Shane and Emily recently welcomed a sweet little girl into their family. Baby Girl joins Big Brother in a family that honors God in every part of their journey. Here is their story, in their own words…
When we look back over our fertility and adoption journey, it is evident that He knew how the story would unfold. He knew exactly how to direct our thoughts and decisions in order to orchestrate His great plan. He knew where our hearts were at each given moment: through the stresses, through the excitement, through the waiting, and He continued to meet us where we were and to blow away our expectations.
God knew that we wouldn’t be able to fully fund the adoption alone. He provided various unexpected financial provisions in the form of generous donations and grants. At one point while we were waiting for a match and trying to raise funds, we received an unexpected cash gift from a relative (unrelated to our adoption) and decided to give it towards our church building project. Within a week, we received an unsolicited grant in our fundraising account for the exact amount of the gift that we had given to our church. We did not tell anyone about receiving the cash gift or about passing it on to our church. But, God knew. He was also in tune with where our hearts were in regards to “preferences” in a birth mother. From the beginning, we were hesitant about matching with a birth mother with known drug use or mental health conditions. After not being offered many situations, we decided to broaden our preferences with two agencies and removed those exclusions. The same week we did that, God opened the door to a situation which met our original preferences: a healthy mom and baby with no known drug use or mental health issues. When we took a leap of faith and gave God control, He met our hearts’ desires.
God directed and urged our steps while reading adoption blogs which eventually connected us to an agency on Facebook. This agency was who we would eventually match with after seeing a situation come across on their news feed. Who would have thought that social media would help us find our daughter…but God knew.
When making our profile book, Cindy, co-director of Victorious Hope Adoption Consulting, had suggested that we include things unique to us. We have 8 chickens and Shane loves to garden. When we received the phone call that we “matched,” two things voiced by expectant mother that she loved about us were our little “farm” with chickens and a garden. God worked through Cindy in suggesting those changes to our profile book.
God knew that one of our biggest stressors once matched was where our family would stay while transitioning with a newborn and waiting for clearance to come home. There were so many options that we felt overwhelmed. We researched for a few weeks and tried to decide where to stay. One Sunday morning at church, Emily decided to write a down a prayer request for housing provision and hand it in for the church staff to pray for. The following week, God orchestrated communication with a family member in Virginia who connected us with the blessing of a private home while in Florida. This not only saved us a great deal of travel expenses, but enabled us to be in a relaxing atmosphere while we adjusted.
Emily is a labor and delivery nurse and she felt strongly about wanting to support the birth mother in whatever way possible during her delivery and hospital stay. We were told that the birth mother didn’t want anyone to be with her during the C-section or recovery period and she requested to keep baby girl with her in her room. While in the hospital waiting for news of the birth of our baby girl, Emily received a phone call from our case worker that the birth mother was asking for Emily to come be with her in the pre-operating area. Emily was able to provide support for the birth mother before her C-section and was able to wait in the recovery area while the birth mother was in her C-section. She was the first to meet and hold our daughter when the nurses brought her out of the operating room. And she got to support the birth mother post-operation. Through this bonding and trust formation, the birth mother then offered for us to spend as much time as we wanted with her and the baby in the hospital. God knew the importance of this time in forming and building a relationship with our daughter’s birth mother. We now touch base with her regularly after she asked if we would be willing to have an open relationship despite her original request of a semi-open adoption. The “open-ness” was on our hearts from the beginning of the adoption journey. Again, God knew.
God knew that we would be worried about traveling home. Returning a rental car, navigating a large airport and lugging baggage, all with two small children, was causing a great deal of anxiety for us while we were waiting. God knew. He processed the paperwork in 8 days, which ended up being a record for our agency! Despite Emily’s mom having booked a flight at the beginning of the week to travel home Sunday, He orchestrated the details so that we got the phone call of clearance to travel Friday afternoon. This allowed us to book the same flight as Emily’s mom. He knew the need of an extra pair of hands to make traveling easier. He knew the ease it would bring flying into a smaller airport closer to home. And He fulfilled both of these through the inaugural flight of a Frontier plane from Orlando to Harrisburg. Praise God!
Despite the low moments of having to wait almost a year from beginning our adoption journey to bringing our daughter home, it was worth every moment to look back and see the Good Lord’s hand in it all. The words of encouragement that we’d like to give to anyone seeking to adopt or who may be in the adoption process already is to open your heart and allow yourself to release control over to God. It was in those moments of surrender that we most felt God’s sovereignty and peace. When we allowed Him to be in complete control, He was able to mold our hearts, direct our steps, and prepare us for the situation that best met our desires.
Our daughter and her story have solidified our Trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He knew the wants of our hearts, the needs of our souls and He continues to time and time again meet us right where we are in the mess of it all. Our challenge for each of you who may be curious about the nudges or “gut feelings” you may have throughout the day is to consider it more than that. Consider that there is a higher being who orchestrates out all the details of your life. Consider that He has all the days of your life planned out, and that He has a purpose for the sorrow and despair that may come during your life on earth. Consider these nudges to be a gift from Someone higher, revealing His plan and His character.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” John 16: 12-14.