Wednesday, May 11, 2011

elijah grey: an adoption story {part 1}

our son elijah grey is two years old. i have only written little bits here and there of his adoption story. finally, i am writing it as a whole. this is to share with readers, family and friends. mostly though, this is for our own documentation. i hope you'll enjoy reading about our journey!

when i was a little mississippi girl, i heard many stories of people who cared for orphans. impacting me most were charles spurgeon, george muller and amy carmichael. i wanted to have an orphanage when i grew up. what i thought that meant was having a huge house where i would mother hundreds of children and they'd never feel lonely, play lots of games and eat delicious food. my siblings would often be corralled by me and bossed directed in a pretend game of "orphanage". yep. also as i was growing up, a family close to mine took care of foster babies. specifically for an organization that handled adoptions. this family would care for the babies as they awaited a forever family. sometimes, this family even cared for pregnant mothers, as they waited to give birth, and then give their child to an adoptive family. this entire process fascinated me. when i grasped that some people do not want their babies or cannot care for their babies, that they give. them. away. this seemed so crazy to me. i thought it was so cool, but so crazy. crazy because i couldn't comprehend giving away my own child.
i kept on growing up, i now desired to be a cop, or some sort of undercover intelligence-watching miami vice and law and order may or may not have played a part in this dream. anyway, even though i had different career aspirations, i was always loving children. i was obsessed with stacey from the baby sitters club books. being the 'best sister, baby sitter and kid's teacher ever on the planet' was my goal. obviously, i failed along the way. how could i really succeed without knowing jesus?
{insert a few years of suffering and hell raisin' here}
just before i turned 19 i was converted.
saved by grace and adopted by my heavenly father.

fast forwarding a bit, i was now living in maryland, i met patrick. he became my husband six years after we met. holla. marriage is an awesome gift. hardest job i've ever had, but the most beautiful and sweet for certain! even as we were dating, we realized that we both have hearts for children, everywhere, anywhere! we both thought that adoption was beautiful, and even important for us as christians. it was on our hearts, to, at some point, adopt a child or children in addition to having our own.
we were married in june 2006, and we wanted kids right. that. minute. we tried an tried and tried. i just figured that since we wanted a baby so badly that that would make us get pregnant immediately. seven months later, we were pregnant. we found out it was ectopic. we grieved. we hoped. we prayed. three months later, we were pregnant. it had happened again. this time the ectopic pregnancy was in my other tube.
we grieved once more, the death of our dreams of having biological children. now what?

having already researched a little bit about adoption-you know, because we planned to some day-we knew that becoming parents could take a long time. taking wise advice, we told everyone we knew to tell everyone they knew, that we were looking to adopt. you never know who will hear about you! we prayed from psalm 25 "make me to know your ways, o lord; teach me your paths. lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the god of my salvation; for you i wait all the day long." we knew adoption was expensive-we had no fancy finances. we felt led to just knock on many doors and see what opened. a domestic adoption became the clear path to take. one thing we knew: we were not drawn first to "healthy white babies". so many who adopt from within this country seem to be adopting those. don't get us wrong here, we just felt the need of the waiting, unwanted sweeties. some with special needs. the numbers are staggering, why doesn't anyone have those precious ones first on their list? these biracial and minority children are being overlooked. (this could be an entire series of posts, we feel so strongly about this issue) we had our hearts open. our prayer was "send us the children you want us to love, no matter what they look like." beginning paper work with agencies, taking foster care classes, any avenue we learned of, it went on our to-do list. the foster-to-adoption option was looking like where we were headed. we had graduated the course(which was a mixture of very weird and very awesome), we were on the home study waiting list. we wondered what would happen. would we get super blessed and get a tiny baby? would we get a sibling group? the foster care system was filled with children available for adoption. because newborn babies were so rarely available, we just didn't expect to get one. we really wanted a baby.
things kept getting pushed back with our home study, frustration tried to settle in, we tried to fight it. one day while visiting a sweet friend, i mentioned that we wished for a newborn, but knew that wasn't going to happen for us. she asked me why not. she suggested that if i wanted a newborn baby, to ask god specifically for a newborn baby. why this was such a revelation to me, i have no idea. i knew that god wants to hear my prayers and hear them specifically. we hadn't really been seeking him that way.
our hearts changed. our prayers changed. we desired a baby, a newborn. psalm 37 says "delight yourself in the lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." if we delighted in the lord, his word and his will, our desires would be his will. you understand? we believed that we didn't have these desires in vain. reading scripture, praying, friends praying, family praying...we began to rest in jesus. we wanted to rest and wait patiently for him to bring us our baby. i wish i could say we mastered that, we didn't. we asked god for help to be patient.
having waited awhile already and recently heard that our home study would be further delayed with the state, we were taking a break, collecting ourselves about where to next put our energy to bring a child home.

