In January of 2011, after we had been married for three years, we decided it was time to begin our family. We carefully read all the books and blogs and even took a class for family planning. By 2012, we knew that getting pregnant was not going to be easy, so we pursued various fertility treatments where we were poked, prodded, and monitored for a year and a half. At the beginning of 2013, we knew it was time to discuss other options. Would we want to empty our bank account and further engage in fertility treatments? Was it time to look into adoption- a process we knew next to nothing about??
Honestly, we had just started to dream about adoption when we learned the CALL was having an informational meeting at my parents’ church, and it felt like God was trying to get our attention. We thought we would go to the meeting “just to listen,” but not make any decisions yet. I remember crying as Mary Carol spoke at this meeting and looking into the faces of children that were in the video shown at the beginning of the meeting. God was no longer being subtle.
We decided to sign up for PRIDE training and gather our materials to become open as a foster home. In the meantime, we explored private adoption agencies, only to realize it did not feel right for us. Months passed that included background checks, fingerprints, CPR classes, support groups, and a ton of learning. By the time PRIDE training took place, we were enthusiastic about fostering or adoption, wherever the road took us.
After PRIDE training and our home being opened, we:
- traveled back and forth from Arkansas to a northern state in the hopes of adopting a family member, participated in court sessions and meeting, and eventually did not get chosen.
- had to say no to multiple foster care placements due to our frequent traveling.
- were “interviewed” in the hospital by a teenage girl who had just given birth and was looking for an adoptive family. We were not chosen.
- were contacted by someone who knew a mother who was considering adoption. Eventually she changed her mind.
- made inquiries about multiple children on the Heart Gallery but had not yet been matched.
By 2014, multiple failed possible adoptions and many sleepless nights later, we knew it was time to focus on adoption through DCFS. A high school friend sent me a Facebook message to encourage me to keep an open mind when going through the adoption process, sharing with me her story of her beautiful older children. Almost immediately, we received an email about the Project Zero Disney Event that was happening soon. We visited the Project Zero website, too afraid to look at the photos because our hearts had been broken too many times to count. I emailed Christie Erwin to get more information about the Disney Event, and she responded within minutes. She was so reassuring and positive, and she was willing and able to answer questions for us! This was something we were not used to. That evening, we took the chance to look at the photos on the website, knowing we needed to guard our hearts and take it slowly.
Then we saw them. Two round-faced, smiling boys hugging each other with eyes that sparkled. We stopped scrolling, and we looked at each other. “This is them. These are our kids,” we said to each other. We fell head over heels in love, but we were scared and still cautious due to our past experiences.
Christie put us in touch with their adoption specialist, and we arranged to meet them at the 2014 Disney Extravaganza. We went, not knowing what to expect or how to meet the boys while there. During the event, we were separated and Jeremy was at the bouncy house and I was at the climbing wall. That’s when he sent the text that said, “THEY’RE HERE. GET HERE QUICK!” Our oldest had literally run smack into Jeremy’s face while tumbling down the bouncy house slide and said, “This is my house!” with a huge grin on his face. I practically ran to the back of the gym, my heart racing and my breath caught. There they were. Just as smiley and sparkly-eyed as their photo. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting milkshakes and playing in a sandbox, wanting the day to never end.
Things moved quickly after the Disney Extravaganza. We were matched! We began visits, and they moved home July of 2014. Our adoption was finalized March 18, 2015!
Kenneth and Miles were 4 and 5 when they came home. We never envisioned adopting older boys. We never envisioned adopting a sibling set. We could have never dreamed the perfect way things unfolded once we let go and allowed God to lead. Adoption is hard. The road leading to adoption is hard. The waiting is incredibly hard. But these things are worth it:
- the first time I heard “mommy”
- the first time a little hand reached for mine in the parking lot
- the first time one had a fever and needed extra love
- the first bandaid and wiping away tears
- first birthday parties (they had never even been to one!)
- learning to ride a bike
- going from not knowing the alphabet to becoming READERS!
- first days of school and enormous smiles at the end of the day
- … and the countless other “firsts” that they experienced with us. Because we are their mommy and daddy.
Kenneth and Miles are brave and resilient. They love Superman and Batman, fellow superheroes who are also adopted. This year, we will participate in our third Walk for the Waiting. We walk for children and families who are waiting to find each other. We walk to honor the way our family was built. We walk because they were absolutely worth the wait. We walk because Kenneth and Miles are superheroes.