adoption: three years ago

R1-08139-0011Three years ago, my husband and I left our two-bedroom apartment to walk around our neighborhood, talk, and make a final decision. We had been married less than five months and had been seriously researching adoption for three months. As two students, we knew we could not send the initial application or advance any further in the process without an income. But a few days before with graduation a week off, I had been offered a job. We could do it now, but should we do it now?

R1-08139-0022We did. We emailed the application to our agency, and we were approved the next morning. At that time, the process was expected to take about a year from start to finish. Here we are, three years later. Hopeful. With a son. But not anywhere we thought we’d be.

I’ve been asked if I’d do it again knowing what I know now. But that’s not at all the point. The point is that there are many decisions I’ve made and experiences I’ve experienced that I would not have chosen knowing it all. The sweet spot of not knowing what is to come is where God capitalizes on my weakness and shows me His strength.

In the past three years, I’ve experienced my lowest lows. I’ve fought with my husband about the decisions we’ve made together. I’ve doubted the method we’ve chosen to grow our family. I’ve wanted to quit. A friend told me adoption would transform me, and though I didn’t even understand how it could at the time, it has and it does.

Adoption has transformed my weaknesses. I have found stamina amidst impatience. I have found a peaceful, level-headed nature amidst instant tears and dark pessimism. I have found sweet letting go amidst the strongest desire to control every little thing. In the river of well-being, I have learned how to steer myself down the middle.

IMG_0828Adoption has transformed my relationship with Dan. Our new little marriage was sent through the ringer as we hit unexpected delays in the adoption process. It brought out the worst qualities that I had sufficiently pushed down during the year-and-a-half we knew each other before walking down the aisle. We learned to communicate even when the last thing we want to do is communicate. We learned to put words to our fears and share them readily.

Adoption has transformed my view of God. I have accepted that He makes all things work together for my good. I have believed that He has my best interests in mind. I have believed that He has the best interests of Theo and Elliot in mind. I have felt Him slowly easing the burden of control off my shoulders and onto His. I have sensed how fiercely He loves me and my boys.

IMG_0845I didn’t know these areas needed to be transformed. I thought I was set. I was not set. I needed — and still need — this continual transformation. It’s painful… really painful some days. I am weak. I don’t like emotional pain. I don’t like the unknown. But He is strong, and He knew it all, and He’s guided me through it with purpose. 

  • I loved your recent adoption announcement! Thanks for including me and sending me one! Still praying that God will bring T & E home soon and that he will continue to give you and Dan strength. You are an amazing woman Natalie and I thank you for your bravery and vulnerability to share the process with us!

    • thank you for these kind words! you’re an encouragement to me, and we appreciate your prayers!

  • Super powerful post and it’s such a testimony to the fact that the Lord has such bigger plans for us than we have for ourselves. <3

    • yes! now if I can continue to remember and embrace this truth throughout life!