I married my wonderful husband Jonathan just shy of five years ago. When we got married, we had a plan. I would attend law school, while Jonathan worked full time and got his Masters degree. Then, I would practice law for a few years and once we hit the five year mark, we would start trying to have kids. As we made these plans, God must have been laughing in heaven, because He had different plans, plans that were better than we could have imagined. This was his plan for those first five years of marriage:
Some of the plans matched up, but not our plans about having children. You see, about a year into our marriage, God began to convict us about our plans to build our family. He asked us to trust Him instead of trying to control things. Although we had many concerns about the possibility of having children while still in school, we stepped out in faith. After a couple months, even though I was only in my second year of school, I began to earnestly desire to have children. Months turned to years and I still wasn’t pregnant. Trying was wearing on us and we were beginning to question what was going on. Had God known we couldn’t handle children while in school, but wanted us to trust him with that? Were we infertile? Was it just the stress of law school? We started to pray for direction. God had given both of us a passion for adoption and we knew at some point, we would adopt, but we had always assumed we were going to have biological children first. Were we supposed to adopt first? Should we have fertility testing done?
One day in the midst of pondering these questions, one of my coworkers told me about an expectant mother who was considering an adoption plan. The attorney she was working with was having a hard time finding couples to present to the birth mom because of the baby’s ethnicity and because the expectant mother did not seem very stable in her adoption plan. I immediately felt God tugging at my heart and telling us to act. Jonathan agreed. We quickly put together an adoption profile and began praying for funding and for God’s will. God provided the funds in amazing ways, but the potential birth mom didn’t show to any of her set meetings. Finally, two months later (one week before I finished law school) the expectant mother showed up for her meetings with the adoption attorney and chose us to parent her baby. However, she was showing many signs that she still wanted to parent. To make a long story short, she went back and forth for two months and didn’t show up to many of her appointments. We knew the odds were slim, but God had grown in us an incredible love for this baby boy and was telling us to stick with the process. On July 4, he was born and we spent the next few days in the hospital caring for him and his mom, having no idea who would take the baby home when they were released.
She made the decision to parent. To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement! My heart grieved for this little boy who was going to a world of drugs, abusive men, and rehab centers. God kept whispering that He had a plan. I knew He was a God who works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28), but I didn’t see how good could come from this. Over the next few weeks, the baby’s mom continued to call me, telling me she was still considering adoption. When he was five weeks old, she called and said she couldn’t parent him and wanted us to be his parents. She signed the adoption papers, but had 24 hours to change her mind. With four hours to go, she changed her mind. We were once again devastated, but were turning to God. This time, we sensed God telling us it was time to move on and that He had other plans from us. It was hard to understand why He sent us through the process, but we trusted that He saw the big picture.
The next day, my grandma was praying and sensed that she was supposed to pray for a young Christian girl who had made some mistakes and needed a couple like us to raise our baby. She prayed that God would bring us together. Unbeknownst to us, there was a girl in Colorado (“N”), who fit that description. She hadn’t told her family she was pregnant and had considered an abortion, but was too far along for it to be affordable. God spoke to her and told her that this wasn’t her baby to keep, but His to give away. She was four and a half months pregnant and was reaching a point where she needed to tell her family she was pregnant. The same day my grandma prayed, N’s Mom sensed God asking her if she was ready for a journey. She replied yes, with no idea what was to come. Within a couple days, N told her family she was pregnant and a week later, she was on a plane to California, where she would stay with family friends for the duration of the pregnancy. She left, not out of shame, but because she didn’t want anyone to deter her from her decision to place her baby for adoption.
A month later, N met with an adoption attorney. We soon got a call asking if we wanted to present our profile. When we heard about N and what she was looking for in parents, it sounded like the perfect match. Our hearts jumped for joy, but we were trying to guard our hearts. Two weeks later, right when I had given up hope, I got a call at work saying that N would like to talk with us. We chatted on the phone, and although it was awkward at first, we quickly felt at ease with each other. We agreed to meet in a week. The first meeting was slightly awkward, but really good! For the second meeting, she came to visit us for a weekend. We were really starting to hit it off and become good friends. God was knitting our hearts together. At the end of that meeting, she called me and said that after meeting with us, praying about it, and talking to her parents, she wanted to give us her baby. I still cry every time I think about that phone call. From the get-go, she had told us that this was not her baby to keep, but God’s to give away. On the phone, she reitterated that she viewed this baby as our baby. She also asked if we would be okay with an open adoption (she had previously wanted a closed adoption; we always wanted an open). She said that she didn’t want to see the baby all the time, but that she had never had friends that shared her faith, whom she also clicked with, like she did with us and she didn’t want to lose that. We agreed, wholeheartedly and praised God for answering our prayers.
Over the next two months, N lived with us for a while and her family came to stay in an open apartment (at the university we worked at) for Christmas and New Years, when the baby was due. We grew closer to N and close to her family. Contractions finally came (a week later than expected) and after 43 grueling hours of labor, we welcomed Abigail Anne to our family. N wanted me in the delivery room and wanted me to be the first to hold our little girl, so we could bond. What an incredibly rare blessing and a memory I will treasure forever! When I asked if she wanted to hold Abby, she said, “not yet, I just like watching you be a mom.” Again, we were so blessed. This was the polar opposite from our last experience and was clearly a story written by God!
Eighteen months later, we have an amazing open adoption. Abby loves her “Auntie” (as N wanted to be called) and will always know her adoption story (told at age appropriate levels). N is now one of my best friends! Abigail is the cutest, sweetest little girl and a true blessing from God! Her name means the “Father’s Joy” and she is truly a joy!
Looking back at the process, I can see that God knew what He was doing! He does work all things together for good! (Romans 8:28) We haven’t seen how He will do that in the baby boys’ life yet (and may never), but we can see His hand in our lives. If it wasn’t for the failed adoption, our attorney wouldn’t have seen our faith through the process and wouldn’t have thought of us immediately as a potential match for N! If we had ended up with the little boy, we wouldn’t have our precious Abigail or an amazing relationship with N! In addition, our relationship with God grew by leaps and bounds. The process may have been painful, but God knew what He was doing and I wouldn’t trade His plans for ours any day!
Adoption Number 2
Since adopting Abigail, we have learned that it will take a miracle for us to have a biological child. Honestly, we would love a miracle, but we are completely okay with continuing to grow our family by adoption. We love adoption!
As Abby gets older, we would love for her to have a sibling, so we are beginning the adoption process again. We are planning to again do a domestic infant adoption, because we are passionate about the sanctity of life and helping women through unplanned pregnancies. We are excited to see who “Baby Schmitt #2″ is and how he or she joins are family!
The biggest adoption hurdle for us is funding. Adoption is extremely expensive, and as a young family, living on one income as I stay at home, we look at the figures and wonder how we will ever be able to afford it. However, as God has shown us before, He is in the business of building families and He owns the cattle on a thousand hills! We know He will provide in His timing! We are excited to see how He begins to provide for our second adoption and are excited to see how He builds our family again!