Q: Can you tell us a little about your family?
My husband and I have known each other since 4th grade. He claims he has liked me since the day he met me when we were only 10! It took me a little longer to catch on to the romance but we eventually started dating in college and got married shortly after we both graduated. We have two biological boys as well as an adopted daughter from China, and we are currently in the process of adopting another child from China. Our entire family loves sports and you can most likely find us on a soccer, football, or baseball field or on a basketball court somewhere practicing our shots.
Q: What led you to adopt from China?
Charles and I began praying about adopting a child before we even had our biological children. Our eyes were opened to adoption after reading the Bible, blogs, books, traveling to other parts of the world and even seeing the beautiful picture of adoption firsthand through friends and family. We realized how many children in the world truly need a home. Our hearts went from wondering if we should adopt to how could we not? Charles and I wanted to leverage the gifts God had given us of a home, a job, a healthy marriage, a welcoming church family, and an incredible support system.
We actually began the adoption process in Uganda, Africa after traveling to Africa and seeing the need of the children there firsthand. After 18 months in that program, God began shutting the door on Uganda. It was a pivotal moment for us as we had to ask God what He wanted next for our lives. After praying and seeking counsel, we were confident God was still calling us to pursue international adoption so we asked Him to show us what country He wanted us to pursue. After several providential conversations and continued prayer, we landed on China.
Q: Which province is your child from?
Q: What special needs are represented in your family?
Our daughter, Callie, has a limb difference and nerve damage in her left leg.
Q: Favorite aspect of adoption? Hardest?
The absolute best part of adoption is feeling like you have a front row seat to a miracle on a continual basis. When we first laid eyes on our daughter she was distraught. She sobbed for days and days and when she wasn’t crying, she was completely stone face.
Through tender love and care and gained trust, Callie began smiling at the end of the first week we were in China. It was the most beautiful smile I had every seen and to this day her smile is the first feature people notice about her. Her smile will light up a room. Over the past almost three years we have watched a terrified, sad, lonely little girl blossom into a giggling, soccer kicking, bike riding, tree climbing, fearless swimming, little sister who adores her family.
Callie is so excited that we are adopting again and every single night as I tuck her into bed, she says, “Let’s talk about my little brother or sister in China.” I can’t wait to watch her experience her own miracle in her new sibling soon.
The hardest part of adoption is knowing that great joy has come from great sadness. Whenever our daughter reaches a new milestone, I am sad that her birth mother did not get to experience it too. When I hear Callie laugh or feel the warmth of her hand holding mine, I sometimes feel sorrow that there is another mom across the ocean that may wonder if her daughter is still in an orphanage or if she ever found love.
I know as Callie grows up she will have so many questions about why she was abandoned. My heart aches that she may feel rejection or sadness for what led to her abandonment. I constantly talk to her about how wonderful her birth mother is and how she carried Callie safely in her tummy. I am praying that her birth mother develops a relationship with Jesus so that one day in heaven, I can hug her and thank her for choosing life.
Q: In one or two sentences, what are two tips applying to any part of the adoption process?
1. Avoid Google docs, Excel spreadsheets, or any other timelines that will tempt you to compare your adoption process to others because they could make you feel discouraged, jealous or defeated. Every process is unique and God has a precious plan to grow you and do work in you as you wait.
2. Build friendships in the adoption community because these will be the people you can talk to who will best understand your hard days.
Q: How has adoption grown/stretched/changed you?
Adoption has taught me to relinquish control. Before we adopted Callie, I was holding tightly onto my plan and my timeline and this impacted all areas of my life. That season of waiting was a gift because I now feel like I have learned to open my hands fully to God’s desires for my life.
Q: Can you share a few of your favorite personal blog posts? Some shared by others on NHBO?
One of my two favorite pieces is Weaving because I think the way God weaves together an adopted child with a family is one of the most beautiful displays of His work on the earth.
I also like my most recent piece, An Awkward Email, because I am really passionate about people finding community, especially with other families who have adopted.
I am truly honored to be in the No Hands But Ours community and gain some much insight and encouragement from the other contributors. One of my favorite pieces from a fellow NHBO writers is I See Love By Choice.
Q: What is your favorite book? Quote? Verse?
I have so many favorites but my current favorite is Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I am a definite Type A personality and my tendency is to prioritize tasks over people. God has used this book in my life to help me choose connection with others over the drug of efficiency.
My favorite verse is Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
I was the first female T-ball player in my city.
Q: Can you share a favorite “mom hack” that makes life easier for you?
I have a chalkboard that hangs in my kitchen and every Sunday afternoon I wipe it down and then write out our calendar for the week on it. I color code our entire schedule for each family member and also add details on there like “library day” or “P.E. day” so my kids can look at it and remember when they need to wear their P.E. uniform or return their library book to school. I also write out the menu by each day which eliminates any questions from my crew about what’s for dinner.
Q: If you could share one parting thought with someone considering special needs adoption, what would it be?
I think there is some understandable fear around the phrase “special needs.” My husband and I definitely were apprehensive when we applied for the special needs program in China. However, the first time we saw our daughter’s face, everything changed. We weren’t focused on a label. We were simply focused on our child.
Author David Platt made the statement, “…orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.”
I think the same can be said for special needs children. Once you hold your child in your arms, the needs take a backseat because this is now your son or daughter.
Also, education is key. The more you learn about your child’s special need and the more you surround yourself with other people who have a child with a similar need, the fear starts to dissipate. Other families walking through the same special need together helps to normalize the need.