A Long Awaited Blessing

Posted by  | Thursday, March 19, 2009  at 10:00 AM  
(Leah says...)I contacted my friend Tamara - my Bible study leader from my freshman year of college! - to post during our adoption week. I had been thinking of asking her to post for quite some time. I knew that her family had finished all their paperwork and were waiting and waiting for a child. What I didn't know was that they would be sitting in a hotel room with THEIR NEW DAUGHTER when I e-mailed Tamara to ask her. God is so good!! Here is her story:
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Our road to adoption began well over a decade ago. Before my hubby Chris and I had even met, the Lord had placed a passion for adoption on each of our hearts. When I was in college I spent a summer in Mexico working with a ministry that serves orphanages in Monterrey. During that same summer Chris' heart was deeply affected by the verse in James that charges believers to care for the orphans and widows of the world. I so clearly remember having a conversation about adoption when we were dating--and I recall how it revealed to us even more so the reality that God had designed us for each other. We both felt challenged by God to some day grow our family through adoption. In our early 20's when we had this conversation we didn't know what this would look like, but we did daydream about adopting a little Latina and naming her Isabel because of our connections to Hispanic culture (both through missions work and our knowledge of the Spanish language). It's been a long road of praying and waiting to see God's adoption plan for our family come to fruition, but oh how worth it the wait has been!
We were married in July, 2001, and after enjoying married life with just the 2 of us for a couple of years we started thinking toward growing our family. Adoption was our plan at the time, but the Lord showed us very quickly (literally, we'd started talking about and researching adoption when we found out we were expecting our oldest son, Henry) that He had a different design for us. We welcomed Henry Harrison in February of 2004, and then added Elijah James to our family in March of 2006. It was about 9 months after Eli's birth that we felt the Lord speaking to us, telling us that our next child would come to us by way of adoption. We excitedly turned in our application paperwork right after Eli's 1st birthday and began the home study process. To say the journey was long would be a vast understatement. The paperwork alone was draining...8-10 page autobiographies by both Chris and myself, medical check up forms for all 4 family members, criminal background checks...the list seemed to go on and on. But finally, on March 6, 2007, we were officially approved and in the waiting pool.
Because we were doing an open adoption, the situation was now completely out of our hands. As part of our home study process we had created a family scrapbook (our profile--it contains pictures our of family and home, and also information on our personalities, faith, support network, etc.) that was kept on file at our adoption agency. When a birth mom would come in and ask to see potential adoptive families, we were shown to her, assuming that we met the criteria that she was looking for. And time after time after time, each birth mom chose to place her baby with another waiting family. The first couple of times weren't so bad, but soon we began to feel rejected. We realize that it wasn't a personal statement against our family, but either way, rejection and hurt were very present emotions each time we got the call from our agency that the birth mom had chosen another family. This happened about 18-20 times over the course of this past year.
Fast forward through the details to about 4 weeks ago when we got an e-mail from a Christian friend who has lots of adoption experience (she and her husband have 16 kids...only 4 of which are bio!) about a possible situation through an agency in Georgia (www.valleyofhope.net). Now, up to this point in time, we had not done any networking. We were only working with our small local agency. One thing we've learned on this journey is that choosing a larger, national, networking agency is definitely, our opinion, the way to go! Long story short, we didn't get matched with the baby that our friend e-mailed us about, but we did get hooked up with the networking agency. And things have quite literally been a whirlwind since getting registered with them about 3 weeks ago. We got our profiles to them and to the agencies around the country that they network with, and within days we were getting calls to be shown to birth mothers.
Tuesday, March 3 was a regular day in our house--the boys and I had a relaxing morning and we were waiting for our playdate friends to arrive when the phone rang at about 12:30pm. One of the networking agencies, Heart & Soul Adoptions (www.heartandsouladoptions.com), had a 2 year old Latina that they needed to place immediately. After getting the details from the agency, I hung up and called Chris at work. We talked and prayed about it, and it just felt right...in a way that none of the previous situations we'd been presented with had felt. At 3pm I called the agency back and said, "We want her. We can see God's fingerprints all over this situation." Before the agency could give us a final answer, they had to look over some paperwork details (including our home study). At 10pm Tuesday night, the phone rang. It was the news we'd waited to hear for 2 long years. We had a daughter! Oh, and they needed us to arrive in Utah the next morning to take custody of her (it was a really quick placement, as birth mom had relinquished her rights 5 days prior, and the agency had taken custody of the little girl but needed to place her to avoid issues with having to place her in foster care).
And so began the whirlwind. We called our parents with the news and they immediately jumped into action. My mom got a flight up the next morning so that she could keep the boys. Chris' mom arrived two days later to help out. Friends from church were more than supportive and willing to allow us to drop our boys off at their house at 4am, as we needed to be at the airport to catch our flight at 6am. Other dear friends kindly offered to drive us to the airport at that early hour. Chris and I didn't get any sleep on Tuesday night. We were racing around packing for ourselves, buying plane tickets online, and grinning at each other saying, "We have a daughter!". Chris also spent time on the phone with the bank through which we had been approved for our adoption loan, only to have them tell him there had been a delay in the processing of our paperwork...so the money would not be in the account for a few days. Which was a problem. We couldn't do anything but pray that the Lord would divinely intervene, as we felt Him guiding us, telling us that THIS WAS IT...and so we literally got on the plane trusting that, just like our pastor, Dave, says, God is ALWAYS on time. Never early, never late. Just ALWAYS on time.
We landed in Salt Lake City, drove to a local IHOP, and met the agency director's and our sweet daughter. She was ours from the moment we laid eyes on her. She was just the perfect image of what God had placed on our hearts as we daydreamed way back when. The Lord had truly brought us full circle. We signed the placement papers that evening and it was official. Oh, and that adoption loan issue? Well, God totally showed up, and He even showed off a little! :) We walked into a local Wells Fargo unsure of what we were going to do, and we walked out with a cashier's check for the full amount we needed for the adoption. Our original loan approval was only for part of the adoption fees. Thank you Jesus for showing up RIGHT ON TIME. Literally 15 minutes before we needed to go sign the paperwork, the financial stuff fell into place.
It's funny that Leah contacted me and asked me to do a post for this week's topic...We're actually still sitting in a Utah hotel room awaiting court approval to head home with our new daughter! We are praying that it all goes through by next Thursday morning, as we've already had to reschedule our flights home once and we are anxious to see our boys...and they are so excited to meet their new little sister! This journey has certainly had it's ups and downs. It's been a long, emotional, sometimes stressful road. But we are grateful to God that all along, he knew exactly what he was doing. If we'd been matched with one of the other babies along the way, we wouldn't have our sweet 2-year-old girl, Isabel Faith.
We do have a family blog, but until the adoption is finalized we've been advised to keep it set to private. We are trusting in the Lord, that He will complete the good work that He's begun, and that He will guard and guide our family. We'd be so grateful if you would keep our family in your prayers as we continue on this journey of bring Isabel home and welcoming her into her forever family. Thanks for taking the time to read our story...quite literally as it is unfolding! :)
I would LOVE LOVE LOVE the opportunity to answer any questions/share more info with you if you're thinking about adoption. There are so many other details that go along with the process...Please feel free to e-mail me at tamarafladung@aol.com.
Blessings, Tamara

