met with the soon-to-be- mother and grandmother. I was not prepared. I did not have one of my scrapbooks with all the glowing letters from our friends and family that told this birth mother how fabulous we would be if she chose us as her child’s parents, so I brought a photo album so she could see our house and what Brad looked like, since he was out of town. This 14 year old was quiet and pretty, holding a sonogram picture of the son she was carrying inside her young womb. I was scared to death. This is why I wanted the safety of a semi-open adoption. I am ok with communication, but not face to face! Thankfully I didn’t scare them away and when Brad got home we met again.
We were put on the fast track of getting signed up with her agency, getting a home study done and all the necessary forms filled out. The baby was due in December. Four months to get to know more about open adoption, what it truly was designed to be, and learning to trust God with our hearts and those of the birth family. It was emotional, rewarding and incredibly terrifying throughout the process.
Darrin Paul Payne was born December 6, 1999 at 2:38 pm. I was in the delivery room and even cut the cord (open adoption at it’s best!). Brad was in the waiting room. Then, came the longest 48 hours of our lives: The amount of time we had to wait to see if our young mother would stay true to her plan for her son. She did, but God had another test of trust for me. She wanted to take him home first, so we gave her our car seat and said, "we will see you in a few hours." Gut wrenching! All went well, and Darrin ended up in our home that evening.
Three years later we adopted a beautiful daughter whose birth mother found us on the agency’s website. Abigail Caprice became my 33rd birthday present, since we brought her home the day after my birthday.
Our family was complete... we thought. God felt not; he surprised me at my 35 year old well check with a 13 week pregnancy! What? A girl should know if she was pregnant, right? Kailey Jewel was born April 6, 2005, a true surprise gift. Now, our quiver was full. Well...another surprise came along when I was 37. Holly Rose came into the world on August 21, 2007!
God is awesome in His sovereign hand and often unusual timing.