* This is a post in the adoption/orphan care series I’m doing in honor of National Adoption Month. I did not write today’s post. Today’s guest post is by Megan Johnson, a great friend (and former college roommate and bridesmaid) who is currently in the “waiting” part of the adoption process. She was kind enough to let me “interview” her about her experience and give us some insight into what it’s like to wait gracefully. I’ll share her story in two parts.
Give us a little background into your family:
My husband and I have been together since 2000. Wow! That sounds like so long ago, and it feels like just yesterday! We were married in 2005, and we began trying to grow our family in 2006. At first it was just as simple as “seeing what happened.” It became a little more of a concern after a year or so. Over the next 3-4 years, I endured a series of surgeries, tests, bloodwork, oral medication, injections, and hormones. It was the summer of 2009, I think, when we decided to take a break from fertility treatments. We were physically and emotionally drained. I also felt spiritually drained. I felt frantic trying to make something happen when I knew God could simply breath a pregnancy into existence if he chose. We had decided that we would pick the treatments back up in the late fall of that year. It never happened. We were at peace with our lives. We were enjoying our lives again. We were happy. Yes, we still longed for children. Yes, we still prayed for God to intervene every night. But, we were at peace with His will. It was around this time that I FINALLY began to pray the very prayer we should all be praying. I began to ask God to align my desires with His will. Because I knew that without that change of desire, my heart would continue to break every time a friend called to tell me she was pregnant. I would continue to avoid baby showers. I would continue to have emotional roller coaster rides. I sincerely wanted my desires to be changed to match His will. I knew being in the center of His will is the absolute best place to be. I heard a song during our worship service last week that gripped my heart. It was my prayer, has been my prayer, and will continue to be my prayer. However, this song put to words what I could not. It simply said, “Keep me in Your will, Lord, so I won’t be in Your way.” You see, I began to feel like I was frantically trying to grow our family all by myself. Like a toddler yelling, “No! Me do it!” It’s quite silly, really. My heart began to change. Russ and I had researched adoption for about two years, but it had never been a reality we saw in our immediate future. But, my desire had changed. I began to daydream about our gotcha day, our birthmother, and the tangible example adoption sets for what God has done for us. This was the beginning of a prayerful, thoughtful, and exciting decision to pursue the miracle of adoption.
How did you know you were called to adoption?
Russ and I came to this decision at different times and in different ways. I’ve heard it is very common for a wife to initiate the conversation. So, I will speak only for myself here. Over a period of time, when my desires were changing/changed, I knew that I could not have changed. I had dreamed of nothing more than to give birth to a baby, cute ways to tell the family we were expecting, cute ways to tell friends/family the sex of our baby, and the crowd of family at the hospital. I, like most of you, dreamed of those things all my life. There was no way that I could have just changed my mind. Nope. That was God. He literally changed the longing of my heart. I no longer yearned for a growing belly. I no longer longed for positive pregnancy tests. My heart was longing for something different. I began to see all the beautiful things about adoption. I began to see long term effects of adoption on others, myself, and a child who couldn’t possibly know how loved he/she already was.
What type of adoption are you pursuing and why?
My husband and I decided to go with Bethany Christian Services, a private adoption agency, to pursue domestic infant adoption. We had previously researched international adoption for the previous two years. We talked with a few agencies about facts, figures, expenses, and timelines. There are many good things about international adoption…one of those pros is that a timeline can usually be estimated because you are pretty much on a “waiting list” and you know what number you are. There were some things about international that are a little more difficult: the cost is much higher, travel time (range from 3 days-6 weeks in another country) to pick up your child, and unknown background information. Really, our biggest holdup was financial. I had previously been afraid to pursue domestic adoption for a number of “Lifetime movie” reasons. However, after talking with various agencies, my fears were eased. We prayed over the options and researched as many things as we could. We made a decision based on our peace of mind and what we felt God calling us to.
Where are you in the process?
