We have news and would love your prayers. We are growing our family. We are not quite sure what that looks like but here are the cliff notes.
If you are a frequent flyer to my social media accounts, you know that I share a lot about our open adoption of Bennett. Before adopting Bennett, Nick and I were quite certain that we didn't want an open adoption. We wanted to adopt a baby and move on. Goodness, I am so glad that God set us straight. He lead us to an agency that required open adoptions if the birth parents wanted it. We were still unsure if that is what our hearts could handle until we heard the testimony of one family that changed everything for us.
In our trainings, an adoptive family shared their story. They had adopted their baby from a young mom. Unlike most open adoptions, where you just send a letter and pictures once a year and maybe have a visit, they wanted more. They would take vacations together and see each other whenever it worked out. The birth mom eventually got married. Unfortunately, her father had passed away before her wedding day so the man who adopted her daughter walked her down the isle because that is how close they had become. After hearing that story, I looked at Nick and said, “I want that life, not just a baby, but its family too.” It was in just ten minutes that God grew our hearts to not just adopt a child but to adopt a family.
The very next day, I met Bennett's first mom. A blogging friend had told her mom about Nick and I and it just so happened that I was speaking at a conference two hours from their hometown the week after we first talked on the phone. Understanding God's plan can be hard sometimes. Something that break someone else's heart but brings you joy is hard to navigate but we pray we will always be an answer to her prayers as much as she was an answer to ours. We waited SIXTEEN years to love a baby and she gave us that amazing gift. She will always be B's mom and I will too. An adoption story is what you choose and we choose to do this together, in our own capacity and there can be joy and sorrow all at the same time but our emotions are surrounded by this enormous love for Bennett and he will be better because of it.
There is so much more to that story, but that's not why I am posting today. Since Bennett was born, we have seen his birth family at least twice a year even though we live in different states, we facetime often and we love them. I mean really, truly, love them. His first mom, we call here Mumsy, his big sister (she is now five), his Nana, and the rest of their amazing family. Together we are family. Ours is a story only God could write.
They came to visit us in August. Mumsy and I ran to the store and she said that she needed to tell me something. She was pregnant. I asked her if she was okay and she began to cry. She had only found out the day before flying to see us. It was very fresh. My first concern was for her. She has had to overcome so much and is doing so well. She said she didn't know what to think. Now, before you judge her, let me go mama bear for a minute and tell you that after Bennett was born, she got an IUD. She was told it would last at least five years and we are only three years in. Her birth control failed her. She said she didn't know what she wanted to do yet but did ask me that if she didn't think she could parent, if we would adopt the baby and we said yes. It's Bennett's sibling and this is a gift that we can give her, knowing that we will do this together.
Nick has wanted to adopt another baby ever since Bennett was born but I told him that we just couldn't afford it. We took out my teacher retirement and did fundraisers to pay for Bennett's adoption (P.S. don't take out your retirement early unless you really need it! You will pay a 30% penalty. Yikes!). We have absolutely no regrets but doing it again is something that financially wouldn't work for us. I told him that if we were to adopt again, it would have to be a “stork drop.” That's a term used in adoption for when you get a call after a baby has been born seeking adoption. We would need a stork drop from someone we knew so we wouldn't have to pay agency fees. It would just be for the home study and legal fees. From what I have researched, that should be under $10,000 which is a lot but nothing compared to $35,000.00+. The week Mumsy and the fam came to visit us, we actually had a conversation, as we were both preparing to turn another year older, about adopting and that it's something that we just needed to let go. And here we are.
I talk to Mumsy often and she updates me on the baby. She is due the end of April. Also, I did ask her permission to share our story because I believe in prayer and also, I hope our story changes people so they can see that they can choose more for their open adoption. I respect her privacy and would never share without her permission.
I hate that she is in this position. It isn't fair. She was on birth control. She shouldn't have to make this decision. Mumsy has a condition where she has seizures. She also has a few other health issues. This past year she has made amazing strides and is doing really well. She recently got her license back since she is working hard to be healthy, physically and mentally. She is also doing a great job parenting her daughter too. She is a good mom!
As someone who loves her, I want her whole, healthy and happy. That is my priority. I am not over here crossing my fingers and toes for another baby. Would I love that, absolutely, but I would love for Mumsy to stay healthy and happy more than anything. Some days she 100% wants to parent. Other days, she struggles physically and mentally to care for herself and then feels that it is selfish to not parent because of her health issues. There is so much wrapped in this decision and she isn't sure she can emotionally do it again (go home without her baby). No matter what happens, we will be here for her. We can be a bonus aunt and uncle or we can be parents. Either way, we are are a family.
