Meet the Contributors: Brandie

September 7, 2017 Brandie, Contributor Q and A, Meet the Contributors 2 Comments

Continuing today with our series in which we share a short Q and A with one of our contributors to give y’all, our faithful readers, a little more behind-the-scenes insight into the amazing group of writers assembled here. And it will also give each of our contributors a chance to share their heart in a way a traditional post might not allow.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your family?

My husband Kevin and I should never have gotten married. In fact, we should have never even met. We both had plans to attend other colleges, and just two months before fall classes started at Mississippi State University, we each decided to go there because of our scholarship opportunities. We began dating at the beginning of my senior year, and we’ve been married for 18 years now.

We always knew we’d have two kids, maybe three. So we have currently settled on five, with the door cracked open a tiny bit for the possibility of another adoption one day. We have three biological children, a boy and two girls, and two boys adopted from China. They range in age from 15 years to 2.5 years old.

Q: What led you to adopt from China?

From a very young age, I was interested in adoption and foster care. I had always hoped I would be able to foster and/or adopt one day. When Kevin and I were dating, we volunteered at a children’s group home, and it was evident that he shared the same feelings toward helping children.

Shortly after our third child was born, God started placing foster care and adoption heavily on my heart, so I began reading and researching in 2011. By the end of 2012, I was certain that it was God’s plan for us to adopt, so I began inquiring about foster care. Doors kept closing everywhere I turned, so I did what I proclaimed I’d never do, and I started looking into international adoption. The China program seemed like the best fit for our family, so that’s where we proceeded.

And now? I see how God worked it all out perfectly. Closed doors led to open doors which led to China, and now a part of my heart lives there.

Q: Which provinces are your child from?

Both are from Jiangsu, but one lived in foster care in Beijing for most of his life before we adopted him.

Q: What special needs are represented in your family?

We have diagnoses of cerebral dysplasia, atrial septal defect, global delays, hearing loss, speech delay, GERD, feeding issues, and asthma.

Q: Favorite aspect of adoption? Hardest?

One of my favorite things about adoption is getting to witness all the triumphs and “firsts” that our kids may not have experienced had they not been part of a family. I also love watching how our kids love each other. My heart almost bursts when I see our 15 year old roughhousing with the toddlers, or our 13 year old eagerly rushing to the boys’ room when they wake up from nap, or our 7 year old teaching the boys songs and reading them books. The little ones bring so much to our family. We can’t imagine a life without them.

The hardest aspect for me hasn’t been the attachment or the countless medical appointments that we hadn’t anticipated. The hardest thing for me is leaving China, knowing the ones we left behind. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I could have never anticipated how hard it would be to walk out of the orphanage with my babies and wonder if the kids behind those doors would ever have a family to call their own. The reality of this wasn’t just sad for me. It was down right consuming.

Q: In one or two sentences, what are two tips applying to any part of the adoption process?

1) Find your people (through Facebook groups, adoption groups in your community, adoption mentors, etc.) and stick together. You will need support from these new friendships throughout the process and after you’re home. Most people in your life won’t understand what you’re going through if they haven’t done it themselves.

2) Remain steadfast in your faith that God has already decided the date and time you will meet your newest treasure. No amount of worrying, crying, or nagging USCIS will change that.

Q: How has adoption grown/stretched/changed you?

Adoption has changed me in countless ways. Seeing the world through the lens of a child who may not have experienced the love of a family, trips to the zoo, rambunctious siblings, medical needs being met…it is so very humbling. We take so much for granted every day.

I am strangely so thankful for the surprise medical needs we have faced. It makes me realize that I underestimate myself as a mother. Had I known beforehand just how many doctor appointments we would have our first year home seeking diagnoses, I would have said, “I can’t do that.” But I have done it, and I’m still doing it. And it doesn’t fill me with an ounce of regret. It makes me realize that if we do adopt again one day, our medical conditions checklist will be so much greater, and we will likely adopt an older child next time.

Q: Can you share a few of your favorite personal blog posts? Some shared by others on NHBO?

My favorite personal blog post is one I wrote in June of 2016 called The Child That Wasn’t Mine. It is one of my most vulnerable posts about a boy I met when we were on our adoption trips in 2015 and 2016. God used him to break me. My heart has never recovered from walking away from him. Our brief encounters are what paved the way to my passion for orphan advocacy. (Praise! He came home with his family just 13 months after I wrote this post.)

My favorite NHBO post is Who Would Want a Dad Like Me? by Mike. In fact, I love it so much that it has been open on my phone web browser ever since it was published. I can’t bring myself to close it! It was posted a little less than two months after we returned from our first adoption trip, a time when I struggled with my desperation to adopt again and my fear of not being enough as a mother. It was God’s perfect timing that I read it. Soon after, we committed to adopting again.

Q: What is your favorite book? Quote? Verse?

Book: I can’t pick a single favorite book! Some of my favorites are Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman, Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul by Jennie Allen.

Quote: “Christ never intended those who walked with him to feel comfortable and safe. This was meant to be a risk-it-all pursuit.” – Jennie Allen, Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul

Verse: “When everything is ready, I will come and get you so that you will always be with me where I am.” – John 14:3. This verse was a little gift for me in a devotional book during a particularly hard day for me during our first adoption. It renewed my soul, and it reminded me that when everything is ready in God’s timing, things will transpire. Not in mine. Adoption grew me so much spiritually. It allowed me a deeper understanding of our heavenly father and his deep desire for a relationship with us. Just as I eagerly awaited all of my children and made my preparations for them in anticipation and excitement, God feels exactly the same about us.

Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?

I am a very light sleeper. I have to run a small, but loud fan in my room so that I don’t wake up to every little sound. I take it with me every time I travel. I think it may have even gone to China with us once!

Q: Can you share a favorite “mom hack” that makes life easier for you?

A lot of moms who come to my house marvel at my collection of kitchen scissors. I have probably 5 or 6 pairs of kitchen scissors because I use them so much! They are so handy for cutting sandwiches, pizza, chicken, veggies, cutting open packages of food… everything!

Q: If you could share one parting thought with someone considering special needs adoption, what would it be?

You are capable of far more than you think. Your future son or daughter is far more than a diagnosis on a referral. Fear is your biggest obstacle. You can “what if” until you talk yourself out of making the leap to love big. The fear of the unknown and the fear of your own inadequacy to parent a child with special needs fades every day that you spend with your sweet child.

2 responses to “Meet the Contributors: Brandie”

  1. Johanna says:


  2. Julie says:

    This was awesome! Thank you, Brandie. Tears over the John 14 verse. 🙂

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