Monday, December 5, 2011

Details...part 2

So here we were in September. We had to get our homestudy updated to reflect a deisre for a domestic adoption, which took a couple of weeks. Our local social worker is an angel and put up with all sorts of phone calls and requests for various information. :) Thankfully she keeps good records because goodness knows I don't. If there was ever a piece of paperwork I couldn't find, all I had to do was call Cheryl and she would send me a copy...God bless her.

We finally got all of our paperwork in order to make a change from an Ethiopian adoption with one agency to a domestic adoption with a different agency. Don't forget that money thing I mentioned earlier. In order to proceed with Courtney from Faithful Adoption Consultants, we needed a certain amount of money...and we had about double that amount invested with the other agnecy for the international adoption. Wouldn't you know, God showed up. We had already decided to call it a loss and move forward with Courtney, regardless of the money issue. We would be diligent with our finances and figure it out. After making that decision, we got an email literally out of the blue, saying that part of our money would be refunded. God is so faithful to us when we follow His lead. What an unexpected and truly inexplicable gift. Inexplicable to anyone but God that is. Thank you, Lord!

So we took that money and joyfully signed on with Courtney. Within 4 days, we had a potential match! Oh my goodness our hopes were high. Four days and we could be matched? We said from the beginning, we were trusting in God's plan for our family, no matter what. That mom ultimately decided to parent her baby. So that wasn't our baby. I was settling in for numerous situations like this one--where our profile would be shown to a birth mom and she wouldn't pick us. Or she would decide to parent. The very next day I got a phone call from Courtney--while in the toy section of Target with all 4 kids no less. :) I remember specifically she said "I don't know if this is something you would be interested in but you came to mind right away when I heard about this gal." I listened briefly then told her I would call her back when I got home. Courtney is such an amazingly faithful, discerning heart. If we came to mind when she heard about this situation I needed to listen.

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel." Proverbs 12:15

Now, I know this sounds awfully fast and crazy for a domestic adoption. Keep in mind one of the most important things is that we were open to race, gender, and many medical issues. This makes things go a LOT faster. We truly trusted God would bring our baby to our family, whatever that looked like. I want to add here that Selah is a truly perfectly healthy, African-American baby girl. For Zoe to have a sister that looks like her in some way is an amazing gift. It's better than anything we could have picked ourselves! We knew that by being open, God would pick our perfect child.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. " Isaiah 55:8

Anyway...I truly felt an immediate connection when I heard about this young woman's story. Plus the timing of it had God's hand all over it. We had been planning our Disney World trip for about 6 months and knew it would be complicated if there was a newborn in the picture or if we had to leave Disney World early or whatever. Don't get me wrong, we would have altered our plans however we needed to to make the baby our first priority but we were all looking forward to this last "family of 6" vacation. This baby we had just heard about was due to be born the end of November...a month after our trip. And in my mind I had thought there was no way we'd have a baby before the end of the year. Here was God, laying this gift right in front of us and defying my expectations.

"Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." John 14:13-14.

This birth mom was shown 8 different profiles to choose from. I thought we didn't have a chance in heck of being picked--we already had 4 children, which we had been told may be a detriment to us. Many birth moms want their baby to be the first child or second child...likely not the 5th child. We got a phone call back the next day saying that this birth mom wanted to talk with us and one other couple on the phone before making her decision. I felt like we had made it to the finals of some contest. What a weird feeling! This mom was going to be deciding who would raise her baby based on a phone conversation! We were so excited to talk with her and anxious to hear more about her life.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;" Psalm 139:23

We had a wonderful phone conversation, even with a couple of connection glitches. The evil one could not break through even though he tried! We asked if we could ask the birth mom if she was a believer. They said not to ask specifically but if she opened the door we could ask about her beliefs. The second question she asked us was whether or not we went to church. BINGO! We told her that church and our faith was the most important thing to us. She said she believed in God and had been praying for her baby's adoptive parents. This is not a specifically Christian organization, so we were thrilled to find another believer, and to know that we would have this connection if she chose us.

"And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common," Acts 2:44

The phone call happened on Saturday evening, and our case worker told us that we might hear her choice within a couple of hours. A couple of hours came and went...we went to bed...waited all day Sunday. I called Courtney, I texted Courtney, I e-mailed Courtney. Then I remembered that it was Sunday and she wasn't supposed to be working. :) But she emailed me back anyway, telling me exactly what I thought she would. That she hadn't heard anything and that she would let me know the minute she heard something.

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit." Ecclesiastes 7: 8

"But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." Romans 8:25

Monday morning rolled around and Tate and I had a playdate. We went on about our morning, as if we weren't waiting for the most important phone call. We had a fun playdate with our friends and on the way home, shoved in the backseat of my friend's mini-van, I got the most important phone call. "Are you dying?" Kris asked me. "Well, yeah, pretty much. Can you put me out of my misery?" I replied. "She picked you." Kris answered. I started crying and my friends thought something crazy had happened. I had to say quickly "We're getting a baby!" And wouldn't you know, Buck was out of town. I called him in the middle of some crazy important meeting and said "Congratulations, Daddy, it's a GIRL!" He started laughing and crying. We both were certain that because it had taken her so long to make her decision, we were not the ones she picked. We cried out in praise to the Lord.

"Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude." Colossians 2:7

We were waiting for a sweet little girl, due to arrive via c-section on November 28. We couldn't believe God's favor and blessing. At the time I thought, this may be one of those situations where God chooses to teach me patience or humility. This isn't going to work out. I'm going to get my hopes up and God will teach me to lean even more on Him. I heard a couple of stories of parents who had even gone so far as traveling to the hospital, meeting their baby and having the birth mom change her mind. I couldn't imagine how I would explain that to my kids. It would be like a death for them. But then I was reminded, there are no guarantees in anything...not with a pregnancy (we've all known too many women who have lost a baby!), not with an international adoption, and not with a domestic adoption. We just have to walk by faith, not by what is guaranteed in front of us.

"Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord--for we walk by faith, not by sight--we are of good courage..." 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

Fast forward a few months to our awesome Disney World vacation. The trip of a lifetime! We came home and had a couple of weeks to get our travel arranged. We thought what a blessing it was to have a c-section date so we could "plan." You know that saying "Make a plan and watch God laugh." Well, should have taken that to heart. Two weeks before we were supposed to leave, we found out that her c-section date had been moved up to the 23rd. So we had to rearrange our trips and our childcare and realized we would be missing Thanksgiving with our families. But what is that compared to getting to meet our baby 5 days sooner?! We were so excited. I was nervous about leaving my kids for so long. We also had NO idea when we would be able to come home. Best case scenario would not be until Wednesday the 30th. And that was being INCREDIBLY optimistic. That would mean that they would get our paperwork to the Utah courthouse on Monday, send it overnight to Iowa, the Iowa office would get it approved the same day and communicate that back to Utah, then we would be cleared to leave on our 10 AM flight on Wednesday morning. I was not counting on it, trust me. But still...

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 4-7

I was laying all of my fears and anxieties and apprehensions at the feet of the cross. He would care for me. He would surround me and my family with His joy and His peace. Off we went!

We got to have dinner with our birth mom and birth dad the night before the c-section. We were excited more than nervous and Buck said "are you going to give her a big hug??" kind of joking, but kind of not...I am a hugger! :) I said I was going to restrain myself. YEAH RIGHT!! The moment I laid eyes on her, I grabbed her and gave her a big hug. She didn't seem to mind and hugged me right back. Later that night, she told her case mananger she knew it was the right thing and she had made the right decision the moment I gave her a hug.

We had a great dinner, enjoyed getting to know one another, asked lots of questions and answered lots of questions. I was amazed that she had pretty much memorized our profile book. She knew all about our kids (what I had written), their ages and names. Trust me, even I have a hard time remembering their names and ages sometimes. ha! We all parted ways ready to see one another again in the morning, the day of our baby's birth!

"This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Psalm 118:24

Being a nurse-midwife and longtime labor & delivery nurse, you can guess how much I wanted to be in the OR when the baby was born. I didn't ask, because that is a deeply personal decision but I did tell my case worker that I really wanted to be there. But I knew there was a very good chance that I wouldn't be able to. I truly was fine either way. I texted my dear friend Kara and said "Please pray I can be in there when she's born. Just specifically for that." She was on it. We got to the hospital at 7:30, and still hadn't heard whether I could go in. I thought I would be in the waiting room, just like dads way back when. :) At about 7:50, with the c-section scheduled for 8:00, our darling case worker said, "Happy get to be in the delivery room." Praise the Lord! Thank you, Lord, for your timing!

"But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, at an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness, answer me with your saving truth." Psalm 69:13

What a gift God had given to me. What a blessing to hear this baby's very first cry:

What an unbelievable overwhelming blessing to share this baby with this woman. What a beautiful, priceless gift God bestowed on us. On the day before Thanksgiving, for goodness sake!

And this guy was pretty darn proud too:

Sweet baby Selah. As for her name: as you can tell, I love the Psalms. I love the whole Word of God, but the Psalms speak to me in every season. "Selah" is a word used at the end of some of the Psalms. In music it is used as an instruction to the choir director to pause. As I was in Bible study this fall, our teacher was teaching us about meditative Bible reading and used the word "Selah" to describe pausing and waiting for the Lord to speak. It is also the name of a town in Israel that means "rock". How can those meanings all not apply to our journey to our Selah? Oh, and it's pronounced "SAY-la". I'm sure I will be saying that my whole life and so will she. :) Sorry, kid. As for "Faith"...well, I'm sure you can guess where we got that name. Or not. Our birth mom told us the night we had dinner together that she wanted to name the baby Faith. Our agency that brought us together was called Faithful Adoptions. God demonstrated His faithfulness to us time and time again through this process.

"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." 1 Thessalonians 5: 24

And once again: "From the fullness of His grace, we have received one blessing after another." John 1:16. Amen!

And as a small but significant post-script to this story, remember how I said it was really optimistic to hope to come home Wednesday? You don't even have to guess when we got to come home, right? God has shown His favor and blessing and power through this whole thing. Of course, we got home on Wednesday! I put out a request for prayers and about 2 hours later, our case worker called and said "I hate to tell you this...but you have to go home!" What a joy, what a blessing, what an answer. She said it was unprecedented to have paperwork go through that fast. Nothing is unprecedented when it comes to God. Nothing should surprise us. Thank you, Lord!


  1. Such wonderful testimony to the Father's love! Thanks for sharing. Zoe and Selah will share such a special bond as sisters. We are in the midst of our own adoption journey that didn't take us back to Ethiopia either. We've brought home 2 boys from China and it's been much rougher than our Ethiopian adoption. Know that God is walking with us and and will see us through.
    You and Buck are great parents and your family is beautiful! Congratulations!

  2. What a wonderful testament! Thank you for sharing Laura:) I love the name. Enjoy all those newborn snuggles with little Selah!

  3. Congratulations Laura!!! What a glorious blessing! I'm so happy for Selah, to be raised in such a wonderful family!

  4. Since you love the Psalms...I thought I would share Psalm 21:2. It was our little girls "birth verse."

    "You have given him his heart's desire, And you have not withheld the requests of his lips. Selah."


  5. Thank you for sharing! You are blessed indeed!!!
    Congratulations, your little Selah is beautiful!