OUR ADOPTION STORY - CHERYL #writeyourheartout
Growing up I always had a fascination with adoption. I remember coming home from middle school and telling my mom that my neighbor was adopted. My mom replied, “Well did you tell her your brother is adopted too?” My confused response was “Which one?” Being the youngest of 4 kids, somehow they had forgotten to tell me that my oldest brother was adopted.
My mom didn’t skip a beat, she quickly made it a teaching opportunity. She marveled at God’s hand in placing my brother into our family. She told me about God’s love for each of us, how He created us to for our own unique purpose and design and that he places each child in the exact family that they need. She rattled off all of my brother’s unique qualities that fit him perfectly into our family so much so that I didn’t even realize he wasn’t “blood.” Little did I know how that conversation was going to shape my life and relationship with God on into adulthood.
After seven years of marriage and infertility, we embarked on the journey to parenthood through adoption. We started the domestic adoption process in November and brought home our son in June. We expected to wait years, but shockingly it all happened very quickly. God’s timing and placement of him into our family was almost seamless.
Fast forward five years and we were back on the domestic adoption waiting list. This time it wasn’t happening quickly. It was far from perfect. The wait was taking what seemed like forever. In two years, we had met three different sets of birth families, met two babies right after they were born and yet none of them were in our home. I had given up.
After the last failed adoption, I sat on my bed and I told God I was done. Though knowing in my head that children being raised by their biological families was the best scenario, my heart couldn’t build relationships with birth families only to have them to decide to parent themselves. I was emotionally exhausted. I wrestled with God and threw pity-parties for myself, only to be reminded that His timing is perfect. He is faithful. Always. Especially on the days when I didn’t feel like it.
Four weeks later, after I didn't think I could do this anymore, we got the call. There was an African-American little girl in the NICU waiting for us, if we wanted her. I turned to my husband who was hesitant to take her as our own, knowing that the parents had 60 days to change their minds, leaving us with another failed adoption. After hanging up, I looked at him and revealed the “secret” prayers I had been praying for an African-American little girl so that my African-American son would have someone in our family who looked like him. For a baby whose mom made the brave choice to give her life, but needed help to raise her. For a baby that we didn’t have to wait on, but was waiting for us to get to her.
God answered my exact prayer.
Three days later we met a 4 lb, 3oz tiny pink bundle, and brought her home from the NICU five weeks later. Her spunk and personality have given our family a new dimension. Having a seven year age difference wasn’t our choice but it’s been fun to see God work it all out. My son absolutely adores her and would do anything for her. She copies everything her big brother does - the good and the bad. They share a story, not exactly the same circumstances of how they entered our family, but of God’s faithfulness and perfect timing to bring them to share our last name. I often pray for those babies that didn’t end up sharing our last name and thank God for the time we did get to spend with their families. It wasn’t a waste. It was a plan. God’s perfect timing and faithfulness was always there, even when we couldn't see it.
Cheryl and her husband began the non-profit, Love Moves Us, after walking alongside many adoptive families and foster families in need of support. The heart of the ministry is to see foster and adoptive families flourish by providing family gatherings-along with a meal and childcare-to encourage, support and pray for foster and adoptive families.