Emily and Owen have agreed to share a little about their family and share some powerful words of encouragement to other families pursuing adoption.
They have been married for 17 years. They have six children, Clara 14, Judah 12, Wesley 10, Julia 8, Ruby 4 and Jade 2. When they began the adoption process their first three children were 4,3 and 1 and they waited for their daughter Julia for about 10 months. Julia joined their family through CFC’s infant adoption program. Ruby and Jade later joined the family after first joining the family through foster care.
Q: What is something that helped you when you were waiting for placement?
A: Something that helped us while we were waiting to be matched was praying as a family. We invited our very young children to participate with us praying for the birth family that we would eventually become family with, we prayed for the baby to be healthy and we prayed that God would give us perfect peace when that phone call came. All of those things happened in our story. We also talked with our family, small group and church family about our waiting–we did not wait alone. The way that the body of Christ waited with us was a true picture of the longing we all had for this new family member to join us.
Q: What advice would you have for a waiting family?
A: My advice for a waiting family is to really cherish the moments that you have before placement–your family will never be the same. Adoption changes you and shapes you in enormous ways beyond adding a new member to your family. Ask the Lord to give you eyes to see the beautiful moments you have now and don’t just wish for the beautiful moments coming.
Q: Is there something you wish you would have known before or prepared for?
A: I wish something I would have known before adoption is to be prepared for the tension of adoption. Adoption is both broken and beautiful, joyful and full or sorrow, black and white and also full of grey. It is not either or, it’s both. Learning how to love and accept the whole of the adoption story was much more complex than I first realized and it has taken a long time to get my head and heart around all the complexities–and I’m still learning. We have adopted three children (one through infant adoption and two through foster care) and our family didn’t expand just by those children, but by their birth parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, cousins etc. The adoption story, when possible should not be limited to just the child, but really the inclusion of whatever family members can join this journey. There is NO WAY I could have been prepared or even imagined what God was going to do in EXPANDING our family exponentially through adoption. It has been a gift that keeps on giving.
Q: Something to encourage a family who is pursuing adoption?
A: Something encouraging that I often share with waiting families is two-fold. First, cling to the fact that the child that is joining your family through adoption has been chosen by God from the beginning of time to take your last name. There is nothing that can thwart God’s plan–no child desired forms, no caseworkers, no missed phone calls– for that child’s life (or yours) and clinging to that during the agonizing waiting period brings peace and assurance along the way.
The second comes from Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Not only does this verse remind me that God supplied all of the financial needs we had related to our adoptions, but he has continued to pour out his riches of his glory in Christ Jesus by giving us strength day by day (sometimes moment by moment) to parent all six of our children. Parenting is hard work and we need Jesus’ infinite wisdom to guide them in the way they should go. Lastly, he has lavished extravagant love in our hearts as a gift towards our children’s first families and has given us the capacity to keep open hands and hearts to welcome them regularly into our lives. These are not things that we have done or accomplished but transformations from walking through our adoption journey and Christ sustaining us along the way. Truly tangible experiences of God supplying all of our needs.