The Journey

Posted by  | Thursday, April 26, 2012  at 7:32 AM  

I asked my sweet friend, Melisa King, if I could post her story because her family was an extremely influential factor in our decision to adopt at some point.  Mark and I had only been married a few months and didn't even have kids of our own, but watching their family with their newly adopted baby totally opened our eyes.  Melisa and her sister, both teenagers, were absolutely enamored with their new little sister!  I had always thought it would be neat to adopt, but had never even thought of doing it after our own children were teenagers and could really help take care of the baby and understand the emotional journey of adoption and see the comparison to how God adopted us!.  Now I can't wait to someday see my girls with an adopted sibling!  I hope you enjoy her sweet story as much as I did as I watched it unfold...

Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.” – Psalm 30:11-12

I looked into her beautiful blue eyes, kissed her forehead and softly said, “Goodbye Anna, I love you.” I placed the three-month-old child into my mother’s arms and tears filled my eyes. My mom quietly asked, “Are you okay?” I silently nodded and then headed out the door to work.

This was not the first time I had been through this and it probably would not be the last. Five months earlier my family and I began to take part in a very special, unique and rewarding ministry. We became a foster family. I remember the day that my parents brought home our first baby. Julia was two weeks old, Hispanic and beautiful. Our time with her was filled with joy, laughter, and most of all, plenty of hugs and kisses. After two months, a wonderful Christian family adopted Julia. Though her adoptive family was wonderful, I do not believe I had ever felt the amount of pain I felt that day. I kissed her forehead and tearfully said, “Goodbye Julia. I love you.”

Three short days after Julia’s adoption we were entrusted with the care of another baby girl, Aly. Aly was two days old the day we received her and she was the perfect baby. About one week after Aly’s arrival my parents received a call asking them to consider taking another child. We quickly discussed the idea as a family and decided, “Hey, there are four of us! We can certainly handle two babies.”

Two days later, my mom and dad brought Anna home. Having two babies around the house proved to be challenging, but also fun and rewarding. We took turns feeding them, changing their diapers and even sleeping in their rooms at night. We also took turns rocking, hugging and kissing them.

After four days with both babies Aly went back to her birth mother and father. Once again, pain filled my heart as I kissed her one last time and whispered, “Goodbye Aly. I love you.” This time I was thankful to already have another baby in the house. Anna helped soothe our hurting hearts and brought joy and laughter to our faces.

We kept Anna for ten weeks. Those weeks including outings to the mall, showing her off at church and even a trip to the beach. Upon arriving home from the beach we learned that Anna would be adopted the following week.

After giving up Anna, our family felt incomplete. The weeks following Anna’s adoption were filled with many thoughts and questions. Were we really cut out for this foster care routine?

A few weeks later my parents came to my sister and me and asked, “What do you two think about adopting?” The prospect of adopting instantly excited my sister but I was a little reluctant to join in her enthusiasm. Not that adopting did not sound incredible; it was just that I was a fighter. I felt that if our family stopped doing foster care it would look like we had just given up. People might think that we could not handle the pain or were not strong enough to let the babies go. My parents began to pursue the process and over time my heart was filled with anticipation of a new addition to our family. My parents completed paperwork, background checks and physical examinations. They endured many meetings and interviews, very similar to those that took place before our approval to become a foster family. After all the assigned tasks were completed, our family began the waiting game.

Waiting proved to be much more trying than filling out the paperwork and answering all the questions. Weeks turned into months, and months to a year. After a year of waiting we had a few leads, all of which fell through after just a few days.

Early in July of 2004, my mom and I took a trip to Richmond to visit my grandparents and do a little shopping. During our shopping trip my mom received a phone call from an adoption agency in Arkansas. This was the phone call that changed our lives forever.

The next few weeks were filled with phone calls, pictures of the baby and uncontrollable excitement. Five weeks after receiving the long awaited phone call my parents flew to Arkansas where they met my baby sister for the first time. My sister and I passed the time while they were away by keeping busy with friends, church and work. Two days seemed like an eternity, but finally the time came to pick them up at the airport. My sister and I watched every plane that landed, hoping it would be the one holding our baby sister. Finally, we watched as the little Delta jet landed and my father quickly filed off the plane followed by my mother holding little Ella-Grace in her arms.

The following moments were filled with complete joy and fulfillment. As I held the sleeping child in my arms for the first time I knew that she was meant to be a part of our family. I felt so blessed to be Ella-Grace’s big sister and I realized the reason behind the journey I had been on for the past two years.

God has a way of leading you though certain circumstances that seem to have no purpose or meaning. Sometimes the circumstances even produce pain, often seemingly unbearable in nature. But, He has a plan. God used the time my family spent participating in foster care, not only to bless us, but also to direct us. I am so thankful for God’s direction during this time and my parent’s willingness to follow His path no matter how uncertain it appeared.

Ella-Grace is now seven years old. She has been with our family since she was ten weeks old. Every moment spent with her makes the waiting we endured worthwhile. I am so thankful that each day when I say, “I love you Ella-Grace,” I do not have to say, “Goodbye.”

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