I’ve been asked multiple times the last few weeks about our adoption. I keep praying about this post and putting it off only to have another family request information or ask about our personal story. I found myself saying, “Okay Lord! I hear you! I’ll tell our story!” I guess I hesitate because adoption can be such a personal story. It’s much like a birth story with many of the same emotions. The trying, the expectation, the waiting, the labor and the ‘delivery’ when the judge finally says it is done. I guess for me the hardest part is sharing so openly with people who have faces hidden behind the computer screen. I can’t read your body language or know if you understand the depth of my love and the journey we have been on that brought four of our blessings into our home. It would be much different if I were to share with you face to face but at this time God has not allowed that opportunity so it is here, on the blog, that I will share with you our precious, tender, very personal adoption story. Remember, I share as a mother, not an authority, agency or professional.
May the Lord be glorified by all we communicate… for His glory is the reason I live!
Mrs. Joseph Wood
Joe and I talked about having children before we were married. We knew that we wanted to adopt children as well as give birth to any children the Lord would bless us with physically. There was never a time that we were in disagreement about the subject, and never a time our biological children didn’t talk with us as we planned to adopt. We spent many years praying about it, talking with grandparents and other extended family members about the subject, and waiting for His timing. The children and our family joined us as we prayed for this child we had yet to meet.
While adoption was never a question to us, timing was. As I look back it still seems like a whirlwind that just swept us up. In 2000 my Joe and I owned and operated a Christian bookstore. We had friends that were missionaries in Lesotho, Africa that were going to come and share their testimony with our customers. After the night of conversation they stayed in our home, shared stories with us and braided my daughters hair, a moment she still remembers with fondness. We began praying and exploring our options for an international adoption. It was a few weeks later when a woman came into the store and somehow we got on the topic of adoption. I shared with her about our desire and Lesotho when she asked, “Why don’t you adopt a child from the states?” I was caught off guard by her question and quickly replied, “I didn’t know there were children that needed adoption in America. I thought there were more than enough families.” She gave me the name and number of a local agency. I can’t even tell you how much time went by; I know everything happened very fast. It was a surprise to everyone involved just how fast we had our home study complete, fingerprints done, and classes taken. While our agency worked with reuniting foster children with their families they knew that we wanted a child for adoption. It was just a matter of weeks when we welcomed our sweet Sammy into our home. Sammy has FAS. At the time he needed multiple visits from nurses and therapists. The events that took place over the next year had ups and downs. I learned a great deal through the experience and at the time thought it was challenging. Looking back I don’t regret it for one moment and after our second adoption I know that Sammy’s adoption was a walk in the park!
Sammy’s adoption was finalized in Oct of 2003. We were enjoying the moments with our ‘official’ new addition. I find that whole finalizing process a challenge. It is as if we are waiting for ‘man’ to finally agree with what God has already spoken in our hearts but, that’s just me. For our second adoption, I can still remember the day. The way the sun was shinning in the room while I vacuumed, and how Joe and the children were playing in the backyard. It was January 7th 2004 when the phone rang. “Hello?” I answered. “Hello, I know you don’t know me but I heard about you and your family when you adopted your son, Samuel.” “Yes” I said skeptically. “I am a social worker for the county and am at the hospital. We have a baby being born that is expected to have FAS. It’s a little boy. Would you be interested?” I didn’t know what to think. I took her number and told her I would call her back. I called our agency and told them what had happened. They agreed it was quite unusual for someone to contact me and not go through the agency first. Our worker at the agency would check into the details and get back to us. I called everyone together and told them about the bizarre call. The next day the phone rang again. It was the weekend and the worker assured me she would take care of all the details with our agency and asked if I would meet her at the hospital. I was able to talk to the birth mom and be in her room with her. I remember asking her before I left if there was anything she wanted me to do for her. She simply replied, “love him like you love all your other children.” The nurses walked me through all the baby basics and even wheeled me out to the car as I held the baby. I was told this was their policy and found it strange at the time. Looking back I see it as precious. Precious of those nurses…. precious of the Lord to let me enjoy the wheelchair ride to the car with my baby in my arms.
