|Sierra's first word at 11 months old was "DADAAA!!"|
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Our First Adoption Journey
January 11, 2012
My name is Christy. David and I have 5 children. He works as an engineer while I stay home with our five incredible children- Ianna age 11, Leora, age 9, Liam age 8, Sierra age 2 and Alyssa age 1. We live in San Diego, California. My American parents raised me and my sister in Saudi Arabia where we vacationed often in third world countries. We were not sheltered from seeing deplorable suffering that results from extreme poverty. Up until five years ago, I worked as an international adoption social worker. Such work further broke my heart over seemingly needless suffering of countless orphans in need of loving homes. Each night, David and I prayed with our three young children that we could do something for children in need of homes. Each night our little ones would pray "God, please give mommies and daddies to children who have no mommies and daddies..."
Ianna, Leora and Liam in 2009...
In April 2009, David agreed that we could together attend an orientation given by San Diego County Child Welfare on Foster care and adoption. By December we had been approved to foster/adopt up to two children under the age of two- any disability, any race, either gender. Ianna, Leora and Liam prayed each night for the protection of their new little sister or brother. As a family, we decided to be willing to open our hearts to a child who had not yet been freed for adoption. This decision was made with the knowledge that our family may grieve at the potential loss of a child. God loves birthmothers in a special way. We began to pray for the mother of any child God brought to our family. We chose to love with an open hand. This decision was scary for me- I did not want to be hurt and certainly did not want our three children to suffer unnecessary grief. However, we decided that the grief we may experience was nothing compared to the pain experienced by children and birthmothers in need of Jesus' love. In February 2010 our social worker, Lesley, called. "You've been matched with an 8 month old girl." Precious Sierra had been born in June of 2009. She was in a special needs foster home due to the challenges imposed upon her little body. On March 8, 2010, we brought Sierra home. She was 9 months old. She was God's precious baby, placed in our arms. Each one of us loved and treasured Sierra as if she had always been with us. The journey that followed over the next year was far more trecherous than I could have predicted. As a social worker, I had felt prepared for the risks and potential losses and challenges ahead. However, the reality of loving a child as my own while knowing she could easily be taken away to a life where we could not protect her was far more difficult than I could have imagined-- I was blindsided, broken and brought to my knees like never before. Sleep seemed impossible as fear roared loud. Depression crept in and seemed to suffocate who I was. Slowly, love replaced fear as I learned to embrace pain instead of running from it.
My love for a God who chose to suffer and die in order to adopt us became more real than ever.
Here is David with Sierra just before bringing her home. I call this picture "No Longer Fatherless"
Ten days after the courts decided allow our family to eventually adopt Sierra, we received a call from the county...Sierra's precious, suffering birthmother had another baby. Alyssa was two days old and waiting for us at the hospital. In a daze, David and I prayed and decided that depression and anxiety and possible grief of our family were no excuse to turn away from Sierra's sister and her biological mother. Ianna, Leora and Liam also were adamant too that they wanted to love a new baby- even if they would loose her. Friends came and watched the four children while another friend met us half way to the hospital with a clothes, bottles and formula from Target. We walked into the NICU and saw Alyssa for the first time. This beautiful daughter was 7 lbs, 12 oz. What a strange feeling to walk out of the hospital with her that night... No labor, no physical pain... it almost seamed wrong- we walked out carrying a priceless child without earning her. I will never underestimate the loss that our girls' birthmother has had. We chose to be her birthmother's arms of love for Alyssa until she would be able to bring her home. That day never came. A day has not passed that we have not prayed for her.
Early in the dark of the next morning I was up feeding precious newborn Alyssa and I poured my heart out to God..."LORD, I am so very weak and broken from the journey of nearly loosing precious Sierra. Our family has suffered. How can I do this again??! I am too broken!!" Into my mind came a picture of black darkness. In the darkness were numerous clay pots. Within each pot was God's light. Yet only the broken pots allowed the light to shine out- dispelling darkness. The more broken the pot, the more light shone out of it. Along with this mental image came so much peace. For the first time, it was like I was healed from a fear of pain- through a realization that pain and brokenness are not to be feared. Truly broken people are who God uses. That day my prayer changed from "protect my heart" to "Here I am, Lord, break me, shine through into this dark and suffering world." The next several months were very difficult. However, I was willing to be broken. Our children also were willing to be broken. They told me numerous times "Mom, dont worry, if God let's Alyssa stay here, it's good. If He let's her go somewhere else, it's good- even if it hurts. Whatever He does is good." They grew so much this last year. We all did.
Several weeks after Alyssa came home in November 2010...
Sierra and Alyssa's adoption was finalized on December 14, 2011. Here is our family...