Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Grace's Adoption Story

On January 8, 2007 I was having a time of prayer. Nathan and I were struggling through some things in our marriage and yet I had been praying daily that the Lord would grant us another child. On this particular morning I felt the Lord speaking to me very clearly saying that we were going to have a daughter and he wanted us to name her Grace. I journaled this but did not tell anyone. A little over a month went by before I shared this with Nathan. It was actually on Valentines Day. I shared what I felt like the Lord had told me. Nathan affirmed me by saying that God has spoken to me in the same way many times before. Since we knew I was not pregnant he felt like we should pursue adoption again. I was ready to call Life Choices (our domestic adoption agency) but Nathan reminded me that before Caleb was born God gave us a vision of adopting a bi-racial little boy and a little girl from Thailand. We committed to take a month to fast and pray and asked some of our closest friends to join us. After fasting, praying and researching for that month we shared with our family our plan to pursue adopting a little girl from Thailand.

We could not officially start the adoption process until Caleb turned two, so on May 11, 2007 we sent off our application and began the journey to Grace. Our dossier (a collection of official documents) was sent to Thailand in September of 2007 and our wait for a referral began. At the end of January of 2008 I was in a rut and felling pretty depressed about what seemed to be a never ending process. I began to doubt if our adoption process would ever result in bringing a child home. My dear friend Melinda Snader (also an adoptive mom of two girls) and I got together for coffee and she encouraged me with scripture and with an understanding of the roller coaster of emotions that comes with such a lengthy adoption process. I came home encouraged. As if the Lord had not blessed me enough through her I came home to a message from Shaohannah’s Hope. For those of you who do not know, SH is Steven Curtis Chapman’s ministry that provides adoption assistance and resources for believers pursuing adoption. (You can check out their website at http://www.showhope.org/.) I thought that this phone call was in response to the grant application we submitted. When I returned the phone call, our family was invited to come to Steven Curtis Chapman’s show in Jonesboro. They ask a different family who has applied for assistance to come to each of his shows and at the end of his concert come on stage with him and share/answer questions about their adoption process. We accepted the invitation feeling so humbled by the opportunity and blessed that God cared enough about us to meet our need for encouragement in such a drastic way. So in mid February Nathan, Betty (Nathan’s mom), Caleb and I traveled to Jonesboro for the concert. It was such an amazing experience. They do an incredible job of educating people on the needs of orphans around the world. Through out the show they were collecting donations to allow them to present a grant to a family at the end of the show. It was not until the middle of the show that I realized that WE were that family! We were blessed that night with a grant for $4,000 and with the prayers of Steven and the audience over our family. That experience will always stand out to me as one of the sweetest during Grace’s adoption process.

On June 10, 2008 on our way home from Blue Coast Burrito we got a phone call from our adoption agency letting us know that we had a referral. Kwankhao Sakuntaradon was born in Bangkok, Thailand on October 3, 2007. At the time of our referral she was eight months old and living with a foster family. She was so adorable and our hearts began to ache for her. Caleb as so excited that night he could not quit jumping on his bed. When we corrected him (he had just turned three) he told us that he could not stop jumping because he was so full of joy! One of the sweetest things that happened took place the day after we received our referral. Because both of our children are adopted I asked the Lord to confirm that they were ours, intended to be in our family and not something that we had made happen on our own. He did that very clearly with Caleb. So the morning after we received our referral I remember asking the Lord the significance of January 8th for Grace. I really expected it to be her birthday and was shocked when it was not. I had this idea to use a conception calculator to figure out her conception date. It was January 8th 2007. The Lord spoke to me when she was conceived as he was knitting her together in her birth mom’s womb and began the work of bringing her home to us. What a confirmation that he had chosen us to be Grace’s family.
The months that followed our referral were sweet to begin with. Mom and I began shopping for little girl clothes and our family looked forward to the updates we got every three months. In October I began to struggle with depression over the longing for her to come home. I cried just about every day begging the Lord to bring her home by Christmas. Despite the sadness I felt the Lord carried us through the holidays and blessed us with sweet time as a family. Then on Christmas Eve we finally got an answer to our prayers.

Christmas Eve morning Granny, my mom’s mom, called me and said that she had been praying for me throughout the previous day and she felt like the Lord said “Look up, joy comes in the morning.” She did not know what that meant but felt like it was something that the Lord wanted her to share with me. I was encouraged that she had been praying for me but was not quite sure what these words meant. About an hour later we were on our way to Nathan’s parent’s house to spend Christmas Eve with them when I got a phone call from our social worker at Holt. She told me that we had our travel approval and would be meeting Grace in Thailand on the 25th of January. I was blown away. The Lord had encouraged us that morning and then followed with this amazing gift. Granny was the first person I called and we both were able to praise God for his goodness.

Our journey to Thailand is recorded on our blog at http://www.slankyandcompany.blogspot.com/. Now four months after traveling to Thailand we cannot imagine our lives without this little girl. Her adoption process was the hardest thing I have ever been through but it was also the most rewarding. We could not have done it without the prayers and support both emotional and financial of our family and friends. Thank y’all for being a part of this journey with us. We are filled with praise.