Sunday, August 9, 2009

Only God - A Note Written By James & Erica

For several weeks we have promising to share our adoption story. As you could expect, it's lengthy, especially since it starts at the beginning, but we hope you will quickly see the ultimate reason for sharing it.

Only God knew that the young man I met in the ninth grade at school would become my husband August, 1991. James and I are celebrating our eighteenth wedding anniversary this year!

Only God knew that after three years of marriage, when desiring to have a family, God would have other plans for us. At the time we had no idea what those plans were, but disappointments, heartache, tears seemed to be our normal as we prayed for a child. Additions of nieces, nephews, children of friends, baby showers, Mother's Days, and Father's Days were difficult to say the least.

Only God knew and then orchestrated specific events in one particular weekend that would create in our hearts a burning desire to pursue adoption (2001). We began requesting information from a number of adoption agencies across the country. We had almost decided on one particular agency, but when surfing the Internet one day (2003), I discovered Christian Adoption, an Internet-based adoption ministry.

Only God knew that partnering with Christian Adoption in 2003 would lead to four potential matches, three of which the birthparents chose other adoptive parents. (Our adoption profile was uploaded on Mother's Day.) The fourth potential match took place October 31, 2004, with a birthmother living in Orlando. We soon learned that not only was the birthmother early in her pregnancy, but she had a lot of emotional "baggage". We were 100% certain that God directed us to her, but the road was difficult, leaving us often times feeling emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent.

Only God knew we would receive "the call" July 1, 2005, that our soon-to-be-son would be arriving, would be greeted strangely by the staff at the hospital, then would be ushered into a private room, only to learn that our lives were about to be drastically changed. We assumed that the birthmother had changed her mind, which is always a possibility with adoption. However, it was much more than that. Our son, Evan James, was stillborn. Those moments we spent with him and the photographs we have will forever be etched in our minds. Only God knew that we would be saying goodbye before having the opportunity to say hello. However, there is Heaven!

Only God knew that while we were grieving the loss of Evan, He was creating our future daughter. During the latter part of 2005, our social worker called us to say an attorney in our area was in need of adoptive family profiles and gave us the contact information. February 2, 2006, the attorney called to let us know there was a potential adoption on the horizon. We soon learned that Jessica was early in her pregnancy (8 weeks along) and had some similar "baggage". After much discussion and prayer, James and I agreed that we did not want to say no because of our fear of a similar journey. God would have to be the one to tell us no. We agreed to pursue this adoption and plans were made to meet Jessica on February 16, 2006. Only God could make our way plain. The day we were to meet Jessica, I was at work and received a call from our attorney. She began to explain that due to Jessica's continual, unreasonable, and ever-changing demands, they would no longer be representing her. As I was processing the information and trying to formulate a few questions, the attorney proceeded to tell me that there was another birthmom, eight months along, who was interested in adoption. We went from eight weeks along to eight months along in one phone call.

Only God knew that we would meet the birthmom at the hospital the day she went into labor (March 27) and would meet our daughter Tuesday, March 28, 2006, just after midnight. The hospital staff was wonderful and we were able to "room in" at the hospital, take part in some of the labor process, and be awakened at night for the feedings. We chose a name that we not only loved, but also had a significant meaning. Eliana's name is Hebrew in origin and means "God has answered." or "God answered me." Indeed He did. Eliana's adoption was finalized in July, 2006.

Only God knew whether or not we would remain a family of three or provide us with another child. It wasn't until a few months ago that we came to realize that we would be 100% content if Eliana was our only child; but we would also be 100% thrilled if God brought us another baby. Only God could do that in our hearts.

Only God knew that our lives would be changed again as a result of one phone call on the way home from VBS Tuesday, June 16, 2009. Our friends, Mike and Sandra, learned of a situation that could potentially lead to adoption. They shared with us about a birthmom and caretaker who were sharing the responsibilities of caring for a baby and were extremely stressed out. Through a series of events, we offered "babysitting" services to give the two women a much needed break for the well being of the baby and for them. We ended up meeting the birthmom on Thursday, June 18 (James' birthday) and after conversing with her for awhile, she handed the baby to us to take home! What a birthday! We were able to have Landon with us until Saturday night.

Only God knew that the next week would be the biggest test of this entire journey. The birthmom desired to have Landon for Father's Day. After several phone calls we received, the birthmom made it clear that our desire to adopt was greater than hers. She indicated that the idea came from the caretaker rather than her, which she further explained that adoption would probably not be an option. However, she could already tell we loved her baby and agreed to let us "babysit" again from Monday until Thursday (the thought that an adoption was probably not going to happen saddened us, but we were thrilled to be able to have Landon once again).

Only God knew that the door we thought was closed would later be ajar. Tuesday morning I received a call from Landon's caretaker that someone from the Sheriff's office would be calling and stopping by. You can imagine how we must have felt. Only God could have planned that the birthmom's case worker, who had been out sick and on vacation, would choose to check up on her that very day, that Landon would not be with her or the caretaker, and that the birthmom would violate her probation that morning. The case worker then came and took Landon from us and placed him in foster care (The birthmom could not have him and our home study was not quite complete.).

Only God knew where Landon was while we were left wondering. After sharing our new adoption story as a prayer request in a small prayer group at church, we soon learned that Landon was with a family that we knew. Landon was in good hands.

Only God knew that the birthmother would falsely accuse us and the caretaker of calling the case worker on her, that the birthmother would be extremely angry at us, and then would just days later have a COMPLETE change of heart and mind. Only God knew that after appearing in court and then talking with our attorney, the birthmother would freely choose to proceed with filing adoption paperwork and then call us personally to tell us of her decision. She also apologized to us for falsely accusing us and being angry with us. The birthmom was also the first one to call us, Tuesday, June 30, to tell us that in fact she had signed the paperwork and that Landon would be our son!

Only God could perform the "impossible" by allowing our child abuse clearances to come back overnight rather than the usual 30-day wait. Our background checks came in the very next day, just before the holiday weekend! These were the last two paperwork requirements needed to complete our homestudy.

Only God knew that Wednesday, July 8, 2009, Landon would be placed in our arms by our attorney, whom we had not met personally until that day. We have one additional post-placement visit at the end of September. Once the post-placement visits are complete and our attorney's retainer fees are paid, a court date can be scheduled for finalization. Lord-willing our paperwork and adoption will be finalized by the end of the year.

Only God would do "exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think" by providing us a red-headed daughter (something we had always dreamed about), and a son who shares James' first name and Evan's middle name. Landon's name does not have a deep meaning like Eliana's name, but it does mean "long hill." God did have us climb a "long hill" of sorts to reach Landon, but He was with us every step of the way and Landon was worth the wait (as short as it was). In addition, through anonymous donations, almost all of our homestudy costs have been provided. Jehovah-Jireh!

We are overjoyed, overwhelmed, and in case you haven't figured it out, want you to know that all of this was and is ONLY of GOD!

"That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, Lord, hast done it" (Ps. 109:27).

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