We began our process in February of this year…February 19th was the actual day that we really both saw our plan revealed. We sent our preliminary application with a $50 fee on March 8, and we attended an orientation meeting on April 15. Once the preliminary stuff was out of the way, we sent in our first big investment of $600 with our formal application on April 27. Because the number of waiting families was increasing, we waited about a month before we were assigned a case worker on May 26. After this, our home study process went by quickly because of our readiness to complete the paperwork. The home study process is really in the hands of the adoptive parents as they have to turn in quite a bit of paperwork. We did take nearly a month to complete our self study, but we had two sudden deaths in the family and a family vacation during that time. Once we got the ball rolling again, it was super fast! Our first home study visit was June 3, where our case worker conducted a joint interview. Next, we took time to fill out self studies and complete official paperwork. My individual interview was on July 12, and Russ’s was on July 15. Our home visit was immediately after on July 16, where we turned in our $1350 check for our home study fee. Our case worker was so great to fit us in as soon as possible! We were officially approved on August 5. So, now, we are simply waiting for a phone call. It could be today, or it could be two years from now. Only God knows, and we are trusting in His timing.
What is it like “to wait?”
Well, it depends on the day. Today, waiting is great. It is a time when I can prepare at my own pace and pray for our little one and the angel who will carry, or is carrying, our Baby J. It is a time of excitement and unknowns. That’s today. Now, if you ask me on a “bad day,” I would probably sound a little different. Some of these “waiting days” have been filled with sleepless nights, dreams of a baby without a clear picture of a face, anxiety, worry, depression, and tears at times. Usually those bad days come after seeing another family with a placement. Although, I am always very happy for those families…I am very sad that it wasn’t us. It doesn’t take long for me to become thankful. I realize that if that placement had been ours, we wouldn’t be able to match with the Baby J God has chosen for our family. Unlike pregnancy, we have no idea when our baby is due. We may have weeks, months, or years to prepare a baby’s room. We took the approach of keeping busy by preparing Baby J’s room. So, I guess you can say that waiting is difficult, exciting, depressing, and a roller coaster. Those emotions sound very much like the emotions I felt when trying to get pregnant. But, these feelings come with a greater sense of HOPE. In the end, I know God will bless us with the child(ren) he has chosen for us. I can’t think of anything better!
What are you most excited about? Most nervous about?
Oh my! There are so many things I’m excited about. I suppose, at this moment, I’m most excited about THE CALL. I dream of what I’ll be doing at that moment, what the caller will say, how far along the mother would be or if the baby is already born, and how I will tell our families. I’m probably most nervous about the same thing. In one single phone call, our lives could be forever changed. I’m also VERY nervous about meeting the birthmother, if we are afforded that opportunity. How in the world do you tell someone how incredibly grateful you are for her loving plan she is making for her child? How in the world do you celebrate at the same time she is losing a part of herself??
How has the whole process been for you/your family emotionally? Were there any emotional surprises?
I alluded to this in a previous question. However, I would say that there have been so many emotions during this journey. In the beginning, we were filled with fear of the unknown, fear of what others would think about our decision, and the fear of actually giving over all control to God. I know that sounds silly…especially since He was in control the whole time. But, we literally quit trying to get in the way. We gave it all over. Then, we were filled with excitement as so many of our friends/family began to rejoice with us. We were overwhelmed with the love we felt. We knew that this was God’s will. There were emotional surprises too. Throughout the process, we have also been hurt, offended, and disgusted at some of the comments and misunderstandings about adoption. These are always much harder when they come from loved ones. It took some time to realize that many people simply don’t understand adoption, and we began to use this time as a chance to educate others through our journey. Adoption is beautiful!
…To be continued…
Check back tomorrow for tips, advice, and helpful resources from Megan, and please begin or continue to pray for Baby Johnson!
Megan Johnson describes herself as “an adoring wife, enthusiastic teacher, loving aunt, an aggravating sister, a favorite daughter (Ha!), the oldest granddaughter and niece, the youngest daughter-in-law, the best sister-in-law (Ha again!), a loyal friend, a wannabe mommy, and fearfully and wonderfully made by my Creator.” She currently lives in Southaven, MS, with her husband Russ (a radiology resident), and their maltipoo, Farley. You can follow her story, “Party of Two…Praying for More” here.