It started with a picture. One little boy – dark brown eyes, smooth skin, dimpled fingers. He wore a T-Shirt and a scowl. Underneath his picture, three short sentences. Only three to describe this beautiful little boy. He liked cars. He was quiet and kept to himself. His name was…Abraham.
And the moment I saw him, I knew. Printing the picture out, I ran to my husbands office. Slamming the picture on his desk, I squealed, “This is our son! Meet your new son! I just know it…He is our son!” We both cried together as we stared at the photo and talked about what this would look like.
At that time, we were living in an apartment making Ramen noodles for dinner every night. We were washing our plastic forks to save money. We barely had enough to fill the gas tank. But we believed. Oh, how we believed! This little boy was meant for our arms.
So, we took a step of faith. And then another and another. And with every step, we found the words of the Psalmist to ring true, “He’s solid rock under my feet…” (Psalm 62, MSG). And, after months of fundraising and prayer and tears and paperwork, our son came home. He came HOME.
I’ll never forget those first days we shared together. Just the three of us hidden away from the world learning to be a family.
And then….Jordan,…Shiloh,…Isaiah,…Gideon. Blessing after blessing. Miracle after miracle. In the matter of a few short years, our very quiet home had become a very noisy one – full of mess, and chaos, and joy – oh so much joy!
It was after Gideon’s birth, we felt led to foster care (with the intentions of adopting). “One more girl would be nice,” we said. “Shiloh needs a sister,” we said.
Turns out, God had a different story to write…
The phone rang. As I went to answer it, I heard God’s voice speak so clearly to my heart, “These are your children. Say yes.”
The call I received was not for the girl we had planned on…it was for two boys. Two boys who we would later find had three younger siblings who needed a home, too.
And just like that, our five became ten.
I can still remember our first day together. We played all day. Hide and Seek, Lego’s, Play dough…I ended that day, and the others that would follow, overwhelmed with joy and exhaustion.
And now here we are, four years later and I can tell you…it has NOT been easy.
Some days have been downright ugly.
There have been many nights, I’ve cried myself to sleep.
When my child has screamed all day at me…all day, everyday for one straight year. I couldn’t touch that child, console that child, communicate with that child. I wondered, “Will I ever get to know (child’s name)?” “Will they every get to know me?”
When my child scratches at my face or punches me repeatedly…when they claw at the walls of the church and everyone is watching them as you try to carry them out.
When you haven’t slept in weeks, months, YEARS…
When your grandmother’s china was thrown across the room and shattered into a million pieces.
Not to mention, the laundry, the dishes, the clean up. It NEVER ends.
Adoption is not easy. PARENTING isn’t easy.
BUT…it’s worth it.
Every time I see my children defy their label and every man-made expectation that was placed on them – my heart screams, “It’s worth it.”
Every time I see my children, barefoot and filthy, giggle and run free through the Pine trees near our house – my heart screams, “It’s worth it.”
Every time they tell me something God is teaching them or sing me a song they’ve written or pray for the world or serve at the Food Pantry or splash in the water at the spray park like a KID, not a broken, had-to-grow-up-too-fast kid, but just…a kid, my heart screams, “It’s worth it.”
Every muddy footprint, every frog I find in a jar somewhere in my house, every fingerprint on the windows, every toy in my yard, every hole dug and left for me to step in, all the instruments playing different songs at the same time – the CHILDHOOD that is being lived in this home – reminds me daily, “IT’S WORTH IT.”
And because of this…
We had to say yes again.
YES to the mess and the beauty, the joys and the pain, the heartache and the overwhelming joy that is adoption.
A few months ago, my husband and I began the tedious process yet again. God spoke to us in many ways, including our children.
“Mommy, I had a dream last night, we had more kids.”
“Mommy, God says there are more comin’. You ready?”
Because our children are all older this time around, EVERYONE is so excited. It has become a family affair. They have helped with the paperwork, asked a million questions, met with the case worker, and spent hours looking through pictures of potential children. Just a few days ago, they helped cut and paste pictures into scrapbooks for our new children. They are already fighting about who will be their room.
Our home-study was completed last month and we were told, we could begin inquiring on children.
As we all huddled around the phone scrolling through pictures, we all found ourselves drawn to a family (yes…more than one…) who had been on the registry when we first began our journey but then had been taken off for a time. They came back on the site the DAY we received the green light to begin inquiring. All of us decided unanimously to inquire.
I thought, “Surely, they will think we are crazy.”
As the days went by, I reminded myself, “Don’t worry. Your worker told you that it will take awhile. You have a lot of children and it will take the right case worker to even look at your file.”
More days went by and I started to look at the registry again…”Maybe there are others we should inquire about.”
And then…. “Hello, Matt and Niki? I talked with the worker and…” I couldn’t believe it. They were willing to check out our home-study.
After full disclosure, we had to decide. Will we keep moving forward?
Our children listened intently. We knew this would affect all of us and we needed to decide together. After a moment of prayer, they all turned to my husband and said, “Dad, we have a GREEN LIGHT. We want to do this.”
So, we said yes. And we waited to see what they would say.
Finally today we received the call, after a talk with our case worker, not only had we been approved by their case worker, but also by the adoption rep for the state. This is HUGE!
And so now…we wait again for the call that will tell us when we will meet them for the first time.
I’m nervous. I’m shocked. I’m overwhelmed. I’m excited. I’m overjoyed. I’m cautious. I’m ready. I’m not ready.
This part of the journey comes with so many emotions.
But deep in my heart, the words of Rita Springer’s song serenade me,
“It’s gonna be worth it. It’s gonna be worth it all.”
Something beautiful is on the horizon!