Early on in our adoption journey, a well-meaning person told me she wished that Craig and I could have one of our own children some day. After I picked up my jaw from the floor and before I turned Hulk on her, I thought to myself, “She doesn’t get it.”
As we prepare for the finalization of Isaac’s adoption, I am reminded of this naivety. She didn’t understand that adoption describes how you enter a family. It is neither a label nor an indicator of how someone is valued. Imagine sitting down to dine with a family that has adopted. Certainly the parents wouldn’t use an introduction like, “These are my sons Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John- he’s adopted.” I point out the silliness of this, because adoption is every part of having a family of your own.
A Place at the Table
A Picture of Adoption
As I reflect on this crazy, life changing experience of Isaac’s adoption, I can't help but revisit Ephesians 1:5: In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.
It’s this verse that first became the theme of this blog and eventually, the inspiration behind a little Christmas ornament fundraiser. It’s hard to forget these guys after making 230 of them and raising nearly $10,000. Blows my mind!' This verse though is bigger than a blog or a fundraiser, or even Isaac. It’s this verse that helps share the Gospel’s message of adoption into our Heavenly Father’s family.
Two Years Later
Back in January I shared “A Letter to Baby.” In it was the letter I had originally written on July 9th, 2014 to our unknown future child. At the time it was written Craig and I had no answers to the who, when, or how of this future little one. When I shared it with you on the blog in January, Craig and I were six months into our adoption journey and waiting to be matched. There were still so many unknowns, but we felt convicted that God had placed it on our hearts to grow our family.
The letter was intended as a love note, but it was also a reminder to me that, even back then, God was providing. Two years have passed since that letter was first written. You may remember that I started my letter “Dear Isaac” and today, I write to you with Baby Isaac nestled up to me and a message of encouragement for you for what God has placed on your heart to do!
So, we have our baby! Now what?
Baby Isaac came home (to the hotel) on May 19th and for goodness sakes, we’ve been falling in love with him more every day. Yes, even today as I write this sleep deprived and covered in spit up, Craig and I are so in love!
In true new mom fashion, I bring you a late introduction to our sweet new addition. Meet Isaac Paul Burge! We are so in love!
I Was Adopted Too
At our lunch with Birthmom, Craig and I had the opportunity to share the cards that our friends, family, co-workers, and strangers made back at the Burge Family Adoption Fundraiser. Back in January, folks drew pictures, wrote sweet messages, and included their favorite scripture verses for Baby Burge. There was so much love and excitement on those cards! What an opportunity to share with Birthmom how loved this child was before we even knew who he was and what excitement there was that one day he’d be welcomed into the family!
A 4-Week Catch Up
Life’s been wonderfully busy lately. On March 12, our lives were changed forever when we got the call that we were matched. And pretty much since that moment, Craig and I have been flying by the seat of our pants! I’m excited to take this quiet moment though, while the hubby is at work, the pups are napping, and the cat has provided just enough lap space to sit with the laptop, to write.
Here’s what we’ve been up to over the last 4 weeks:
1. Paperwork! Lots of it… and. we. still. aren’t. done. There is definitely a great deal of paperwork in the early stages of adoption with the home study and adoption agency application processes, but we’ve discovered that there is more! And that’s okay. This is in a large part due to the fact that we are adopting out of the state of Kentucky in sunny Florida, in fact. Enter my new friend, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, or ICPC. This is the law in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands in which the adoptive parents’ state and the baby’s state work together to make sure that the adoptive parents are approved and fit for the adoption to take place. Parts of the requirements include submitting our home study and the documents that go with it- over 15 to be exact. I’ve got one more to go! Phew.
There is also other additional paperwork at this stage, much of it requiring visits to a notary- I believe our last notary visit makes it our fourth so far! This legal aspect of adoption is so important and if it’s another document or visit to the notary, by golly, Baby Burge is the best reason to do it!