7 comments:

Krista said...

What an incredible story - my eyes welled with tears as I read. Thanks for sharing your amazing story!

Book a Day said...

Wow! My heart is full of joy! What an incredible story.

We have recently started TTC again, and I find myself spending way more time dreaming about adoption. What a blessing your post is!

Congratulations! I'll pray that this process goes quickly!

Teesa said...

That's crazy! Praise God for your new family member.

Matt and Stacey said...

wow....i cried through the whole story! What an amazing journey and we are so blessed to be hearing about it as it is unfolding! She is beautiful! I love the pic of you two together...her smile is priceless...match made in heaven!
May God be glorified in your life ahead!
stacey

We're Jared, Michelle, and Caleb. said...

Thank you for sharing. I couldn't stop smiling as the story unfolded. You are a testimony of faith in a truly amazing God! You certainly blessed me today. Enjoy your forever family!

JCandA said...

I truly believe and it is truly amazing to watch, that through adoption you are given the child that God meant for your family. Our family brought home our baby girl two weeks ago. We actually had a whirlwind entire process, as in about 8 weeks from the start of our homestudy till pick up day :) We have had to be very reliant on God through not only finances, but since we were expecting this to take longer we have a just turned 14 month old :) Our experience isn't typical, but I knew from the moment we got the call that a birthmother had selected us that this baby was meant to be part of our family. And in watching other families in our agency with their new little ones it's easy to see that God is placing the child with the families he made them for. Have fun with your new daughter, and good luck with the rest of the process!!

Ashley said...

Thank you for sharing such a neat story...

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