Sunday, July 31, 2011

God Opens the Doors - Adoption!

Adoption is a topic is very near and dear to our family's heart! Mark was adopted at birth and grew up knowing his biological family, and we have been blessed to adopt three precious children - Annalise (19, adopted from Kazakhstan at age 10) and Trey and Jake (9 & 7, adopted from MO at 5 & 2). With Annalise, the adoption is closed. We would love for her to be able to find her mother and sisters, but the records that were/are kept in Kazakhstan are few. Maybe someday she will be able to locate them! Trey and Jake have an open adoption, like their father! They talk to their biological mother on the phone once a month. Their birth family has also come to visit them twice (photo below) since they were adopted. From left to right: Aunt Molli, their cousin Asiana, Aunt Savannah, Gramma Monica and Aunt (their bio mother) Mandi. I have a guest blogger, Mrs. Joseph Wood, writing about ADOPTION! Please welcome Mrs. Joseph Wood of "A Moment with Mom".

Adoption- the word brings forth a well of emotions no matter what side of the story you are on. Birth parents, child, adoptive parents, friends and families involved, even strangers each have a unique roll and view adoption through such different lenses.

When my husband and I were first married we knew we wanted to adopt children as much as we knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We had such confidence that God would bring us children through adoption and yet had no idea when. It was 12 years into our marriage before the Lord brought us our first blessing through adoption.

While it may have been 4,380 days since my husband and I had sat day dreaming about adoption, it was not a neglected topic. Our birth children knew that mommy and daddy had hearts open to children that did not come from our body physically. We talked about how God can put a family together. God is not limited and is often willing to cross nationalities, borders, and even oceans if needed to bring a family together. We originally thought we would adopt internationally and had friends working in orphanages in Africa that could help us through the process.

As we prepared to get our home study in order we began sharing our excitement with others. At that time, we owned a Christian bookstore, when a customer came in and through some conversation learned about our desire to adopt. She asked me the life changing question, “Why are you going oversees to adopt? Why not adopt children here in the U.S?” I was so naive at the time I didn’t even realize that there were children in the U.S. that needed adoption. Through some more conversation we learned more about children in the Foster Care system.

After prayer, we talked with my parents, our children and decided to proceed. It was a whirlwind of activity. God opened every door and within just a few weeks our son was brought to us through adoption. He was 13 months and suffered terribly from neglect and FAS.

It took us approximately a year to finalize his adoption. We were delighted with this sweet blessing and thought that we were done adopting, or at least for now, only to get a phone call from a social worker a few months later. She had heard about our family through the grapevine and informed us about a little boy being born who was going up for adoption. We were able to meet the birth mom and take our second son home to wait for the adoption process to finalize. Things happened and about 9 months later a birth grandmother stepped forward saying she would care for the little boy. We were devastated. The courts ordered that he be “returned” to his grandmother within two weeks. I did all I could to send him with his favorites, tell her about his likes and dislikes, even sent my rocking chair so he could still be rocked to sleep each night.

It was one of the hardest moments in my life when I handed him over and walked away. I still remember the tears that were uncontrollable to the point that I could not drive. As I sat for what seemed like hours crying, I felt like the Lord told me, “If you give him to me, I’ll give him back.” I didn’t know how but it was enough to get me home that day. It wasn’t long before the phone rang and it was the grandma asking if we would babysit. She worked during the week, had baby in daycare, and on weekends she was exhausted. She wanted to know if we could take care of him on the weekends. I was delighted and even offered to watch him in the week too. Maybe this is what the Lord’s plan was. I was happy to have any part at all in his life. We learned that he also had a half brother and sister that were older who were also cared for by the grandmother. Often they would all come to the house for the weekend and we would have good conversations, childlike fun and tried to offer them some precious childhood memories.

A few months later we received a phone call in the evening from a social worker that informed us the children were being removed from the grandma’s care and asked if we would be willing to adopt all three children. “Of course!” was our response.

Life trials happened but over the course of the next few years our adoption was finally complete and we had four children that the Lord brought to us through adoption. I often remind the children that God doesn’t have plan B’s only plan A’s and this was His plan all along. Somehow, in some way, that we cannot understand this is how He decided to build our family and bring us together. Joe and my heart remain open to as many children as the Lord would graciously give us.

This last month, He decided to do just that and gave us a baby boy through private adoption. While we’ve never adopted internationally, or at least not yet, God has brought our family together in unique ways. From where I look, unique is beautiful! I am honored to be the momma to these 11 blessings while some came from my heart, some came from my body physically, some come with special needs, and some come at older ages!! Each are unique… each child is beautiful and perfectly fit for our family. I couldn’t imagine a day without one of them! If you’ve considered adoption, I would suggest you keep it a matter of prayer. Trust the Lord to do what He’s promised even if it takes longer than you anticipated. Don’t be afraid of those that offer you comments of fear. When God brings you your children, no matter how old they are, where they come from, or how they come to you, you will recognize them and know they are the ones He has always planned for you to mother!

If you would like to read about our latest addition you can do so by visiting our blog HERE!

Because of His Love, Mrs. Joseph Wood

Mark, me, Annalise (15), Kaitlyn (7), Ethan (6), Julia (1 1/2) and Ellie (unborn) meeting Trey (5) and Jake (2 1/2) and their birthmother, Mandi!

Mark, Me, Kaitlyn (3), Ethan (1) meeting Annalise at her orphanage for the first time!

The Lord does beautiful things through adoption! The path to adopt is almost never easy, and is never done in the way that is planned, but the Lord works it all out for the good of them that follow Him in faith! Have you considered adoption? Maybe a special needs adoption or an older child adoption? Those older and special needs children are often overlooked, because many would rather have a baby to cuddle and hold. But remember that older children and those with special needs also need cuddles and hugs and HOMES! Pray and see where the Lord might lead you in the area of adoption!

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Kim said...

Lisa and Mrs. Wood, I can't tell you how much this testimony touched me today. My husband and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary next month and all our married lives we have had the fatherless on our hearts. At times I have wondered if we were nuts, because we would go through stages where the subject was everywhere we turned~but then nothing happened. About two months ago the subject of fostering/adoption came up and this time it's not fading into the background. Maybe there is something special to God with the 12 year mark? lol At any rate, we are prayerfully seeking Him and waiting for His will in His time. But it feels close! May He be glorified. God bless you and your families bunches!!!

Mrs. Joseph Wood ♥ said...

Thank you for sharing Kim! I'm going to be praying for you and your husband as you follow the Lord's leading. It is exciting to follow the Lord! He has good plans for His people. Keep in touch as the Lord allows. I will look forward to reading of YOUR adoption story in His perfect timing! :-)

Sophia said...

My husband and I have three biological children and have been trying to adopt through the foster care system for over 2 years now. We are constantly being turned down because they are looking for families who don't already have children. It is heartbreaking. I know that God is Sovereign and that one day He will bring us the rest of our family, but the waiting is hard. Can you share what agency you foster to adopt through?
Thank you for the encouragement. It is good to see that large families are being placed with foster children.

Adoptedforlife said...

Sophia, we totally understand we tried to go threw DFACS they told us we didn't make enough money so we went via internationally we just brought precious 2 year from Russia. He is more than precious. We love him soooo. He will be home a month March 2nd. Were God leads he will provide. for pictures.