From an early age, adoption was on Melissa’s heart. She can’t pinpoint exactly where it came from, but her heart always seemed to beat a little faster whenever she heard about a new family being created through adoption. She remembers telling Paul about this desire to adopt early in their relationship, and over time they agreed it was something they’d like to pursue after having biological children.
After they had been married for seven years, a fertility specialist told them that they would not be able to have biological children without significant medical intervention. They describe the weeks after that diagnosis as being filled with a lot of prayers, tears, and grace with each other. They knew they wanted to parent and raise children together, and that it did not matter to them whether a child shared their DNA, so they began to research different adoption paths.
In September 2017, Paul and Melissa met with Victorious Hope Adoption Consulting to better understand the domestic adoption process. Their home study and profile book were completed by April, and they settled in for what they expected to be a long wait. Just a few days after submitting their materials, they heard from their case manager that a young expectant mother was making an adoption plan for her baby boy due in August, and that they had been chosen! They were overjoyed and began making many plans and dreams for him. But those dreams came to an abrupt halt when they heard a month later that a family member of the birth mother would be getting custody of the baby and the adoption was now closed to them. They were left with a feeling of loss and heartache, having to constantly remind themselves that the call and desire to be part of the redemptive story of adoption was not something they made up on a whim. They trusted that somewhere there was a child who needed them as parents, and that there was a brave mother who they could welcome into their story with open arms.
As August drew closer, Paul and Melissa thought about the baby often and hoped he was safe and healthy. At the end of July, their case manager informed them that the birth mother had reached out saying that she wanted to move forward with the adoption plan if they were still willing, and that the baby was due any day now! Paul and Melissa scrambled to get ready to fly to Florida, and six days later, their son was born.
Paul and Melissa said that the uncertainty was the hardest part of the adoption process. They reflect: “One of the first things we learned about adoption is that it is essentially a crash-course in letting go of control and trusting in God. We see now how every twist and turn in our story ultimately led us to our sweet son, and it’s amazing to look back on how God orchestrated every detail that we were anxious about. That doesn’t mean that our journey was perfect – it certainly had some very challenging points! But God consistently reminded us of His presence and purpose in every dark moment, and we know without a doubt that this baby was always meant to be part of our family.”
They are extremely grateful for their church and their loving community of family and friends who went out of their way to cover them with love and support during the highs and lows of the process. In the months leading up to their adoption, they found people “coming out of the woodwork” to share stories about how adoption touched their family personally, which gave them hope for the future. Walking through infertility and adoption can feel very isolating, so they were grateful for every reminder that they were not alone on their journey.
One message Paul and Melissa would share to those considering adoption is: “Don’t give up! Adoption can seem so intimidating at first. But we firmly believe that God equips us for everything He calls us to do, and provides exactly what we need for each part of the journey.”