How we got here…

The decision to adopt doesn’t come quickly or easily, it doesn’t happen without challenging your brain and tugging at your heart, and it’s so hard to come to, you inevitably find yourself calling to God asking, “What am I getting myself into,” or maybe more poignantly, “What are You getting me into!?” One thing that the decision to adopt does do is it comes unexpectedly—with the same happiness of a positive pregnancy test and the peace of realizing the decision had been made for you all along.

Christine and I have been talking for a long time about our family even before it existed during our dating days – I wanted four or five kids and Christine, well, she didn’t know but she did think I was crazy. Really, our family first grew when we looked at each other and said, “I do.” Ethan tried to join the party after only 33 weeks in Christine’s belly, but we convinced him to hang out for a couple more weeks before growing our family to three (still arriving pretty early and with some preemie drama, but perfect nonetheless). Madeleine made us a family of four only 23 months later in spectacular fashion arriving in the back of an ambulance 7 weeks early.

After officially being out of the baby stage in fall of 2016, Christine and I continued the talk about our family. Should we keep growing? For a while I wasn’t so sure, at times our hearts said yes but our heads said no, other times we were convinced it was “just a phase” we could wait out. We both prayed a lot, which made us realize it wasn’t just a phase. Although, I’ll admit, I still felt unsure about the idea of another high-risk pregnancy and another undoubtedly premature birth. One day this past summer while riding in the car I told Christine that, “I always thought adoption was beautiful.” I use quotes because I said exactly that and I remember it well because I had no idea where the words came from when I said it. In hindsight, I think they were inspired words—words that started the conversation of not “if” we should grow our family but “how” we should grow our family.

A couple months later in October, while I was juggling the kids to multiple bathroom breaks during the homily at mass, unbeknownst to me, Christine was listening intently to Father John speak about the readings that day; the first reading from Exodus about treatment of aliens, widows, and orphans and the Gospel when Jesus proclaims the second greatest commandment to be, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” When we got in the car to drive home from church, Christine told me she thought we should consider adoption.

Over the next few weeks, we thought a lot, talked a lot, and prayed a lot, and eventually felt like this crazy idea might actually be what we’re supposed to be doing. For those of you that know us well, you know we did our research; we studied up on domestic and international adoption, we talked to several different agencies, and attended multiple info sessions on adoption. During that time, the feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and fear slowly melted away until, unexpectedly, we both looked at each other with a newfound sense of peace about adopting to grow our family.

In November, we invited our parish deacon and his wife to our home to tell them this same story and explained how it felt so odd that we could have a sense of peace with the idea of adopting. They were overjoyed to hear us say “sense of peace” and they reminded us that peace is what the Lord promises all of us. Our conversation with them gave us the confidence in our heads to understand what the peace in our hearts meant—just as we were called to grow our family with Ethan and Madeleine, we are also called to bring our future child(ren) into our family through adoption. We eventually chose Bethany Christian Services and hoped they would chose us too. We submitted our application which was formally accepted and then signed our contract (see below!) to adopt on November 26th!

Bethany Contract Photo

We hope you’ll follow us on our journey – please send your prayers and well wishes to us along the way. If your feel inspired to help us grow our family through financial sponsorship, visit our donation page at: Adopt Together.

We look forward to sharing our journey with you!

– Stephen

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