The Miracle We Almost Missed and how God changed our hearts and lives.
Last July we officially announced our hope to adopt as we began our adoption journey towards connecting with expectant moms (and dads) considering adoption for their baby.
For the next 5 months I believed a miracle was about to take place.
I know that faith can move mountains and my faith was heaven high.
Even with the ups and downs and all of the connections that fell through in the first few months, I continued to hope that our miracle would soon take place.
That the one phone call, DM, text message that would change our lives forever was just around the corner.
I believed that we would have a baby girl in our home by the end of the year.
I was wrong.
I was wrong to hope that we would be the odd ones out (of all of the faithful hopeful adoptive families) that wouldn’t wait the average 2 years to adopt.
But I was also wrong in believing that a miracle didn’t take place.
Because a big miracle did occur, and I almost missed it.
Roger and I have been praying, talking, and learning about adoption since we started dating in 2008, but once we officially began our adoption journey our prayers began to change.
We prayed specifically that God would lead us and our journey.
And as the months progressed our prayers did too.
We no longer just prayed for expectant parents (and their child), but also that He would guide us as to how to grow our family.
Because the farther into our adoption journey we went the more we knew, understood, and changed.
And God changed our hearts in some major ways.
When we started the adoption journey we were hoping for a perfectly healthy baby girl (a girl because we were/are hoping to adopt from China someday and we wanted them to have that special sister bond, plus we already have 8 nieces).
And while all parents are hoping for a healthy baby, in the adoption world there are often many factors that play a part in the health of a baby.
There was also some hesitancy in our hearts for a fully open adoption. But month after month, as new connections arose we learned new lessons of God’s love and grace.
As the months passed we became connected and open to the possibility of adopting babies that could be born with drugs in their system, with families that may live just down the road from us, as well as the possibility of multiples.
Every “obstacle” that we were hesitant about opening ourselves up to became a possibility and we prayed earnestly that God would direct us as to if we should say yes.
And He did!
We said yes to every single one of those possibilities.
God opened our eyes to and gave us a better understanding of His love and how we can share that love with all of those connections, both towards the expectant parents and their children.
As you can imagine, this growth of trust in God as He expanded our hearts to love deeper and wider made us all the more confused when the connections would fall through.
We couldn’t understand what God was doing.
Here we are, time and again, opening up ourselves, our home, our family, our hearts to families and their children, only to have the door close every single time for one reason or another.
And while the hope for a miracle began to fade, our belief that this was the journey God wanted us to be on grew stronger and stronger.
Our prayers continued and 5-6 months before we even knew it was a miracle, a miracle took place in our hearts.
Before we officially announced our hope to adopt (for those of you who are new, I keep saying officially because adoption is something I wrote about occasionally for years before our official announcement), I met with a friend from high school who is a social worker and works with the foster care system.
She had known we were interested in adoption and for years had offered to answer any questions we had.
So one hot sunny afternoon last summer we met up for coffee and she spent hours answering my questions while giving me a better understanding of foster care.
She was incredibly helpful and encouraging, but I didn’t feel ready for the foster care journey and after discussing it with Roger we decided to continue with plans to make our official announcement in July.
And while we thought we had closed the door on foster care, God had different plans.
Over the next 6 months, we continued to educate ourselves on adoption (as we believe that adoptive parents have the responsibility to continue educating themselves for the rest of their lives on adoption and the trauma of adoption) and one of the ways I did this was by listening to podcasts.
Jamie is a foster and adoptive mom who interviews adoptive and foster parents as well as adoptees and former foster youth.
At one point, after we decided to move forward with private domestic adoption, I started wondering if I should skip past the foster care podcasts and just listen to the ones about adoption.
And I remember consciously making the decision to listen to them all.
Not with the intention or thought that we might become foster parents, but because I knew her podcast had valuable information that could help me become a better mother to our future children.
As I listened to her podcast and many others (along with books and online resources) last summer and fall my understanding grew and I learned more about foster care than I had ever planned to.
Occasionally Roger and I would talk about foster care, but more in a nebulous way down the road sort of way.
Yet we kept praying that God would lead us as to how we should grow our family.
Never knowing what God had planned next.
By the beginning of the new year, we began to feel God calling us more strongly towards foster care in a real and concrete way.
But we were still keeping the reality of starting foster care at arm’s length.
We knew that foster care was for reunification, not adoption.
And we wanted to adopt.
We wanted a family, a concrete family.
So we began to talk about becoming foster parents someday, either after we adopted or while we pursued international adoption (as it can be a 2-year process).
And that’s when God decided it was time for a wake-up call.
He broke our hearts for what breaks His.
Situation after situation arose that broke our hearts for the children in foster care.
And as the first few months of the new year slowly ticked by our hearts opened in ways we never knew they needed to open.
The last few layers of fear and apprehension melted away.
We learned that our hearts can love more deeply, freely, and openly than we could ever imagine.
These weren’t lessons we learned easily, but by the grace of God.
And even after all this we still needed a push and the pandemic that shut down the world caused us to move out of our comfort zone even further.
On April 3 (a Friday), the friend I met for coffee posted that Tennessee’s foster care classes had been moved online.
More specifically she said, “If your barrier to fostering has been getting to the classes, they’ve moved online! We always need more foster parents. There are so many kids in your community who need YOU to step up.”
When I saw this I knew that I needed to show it to Roger, but instead I waited until after the weekend.
I waited because I was afraid he would say no and because I was afraid he would say yes!
Yes, even after all the work God had done in my heart, I was still scared.
But God hadn’t given up on me yet and after a weekend of praying about it I showed Roger and he immediately said yes.
We took the introductory class in April and have spent months taking hours upon hours of classes, as well as doing additional educational reading on our own to better prepare ourselves.
On July 19, I received a reminder on Instagram that we had announced our adoption journey 1 year ago that very day.
As I was thinking back at all that has happened over the last year I couldn’t help but wonder why I was so sure a miracle was going to happen.
But then God showed me that a miracle had occurred, a miracle in our hearts.
He opened our hearts for His children that are in our community that need a safe and loving home.
This may not have been the miracle we expected, but it was the one we needed.
And while we know there is a long and unpredictable (and at times painful) journey ahead of us, we know that if God can perform this miracle in our hearts, He will continue to do big and mighty things in our lives, and the lives of His children.
We know we will make mistakes, that a year from now we will probably be laughing at how naive we were while praising God for His grace that covers a multitude of mistakes and sins.
No matter where this journey leads, we will continue to learn, adapt, and grow.
And we know that if we keep praying the simple prayer that God leads us and gives us the strength to follow His calling for our lives, He will continue to perform incredible miracles in our hearts and in the lives of the children that come into our home.
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With love, Giusti
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 NIV