2. Communication! We’ve had the opportunity to begin building a relationship with our birthmom and it has been a fun, nerve-racking, and very rewarding experience. On March 18th, we started texting and since then, we’ve had a few opportunities for phone conversations. My insides were filled to the brim with butterflies with each text! I warned Craig that I could vomit before our very first phone call with our birthmom. And I wasn’t joking! I just wanted everything to go perfectly for her and most of all, not do anything too socially awkward. I know God provided for us during these times by giving us words to speak and calming our nerves, especially mine. Everything has gone so well and just continues to confirm God’s care for our birthmom and us. This communication has also been a wonderful way for our birthmom and us to share our excitement for one another and begin creating a wonderful foundation for an ongoing relationship.
3. Travel! Over three days, Craig and I drove to Daytona Beach and back... to meet our birthmom. It was a whirlwind trip, driving more than 1700 miles over a long weekend, but so worth it! We fought all the Spring Break travelers down 75 South to meet up at Joe’s Crab Shack for lunch. This meeting reaffirmed how special our birthmom is and helped us understand her heart and how big it is. We still had driving to do after lunch and needed to leave in the early afternoon, but we could’ve easily stayed and talked for many more hours.
We got the call Saturday!
My cellphone rang just after 1pm that afternoon. It was Karalee, our adoption consultant. This was odd, I thought. We shared our profile with a birthmom on Monday and usually receive updates through e-mail or text. This was a good kind of odd. I answered.
One of the first things she said was, “Is Craig with you?” He was. We were outside at his parents’ house. We had stopped by to borrow the hedge trimmers when the cloudy skies and stormy forecast disappeared and the sun caught us by surprise that afternoon. It was a lovely day. I was standing with his mom discussing her future garden and he was talking to his older brother. I called him over. “Are you sitting down?” Karalee asked next.
I don’t remember if I was crying before or after she told us
An Adoption Snapshot
It’s been longer than I’d like since I’ve written or updated you on our adoption journey. I can’t say much has changed on our status, but I wanted to share a snapshot of what’s taken place. Last Monday, we received another “not yet” after sharing our family profile. The rest of last week was well, quite interesting for both good and disappointing reasons. It’s been overwhelming at times to watch God move the mountains and put together the images of an intricate collage. I hope to share more on this soon.
We are preparing to share our profile again this coming Monday. Of course we are excited that it could be a match, but we are also preparing for other news and realize there is more at work than Craig or myself. One big lesson I’ve learned in this journey is that I can only do so much. Like nearly everything in life, you can try to do everything right, but that’s not a guarantee of results or that it’s going to be any easier. The second piece to this lesson is that God’s got this. We’ve already seen Him at work throughout this whole journey. There is no denying that He has generously blessed, protected, provided, and then some. Receiving this lesson has meant that I can give God this situation and any other for that matter, and He’s got it!
At the end of this journey, I imagine a flip book of all the snapshots in our adoption journey. Each snapshot individually is motionless, but when turned quickly they demonstrate the God’s movement. He is at work!
A Mother’s Love
Officially starting our adoption journey this past summer, I wasn’t sure what to think about birthmothers. There was a part of me that struggled to understand them. I had the thought early on that a baby would show up, maybe via stork even, and that was it. I had forgotten or wanted to ignore a very important and special person in adoption: the birthmother.
I have grown so much in my understanding of birthmothers since then that I feel ashamed some times to think about my prior ignorance. Today, I recognize them as special individuals and respect them for what they’re doing for their child. My heart also goes out to birthmoms who are often misunderstood and devalued. There is nothing that quite gets the Hulk in me fired up when I hear negative comments about birthmoms.
For me, I just didn’t know about birthmoms. I was ignorant. I lacked any awareness about birthmoms. I was clueless. And many of the opinions that Craig and I hear weekly demonstrate the same ignorance I was under.
An Ephesians 1:5 Blog
"In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will." -Eph. 1:5 (NIV)
I am an adopted daughter of Christ sharing how God is at work as we grow our family through adoption.
I pray that I can begin to express in words how God's been at work in our lives. I pray that He will be glorified as we share with others. I pray for you! I pray that as you read this you will see God at work in your own life and that your relationship with Him will be blessed.