“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
I’ve adored children my entire life. I grew up in an Assemblies of God church in a small East Texas town. When I began 6th grade, I was no longer eligible to attend children’s church and was instead expected to attend “big service” with my family. I used to sneak back to children’s church with a good friend. We would spontaneously create a puppet show for the younger kids that helped them learn the Bible lesson that day. Even at age 12, I found so much joy teaching and playing with children (and I was much happier to be with them rather than in “big church.”) My nephew was born when I was a junior in high school, and I was immediately in love. I have the best memories of feeding him and rocking him, and I will never forget him patting me on my back (on beat, I might add) during worship at church. I can’t begin to calculate the number of hours I’ve spent babysitting. Being with kids brings me so much joy, and there is never a dull moment! When I was 20, I pointed out a vehicle to my friend: ”That Toyota Sequoia is my dream car!” He responded, “You just want that car so you can haul all of your children around town!” Why yes, that’s exactly why I want that huge car one day!
I met my absolutely spectacular Argentine husband when I was 24. We knew by week 3 that we wanted to get married. While we were dating, we had many discussions about fostering and adopting. We always knew adoption would be a part of our story.
After spending 6 weeks with him, I took him to meet my family. My niece and nephew adored him and still do to this day. In fact, I’m pretty sure they like him more than they like me! Alex loves to play practical jokes. His shenanigans often annoy my niece so badly that she yells, “Mandy!!! Tell your husband to stop annoying me!!!” I have explained to her that she and my nephew chose Alex. When I brought him home to meet my family in May of 2010, the most important thing was how my 3 year old niece and 7 year old nephew responded to him. So I always yell back, “YOU CHOSE HIM FOR ME!” Alex’s love for children has always been evident and is one of the things that attracted me to him the most. When I see him with my family, there’s no doubt we will have loads of fun with our future family.
In 2015, Alex was a year away from finishing college, had already completed an internship at Texas Instruments, and had signed a contract to work full-time with them. We held our friend’s newborn baby one Sunday, and decided, “We need one of these, ASAP!” We were so blessed to become pregnant on the first try, but sadly miscarried 6 weeks later. The next year was a time of grieving while also attempting, unsuccessfully, to grow our family. Even with the help of an amazing medical team and fertility treatments, we were unable to conceive.
In the fall of 2016, we knew the Lord was nudging us toward becoming foster parents. As we shared this news with our family and friends, we were confronted with so many questions and comments from people who love us dearly:
- What if the child goes back to their bio-family?
- What if you get too connected to the child and then they leave?
- Are you safe? What if the bio family finds you?
- Why would you choose to have your heart broken?
- I just could never parent a child, then have them taken away from me.
- Why don’t you just adopt?
Our favorite comment came from Alex’s mom: “You’re going to WHAT?! You’re going to need therapy! I’M GOING TO NEED THERAPY! We’re ALL going to need therapy!”
It’s all true. We DO get “too” connected, because these sweet babies NEED connection. Don't we ALL need connection?
And yes, we ALL needed therapy, because the road of foster care is full of uncertainty and heartbreak. BUT I believe it’s all part of God’s plan of reconciliation, and I 1,000% believe it’s worth every heartache and every tear we’ve cried.
Exactly ONE day after becoming licensed foster parents in the fall of 2016, the sweetest little 11 ½ month old joined our family. He lived with us for a year and a day. Towards the end of the year, it seemed like we were going to be able to adopt him. We actually attended a court hearing thinking that we would be moving forward with adoption. Instead, we left court that day, picked him up from daycare, and packed his bags. CPS came that afternoon to pick him up and take him back to his bio-family. We were devastated and cried for days, weeks, even months. Now, looking back, we can see how God had His hand in every little detail. We now have a wonderful relationship with his bio-family and get to see them regularly. We firmly believe that God needed us to be a part of this family’s story of reconciliation. In the fall of 2018, another sweet boy joined our family for 3 months. He rejoined his bio-family just a couple days prior to Christmas. His grandma occasionally shares photos with us through text messages. We are grateful for continued relationships with both of these boys’ families.
