We last wrote about our adoption process at the very beginning, back in June. What a ride it’s been so far. We hit the ground running and completed our 10 hours of required training in the late night hours of the summer, which was a surprising joy to study and work together in this way. We felt a strong sense of purpose and unity on the mission. Our house needed an extra bedroom, and with the help of family and friends who consulted, raised walls, and painted them, our basement “master suite” was born. We wrapped up our home study process in October, which was very... invasive. Finances, relationship, and family history, child-rearing philosophies, police and medical records - all were examined in an effort to pronounce us fit for bringing another child into our family. We passed, praise the Lord, despite some interesting responses from our children when they were “interviewed!” We had to, then, register with the US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS), and we registered with India’s adoption registry in late October. We were notified that the division we were about to deal with experienced a reduction in staff by 70% near the end of summer, so we were part of the queue of backlogged cases awaiting approval to be entered in the registry. This was originally expected to take 4-6 weeks but was forecasted to take up to 16 when we were able to submit our documents to register in October. We waited, and waited, and waited, and trusted that God’s timing is perfect. Over that time, our family coordinator with our adoption agency poured over a long list of medical scenarios with us, to get an idea of what our family was willing to take on with our adopted child. This was incredibly heavy. The thought of saying “yes” to some and “no” to others made us feel sick, yet we knew that in already having 3 other young children, we had to consider the needs of all members of our family. We sought wisdom from the Lord and from friends, and it was our prayer request that God would make it so apparent to our family coordinator, who would view the available children and find matches for us, as well as to us, who it is that He chose for our family before time began. We enjoyed the holidays with a break from paperwork and a strange and sad sense that someone was missing from the celebrations.
On January 7, we were notified that our application was accepted and we were registered in India’s matching database, which was so exciting! There was movement in our process after radio silence for so long. We regained the momentum we had during our initial “paper chase” stage, eager to complete our dossier and have things ready. The next day, we received approval from the USCIS that we were “allowed” to adopt a child age 0-2 years of either gender, healthy or with special needs.
January 11 was the day with record snowfall, the day we were supposed to be out of town with a women’s retreat, the day Matt used to work from home so he wasn’t stranded in Maplewood at 5 pm, and the day we received the call that we had been matched with a “child referral.” It was such a shock to see our family coordinator’s phone number calling, while at the library stocking up on movies for the “snowpocalypse.” What a gift from the Lord to have that whole weekend, snuggled in, to talk over and pray over this huge and exciting decision! We were notified of this child’s medical situation (which we cannot share publicly) and needed to decide if we wanted the full medical review, a partial review, or just to say no. We talked it over and decided to go for the full medical review. Once we read over the documents and saw this sweet child’s picture and video, we Googled. And prayed. And Googled more. And asked for prayer. We talked it over with our parents, we set up a medical review with the amazing international adoption clinic we have in St. Louis, and we prayed for God to make it known to us if this is our child. What was such a comfort was that our cousin connected us with her high school friend who was also in the tail end of the adoption process. She told us to have no guilt in this decision process because if this child was not ours, it was surely the child for someone else’s family. Again, God provided this amazing blessing of a friend who could help lift the burden on our hearts.
The time between the first time seeing this child and the medical review with the international medicine pediatrician was a spiritual battle. Sinful and selfish thoughts crept in when considering the physical needs of this little one, but the whole time, the Holy Spirit’s voice was louder, reminding us that this child is worth any small, worldly sacrifice, and this call from the Lord was greater. He has gone before us and would continue to do so, and the blessings of getting to love this child and experience life with this little one will far surpass our expectations. The Spirit was quick to remind us of our initial vision when deciding to adopt, that we are not called to “easy” or “comfortable” but are actually called to love as Christ loved and care for those in need. The medical review was more optimistic than we expected, and it gave us more insight into what life would be like with this baby down the road. More and more, as we accomplished adoption-related tasks, we felt like this was truly our child.
So, we said YES on January 22!
It has been absolutely difficult to not be able to proclaim all the details and share all the pictures about this sweet baby, but we have to be cautious until the courts officially declare us a family. It has been incredible to share this news and dream of the day we get to bring our baby home and think about how much grace the Lord has extended to us all. Thinking about the gospel picture in this adoption story brings us to tears. We cannot wait to share the story of how this baby was chosen from the beginning of time to be a part of our family (Lord willing), never once abandoned by the Lord, despite circumstances, but carried and held until His plans came to fruition for a forever family who will love His child unconditionally and wholly. This is exactly what the Lord did for us, He chose us and made a way to bring us into His family through the work of Jesus. We are co-heirs with Christ and get to experience the whole and unconditional love of the Father forever, despite our sin circumstances. What grace, what mercy!
We would like to thank each person who has prayed over our adoption so far, asked about the process, or donated time or funds to the adoption fund or our T-shirt fundraiser (which covered the exact amount of our medical review!). Our family will forever be grateful for the love and support you have extended, and this sweetie will know about each person who helped us become family.
Please join us in prayer as we wait the expected 12-18 months to bring our baby home. We are praying for that time to decrease but trust in God’s perfect timing, once again. We pray that this baby will stay well, continue to grow and develop, and receive nurturing and love from caregivers. We also pray that the Lord would make Himself known to this sweet baby already.