September 1, 2013
Life has been going at warp speed since Brianna joined our family. She has been the perfect fit. She’s a great baby (was sleeping through the night 10 pm – 8:30 am at 8 weeks) and, unless she’s cutting a tooth, is a very happy baby. She adores all of our family…especially her big brothers. As the third child, she gets drug along wherever we go…to pick up kids from school, church, baseball practices/games, play dates, restaurants, Texas Rangers games, parties, daily errands, vacation, etc. It’s a busy life for a baby!
The first few months I was stopped by at least 5 random strangers a day who would say, “Oh my goodness! That’s a real baby! I thought you were carrying a baby doll!!” Friends and family didn’t believe how often I heard this comment word for word until they went out in public with me. I always thought it was funny and would laugh with the people and indulge them in part of our story….but it also made me think. If this many people stop me to tell me that they thought I was carrying around a baby doll…how many people DIDN’T stop me…and still talk about the lady in her 30’s that they saw carrying a “baby doll” around the store like it was a real baby! Lol!
In the beginning I felt the need to explain myself to strangers. Carrying around a dark skinned baby with 2 blond haired, blue eyed boys in tow meant I got questioning glances everywhere I went. If you know me…you know that I’m pretty much an open book. I don’t feel the need to hide my story from people (the good and the bad). I don’t know that there’s ever been a question someone asked me that I felt was too personal (although…I’m sure Mike has had plenty of times where he wished I had more of a filter! Lol).
Anyways, I found myself telling everyone that Bri is adopted. I don’t have a problem with people knowing that she’s adopted and she will grow up knowing she’s adopted (and hopefully will find a sense of pride in this), but I don’t want her to grow up being introduced as “the adopted child”. At one of our home visits I brought this up with our case worker, Courtney. She has firsthand experience as she and her husband adopted children of a different ethnicity last year. During the home visit, Mike and Courtney helped me realize that when people say, “Is she your baby?” I can simply answer “Yes.” If they press further…then it’s totally fine to go into our story. It’s super hard for me to stop with a simple “yes”! I want to share what God has done with the world…but they helped me realize that God knows that and He will use our story in the proper time (I don’t have to force it). After months of practice, it’s now easier for me to just answer “yes”…but I still LOVE the times people ask more questions and I get to share part of our story.
The two most common questions we are asked are “where is she from?” and “is it an open adoption?” Brianna was adopted locally through an open adoption. We felt called to domestic adoption because of the open adoption option. For us adoption isn’t just a way to have another child (believe me…we were plenty fertile!)…it was a way to show Christ’s love to an entire family. We desire to know the birth family and have prayed for them as much as we have prayed for Brianna over the past 4 years. That being said, we have yet to meet Bri’s birthmom. I don’t know if we ever will….but we have left that door open. We send her emails quarterly with pictures and stories and have received only one response. We know that she loves Brianna so much and that it was very difficult to place her for adoption…but we also know that it is only because of that love and her faith that she made the choice she did.
Speaking of love, we have loved Brianna from before we met her; however, it has taken some time for her to feel like “ours”. With the boys, we had 9 months of planning and preparing for them and dreaming about them. With Bri, we had hours to prepare! I’ll never forget a moment that I shared with my little girl when she was about 5 months old. I was standing upstairs at Daddy Steve & Namaw’s and was putting Brianna down for a nap so I could keep working. As I sang to her before laying her down, my heart swelled with love and tears filled my eyes. In this moment I knew that it had finally happened. The thoughts of “this is our little girl and I can’t imagine life without her” invaded my head. I didn’t want to lay her down…but as I did I praised the Lord for his goodness and mercy…and patience with us. Even though we were open to adopting either a boy or girl, I had always been more honest with God than with anyone. I desired a little girl with all my heart. I wanted a daughter…not for the bows and dresses…but for the chance of a relationship years from now like the one I have with my own mother. Not only did God listen to my hearts desires, but he surpassed them with more than I could’ve imagined!
It is so easy now to look back at this journey and see what God was doing at each step. We can see how he used some circumstances (that turned out to be heartbreaking at the time) just to keep us on the journey. I’m sure he hurt along with us as we rode the ups and downs of the rollercoaster of adoption. I know he comforted us and dried our tears as we cried about dashed dreams and fear of the unknown…but I imagine he also had a small smile on the edge of his lips. He could see what was coming. He knew why we were going through all the heartache and trials. He knew that us questioning him would only draw us closer to him and give us a stronger testimony. He knew about this little girl named Brianna Faith that would be born 5 weeks early on February 10th. He knew that she belonged in our family….and I’m sure he couldn’t wait to watch us meet her for the first time and bring her home to her big brothers.
We are still a very young family. I know that there will be many more trials in our life. I also hope that there will be many more times that God will use us. I hope that as we are in the midst of trials we are able to use our adoption journey as an encouragement to persevere and trust in God’s plan and God’s timing. We desire to be used by God for his glory…even if it means heartache along the way. We know that our God loves us with an unfailing love and we can’t wait to see what journey he has up his sleeve next!