When I was 18 years old I had my appendices removed at that time they found a small ovarian cyst. I was told that it was normal and not to worry. Approximately 6 months later I had this horrible pain in my side and I went to the doctor. I had a cyst the size of a basketball on my ovary, they surgically removed it and said not to worry. Six month later I had a cyst the size of softball, they surgically removed it and said not to worry. And so it went for 4 more surgeries.
At 21 years old I got married. We began trying to conceive right away. After 3 months, at my regular check up I ask the gynecologist if I should be worried and she said probably not, but because of all the surgeries I had gone through she would just schedule a laparoscopy to “take a look”.
When I woke up they told me that I had lost one of my ovaries because it had twisted and became severely infected around and that they had done everything they could to save the other ovary, but I had a less than 5% chance of ever naturally getting pregnant.
Enter all the fertility procedures and drugs, it was a terrible time. We weren’t sure which things were acceptable to our faith and which things weren’t this was 14 years ago and the science was still pretty new. Now I don’t believe I would have tried IVF knowing what I know now, but that is only my own personal choice.
By the time we started looking into adoption we had spent most of our money and some of my parents money on the fertility treatments and at that time private adoptions were running about $15,000 to $20,000.
Enter the Cabinet for Children and Families. We decide that perhaps we would try to adopt a special needs child. We went to the Adoption Training, had a home study and opened our home for adoption and started waiting. This was around Christmastime in 1995. At that time the State was DESPERATE for foster parents, so they called us and conned us into becoming foster parents. I had always said that I couldn’t be a foster parent because it would hurt too much when the children left. But, (there’s always a but isn’t’ there) everything flowed so well that we agreed and within 3 days of opening our home we had a set of 2 year old twins. Then suddenly we had their 1 year old brother, then enter their 4 year old sister.
We were a family, at least we thought we were. Their birth mother was very low functioning and she told us that she would let us adopt them if she couldn’t get them back. They were in our home for 3 years.
Other children came and went but I had the four siblings to ease the pain of the leaving. It was difficult but God gives you the strength you need when you need it. He is a good and gracious God.
Then one day out of the clear blue sky they called us and asked if we could take a premature newborn whose mother had left her at the hospital. I jumped at the chance. I had never had a baby, we were thrilled beyond belief. She was beautiful. I was thrilled and life was good.
One month before the siblings were to have their parental rights terminated an Aunt and Uncle appeared and said that they wanted to take the siblings. Under this States old laws and the old Federal guidelines they were able to take them. After 3 years, they were just gone. I was devastated, but remember I said God is good. He left my baby with me, she was 3 months old and thriving, He gave us strength that we would have never had on our own.
Eleven more children came and went, I loved them all, but they weren’t meant to be mine. I trust Him for each of them. He loves them more than I ever could. My baby was still here with me. She was growing into a beauty!!
She made me laugh when there was nothing to laugh about, she gave me hope. One night I was praying. Begging God not to take my sweet little one, and I heard Him speak to my heart. It wasn’t audible, just quiet and firm and sure. “The child is yours.” From that moment forward I knew, and I gave her the name Danielle. Her birth name was very close to this, and we had always called her Danni. Danielle means God is My Judge, and He is the only one I trust to judge what child belonged in my home.
The State and Federal guidelines changed about this time. Danielle was 24 months old, and we were heading down the home stretch to adoption. The State started a new foster parenting pilot program and they asked us to be one of 15 families to test the program. It was called concurrent placement. It was for children who were working toward reunification and adoption at the same time. We said okay. So we stopped taking children in the regular foster program and opened our home to concurrent placement children only.
The thing about being in a new program is that it took awhile for any children to be chosen for the program. So we didn’t have any placements for a while. This was good, because we needed a break. We took our first vacation and enjoyed our daughter.
Danielle is bi-racial and my husband and I are both Caucasian , so we wanted her to have a sibling who was bi-racial like her. So I began to bug the Cabinet workers for another baby. I pestered them for 6 months and the answer was always the same. We don’t have any babies in the concurrent program right now.
I had started trusting the Cabinet to give me another child, instead of trusting the one who gave me Danielle. Isn’t it strange that we can trust God only so far? That when our wants overwhelm us that we stop trusting him and start trusting ourselves and others?
I had worked myself up into a real huff. I was in the parking lot at the local Meijer and I told God that He was in charge. I said “Lord I’m not going to worry about this anymore, if you want me to have another child, you will bring that child to me.” He must have been waiting for me to let go, because when I got home there were 4 messages on my answering machine. They had a baby and I needed to come down right away and get her. Needless to say I did, and that is how Gabrielle came into our home. (By the way, Gabrielle means the Lord is my Strength).
Danielle’s adoption was finalized and we were ecstatic. She was happy too she did a somersault , in the court room. (I don’t think she really knew what was going on , but we were all thrilled, including the judge.)
Gabrielle’s mother was a very young , very hurt, very confused girl. Life had not been good to her. She told us that she would give up parental rights to Gabrielle, as long as we adopted her, but there was a catch; we had to adopt her son too. You should have seen the look on the social worker’s face when she found out there was another child. Birth Mom had another child in a different state’s custody who was just 1 year and 10 days older. We agreed. It took some time to cut through all the red tape between states and get the boy here.
While we were working to getting Noah (Noah means Peace) from one state to another, my social worker called me. She said sheepishly “I don’t know how to tell you this (long pause) but Danielle’s mother just had another baby.” Hysterical laughter on my end of the phone. I couldn’t do anything but laugh. She said “Are you alright?” I told her that I was but that I had to talk to my husband about this new turn of events. Of course our answer was yes, and so Andrew Isaac came to be our child. (Isaac means laughter.)
Noah followed about 2 month later. The red tape took awhile but everything flowed like God had meant it to be so we were at peace.
We had 4 adoptions in 12 months and we were a family. We closed our home to foster children, our quiver was full and we started a new stage of life as permanent parents.
I told you the story was LOOOONG. But it is full of God’s grace and provision. We aren’t the perfect parents. But we tell the children that each and everyone of them is a gift from God.
Some things I learned from all this are:
- You can’t always trust a social worker or a birth parent, but you can always trust God.
- Even when things seem darkest, God is always working for your good.
- God is in charge and nothing you can do will take that away from Him.