august 27th, 2008, we were having a late dinner. adoption hadn't come up that day at all in our conversations. my phone rang, a friend was on the line and asked if we "still wanted a baby". because i thought that was a super strangely worded question, i chuckled out, "um, yeah, what on earth are you talking about?". the friend said to hold on, she had a girl there who wanted to speak to me. more quickly than i could even realize what was going on, a new voice was on the phone. the sweet voice of a young woman. she said hello, asked if i remembered her-she had once been a co-worker of a family member-i said yes. she said she'd just heard that we wanted a baby and she wasn't able to keep hers. she was pregnant. she said she had been working with another family and it wasn't working out with them. when she heard about us, she really wanted us to have her baby. she didn't even know us. feeling like i was in the twilight zone, i did my best to listen and understand what she was saying. i stumbled out a few words, "so, when are you due?" thinking she had probably just found out she was expecting. she said she was due january 17. that meant in less than five months, this baby was coming. we made plans to meet for breakfast. we hung up. completely stunned, i told patrick what had just happened. we called our dear friend, who happens to be an amazing adoption attorney. he said that it may be worth pursuing, he said to just follow and see where it leads. so we did.
i met this young woman for breakfast at panera. {i'll call her "grace", for privacy purposes.}grace was fairly tall, very slender and super cute. having briefly met her before(when she worked with a family member), i recognized her right away. she was smartly dressed in black, business casual clothes. she didn't look like she was almost five months pregnant. she said how great it was to see me and how happy she was to know that her child would have "such a great family". she really didn't even know us! i was flattered, and was prepared to answer a lot of questions about myself, patrick and our home. she didn't ask me anything. in fact, she wanted to know if i wanted to know anything. she apologized for it being "so late in the game" and asked if i'd like her on any special diet or anything. say what?! i laughed out a "i'm sure whatever you're doing is just fine" response. i had no clue what to say, this was unreal. grace continued that she and the baby's father had recently broken up and had no plans of ever being together again. she didn't feel at all attached to the baby and wanted it to be provided for and loved since she couldn't do either. she said the baby's father had wanted her to get an abortion. she had been to have it done, they sent her home because she was too far along and had complete placenta previa. unbelievable. grace said she was so excited. she said if we were interested in having her baby, she wanted me at any future doctor appointments. "it's not my baby, you should be there." say what?! this was sounding much too good to be true. we chatted a little, i told her about me, patrick and why we wanted to adopt. grace had to hurry to work, she said she'd call me when she knew her next pre-natal appointment time. i went home.
was this really becoming a possibility?
would this unborn baby become our child?


  1. I am SO glad you are sharing your story!!! I LOVE reading/hearing people's stories and how God has worked in their lives. He's a good God, isn't He? Can't wait for the rest of your story! Thanks again for sharing :)
    p.s. My first pregnancy was also an ectopic pregnancy. No fun :(

  2. God is so good. I loved reading this. I can't wait for more.

  3. covered in goose bumps... what an amazing story! Your description of the birth mother reminds me so much of several of the girls I was around at the adoption agency. This is why I believe in adoption... it is SUCH a gift!

  4. C'mon! now I have to wait to hear more???love it. BTW, i didn't find any obscene grammatical errors ;)

  5. so beautiful, Hannah.
    ooh - i am getting goosebumps just reading this.

    It is so amazing when we can look back and see God's hand at work in our lives - in YOUR life, from the very beginning. He designed your heart for these moments, prepared you for each one. Incredible. :)

    And thank you for sharing Psalm 25 - definitely something I needed to read.

    And I love Psalm 37 - I had been praying over that chapter a few months ago - and ended up winning a print of that exact verse, which I have now hanging in my loft. My heart rejoices for how the Lord used that in YOUR life. :)

    I am so excited for the rest. :)

  6. I LOVE stories like this! Such a testimony that God doesn't want to give us what we think we want but what HE wants for always is better than what we can imagine!

  7. So happy for you. What an amazing story! I'm looking forward to reading more. (-:

  8. i am tearing up here, friend. i can't wait to hear more about HIS grace and your sweet baby boy. thank you so much for sharing!!

  9. not fair that you stopped. and you are SO wrong about not being a gifted writer. SO SO SO wrong. this story is beautiful. i can't wait for the rest.

  10. more, more, more! and yes, praying specifically is what we learned to do in our trials to have a baby. :) blessings.

  11. I cried when you called to tell me about meeting 'Grace'. I was just so excited - - I just kept a BABY!! love you xoxo. I am looking forward to reading the rest

  12. Loved reading this, can't wait for more. You should write a book - just call it "Elijah Grey" - it can be your story mixed with a call for people to adopt. Serious.


    ahem. So you make a point of sending me this link, just so I'll be sure to read it, and you don't even have it finished?! C'mon!

    *all huffy and tappy-footing*

  14. So good. Now off to read part 2. I know, I'm behind.

  15. oh my goodness. sweet friend i am just now reading this...i have chills. can't wait to read the rest. p.s. i will probably comment on every part :) love you!!

  16. OMGee. I don't know why I haven't read this before. I am totally consumed by gods grace right now (you know the feeling, goose bumps from head to toe) and teary eyes.
    Ok I gotta go read part 2.

  17. I've already read Part 3, so I know what happens in the end...but wow. Your adoption story is a real page-turner. Living proof that God is GOOD!

  18. It took me awhile, but I'm finally getting a chance to read your precious boy's story! It's got me all giddy and excited. ^^ Here I go to part 2... =)

  19. How did I not read this until now? BeAutiful, hearts.