When Love Changes Everything - Laura’s Adoption Story
Our adoption story is about 10 or so years long. It goes back to when it wasn’t even a part of our dreams or thoughts for the future. It passes through the times I started having dreams of adopting and God telling me that every child he gifted to us was just that, a gift, and that they were his children first, no matter how they got to us. It goes to the south of Ethiopia where we lived for 4 months and had the opportunity to bring a precious little girl home, but God was very clear on us finding a safe and wonderful home for her there and continuing to fund her life and education from afar. It goes through the next years of moving countries and having biological kids and being surrounded by adoptive families that inspired and changed us forever. And finally, it hit the accelerator about 2 1/2 years ago when we decided to apply to our adoption agency and actually start the process.
The first year of our adoption story (post application) was filled with mountains of paperwork, interviews, study sessions and fundraisers. We were blown away over and over again as people rallied together to help us run garage sales, events, design t-shirts, record music and share our story with their own networks. From the beginning we were so moved by how many people stood with us in so many different ways to say “yes! This is worth it!” “This is worth the investment!” “This life is priceless”. As I wrote in this little unknown babies journal, I celebrated being able to say how LOVED they were by so many people already. People from all over the world! You, little one, are so loved and valued and acknowledged…. And you’re not even here yet!
The second year of our adoption story consisted of waiting…. and waiting… and waiting. In the second half of the year we got a match! We couldn’t believe it and it felt so right! We knew this was it! 3 weeks later we found out that the birth mom had decided to go to the mainland instead. How unusual it was….. to grieve the loss of something that was never ours to lose. But it hurt none the less. We had so believed that little life was our daughter. A few months later we received another match with a birth mom who also had a toddler she wanted to include in the adoption. Yes! We said. The little boy was due to be moved to our home on the weekend but the Friday before we received a call that the process had been stopped as a family member had stepped in. Again… the strangest feeling. How wonderful that this precious boy had someone fighting for him! And yet our hearts that were full of anticipation and longing had to shift back to waiting. A few more months past and we needed to renew our home study. We had never thought the wait would be that long.
Then, quite unexpectedly, we started down the road of foster care. After caring for a little newborn for a few days as respite, we then said yes to a precious 9 month old girl. We were given her with the expectation that she would be long term and possible/probable adoption.
We fell in love. Deep and hard. Our boys, without a moment of hesitation loved her as their sister. Having arrived with some special needs she began to improve daily as she was loved on by her “brothers” and we felt for sure this was going to be it. Then quite suddenly a family member we hadn’t known about showed up and she was moved to them on a Monday. That day was one of the hardest for our tribe and it was so hard to explain it all to our young boys.
However, little did we know, just an island away our precious daughter had just been born! The next morning while we all sulked over breakfast because we missed our foster daughter, we received a call from our adoption agency - “a little girl was born yesterday and you’ve been chosen by her birth mom! You need to fly over as soon as possible to get her!”. We couldn’t believe it - our mourning had been turned into dancing! And within two hours of getting that call, my husband and I were on the plane to go and pick up our precious little girl. Our little girl that we had waited for for over 2 years, that we had prayed for and cried for...She was finally here!
Our adoption is currently closed, which is not how we would prefer it but we believe it will open one day when Vivienne’s birth mom is ready. Meeting Vivienne was so incredibly overwhelming. Her circumstances and the way this all played out was never how I had imagined it, but isn’t that always how life goes?!
I had always intended to breast feed our adopted child. I had a SNS (supplemental Nursing System) ready to go and was ready to start a re-lactation herb and medicine routine to help me start making milk again. In my head I had always thought I’d have a month or a few to prepare. So when this suddenly happen, I put out a call to friends for donated breast milk so that while I was trying to build a supply I was still able to give her “the good stuff”. Want to talk about community?? I was BLOWN away…..again! I had so much milk my freezer was full! I could barely fit any food in it. And when that supply ran out I got more and more and more!
When Vivienne was 3 weeks old I found out I was pregnant! This came as a huge surprise. Needless to say, my breast feeding venture came to sudden halt. I had to stop all the supplements I was taking and within a week, the supply I had managed to build of my own had dried up. I was so excited for this new life growing inside me, and yet I had to grieve the loss of breastfeeding my adopted daughter which had always been a hope and dream.
Even through that though, what rose to the surface as a victory was far greater than me creating my own supply again, it was the community that surrounded my daughter. For 9 weeks Vivienne was exclusively given breastmilk - most of it being from mothers who had babies similar ages, meaning I was able to give her high fat milk and even some colostrum! What a gift!
Over and over again, before my little girl was even growing in the womb, people, family, friends, strangers, from all over the world stepped up to say you are worth the fight, worth the wait, and worth the cost! Your life is priceless and your life is deeply valuable. Your beginning circumstances may not have been ideal, but love conquers all. And it has. Love has helped us cover the cost. Love has helped us through the wait and through the times of heart ache. Love has made 2 1/2 years part of the story not just “wasted time”. Love has provided food and clothing when it was needed. Love has made a stranger family. And love is what entered our home when we carried Vivienne through the door, when our biological boys celebrated the arrival of their sister and when one of Gods children was gifted to us as ours… forever. Love is in community. And community has loved us… so deeply. We are forever thankful.