We Are Not Heroes – Joel and Corinna’s Story

Joel and Corinna’s story, as told by Corinna:

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Our adoption journey began December 2018 when the Holy Spirit began to reveal to Joel and me a burden and passion for adoption. We looked at our lives: our jobs, comfortable home, family that loved us, strong families/upbringing, strong support system in our church family & beyond. We saw that our lives lacked nothing. Our life situation and resources were blessings and privileges that were no result or reward for something we had done or earned. These blessings were by God’s grace in our lives. How could we just go on living like that without sharing what we had with a child born into a situation they could not control and without the same opportunities we had?

Why adoption?

As believers in Jesus, we are often quick to say that we don’t agree with abortion. One of our passions was to stand for something instead of against something. We saw adoption as a practical way to take a stance for LIFE.

We read over and over in the Bible about Jesus’s heart for children, how we are to care for the widow and orphan, and how we are not called to live a comfortable, easy life. Instead, Christ calls us to die to ourselves and our selfish desires, including our desire for a perfect family, in order to be more like Him.

Adoption is a beautiful picture of what Christ has done for us by adopting us into His family. Galations 4 says, “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

We felt it was an honor and responsibility for us to adopt. We also hoped to ignite a passion in others to stand for life in this way. We hope others can see that adoption isn’t just a last resort to grow a family, but rather a privilege and a command. For those several reasons and more, we decided to pursue domestic infant adoption.

In spring 2019, we were matched with a birth mother who was very early on in her pregnancy, which ended up falling through. Fairly quickly, we were re-matched with another birth mother. In June, we took a brief trip to Florida to meet our birth mother in person and to see an ultrasound. I maintained regular contact and communication with our birth mother throughout the summer in order to grow our relationship. Having an open adoption was a concept that was new to me and Joel, but we feel it is the best thing for both our daughter and her birth mother.

In October, we flew to Tampa, to be with our birth mother as she prepared to be induced. We had the opportunity to meet with her at a restaurant for dinner that evening prior to when she was going to the hospital. It was an amazing time relaxing together before her labor. Our prayer that night was for her to have a smooth labor and delivery and that we would be a comforting presence to her.

While Joel sat on an uncomfortable plastic chair in the cafeteria all day long, I was able to be there for the whole duration of her labor and c-section delivery. It was an honor to be present in the operating room, cut the cord, and be the first one to hold our little girl.

Our time in the hospital was very positive but also very stressful. It was an opportunity to meet a few of the extended family members and friends who came to visit during her time there. It was also a stressful few days because nothing was “for sure” yet. It felt like we had to be very aware and guarded of how we would word things when conversing with the birthmother, hospital staff, and family visitors. We didn’t want to be insensitive to anyone, but we also had a reserved excitement that we would be leaving the hospital with a baby.

When our little girl was discharged from the hospital, we were relieved to finally have paperwork completed and to get settled into the condo as a family of three. Over the course of the next 10 days there, we loved on our new daughter and tried to figure out what we were doing and how to take care of a newborn. The days felt fast yet slow. We would look forward to any “outings” such as grocery store runs, Target runs, meeting her birth mother for lunch, and her follow- up newborn appointment. This time was emotionally HARD and lonely. We were awaiting the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children in order for us to be allowed to travel outside of FL. Were told it could take 8-10 business days and were a bit discouraged to find out that one of the Mondays we were there was Columbus day, which meant offices were closed & our stay could be prolonged.

God was faithful through it all. We had to rely on Him for our strength and comfort. We experienced so many blessings along the way: a comfortable “home” for 10 days, amazing interactions with a neighbor at the condo complex, having the time for Joel and me to love on our precious little one, and spending time as a new family of three. We sensed the time to be humbling, molding, and refining of our characters as God chiseled away at our selfish desires and our thoughts that “we can do this on our own”. We truly had to rely on God in those long and lonely days, and we couldn’t do it on our own. I was reminded by a dear family member while we were there that we were right where God needed us to be. Those day were opportunities to daily choose joy, even if we weren’t in the physical location we desired.

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Finally, after many prayers, we received word from our home study agency that we were good to go – just in time to leave that same day as we had hoped. We booked a flight for 6:55 PM, threw everything in our rental vehicle, and started our drive to Tampa. I texted our Florida caseworker that we were on our way to the airport. She responded that she had not received final clearance for us but should know by 6 PM. Her text to me said, “Head to airport. I’m sure it’s fine.” How about that for an answer!? We pressed on to the airport, trusting that the Lord would provide and trusting that this was the day we were to travel home. We returned our rental car, got through check-in and security without being questioned, arrived to our gate…and waited again. At 5:30 PM, approximately 40 min before boarding our plane, I received a text from our caseworker, “All clear.” If that’s not a miracle and a display of the power of prayer, I don’t know what is. We were officially able to board that plane and go home!

It was SO good to be home! Parents came. Family came. Friends came, and all visitors were welcomed into our home with much joy and excitement. I was so ready for social interaction and to share our daughter with the people who cared about us so deeply.

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As I reflect on our adoption journey, I can’t help but recognize God’s faithfulness to us and His mercy. I’ve been going through a devotion book for adoptive mothers, and there was a beautiful prayer in my devotions a day or two after we returned home that fits so well with the tune of our hearts at this point in our journey. It reads, “Dear Lord, adoption is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard. It’s not glamorous, and we are not heroes. We are just people, called by You to bring a child into our families. We are the blessed ones. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” We celebrate the this little life and are grateful to God for bringing her into our family.

 

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