Since high school, I’ve felt this stirring in my heart to adopt internationally. I even remember saying to Matt when we were still in high school, “One day I want to adopt internationally… are you okay with that?” He looked over at me and said, “Yes, I’m okay with that.”
Fast forward eight or nine years and we were ready to start our family. I remember waking up to take a pregnancy test the first month we had tried and seeing the pink line. My heart started racing and I thought, “That was too easy.” A few weeks later, I had a bad feeling and I called my doctor’s office. They told me they could do an early ultrasound just to put my fears at ease. We went in and saw and heard the most beautiful little strong heartbeat. We were beyond thrilled. We went home that weekend to tell our family the wonderful news. That Saturday while we were still in Jackson, I started having a miscarriage. The next day we lost our precious baby.
A couple months later once we were given the okay, we tried again and sure enough another positive test. I was quite nervous, but when we went in for an ultrasound a few weeks later, there was another precious strong heartbeat for us to see. We left the doctor’s office excited but still apprehensive. And then two days later, it was deja vu. I miscarried again.
These were the most difficult days of my life. My journals from this time are crinkly and rippled from all the tears I cried while I prayed to my Heavenly Father. I remember falling asleep on Matt’s shoulder every night as my tears flooded his shirt. Knowing we had been called to adopt internationally, I thought maybe God’s timing was now. Maybe His path was adoption first. I sent off for some literature from different agencies, and I remember surrendering and praying, “God, I will do whatever you tell me to.”
My doctor wanted to run some tests on me since my miscarriages had been so similar. They found a hormone that was low in me. It was a simple fix, in my heart, it felt much too simple to actually be the problem. But in God’s infinite faithfulness and grace, He soon gave us a healthy pregnancy that would lead to our beautiful daughter. When I held her for the first time, I was so overcome with emotion. After so much pain and days that felt like they lasted for decades, finally we had been given a baby to hold.
When we were ready to grow our family once more, we thought we would have another biological child before we adopted. (The biology major in me was thinking, “Better to go through pregnancy while you’re young!”) Since we were able to conceive so easily all three times before, we expected to be pregnant very soon. But month after month passed and we still weren’t. The whole time in the back of my head the desire to adopt internationally was growing and the tension I felt in my heart was mounting. I kept trying to explain to God all the reasons that this wasn’t the right time to adopt. “We don’t have that kind of money, Lord. Just let us get more into savings and then we’ll be ready.” “We don’t have time for all that paperwork, Lord. It’s just so much.” “And so many of my friends are pregnant, Lord. It would be so fun to be pregnant at the same time.” But still the uneasiness in my heart wouldn’t let up.
Then, Chris Conlee (our pastor at Highpoint) started teaching a series called Defining Moments. Matt and I sat in church listening to Chris teach on Moses and how God called Moses to go. Moses gave God all the excuses he had, but God said , “Go!” Chris said, “If God says go, you can’t say no.” I knew exactly what God was telling me. He was saying, “Go get this child I have for you. I know that this isn’t your timing and I know this isn’t your plan, but remember how I was faithful before. I will be faithful again. I will lead you on this journey, and it will be long and hard and sometimes painful, but I AM faithful.” Matt and I looked at each other, and we knew. It was time to get started.
When we got home from church, we pulled out all the adoption information we had collected. We narrowed it down to a couple agencies and then we needed to choose which country. Friends have asked me, “How did you choose Ethiopia?” I honestly don’t have a great answer for that. There was something in those beautiful brown eyes staring back at me that I just couldn’t say no to. I think everyone in our families has light eyes, so I knew the Punnett squares weren’t in our favor for having a brown-eyed baby. Those eyes just captured me. I told Matt I was leaning toward Ethiopia, and he said, “That sounds perfect.”
A few days later, I received a call from the people at America World. They shared with me a lot of information on the Ethiopia program and said that since the wait times have been lengthened (between 2-3 years now) that if we should get pregnant during that time we could apply for what is called Concurrent Family Building. It’s a funny term to me, but if God chooses to give us another pregnancy and we are approved for it, we could continue moving forward in the adoption process. It felt like God was saying, “I’m not shutting that door either. I just need you to trust me on this adoption. I know what I’m doing and my way is best.”
We filled out our application, sent it in and then yesterday we got a phone call saying, “You’ve been accepted into the Ethiopia program!” Now the real fun begins… all the paperwork, trusting, fundraising, hoping, homestudy, waiting, fingerprints and building our faith one day at a time.
We grew so much in our faith as we walked through our journey to our daughter. We know the same will be true in our journey to our Ethiopian baby. We appreciate your support, encouragement, prayers, gifts and love.
With all our love,
Elissa & Matt