Today, our guest blog post comes from my sister, Andrea. She shares the beautiful adoption story of my precious niece. You can follow Andrea’s blog at http://www.hopethroughadoption.wordpress.com. ~Angela
Welcome to National Adoption Month! This may be the last day of the month, but better late than never, as they say. In honor of this great month, I invite you to read my favorite adoption story to date.
There is a story of a little girl that began long before she was ever born. Nine years before she came into the world, her forever mama was sitting in the car listening to the radio when an interview with Mary Beth Chapman came on about the adoption of her daughter, Shaohannah Hope. This mother was so interested, hanging on every word Mary Beth said; from their daughter Emily’s desires for the family to adopt, to Steven and Mary Beth’s hesitations, all the way through the end when Mary Beth said how she loves Shaohannah as much as her biological children. The little girl’s mama never forgot the words she heard on the radio that day. Around that same time, the mother and father attended Steven Curtis Chapman’s Live Out Loud tour concert. That night changed their lives forever. Their hearts were so touched by the Chapman family, their journey, their being the hands and feet of Christ, receiving a little girl into their home as their own. With tears in their eyes, they decided then and there that God was calling them to adopt someday, as well. They immediately started gathering adoption information, but being 20 and 22 years old, only married a year, the husband in school getting his doctorate, it just wasn’t the right time.
Well, five months went by after the concert, and that mother found out she was pregnant. They gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and spent the next three years content with her alone. Long story short, after a few years of secondary infertility, God used several people and circumstances to tell them “the time is now.” It was truly amazing. People who didn’t even know them personally prayed that God would direct them to adopt. Parents would approach them to share that their children had began praying the couple would adopt. The forever parents of that little girl had a real heart for children in their own country, so they contacted New Hope Family Services, an adoption agency in their state, beginning the process.
After two years of saving money, yet still not having enough to adopt, the husband and wife went through a time of discouragement. Feelings of despair were setting in. They hit this rut of not wanting to think about it anymore. After a period of a several months like that, God began restoring some things in them. Through other people, and through His Spirit, He began putting little encouragements in their path to steer them back to the adoption process He called them to.
Many times, in the adoption process, people would tell the couple what a noble thing they were doing, giving a baby a home that wouldn’t have one otherwise. The husband and wife had such a hard time with that thought because, going through an agency, there were plenty of people to “compete” against them who were in line for a baby. In foster care, however, it would feel much more like they would be caring for the orphans.
The wife had a very difficult time considering foster care, worrying that their baby would be taken away after a time of caring for it. One day, in prayer, she cried out, “God, You wouldn’t give us a baby just to take it away, would You?” Immediately a line from C.S. Lewis’s book The Silver Chair entered her mind. “Aslan never told Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do.” At that moment, that future forever mama surrendered her will to the will of God. The couple completed paperwork with the state, and proceeded to call their adoption agency to inform them that they would be going a different route. On the phone with their caseworker at the agency, the words she spoke shocked them. “We really need you. See, there are only three families like you willing to do an interracial adoption, and if you drop out, we won’t have enough.” Hold on a minute, they were NEEDED with the adoption agency? They had thought only going through foster care would they be needed or doing something meaningful. But the caseworker had just informed them that there was a real need for families willing to adopt interracially. That caused them to pause and reconsider what the Lord was doing. From that moment on, monetary gifts towards their adoption started pouring in, and the couple decided to proceed as originally planned with the adoption agency.
It took that family a long time over all to save enough money, but finally, as soon as their payments were up to date with the agency, they were chosen within a week by birthparents to raise a baby girl who had already been born. She was one quarter Native American, which technically made it an interracial adoption that many families were not willing to do. Though the birthparents courageously chose to give her up, that baby was a real rescue situation. There was no way she could stay with them, and she needed a home as desperately as any child in foster care did. At two months old, Baby Girl was placed in her forever mama’s arms for the first time. Mama knew they belonged together from the moment she laid eyes on her. This child had grown in her heart for so many years that the bond was instant. They were a family formed by God’s perfect direction and great design.
This is the adoption story of our daughter. The day after her first birthday, we celebrated our adoption finalization at the court house in our home town, and the legal changing of our daughter’s name. The name we chose for her is Evangeline Hope. It was only fitting. The first nudging of our hearts was because of Shaohannah Hope. Then, our adoption agency was New Hope. And the story of our lives and our adoption is Hope. How could we not incorporate the name? My husband loves the wording of our legal papers regarding her name. “It is ordered that this child will forever be known as Evangeline Hope.” She is given a new name, just as God will give us one day when our adoption is “finalized” and we are in Heaven.
“This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.”