In one year we lost two babies.
They both died in the womb early in their development.
Many call it a miscarriage, like it was somehow “mishandled.” The doctor told me there was nothing wrong with me, but after facing the loss of two babies (and my beloved grandmother) in the span of twelve months, I wasn’t exactly excited to hear “just try again,” “this is common,” or “your next one will be fine.” So after a period of serious depression, lots of prayer and some time, we decided to adopt (a story for another day).
We have two incredible sons through adoption.
We wanted a family, and adoption was the way our family came into being. The boys are nine and ten now, and a year ago I gave birth to our third son. My husband likes to refer to him as “homegrown.” My pregnancy was unexpected and high-risk, but he was born happy and healthy. I’m now living the fulfillment of my heart’s desire for a house full of boys. (If I’d known then that they would come with so much dirt, noise, odor and bodily fluids all over the bathroom, my heart may have desired girls.)
For many people adoption is prompted by one of two factors: (1) They adopt because they are unable to have biological children and they want a family any way they can get one. This was us. Or, (2) they adopt after having biological children as a way of growing their family or often times as an answer to a greater “call” to do something helpful in the world.
I have asked myself so many times, “Why now?” Why after 18 years of waiting and two adoptions did God decide that we would have a biological child? Why didn’t it happen the other way, the way I envisioned it?
Because He knows I can be a wimp when it comes to risk.
God knew that if we’d had biological children first I never would have taken the risk to pursue adoption.
I would have made excuses: “It’s so expensive. It takes too long. It’s so expensive. What if something is wrong with the children? I’m afraid to travel to that country. It’s so expensive. They won’t look like us. It’s SO expensive!”
But, because I longed so deeply for children, and was willing to do whatever it took to have them, a door was opened and I was pushed into the world of adoption.
As it turns out, adoption was not just the way for us to have a family, it was the open door to the rest of our lives, a gateway to our life’s calling to advocate for the orphan.
If we had not decided to take the risk on adoption I would have spent years trying to conceive and carry. It may have worked if we’d tried again. I may have gotten what I wanted—a baby. But, there are a thousand little things we would have missed out on if we’d discounted adoption. Not the least of which are these boys that occupy my heart. Two boys born half a world away and joined with us in a series of miracles that only God could have orchestrated. We also would have missed out on the adventure and exhilaration of traveling to a country not many risk-averse people traveled to 10 years ago. A country we have fallen in love with for its passionate people, food, stunning beauty, and culture so rich in family and tradition and pride. A country we have been back to on vacations and mission trips every single year since, ignoring every travel advisory posted. I, personally, would never have discovered my “holy discontent” at the site of hundreds of children living in orphanages—well run or not—with no one to hold their hand when they are scared, no one to wipe tears when they are hurting, no one to laugh with them at their very first knock-knock joke. I would have carried and delivered a baby, and I would probably be driving the carpool this very morning, asking myself, “Is this all there is?” instead of telling you this story. There’s nothing wrong with that (I drive a lot of carpools), but I am so glad it’s not how my story unfolded. Instead of that carpool, I am packing bags to get on a plane in a few days so I can introduce Homegrown to his brothers’ beautiful country and a few hundred orphans that have captured my heart.
Adopting our first child 10 years ago put our lives on a trajectory that I NEVER would have had the guts or the experience to pursue otherwise. It opened doors to a world of work that we will spend the rest of our lives pursuing. We’ve spent the last decade building a relationship with a special needs orphanage in Colombia. We’ve counseled and encouraged countless couples as they pursue adoption. We’ve advocated for several little girls who now have families. We’ve exposed others to the plight of the orphan. We’ve held the hands, wiped the tears, and laughed at the jokes. When our plan didn’t work, we took a risk and trusted God’s unfolding plan. And that changed everything.
Photo courtesy of Aaron and Brooke Wright