Our adoption journey's beginnings stretch far into our pasts and God's work in our hearts over many years, so choosing a starting point to tell you our story is more difficult than it might seem. But we will begin with a bright, sunny day in October. For several weeks I had talked with my friend through their adoption journey and the process of choosing a child. At the same time she was looking at children's profiles and medical records, I was exploring the medical needs of my biological son who had been born in April 2013. Zane was about six months old and we finally had some answers. Jamie and I had spoken several times about children with craniofacial anomalies as I tried to identify my son's needs, and she prayerfully considered referrals to choose a child with special needs. From among three profiles, they chose their darling Katie Grace. A while later, that day forever etched in my heart, she decided to advocate for one of the other children whose file they reviewed, thinking that maybe someone would see him and become his family. Social media can accomplish wonderful things! His face imprinted on my heart that day:
But on the surface there were so many doubts and obstacles. We were dealing with figuring out our baby's needs, not to mention the simple fact that we had a baby, and had just begun homeschooling. I was not thinking about adding to the family. And we most CERTAINLY didn't meet the income guidelines to qualify to adopt. Case closed. He couldn't be our son.
By my heart knew.
Fast forward many months later, and Shane's face was STILL in my heart daily. I prayed for him and wept for his family to find him and take him to his forever home. I signed up on a special needs grant sight to be his official "prayer warrior" so that I could get updates if he had a family, and support them in his adoption.
By this time God had blessed Eric with an opportunity to work an extra part-time job with a friend's husband doing construction. Its hard work (especially in the Arizona summer), but he enjoys it and the extra income made a huge difference for us! I realized that we could meet the (modified for special needs adoptions) income requirement.
But we weren't thinking about adding another child to our family for a while. Plus I had never spoken to Eric about Shane. I was loving him silently, holding on to a delicate hope. I had also just contracted to be a tutor in our homeschooling group next school year and asked Eric to agree with me that a fourth child would NOT be in our plans for at least a year. I did not want to add the fatigue and exhaustion of pregnancy to our finally successful homeschooling efforts.
His face was still there. Every day I prayed for a family to adopt him. I wept that it could not be mine. Then our son turned 1 and Eric started making joking comments about the "next one". One day I told my best friend that IF I was ready to have another child, I really felt like it should be Shane. After talking through it with her, I was ready to break my silence and expose the delicate hope I had kept safe in secrecy. I exposed my heart to my husband, and asked him to pray with me. I told him that if after he prayed about it, he felt like God was saying "no", I would never mention it to him again.
A few days later, he told me he showed the Starbucks baristas Shane's picture.
God had opened our hearts and began opening doors, and so we prayed forward.