In the spring of 2019, we spent a few more months trying to conceive with the help of a fertility specialist, but we were again unsuccessful. This past summer, we knew it was time to take steps toward infant adoption. Life isn't easy. None of these paths are easy. They all have their own type of struggles.
The largest hurdle so far with infant adoption is the cost. We were told to budget between $35,000-$50,000. I can’t even say that I thought this amount was impossible. All along, I’ve had this overwhelming peace that God’s going to take care of every single penny. Over the last month, He’s given me fundraiser ideas very late at night, and I’ve miraculously felt rested the next day. We’ve had so many friends and family members step up and help us financially through donations and fundraising on our behalf through their own businesses. It’s been a time of us watching God do what we know He said He would do.
On December 20th, we started receiving case files of birth moms looking for adoptive families. We asked questions about each one but ultimately said no because we had not yet met our fundraising goals. On January 4th, we received a case from an agency with much lower fees, and we were able to say YES for the first time. This means that a specific birth mom would have our adoption profile book in front of her. (The writing of my story here was about 6 hours after sending in this YES.) This first YES of ours was hard because we still have so many questions:
- What if the mom doesn’t choose us? Will we be sad?
- What if the mom DOES choose us? Are we ready?
- How will we explain our child’s story to him/her?
- What will a semi-open adoption look like? How often will we get together with our child’s bio-family? What will that relationship look like?
- Will our own families accept and love our child’s bio-families like we want them to?
- What if we grow close to this mom, then at birth, she decides to parent her child?
- How much money will we lose if this mom decides to parent?
The questions go on and on. But ultimately, God is sovereign. He has a plan, He knows what our family will look like tomorrow, next year, and five years from now. He already knows exactly which child is going to be a part of our family. So for now, we can rest and have peace knowing that God is orchestrating this whole crazy life of ours.
To follow our story go to: www.facebook.com/groups/ChidichimosAdopt or https://www.abbafund.org/blog/chidichimo-family-fund/family-adoption-fund/
I leave you with some beautifully written words from @born.from.my.heart on Instagram. I’m not the best with words, but I love it when someone perfectly captures with their words what I know in my heart:
“Twelve years ago you couldn’t have convinced me otherwise that it was God’s “plan” for my boys to be adopted into our family. I’m really grateful that life shows up to challenge our beliefs, because today you can’t convince me otherwise that the only thing more beautiful than adoption is having no need for it. And that’s a hard truth to swallow when you know you wouldn’t be a mother without it. (For the record, you don’t have to agree.)
I just don’t believe God planned for my boy’s birth mothers to find themselves in a situation that wouldn’t allow them to raise their babies the way they wanted. The God I know doesn’t plan for broken families or broken hearts. I think the world just gets there all by itself.
For months now I’ve been speaking with expectant mothers who call the adoption agency I work at @aguardianangeladoptions. There are some incredibly heartbreaking situations happening all over the country and I don’t believe for one second that God ever intended one of these painfully unexpected pregnancies to be the means of fulfilling another woman's dreams of becoming a mother.
Here’s what I believe he does instead: He meets us wherever we are to help us repair the brokenness in our lives. He meets us on a Google search or a soul search. He’ll meet us on a bathroom floor with a negative pregnancy test or a positive one. He’ll turn a trial into a triumph and sometimes that looks like a woman getting the help she needs to be able to parent her child and sometimes that looks likes a woman finding the family she needs to parent her child.
And He will orchestrate the outcome of our trials and our desires to bring each us the greatest good." @born.from.my.heart on Instagram
UPDATE: Approximately 24 hours after writing this blog entry, we received a phone call that a birth mom had reviewed around 50 profiles, from 3 different agencies, over a period of 4 days and had chosen US! We couldn’t believe it, but also could, because God never ceases to amaze us throughout this process! He is working ALL things together for the good of those who love Him! We are beyond thrilled as our journey continues. We also understand that on the other side of our joy, is a birth mom’s heartache, grief, and pain. We do not take that lightly. Would you join us in praying for this birth mom?