If I were to pick a theme song for modern society, it might be the title track to Queen’s 1989 album, “I want it all.” Just drive down the interstate or turn on your television, and the song’s chorus of “I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now,” perfectly fits what you will see.
Our society is filled with drive through conveniences, quick financing deals so you can afford that enormous flat screen television or that Tempur-Pedic mattress that promises you the perfect night of sleep, or better yet, that car or truck that cost more than my parents paid for their first home.
The instant gratification that our society pushes upon us is inescapable. I rather enjoy my large flat screen, and I’m not about to give up my Tempur-Pedic bed. Unfortunately, not everything that your heart desires is so easily obtainable. My wife Mandy and I know this all too well.
For over seven years, my wife and I have wanted to start a family of our own. She’s endured surgeries, and we’ve been through multiple rounds of IVF, all without any success. Through it all, we have put on a brave face. We went through much of this alone, without even sharing it with our families. It’s not that we were ever ashamed of our struggles, but we felt we could better manage the potential pain and disappointment by keeping it ourselves. Whether that was a good or poor decision is up for debate.
During our third and final round of IVF, Mandy and I agreed that it would be the last go-around for us. I am glad that we tried it, but watching my wife go through everything she did was hard. I hate needles, but got pretty good at giving injections every night. Obviously pumping yourself full of drugs and hormones takes it toll on one’s body, and while Mandy bounced back from the first two rounds of IVF pretty well, the third time was different. Frankly, it made our decision to stop IVF an easy one to make. Our new route would be adoption.
Mandy and I had always talked about adopting a child some day. We had always planned on having children of our own and then adopting a child from another country. Adoption went from something we wanted to look at in the future to being something that we wanted to do right away.
After looking at a number of adoption agencies and at foster care, we decided that Bethany Christian Services was the best fit four us. On a very cold day, much like it was on Tuesday, we drove to Pella for an introductory meeting about adoption. We went into the meeting thinking that foreign adoption was the plan for us. I still remember driving home and telling Mandy that I had changed my mind and thought that a domestic adoption was the way to go. She had a similar conversion.
For the next year, we would attend all the required Bethany classes. We had to complete a home study, which meant that we had to meet with a social worker at our home on three different occasions to discuss various things. By the end of 2013 we had completed everything that was required of us. The only thing that was left for us to do was to design a profile book for potential birth mothers to view. I’ll be honest, it was my responsibility to do this, but just like this article, I found it very difficult to write about myself. Time was ticking. I’m sure the adoption agency was wondering why it was taking so long for us to submit our book. Finally, my wife got it done.
I remember showing our friends our adoption book during last year’s Super Bowl. The books were turned in on February 10th and would start being viewed at that time. The scary part of domestic adoption is that you have no clue if or when you may be selected to parent a child, whereas with foreign adoption there is more of a known timeline.
Mandy and I also chose to share our on-line profile with our friends on Facebook on March 10th in hopes that people would spread the word about us wanting to adopt. We had been told that, often times, even families who are working with an adoption agency end up finding the children they were meant to adopt through their network of friends and family. We wanted those in our lives to think of us if they came to know of a birthmother who was considering adoption, but most importantly, we wanted to ask for prayers as we set out on that part of our journey. That day, we received countless messages of love and encouragement and heartfelt prayers from our loved ones.
Little did we know at the time, but as we shared our profile with our friends and family, two days earlier a little boy was born who would become our son. After giving birth, this little boy’s mother flipped through a stack profile of books from prospective parents. She picked Mandy and me to parent this little boy on the same day that we shared our on-line profile, the same day that those countless people were lifting us up in prayer.
Even though we had been selected by a birth mother, we were not informed about the situation for another seven to ten days. In fact, when were asked to come into the Bethany office, neither Mandy nor I thought that we were going there to be told that there may be a child for us to adopt.
As we sat in a small consultation room at the Bethany office, we were informed of the situation. Oddly enough, it wasn’t made clear to us right away that we had been picked to by the birth mother. Eventually, we figured out that they were telling us we had been selected, but before we got too excited, the agency would have to do their due diligence to locate the baby’s father.
Needless to say, we were ecstatic about the news. While it never mattered to us whether it was a little boy or girl, I was thrilled to learn that it was a baby boy. We went home with our minds racing. I don’t really know what I expected the process to be, but I never thought that it could happen so quickly.
A few days later we were summoned to the office again. This time we were shown a picture, given his health records from the hospital, and told that he was being cared for temporarily by a local family. The agency also informed us that it was unlikely that they would be able to locate the child’s father. It was then agreed upon that we could start visiting him. Things got real in a hurry. We thought we might have a month to prepare, but we were soon told that we could take him home in much sooner than that. We had to prep a nursery. Besides a car seat, we really didn’t own any of the necessary things to raise a baby.
My wife took care of the shopping. I emptied out a spare bedroom. But better yet, we were able to visit the little boy we would name Luke. It’s hard to explain how it felt going to meet him for the first time. Yes, we were excited. Yes, it was emotional. But we were in someone else’s home. I was worried that it might be awkward, but it was really a blessing for us. The family couldn’t have been more welcoming, and knowing that he was receiving excellent care gave us peace of mind.
After visiting him for a week and a half, we were able to finally take Luke home for good. Having been able to spend so much time with him while he was in foster care, the transition was an easy one. We already knew his routine, and he was familiar with us by then too.
Luke came home with us on Thursday, April 3rd. In less than the span of a month we went from wondering when we would become parents to parenting a precious little boy. Over the next few months, our social worker would make three follow up visits to make sure everything was going as planned. Luke is now eight months old, and on Tuesday we were able to finalize his adoption.
I often wondered what it would be like to be the parent to an adopted child. I knew it would be great, but I wondered if it would somehow be a little different. To be honest, I don’t think I could love anyone any more than I love that little boy. While we are blessed with a little boy who is very happy and content, even when he wakes me in the middle of night, or when he’s fussy because he’s teething, or even when he’s sick, I still enjoy every minute I get to be with him.
November is National Adoption Month. Obviously, our adoption has been a huge blessing in our lives. This life-changing event would have never been possible had it not been for Luke’s birthmother who gave him life. Words will never be able to express how honored we are to have been chosen to raise this little boy. It is the greatest gift that we could ever receive.
When I first seriously thought about the idea of adopting a child, I thought that perhaps my wife an I were being called to be a blessing for a child. Little did I know that we would be the ones who were being blessed. Our path to parenthood was a long and arduous journey, but now being able to hold and play with Luke, it’s safe to say that he was worth the wait.
If you would like to learn more about adoption, I encourage you to reach out to the great people at Bethany Christian Services, or attend the Hope Adoption Conference this Saturday at Walnut Creek Church in Windsor Heights.
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