Last year, adoptive couple Anthony and Sara were blessed to adopt a baby boy through Lifetime. In this family’s story, we hear from Sara about her life-long call to adoption, getting “the call” that a birth mother was interested in them, and their experience with becoming parents together through an open adoption.
Now a forever family, adoptive mom Sara shares their beautiful story in this special guest blog post!
On February 28, 2018, we got the call that would change our lives forever. For some reason, I didn’t have my phone on vibrate that day, and I heard the ringing from the next room as I was unloading the dishwasher. I set the plastic plate in my hand down on the counter and made my way to the desk where my phone was perched. Grass Valley, California was on the caller ID.
“We have a birth mother who’s interested in you.”
Fast forward exactly four weeks. This time, the caller ID was flashing our birth mom’s name. Not the first time she had ever called, but this call was unscheduled, after 10 pm, and less than a week out from her due date.
“My water just broke.”
Fast forward about forty hours. We had just driven cross-country to a tiny town in upstate New York. There was another name, but it wasn’t on a caller ID, it was on a hospital crib. “That’s him. As soon as you sent her his name, she had us write it on the crib card.”
Fast forward nine months. Here we are. At the time that I’m writing this, it’s been nine months to the day since we left the hospital. As I sit here and reflect on this adoption journey that led us to the most beautiful and perfect baby boy I could have ever dreamed into existence, I realize that adopting our son has taught me some things – not the least of which is my fresh perspective of the gospel message.
I first felt the call to adopt as a very young teenager. It started with one of those controversial “Feed the Children” commercials. Then learning about the unwanted baby girls in China. Then hearing a missionary speak about the orphans they help care for in Uganda, and working with poverty-stricken American children on various missions trips throughout high school. And so on. Each experience was like kindling to my little spark, and God continued to breathe on it.
I wanted to adopt because there are so many children in the world who need parents. I wanted to adopt because I want women to choose adoption over abortion when faced with a choice between the two. I wanted to adopt because not everyone has the emotional make-up for it, but for some reason, God gave that to me. I wanted to adopt for reasons that can’t be articulated but only felt with the heart. I felt so strongly about adopting that it would have kept me from marrying someone who didn’t share that desire. So, God sent me a man who had been adopted himself and understood my heart for it. And the flame continued to grow. It was like “a fire, shut up in my bones (Jeremiah 20:9, NIV)”. I was weary of holding it in, and indeed, I could not.
On November 1, 2016, the first day of Adoption Awareness Month, Anthony and I officially announced our plans to begin an adoption process. Exactly two years later, to the day, we finalized Elijah’s adoption. It was a beautiful full circle moment, and the moments in between were wrought with God’s goodness.
We had to postpone our home study for a while, due to an upcoming move for my husband’s job. So, once our application with Lifetime was approved, we set aside a handful of months to save some money and work on our digital and print profiles. We officially contracted with Lifetime in July 2017 and were home study-ready that October. Then, the real wait began.
It was daunting. Looking through page after page of the digital profiles for so many wonderful waiting families on Lifetime’s website made me feel overwhelmingly…small. How could we possibly stand out to someone in that ocean that was teeming with such life? But I kept reminding myself that God had called us to do this and that He would make the right thing stand out to the right birth mother at the right time.
And He did. Just four months after completing our home study, we were selected by an amazing young woman who had contacted Lifetime late in her pregnancy. She was initially drawn to the fact that Anthony and the birth father have the same college degree, and once she read the rest of our profile, according to her, “it just felt right.” After speaking with her, it felt right to us too.
We’ve been blessed with an incredible birth family for our son that we look forward to remaining connected with throughout the years. The coming together of our families is undoubtedly something to celebrate.
There are thousands of babies born in the world each day, and the vast majority of these births are insignificant to most of us. Certainly, we rejoice when pregnant women choose life. Certainly, we acknowledge that each life is special. But, we don’t necessarily take a particular interest in all of those lives.
An example of such a life is the baby boy born in a tiny town in upstate New York at 8:22 am on March 29, 2018, to a woman none of our family and friends have ever met. But, the moment he took on our name, he became part of the family. Elijah has become such a source of excitement and joy in our family. He was automatically accepted and loved. Because he took on our name. That’s the gospel, and watching it play out in front of me these past months has been too beautiful for words.
Some people wonder if having an adopted baby could possibly feel the same as having a child that you helped create, but I can say with absolute certainty that we couldn’t love this precious little soul any more in this moment. He is made of dream dust and miracles and divine love, and he is better than we ever imagined. He is a gift. As he grows, we’ll tell him his story – about the God who created him, his birth parents, and the string of holy moments that brought us all together.
There are parts of Elijah’s tale I’ll never share publicly, out of respect for him and his birth mother’s privacy. Those sacred details are tucked away in my heart, convincing me even more that he was meant to walk this earth and meant to do it as part of our family. That the God who paid the ultimate price for him has set the stage for His great and marvelous plans for my son’s life to unfold.
I can’t wait to find out the rest of the story!