Have you heard the news?
Adoption has always held a special place in our hearts. When we had only been dating three weeks, I told Stephen that I envisioned a family built by adoption. Crazy, right? I was that girl talking about kids, and I had not even told him I loved him yet! Good thing he stuck around.
When we got married in June 2012, we decided to hold off on starting a family. After all, Stephen was still in college and I was working at a not-so-steady job. Kids just weren’t part of the plan at that point. However, when we bought our home in early spring 2015, we decided we were ready to start a family, too. A house needs kids, right?
And then we quickly learned that our plans don’t always work out. We tried for two years to get pregnant. It didn’t happen.
Friends, let me tell you: Infertility is hard. It’s hard for the woman, because she is physically reminded every month of what she doesn’t have. It’s hard for the man, because he worries and fears something is “wrong” with him. People had started asking when we were going to have kids or insinuating that we were taking a long time to start a family. Even people with the best of intentions hurt me—those who made comments like, “You would be such a great mom. When are you going to have one of your own?” I just couldn’t answer the questions. I didn’t know how.
So last fall, when Stephen brought up the topic of adoption, I just wasn’t there. I was hurting and I was tired of hurting. Stephen felt that God was saying “yes” to adoption, that this was His plan all along. But I didn’t want to run toward adoption thinking “this is my back-up plan.” I didn’t want to adopt and think of my child as a consolation prize. He asked me to start praying and ask God for guidance and wisdom, and then he didn’t bring it up again.
I did as Stephen asked, and I began asking God to open my heart toward adoption again. I poured my heart out in my prayers: I pleaded with God to give me an answer. I asked Him to make it clear that we were supposed to adopt. And I even asked Him to just take away my desire to be a mother if it wasn’t in His will for me to be one.
At Thanksgiving, God began stirring something in my heart. The holidays were in full swing, and I felt empty. I felt like our family wasn’t completely whole, but I ignored the feelings. At Christmas, while home in Knoxville with my family, I spent the afternoon with my mom and told her how I had been feeling and what I was struggling with. She brought up the topic of adoption—not me—and we talked about it some that afternoon. I kept praying.
In January, I told Stephen I was ready to proceed. I finally felt like God was saying “Yes, move, do this.” In February, we chose our agency. Our Valentine’s Day date was spent eating pizza and filling our our application.
It’s important that we emphasize that adoption isn’t our “plan B” like I worried it would be. This was always God’s “plan A”for our family. He gave me a desire for adoption when I was still a teenager, and laid that desire on Stephen’s heart when He knew I wasn’t ready to accept it yet. We are confident that this is the path God wants us to take. We already love this baby so much, and we don’t even know who he or she is yet.
HOW CAN I PRAY?
- Please pray for our future child’s birth mother and birth family. We don’t know who she is yet—she may not even be pregnant yet—but we are praying for her physical and emotional well-being. When we started this process, I asked the Lord to make me comfortable with a semi-open adoption. And oh my, He has. I don’t know this woman yet, but I love her so much already. I pray for her every day.
- Please pray for our future child. Pray for his or her growth and development, his or her well-being and nourishment, and his or her future life. As he or she gets older, we’ll have questions we have to answer about adoption, birth mothers and family.
- Please pray for us. Adoption is hard, y’all. We’re in the middle of our home study process now, which means we’re just getting started on this journey. It’s emotional. It’s a whole stinkin’ lot of paperwork and there are hand cramps, y’all. Pray for God to guard our hearts, for us to have peace that surpasses understanding, and for our overanxious hearts to relax.
HOW CAN I HELP?
That’s a great question, so I’m glad you asked. There are many fees associated with the adoption process (see a breakdown of the fees below). Be on the lookout in the next few days, weeks and months for fundraisers and opportunities to help. We’ll be selling t-shirts, and rumor has it that a Q-We-Do BBQ fundraiser is going to happen. (Q-We-Do? That’s a BIG DEAL.) Every single bit—pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters or dollars—helps us bring Baby Hamby home.
BREAKDOWN OF FEES
Application Fee: $200 (PAID)
Home Study Fee: $1,500 (PAID)
Placement Fee: $15,000 (Half of this fee is due at time of match.)
Birth Mother Social Work Fee: $5,000 (This covers the birth mother’s counseling and support, assistance with related paperwork for termination of parental rights, birth mother termination of rights, and the surrender process. It’s due at the time of a match.)
At-risk Fee: $2,500 (This amount covers allowable expenses incurred during the birth mother’s pregnancy and following the birth of the child. A spreadsheet of the fee expenditures and receipts will be made available to us.)
Medical Expenses: ~$1,500–2,000 (This fee is only applicable in the event that the birth mother does not have health insurance or has out-of-pocket expenses that were not covered by her insurance. This fee covers prenatal care, delivery and post-delivery, as well as the child’s medical expenses.)
Possible Additional Fees: $1,000