In the past two months, my husband and I have sat in the bleachers for nine football games and eight volleyball games. We almost had heart attacks running up hills at a southwest Nebraska golf course in 100 degree heat (you know the one I’m talking about!) to see the start of our son’s cross country meet.
When we are not at sporting events, our evenings are filled with algebra equations, helping with commas and punctuation, hearing about funny things that happened at school and transporting kids and friends to practices, church and social events.
But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. You see, this life we lead might not have been. While it may seem like we are complaining about our jam-packed days and nights, we are really bragging and grateful. We almost weren’t part of this parenting club.
We almost missed out on sleepless nights, preschool graduations and that fifth-grade band concert where we couldn’t tell if any two students were playing the same song. There were almost no Christmas mornings with Santa, bedtime stories and sweet goodnight prayers followed by hugs and the tickle game.
A Childless Couple
Eighteen years ago, my husband and I were childless. Our life wasn’t going as planned. Our plan was to fill our home with at least four children and fill it soon after we married at age 22.
“When are you going to start a family?” everyone wanted to know.
“Whenever God wants us to,” we answered. We prayed. Tears flowed. Tests and treatments were done. More prayers. More tears.
But, our plan wasn’t happening. We were 27 and no kids.
In a town three hours away, a young woman just out of high school struggled with an opposite problem. She was pregnant, but the timing wasn’t right for her. She loved the tiny life growing inside her. She loved him so much that she wanted to give him more than she could provide at the time – a mom and a dad who were in a good stage in life to become parents.
She cared for him for nine months – this perfect child born at an imperfect time for his birth mom but at the perfect time for us. Our lives connected. And, by the time we were 28, we were the parents of a beautiful, dark-haired baby boy.
When our son turned three, our hearts were restless again. We still yearned for that house full of children. I remember begging God one day in a prayer I sent up while showering. “God, please shower us with children.”
He heard and responded.
Soon thereafter, our second son came to us from another sweet couple – again the perfect child born at the imperfect time for his birth parents but the perfect time for us. Three months later, my sister adopted a daughter. Eight months later, God blessed us with a daughter through adoption. And, less than a month after that, my husband’s brother and wife adopted a baby girl and a 2-year-old boy.
Within one year, five children joined our family through adoption. (One more adopted niece and nephew were born a few years later!)
When it rains it pours.
All of sudden, we were knee deep in poopy diapers, middle-of-the-night feedings and lots of love.
“God, give me the grace to handle all of my blessings,” became my new prayer.
The years have gone by quickly, and now our dark-haired little boy will soon graduate from high school. Adoption hasn’t always been easy. Our adoption agency, The Nebraska Children’s Home, warned us of that when we started. There will be feelings of loss. Feelings of abandonment. Hard things to explain. And, these all happened. We experience the same ups and downs as any family and sometimes more.
Our family doesn’t look like each other. Our kids are sometimes asked, “Is that your mom? You don’t look like her.”
There are mean questions from classmates, like the snarky comment posed just last week to my daughter, “Why did she get rid of you?” the 12-year-old girl asked.
If she only knew. The love and selflessness of birthparents who chose adoption goes beyond human comprehension. Nothing is flawed about our children. It was all about the timing. And, it was about the greatest gift imaginable to our family.
“Love is unselfishly choosing for another’s highest good,” author C.S. Lewis said.
I believe birth parents understand that.
My sweet children, my nieces and nephews – you are all loved! Whether you came to our family through foster care or an agency, your birthparents love you. They loved you enough to endure the pains of child birth and give you life. Your parents and your family love you and prayed for you before you were born.
I’m eternally grateful for this great adventure called adoption. Without it, I wouldn’t have experienced the blessings of knowing and loving our three children, our three nieces and two nephews and other relatives, friends and children of friends.
#Grateful #Blessed #AdoptionIsSelflessLove
Nebraska Families Formed by Adoption
In November, we are celebrating Nebraska Families Formed by Adoption at Nebraska Family Magazine, and we would love to hear your story or see your photos! If your family was formed by adoption, please email us a photo along with any details you wish to share so can feature your family on our Facebook page or in our online magazine this month. (firstname.lastname@example.org) #NationalAdoptionMonth2017
Also, in Nebraska Family Magazine, read about the Bradley family from Lincoln and their family formed through adoption.
If you would like more information about adoption, please contact me at email@example.com or visit any of the following resources:
Nebraska Children’s Home Society — www.nchs.org
With locations across the state, the Nebraska Children’s Home Society has been helping children and families throughout Nebraska since 1893. They provide adoption services, pregnancy help, support for an unplanned pregnancy, adoption agencies, or becoming a foster family, Nebraska Children’s Home Society offers confidential assistance and help at locations all over the state of Nebraska, including Alliance, Grand Island, Kearney, Lincoln, Norfolk, North Platte, Omaha and Scottsbluff.
Right Turn Nebraska — www.rightturnne.org
Statewide support for Nebraska’s adopted and guardianship families
Holt International — www.holtinternational.org
Providing international adoption services since 1956
Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska – www.lfsneb.org/service/adoption/
Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (LFS) offers adoption and home study services to individuals and couples in Nebraska.
Catholic Charities of Omaha – www.ccomaha.org/what-we-do/adoption-services/adoption-services
Catholic Charities serves prospective adoptive families throughout the 23 counties of the Archdiocese of Omaha, as well as the Lincoln and Grand Island Areas.