I remember the first time I spoke with Michael and Chelsey over the phone. We talked for at least an hour and I knew within minutes that there was something special about this couple. As their adoption consultant, I not only had the honor of guiding them through the adoption process, I got to know them very well throughout their journey! And I can tell you that I have seen them walk through the unknowns, heartache and loss with the kind of joy and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. As Chelsey beautifully explains below, their story is one of God’s faithfulness, grace, mercy and unconditional love. It is my prayer that you will be encouraged by their faith, as I have.
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”
-Lamentations 3: 22-23-
A mother takes her young son into a store. The store owner approaches the young boy and tells him to take a hand full of candy. The young boy looks up to the store owner and asks if he would get the candy for him. Later that day the mother asks her son, “Why did you ask the store owner to get your candy instead of getting it yourself?” The boy replies, “because his hands are bigger than mine.”
A coworker of Michael told us that story as we packed to go to Florida to await the birth of our baby girl. I couldn’t fully comprehend the meaning behind the story at the time. All I could do was trust. Trust that God’s hands were bigger than mine and He would give us more than we could grab ourselves. Now I understand.
Michael and I knew pretty quickly that we wanted to be parents. It was just the next step and we had no reason to believe we would encounter any problems. Until we did. And the months turned into years. The “trying” turned into diagnoses and surgeries and procedures. The hope turned into despair. The dream turned into a very cruel reality that having biological children was not likely.
We knew that adoption was next. After giving ourselves time to heal from the excruciating loss of that dream, we began researching and pretty quickly decided we were interested in hiring a consultant. We made a phone call to Christian Adoption Consultants in December 2017. Let me tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my life to make a phone call. No answer, but shortly thereafter we received a call back from Kelly Todd. It only took a few minutes for Kelly’s kind, soft voice to dissipate my fears and anxieties about the call. After speaking with her, we decided to dive in. In January 2018 we signed on with CAC and truly began our adoption journey.
By June we were home study approved and ready and excited to begin receiving situations! I’m not sure what I expected but the realities of a large majority of these situations left my heart heavy. I remember asking Kelly if they would all be that way and her answer shed a new light on the journey. She explained that adoption is full of brokenness. Expectant mamas are making an adoption plan for their baby because of the difficult situation they are in. They want a better life for their child. I don’t know what kind of fantasy land I was living in or why, but I needed that explanation. We received a ton of situations, some we presented to and some we didn’t. We didn’t know how to choose whether or not to present and I’m so thankful for a conversation with Kelly during which she reminded me that there was nothing we could do or not do that would ruin God’s plan for our family.
The first few times we presented we were met with “She has decided to move ahead with another family.” Ugh. It was incredibly disappointing. I couldn’t understand what was “wrong” with us. While presenting to one particular situation and awaiting the expectant mother’s decision, I remember feeling defeated. I remember sitting on our couch crying and I looked at Michael and said, “I just want a ‘yes’. I don’t think we’re ever going to get a ‘yes’.” The next day we received a phone call that the expectant mama had chosen us! She said “yes” to us! We were matched! Unfortunately, within just a few weeks, our match failed. Shattered. Our hearts were shattered. Our “yes” turned into an ugly, glaring, painful “no.” Our families told us to take time, that we needed a break. Others told us it was okay to stop trying. I kneeled on the floor of this beautiful nursery in our new home and sobbed. I had been thinking all along that I was believing and trusting in God and in that moment I knew I had not. Not really. I wanted God to give me MY gift the way I wanted it in MY time.
Something about that failed match lit a fire inside of both of us. We were finally “all in.” No more fear, no more analyzing or assessing, no more trying to control, no more forcing. Just trusting. Just saying “yes” to God, down whatever road He would have us go. Just a few weeks later we found out that an expectant mama we were presenting to had chosen us. Being scared would have been the easiest thing to do, but we had vowed to choose faith over fear, so we did. With hope and joy, we gave our hearts to this expectant mama. Less than seven weeks later, she laid her heart, in the form of her beautiful newborn baby girl, in our arms.
I can’t begin to describe the feelings. The pain, the waiting, the longing, the emptiness, the barrenness, the grief, the loss… it all culminated into that moment when we walked into a labor and delivery room at 3:30 AM after driving 10 hours through the night and had our baby girl laid into my arms.
We have been floating since. Our sweet girl turned 10 weeks old today and I still can’t help but stare at her and cry, because of my love for her but also because of God’s love for us. She’s absolutely perfect. God’s hands were so much bigger than mine or Michael’s.
Does it all make perfect sense now? Some would tell you “yes”, but I’ll be honest with you and tell you “No, not exactly.” My little mind is just not capable of understanding God in all his power and wisdom. What I do know, what does make perfect sense, is that God knows. I don’t know when or how or why he chose this baby girl for us. I can’t begin to fathom, but I know I’m as proud of her as if I had made her myself. I know that God knew how our story would unfold long before we did. I know that God is incredible and I stand in complete wonder and awe of His amazing love.
The process of adopting was not an easy one. There were days when it was just hard, in every sense. There were moments when I couldn’t find the strength to even dream of holding our child in my arms. Each and every time, though, God sustained us. God lifted us up, he strengthened us, he renewed our hope, and he covered us in his faithfulness. Like he has always done and like he will always do. Our story is not one of our faith or endurance, but of God’s grace and mercy. Of his ability and willingness to grab a handful of candy for us because his hands are so much bigger than ours and he can hold abundantly more.