There are so many things I learned through my adoption journey that it seems almost too much to remember; yet, I want to remember it all.
My journey started with a small conversation with Amy. Her family was at my home for dinner, and we were washing dishes and talking. I remember telling her about a time during seminary, after three very difficult miscarriages, that we’d looked into adoption. Many, many months later, Amy called about a soon-to-be-born baby needing a home. Ryland, my new son, was in my arms eight days later. Lesson 1: God is always at work.
I met Ryland’s birth mom the day after she selected our family to care for him. (She chose us from a few smiling pictures and a letter to her from me). Our meeting lasted about an hour and a half, and then we went home to prepare for our new baby. I didn’t get to see her again until we got the call that she had delivered and was waiting on us at the hospital. When we arrived, I was given an arm band by a nurse and I didn’t leave that room for four days. Lesson 2: When God works, He is not just working on my behalf. He is working out good in many lives all at once.
There are a lot of things I just can’t do by myself. So many times I have had to depend on my family or friends to help me get things done, and I was in a position where I had to let them help me. This is what my birth mom was asking me to do for her. She needed me to help her raise this baby. During the times I needed help, I have been blessed to have my church or biological family help me. I never had to count on a stranger to help me (and I knew this was much harder for her to do than I could ever imagine). Lesson 3: I am not a lone ranger. I need others.
My birth mom was a very intelligent single mom of three. She was sure of one thing; she would raise this baby herself if she couldn’t find a godly helper. (But our God never leaves or forsakes us.) Lesson 4: God is trustworthy. He always provides.
When we were in the hospital, my family came daily and stayed until visiting hours were over. They laughed, fought over Ryland, and quarreled right in her hospital room. She was there; sometimes we thought she was asleep until she smiled with closed eyes at us “doing family life” right in front of her. “Ryland is really going to be loved,” were her words to me after the family had gone home for the night. Lesson 5: God cares.
My birth mom was given ten days to change her mind. Talking by email, she let me know the tenth day was so overwhelmingly difficult, but she had to trust that she was making the right choice for Ryland.
I want her to know that I am doing my best to make sure Ryland is a wonderful godly man. He is very musical and smart. He is great at every sport he tries (I can’t believe how good he is on the Wii). Mostly, I want my birth mom to know that I will stand before God on His gift to me, presented by her. And the greatest words I can hear on this godly task will be, “Well, done because, I, too, am a birth mom.” God has presented to me children to help raise for Him. He has chosen me to help Him in this task. I am truly humbled. Lesson 6: I am given a life to live. I must make the most of my time.