Our Story of Domestic, Transracial Adoption
On the surface, it would seem that our adoption journey started two years after we were happily married in July 1997. It was then that I received a diagnosis of infertility on my part due to PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). But I think the truth is that this journey started long ago, when I was a little girl in love with babies and Cabbage Patch dolls and looking forward to the day when I would grow up to be a Mommy with a houseful of children. Once or twice during my teenage years, the dark fear of possibly being unable to have children came into my mind but it was easily pushed away at that time in my life! When the fear did become a reality, my husband and I spent a short time researching the options available to us in the area of infertility treatments. However, the emotional rollercoaster of monthly disappointments soon led us to pursue adoption, something we had once dreamed about doing whether we had biological children or not.
Having grown up in families with strong Hispanic ties (I grew up as a missionary kid in South America and Pedro’s father is Mexican American), we felt a pull towards that culture but soon learned that adopting a Hispanic child would be highly unlikely in our home area. However, during those first years of marriage we had become involved in a new ministry in an inner-city, African American church. Our hearts were burdened each week for the children we met from broken families and with little hope for their future. We soon realized that God was expanding our hearts to love children from any culture or color, and we decided to place no restrictions on race or gender as we began our adoption home study.
Less than a year later, we were matched with a six-month old, African American baby boy whom we named Isaac. We eagerly anticipated the arrival of our first child and the first grandchild in both of our families, but three days before he was to come home in February 2001 the adoption fell through and we were left with broken hearts and empty arms. The months that followed were ones of soul searching and learning to trust in God’s sovereignty even when it defies our human understanding.
Several months later, in May 2001, we held our firstborn child in our arms and knew that God truly had a perfect plan for our family. Eva Grace (as we named her) was three months old, a lovely blond-haired little girl who arrived just two days before Mother’s Day! Through some amazing circumstances, just one year later in June 2002 we visited our second child in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit. Her birthmother had labored long and hard to bring her into the world, and it had taken its toll on our daughter’s body, causing her to go into distress and to not have a heartbeat or breathing until eight minutes after birth. The doctors feared that she was facing irreparable neurological damage or death. Yet Isabel Hope was beautiful, biracial with brown skin and dark eyes and a head full of bouncy black curls. In God’s mercy, He not only spared her life but gave her great intelligence and vitality despite a diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy.
We praised God for the two wonderful girls He had given us, but as time passed we felt again that our family was not yet complete. In February 2004, we met little Caleb at three hours old. He was a beautiful African American baby boy, and we brought him home and loved him for one short week before receiving the devastating call to return him to his mother, who had a change of heart.
Once again, we leaned on God’s sovereignty in the midst of our sorrow. When we were matched again late that same year, only to have that situation also fall through after the birth of the baby boy, we thought that perhaps we had misunderstood and God did not want us to have another child after all. But we continued to pray daily, as did our two precious girls, for that “baby brother or sister” we all felt that He had in store for us.
On April 12, 2005 a premature baby entered the world 1,100 miles away and we received an unexpected call asking us to consider being his parents. We saw God work in supernatural ways to remove every obstacle – finances, distance, schedules, childcare – so that at five days old, we met our tiny, perfect little son. God brought his birthmother all the way from the Sudan, to Florida, and through her he brought Owen into our lives. All the tears and the heartbreaks faded away as we held him and knew that he was the answer to those daily prayers for so long!
James 1:17 says that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights …” We believe that each of our children has come to us as a perfect gift from God’s hands. Adoption has its labor just as pregnancy does, though an intensely emotional rather than physical one. Our journey has taken us through heights of joy and valleys of heartbreak, but we can now look back and rejoice at what God has done! He has truly made “the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 113:9)