This is where you come in. We need your prayers. This pregnancy has been really hard on her body. Her first two were a breeze, this one, not so much. She has lost weight because she can't keep much down. She is unable to take her seizure medications because of the pregnancy. I believe in praying in specifics so this is what we need from you:
- Pray that Mumsy remains healthy physically and emotionally. She has been seizure free for several months and we need for her to stay seizure free.
- Pray for the baby, that it continues to grow healthy and strong.
- Pray that God gives Mumsy peace as she makes big decisions. That she will be at peace with her decision either way and know that she is doing what is best for her and her children. She is the bravest person I know and her love for her children is BIG. Birth moms don't place their children for adoption because they don't love them. They place them because they do and that love comes before their own pain.
- Pray that Mumsy doesn't see adoption as a selfish decision but is out of true love if that is what she needs to do to stay healthy. That we will care for this child just as we have cared Bennett and she will have a front row seat to everything because we are in this together and always will be. Not everyone understands our relationship and that's ok. I still dream about the milestone's of our babies born in heaven. She will never have to wonder when it comes to Bennett because she gets to be a part of it and nothing will change if we parent again.
- Bennett knows that he grew in Mumsy's tummy, that we were there when he was born and we got to bring him home to take care of him. No matter what happens, Bennett will be a big brother. A huge part of him being placed for adoption was for his protection. I won't expand on that because it is not my story to tell but pray for Bennett that regardless what happens, that he continues to feel loved by all of us. This provides another layer to his story but I know we will navigate it together and he will be okay.
- Pray for Bennett's big (little) sister. She knows her mama is pregnant and has been so sick. She knows that Bennett is her little brother and she loves him and Bennett loves her. When they are together they play and fight like siblings. They also love to facetime each other. I don't think she quite understands adoption because she was so little but this time around, she is older and will be more aware of what is going on. She may have more questions about Bennett. She also may not understand if Mumsy chooses adoption. Please pray for her.
- Pray for Mumsy's family as they support her through this season of life. It's such a hard spot to be in because this shouldn't have happened. Their priority is caring for her (Mumsy) and making sure she stays well. It's hard to watch her on this roller coaster of joy and grief.
- Pray for us as we prepare for “just in case.” We have decided to build a bigger house, not just because of the baby but it was the final thing on the list that did give us the push. In our current home, we don't have a room for the baby. We had already been looking for land for over a year so we could get Bennett into a certain school district and the new house does that. If we don't adopt, then we will have a nice guest room and that is great too. Pray for provision that if adoption is what we will eventually do, that God will provide the money needed, Also pray for provision for Mumsy if she decides to parent.
- Pray that our house sells quickly and we are able to get top dollar for it.
Last time, we found out about Bennett three months before he was due so it was hurry up and wait. This time, we found out on day one. It's been 14 weeks now and it seems so long and there is quite a bit to go. Please pray for all of us during this time. Please do not ask if we know anything yet. There is zero pressure in this entire situation. When I talk to Mumsy, I don't ask a lot of questions. I just want her to know that she is supported and loved. So, when we know anything, we will share it with you. And, it could be after the baby comes. We really don't know.
What we do know:
- We are growing our family no matter what. We will be happy with whatever roll we have in this baby's life.
- We believe in a merciful God and pray that he continues to take care of Mumsy and her children.
- Mumsy is a good mom. She has survived many hard seasons. She is brave and she loves her children.
- Adoption is love. It's hard and beautiful all at the same time.
- We can change the “rules” for adoption. It can be so much more if you let it. You have room in your heart for a baby and the person that gave him/her life.
- We are so thankful that Mumsy chose life for Bennett and this baby.
- We are at peace as we wait. We know that whatever role we are called to serve, we will fulfill it with love.
Please do not say:
- “We hope you get the baby.” This diminishes Mumsy's role and love for her child. We are extremely protective of her.
- Please do not offer praise to adoptive parents. We are growing our family the way God has called us to. That doesn't make us better people than the women who give them life.
- “This was meant to be.” I firmly believe in God's plan but I don't believe that God wants Mumsy to suffer. This is hard stuff.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We appreciate you so much. I know Mumsy is so thankful too. We don't know what the future holds but we do know that God has us in the palm of his hands and we trust his plan.