Joseph and I married on April 10, 2010. We had a fun, sweet, beautiful ceremony in a repurposed cotton mill in Simpsonville, SC. I laughed and cried through the majority of the ceremony, overwhelmed with joy, because I had been praying and waiting for a husband for a while, and God had answered my prayers (even my desire for a husband with a 5 letter last name!).
Before marrying, we agreed we would wait five years before having children, but it was always up for discussion. I reminded Joseph I would be 33 when we celebrated our fifth anniversary, and that didn’t bother him a bit. We wanted time to learn how to function as a married couple and how to love each other well before adding to our family (yes, we know this is a lifelong process).
Every few months or so, the topic of children was up for discussion. “Do we still want to wait until we’ve been married for five years?” “Yes.” So we continued waiting.
I don’t remember everything that transpired, but we changed our minds in December 2012. I went off birth control, and we started trying for a baby. We were so giddy that Christmas, and we savored each moment, confident it would be our last Christmas just the two of us.
We ebbed and flowed between trying actively and trying rather passively. Neither strategy proved effective. We weren’t too concerned. Considering the fact that I was over 30 and had been on birth control for years for medical reasons, we knew it could take a while.
In the spring of 2013, my Grandmama Clyde passed away. My heart ached with her passing, and knowing she wouldn’t be here to welcome my first child added to the ache. Looking back, I think that was when I started struggling emotionally regarding our failure to conceive.
We continued the ebb and flow of trying for a baby. December 2013 rolled around, and we celebrated our second last Christmas just the two of us.
In the fall of 2013, we answered God’s call to go on a short term mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico in June 2014, so December and January were an exciting flurry of fundraising and beginning to prepare for our trip. Having a baby was still our desire, but we knew God was doing other things in our life, and we trusted His timing.
In February 2014, my Grandmama Helen was hospitalized with pneumonia and never returned to her earthly home. Losing her and realizing she would never hold my babies on this side of Heaven was a combined heartache I could hardly bear. She had a wall in her den covered with red picture frames filled with baby pictures of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I mourned the loss of Grandmama Helen and the fact that I would never need to purchase a red frame for her wall.
As time went on, Joseph and I continued talking about children. My longing to be a mother grew with each passing month.
When we married, we said we wanted to adopt, so adoption came up often. Neither of us had ever been opposed to adopting prior to having biological children, so we started praying about the timing of adoption. Right before we left for Mexico, we decided it was time to start pursuing adoption.
Our trip to Mexico was wonderful. We enjoyed serving and seeing what God was doing in the children’s homes in Monterrey. Over the course of that week, God deepened my desire to adopt, but we returned home feeling the timing wasn’t right. Full disclosure: I don’t know if that was fear or the Lord.
We wrestled with the decision more and more. All of the normal doubts and fears crossed our minds. Would we make good parents? Were we ready to become parents? Starting a family didn’t make sense financially. Should we do it anyway? After all, everyone says it will never make sense financially, and we do trust that God is our ultimate provider.
By the fall, we decided we at least needed to have something in savings before adding to our family! Our goal was to build up $1,000 in an emergency fund by the end of the year. If we could do that, we would start the adoption process.
I grew very emotional about saving $1,000, and I tried several things. I started selling Mary Kay. I tried selling things on Etsy. We posted items for sale on Craigslist and Facebook groups. I participated in a craft fair. The money, which I honestly thought would take us no time at all to save if we just gave it our all, just wasn’t adding up very quickly. I found myself saying irrational things to our future children like, “I’m sorry we couldn’t adopt you sooner, sweetie. Mommy just couldn’t sell her stuff on Etsy.” I was a mess.
We were in the middle of December, and I just felt blah. I wasn’t enjoying the Christmas season at all. We didn’t even put all of our decorations out. The boxes just sat in our front room for a month until Joseph put them back in the attic. I wanted to adopt so badly, and I couldn’t understand why we were struggling so much to save such a small amount of money. Our third last Christmas just the two of us was approaching quickly, and I wasn’t happy about it.
On Monday, December 22nd, I had a mini meltdown. Joseph and I were working on a couple of projects to try to make a little money, and I was stressed because no one wanted to buy the items I posted online for sale.
“Babe, I don’t get it! Why is none of this stuff working? Why can’t we make the extra money we need? What do you think God is teaching us?”
We agreed God was teaching us to trust Him and reminded ourselves that He is the ultimate provider.
I calmed down for the moment, but I still felt overwhelmed. The weight of wanting to adopt put a ton of pressure on our financial goal (for me anyway). I felt like I was letting our future children down with each passing moment.
Tuesday, December 23rd, Joseph called me and said, “I just checked the mail. You’re not going to believe what someone sent us.” Cash. That’s what someone sent us.
I felt a glimmer of hope. God was intervening.
Wednesday, December 24th, Christmas Eve, historically one of my favorite days of the year, I still felt blah. Joseph checked the mail. He received a check for some work he had completed a couple of weeks before. God was intervening a little more.
At this point, I felt excited and hopeful. God had shown us kindness through an unexpected gift and a paycheck we weren’t expecting so soon. We began our Christmas celebrations feeling a little lighter, feeling confident we could make up the difference we still needed to reach our goal by the end of the year.
God wasn’t finished.
Thursday, December 25th, Christmas day, God had one more gift for us. We received an unexpected financial gift from family, enough to push us over our $1,000 goal, with a week to spare.
That night, we celebrated God’s kindness and His affirmation that it was time to begin the adoption process.
So, we’re moving forward. We’re stepping out in faith. We’re doing what the world would say doesn’t make sense. After all, that’s when we see God move mountains.