Time went by and finalizing the adoption was getting closer. Doctor reports were submitted to the county and all those involved. A grandmother learned about the baby and petitioned the court for custody. In a moment and without any previous warning we were being told that we would have to give our baby boy over to a woman who had never met him. He was about nine months old at that time… precious days of peek a boo with baby and rocking chair lullaby's at bed time. To say my heart was broken does not begin to describe how broken I was. I remember driving away after unloading the car of the baby crib, rocking chair, favorite blankets and going over a list of favorites with the family. I remember the tears that came on so strongly I couldn’t drive and feared crashing. I pulled over to the side of the highway. I sat praying for what seemed like hours. I don’t honestly know how long I sat there praying. Within time I felt a peace, a peace that passes all understanding. I know that it wasn’t an audible voice but I heard in my heart, “If you give him to me I’ll give him back.” I didn’t even understand how that could be possible. A few days went by, walking down the hall was heartbreaking. The entire family was hurting. It wasn’t long before my phone rang again and this time it was the grandma. She was busy and wanted to know if I would babysit the baby and his half brother and sister that she cared for. A relationship developed where we would care for the children anytime she was busy and I thanked God that He allowed me to invest in this little one’s life, even if it was only on weekends.
More time elapsed, we moved, and our home study was soon to expire. It was about 10:30 at night when Joe got a call from a social worker informing us, once again, that we didn’t know her but she knew who we were. She briefly told us about the situation at hand and that the baby we had loved and cared for was about to be removed from the home along with the siblings. Joe and I talked and without hesitation agreed we would adopt all three children. No sooner did we talk when the phone rang again. This time the grandma was on the phone, telling us her side of the story. She knew they were going to remove the children and wanted to bring them to us instead. Early the next morning she arrived with our baby boy and soon to be daughter (the older brother was in the hospital with some serious injuries). Information was uncertain, state and county agencies were not talking and we found ourselves in the middle of a power struggle between the two. I’ve looked back over the events that took place, the decisions people made, the agenda that was put in front of the needs of the children, the lies, the discrimination against our family simple because we had seven children and were Christians who homeschooled. Yet, through all those dark moments I see God’s amazing Grace. I will not write out the heartbreak, the troubling events and the struggle. Instead let me make clear that God was always with us. He never left us! He was my strength and my comfort when we couldn’t trust anything we were hearing with our ears or seeing with our eyes. I’ll never forget the day we finalized our adoption. I sat at the table, before the judge, wrestling to hold back the tears as I realized that the harassing, the threats, and the fears were coming to an end! No matter how hard I tried to hold back the tears they flowed down my cheeks. What must that judge have thought as she sat in front of me? The journey we had just traveled… did she know?
After everything we went through we decided we all needed time to heal. We didn’t trust many people yet, we had learned who we could trust. We feel very complete. Very settled. The experience is behind us, it is in the past and we can say God was and still remains faithful! Today our hearts are ready and expecting the Lord to bring us a new addition. We don’t know if the child will come to us through physical birth (although that would take a miracle) or through adoption! However, we don’t feel led to go through the state, at least not at this time. We have instead finished our home study and hired an attorney for a private adoption. International adoption is not something we are against and we keep praying if it might be God’s plan. At this time, we just keep getting the sense that we’re to wait. Our family feels very complete. It’s not that our days aren’t full or we have this unhealthy motivation to adopt. We aren’t looking for a child; we believe that if God has another child for us He will bring her/him to us. We simply have everything required by the laws of our land so that we can accept a child should the Lord bring one to us. Often, you’ll hear someone in the house talk about when God is going to bring us a child and even now we pray for this little one we have not yet met. I don’t know how many children the Lord will bring us or from where. I am thankful that He would allow me to pour my life into even one child much less ten!! I am blessed!!! (P.S. The above picture of our adoption you can see our family along with Grandma and Grandpa on the end and my brother and his wife in the back near my Joe and I)
Each day I watch my children run, play, hear their belly giggles I praise God that He picked me to be their momma. We are a very close family. If it were not for hair and skin color you would never know which child God brought through adoption and which ones we gave birth too. I love being a mother; each season has it’s joy. I realize they are growing up… time is flying by… these are precious days!
All the children along with my Joe and I. November 2010