November is Adoption Awareness Month so it seems only fitting that I continue sharing our adoption story with you. Thank you so much for following along so far! My heart just bursts to tell people of the adoption need in this country and, though not everyone may be called to adopt a child themselves, absolutely everyone can take part in supporting this life-changing call! I hope that our story inspires those seeking to adopt and shows others how to come around families in the process. Adoption is about so much more than family expansion… It’s about changing a child’s life forever. In the process, every person this child’s life touches will be changed too.
If you missed any of the previous installments of our adoption story, you can find them here:
- Adoption Dreams: Part One
- Trust in the Lord: Part Two
- Our Baby: Part Three
- My Adoption Song: Part Four
So, we were matched! It had been three short weeks since my friend first heard about this need. We had inquired, prayed, applied, and were matched with a baby due in 6 weeks! Now, we turned our focus to preparation, fundraising, and paperwork! This was early April and we still had to complete a homestudy, all the paperwork, raise $30,000 (minor detail), and prepare to bring a baby home in 6 weeks time!
Adopting a child kind of feels like being hired by the CIA. The stack of paperwork seems miles high. In addition, there are also background checks, financial inquiries, references, medical check ups, multiple interviews with a social worker, and a home check. I made phone calls and appointments by day and stayed up until the wee hours of the night scribbling madly to get it all submitted as soon as possible. We had an expedited home study done that took three weeks instead of the typical eight weeks.
Overwhelmed by Fundraising
But the biggest weight was financial. We followed God’s direction so I knew He would provide what we needed but I didn’t know how. I knew we could not accomplish this on our own yet it’s humbling to ask for support. The last thing I wanted to do was seem needy or pushy about it. So I figured we’d just share our story, let people know of the need, and let God do the rest.
Zach set up a website where people could follow our story and donate. You can visit it, if you like, and see everything first hand at BringDawsonHome.com. The website was an easy way for people to follow our adoption story as well as share our story with others. We also shot a brief video in our living room in an effort to share our heart with those who wanted to support our adoption. You can watch that video below:
We announced our adoption at church the same day we launched our website and started sharing our story. By the grace and glory of God, in 3 days time we brought in over $7500 in donations! We were 26% funded! In addition to our family, people from our church, our friends, and strangers from all over the world gave sacrificially to our cause! Talk about humbling! We had a little thermometer on the site, tracking our progress, and it kept rising daily!
Our church threw us a movie night fundraiser. Some dear friends had a yard sale for us. Some sweet young ladies had a bake sale for us. The funds kept rolling in! I was overcome by the response! Yet another distinct sign from the Lord that He was directing our path and we were walking in His will.
Within six weeks, we had received $20,000 in donations. Zach and I funded $5,500 out of pocket and put the final $5500 on a credit card (that we will finally pay off next month, praise the Lord! The first part of our debt snowball!).
For many of you adoption hopefuls, this is a popular topic. I will share more specifics about adoption finances, fundraiser ideas, and useful resources in a future post! Be sure to check back soon for that if you’re interested!
Meeting Dawson’s Birth Parents
We also had to prepare to make a trip down to Florida, at our birth mother’s request, so we could meet Dawson’s birth parents in person. I hid it well but I was terrified to meet them! What if they didn’t like us? Would they changed their minds after they met us? What if I said or did something stupid?!?
After an 11 hour drive, we pulled into the parking lot of the agency with just 10 minutes to spare before our meeting time. Exhaustion permeated every ounce of my being. The last three weeks of preparation for the birth of this couple’s son were taking their toll on my spirit, mind, and body and yet, I didn’t want it to show during this first face-to-face meeting. I wanted to portray calmness, competence, and poise. Yeah, right! Like that was going to happen.
We prayed and walked in. This meeting changed my life forever. Turns out, they were just as terrified to meet us, thinking that we might change our mind! Hearing their stories and circumstances surrounding their decision to put their child up for adoption and hearing the love they had for their son, enough to want more for him than they were able to provide given their circumstances, was the most humbling thing I have ever or will ever experience.
I still carry with me the weight of that conversation and the responsibility they placed on me to raise their child. I met my son’s heroes that day and they will always be honored as such in our home. Were they perfect? No. Did they have it all figured out? No, of course not. Adoption is messy and full of complicated decisions, emotions, and life choices. They had both made bad decisions that lead them to this meeting. But they loved that baby boy, my son, enough to protect him from the place they found themselves. They made the hardest decision a loving parent will ever have to make. For that, they will forever deserve my utmost respect.
Overwhelmed By Preparation
During this flurry of activity, I found it difficult to spare any energy to mentally prepare for motherhood. Not to mention, practically prepare to keep this new little human alive! Preparing for a baby in nine months is difficult enough! I had six weeks at most! I walked through Babies R Us one afternoon with a registry gun in hand. Finally I sat down in one of the display rockers, tears rolling down my cheeks, feeling utterly defeated. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
Wendy gave me several books to read and talked me through all the basics. You can’t imagine my relief to have her in my corner helping me with everything! I put word out that I needed help and a community of moms surrounded me and coached me! It was beautiful to see the body of Christ respond again in such unity and strength!
I was overwhelmed! The roller coaster of this adoption story was incredible!
Little did I know, God was up in heaven chuckling. “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”