In the summer of 2008, we were listening to the Light Radio and heard an advertisement for a Bethany Christian Services informational meeting on adoption in our area. We attended this meeting and were given boatloads of information on both international and domestic adoption to digest. After praying for several months about whether to pursue adoption as a way to grow our family, we felt God’s leading and we filled out the preliminary application for the domestic program and the process began. Our only real hesitation with domestic adoption was that we were not comfortable with the thought of having a birth mother or birth father in our day to day lives. We preferred the idea of a semi-open adoption where all contact would go through Bethany Christian Services. In one of our many meetings with our social worker, she encouraged us to pray that God would stretch our thinking in this area. In March of 2009 our home study was complete and we began waiting for a birth mother to select us. Over the next year we waited what felt like FOREVER! While we were told of a few potential birth mother situations that we were being considered for none of them came to pass.
In January of 2010 we were asked if we would be willing to talk on the phone with a birth mother who was considering placing her unborn baby up for adoption. We agreed to talk with this birth mother. She was due to have a baby boy in April of 2010. We asked the birth mother why she had chosen us to talk with. Her response still makes us laugh to this day. In our profile book that we made to tell birth mothers a little bit about ourselves, we included a picture of us building a snow fort out of boredom on our front lawn. The birth mother told us that she wanted her baby boy to grow up in a family who did fun things like that together. The birth mother expressed to us that she wanted a fairly open adoption. God had been working on our hearts over the year leading up to our conversation and when she asked for a fairly open adoption, we felt at peace with that. Over the next few months we occasionally talked with the birth mother on the phone but had not yet had a face to face meeting. We had a meeting planned but the birth mother went into labor before that meeting could take place. The weekend that the birth mother went into labor I was attending a Women of the Word conference in Nashua, NH. At that conference I attended a workshop titled "Blessed By Brokenness" at which I felt that God was preparing me for something, I just didn’t know what quite yet. Matt and I were excited but at the same time rather nervous about going to the hospital. (We even got pulled over for speeding on our way to the hospital but the nice cop let us off when we told him that we were in a hurry to get to the hospital to see our future son being born!) We knew that the birth mother felt that it was God’s will for her to place her baby in our care but the birth father was still on the fence with his decision. Throughout the course of an eleven hour day we met the birth mother, the birth father and lots of their family and friends. When baby Joseph finally arrived we were able to hold him and take pictures. After a very long day, the decision was made that we would make the two hour trek back to Vermont and return to the hospital in New Hampshire the next afternoon. The next morning we received a phone call that the birth mother was contemplating her decision to place Joseph up for adoption and that we should not travel to New Hampshire until we heard back from the New Hampshire social worker. The following day we received the phone call that we feared was on its way…the birth mother had decided to parent Joseph. Needless to say we were crushed and couldn’t understand why God would allow us to go through such an emotional roller coaster. It was at this time that I remembered the "Blessed By Brokenness" workshop that I had just attended. When God breaks us, as He was doing in Matt and I, we need to continue to praise, worship and cry out to Him.
Over the next few weeks we tried to put the experience behind us and move on trusting that God knew what He was doing. About a month later, I went to throw away the pages and pages of handwritten notes that Matt and I had both taken from our phone conversations with the birth mother and birth father as well as the photos from the hospital. But as I stood over the trash can, I just couldn’t do it. So I tucked the notes back in our adoption binder and put the binder away. The more that time went on, the less we thought about that situation and life continued as normal.
One day in mid- July we got an unexpected phone call from our social worker letting us know that baby Joseph was available for adoption and that the birth mother and the birth father wanted Matt and I to parent him. Words cannot express how excited we were!!! A plan was in place for us to go to New Hampshire to meet with the birth mother, her family, the birth father and the New Hampshire social worker to have a short ceremony. After the ceremony the birth mother and birth father would place Joseph in our care until they were able to go to court five days later. At court they would terminate their parental rights and Joseph would officially become our son. This was a very crazy time for us as we were literally days away from leaving on a missions trip to an orphanage in Guatemala that we had been planning and fundraising for over the previous two years. We had to be prepared for two very real possibilities – the first that we could still be going on this missions trip with broken hearts at not being parents OR we could have our dream of becoming parents fulfilled!
During the time that we had Joseph in our care, we were required to stay in the state of New Hampshire so we found lodging at a hotel that gave us a fantastic rate on our room which only God could have orchestrated. It was a challenging five days wondering if the birth mother and the birth father would really follow through with their decision to have us parent Joseph especially since every moment that we spent with Joseph we were forming a bond. Our friends and family came to visit us while we were in New Hampshire and we know that many were praying for us, the birth mother and the birth father that God’s will be done. We talked with the birth mother nearly every day during this time and she was the first to call us to tell us that Joseph was ours – what a very special gift! From there we had to continue to stay in New Hampshire until the interstate approval process was complete between New Hampshire and Vermont allowing us to bring Joseph home. We were told that this could take a week or more. By the grace of God within three days we were packing up our hotel room and heading home after nine days in a hotel. Needless to say we were thrilled to be coming home as hotel living is not much fun with a new baby!
Since bringing Joseph home we have had on going communication and visits with both his birth mother and birth father. We are so very blessed that God has answered our prayers by fulfilling the desires of our hearts and giving us Joseph!