Allowing God to Reshape Our Dreams {Adoption Awareness Month: Jen & James … and James}

by GfG on November 6, 2014 · 1 comment

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Every week in November I will have a guest post on adoption, to celebrate Adoption Awareness Month.  These posts will highlight different aspects and different journeys  Today, Jen shares her story.  Be blessed by it and .. maybe a little bit challenged. 

“Jesus left the desert and set about the Great Rescue.  He was going to get God’s people back.

Who would make good helpers, do you think?  Clever ones?  Rich ones?  Strong, important ones?  Some people might think so, but I’m sure by now you don’t need me to tell you they’d be wrong.  Because the people God uses don’t have to know a lot of things, or have a lot of things—they just have to need him a lot.”  Sally Lloyd-Jones in the Jesus Storybook Bible

In January of 2013 my husband was in his last semester of graduate school.  We had lived well below poverty level for the last five years so I could stay home with the kids.  We had a four year old, three old, and a ten month old.  I hadn’t slept through the night for four and a half years.  I was exhausted, but happy.

Every sermon, every passage I read in the Bible kept prompting us that we needed to adopt now.  I argued with God.  Surely now was not the time.  What judge would approve our homestudy when we were so poor and had no job lined up after my husband graduated?

Doors flew open and by early May 2013, our homestudy was approved.

A year later, our adoption journey had been a mess….several sets of children didn’t work out….lots of pain and confusion encircled us.  I realized our hearts had been opened wide through the set backs and road blocks.  God had done an amazing thing to change OUR requirements for a child or children and instead yielded us to what HIS requirements were for our family.

Jens family

We submitted fully to His plan.

In July 2014, I felt restless and I believed God wanted me to do something.  So I prayed that God would show me in a dream where to start.  I woke up that night and my only thought was “Ohio.”  That morning, I was looking through Facebook and I saw a post from National Down Syndrome Adoption Network that said something about them being based out of Cincinnati, Ohio and they were looking for families to put on their free registry.

In two weeks, we were matched and chosen to adopt a baby boy who would be born with Down syndrome. He ended up being premature and just 2 lbs, 13 oz at birth when little tiny baby James was born Sept 2, 2014, 10 hours away from us.


James was in the NICU for 40 days.  I traveled every 10 days to be with either my older children or him.

It was extremely difficult and as anyone who has had a baby in the NICU knows, full of setbacks and scary moments.  Being away from my husband and other children was very difficult for me.  While I was away, my kids got the stomach bug.  My 4 year old son called me to tell me he didn’t remember what I looked like and he missed me a lot.

No matter where I was, my heart was torn.  Baby James had setbacks whenever I left.  The most awesome thing, though, is I got to spend some time with the birth mom, who is an awesome woman, full of love and selflessness.  We will have an open adoption with her, and we’re excited to see how our relationship with her grows along with our little precious gift.

Adoption is messy.  The Bible talks about counting the cost of following Him.  Little did we know that medical costs from being out of state/network made us face over $100,000 in NICU costs (our portion).  We would go bankrupt.  There were some remote possibilities that could work to cut the medical costs, but they were unlikely.  I called my husband who was in New Mexico with our kids while I was in Utah at the NICU….”it looks like we’ll lose the house”!  He told me, “so what if we do.  It’s not our house, it’s God’s.  It is better to lose everything and obey God than to keep our house.”

I finally had to give up trying so hard to work it out.  When I did, doors started opening.  Things look promising today, but even if we lose it all, we are blessed.

Maybe you are like me and feel moved with compassion to do something for orphans.  But maybe there are  so many excuses and roadblocks that keep you from stepping out in faith.  I would encourage you that if God is stirring your heart, don’t ignore it, even if it doesn’t make sense.  God is the God of the impossible.

Maybe God is moving you in adoption and you are resisting letting go of your dreams and ideas of what your child “must” be.  Consider praying and opening your heart to what God wants for you instead of what you want for you.

Maybe you can’t adopt right now.  There are still many ways to help.  Donate to those who are adopting, buy Christmas ornaments from, sponsor a child, bring meals to families who have adopted, babysit for free for them, and most importantly, pray for the orphans and the birth families and the adoptive families.  Without the help and prayers of my friends and family, I wouldn’t be a successful Mom.

Most days I’m an average mom with average faith.  I mess up and I need God a great deal.  And that’s all He asks.  We don’t have to be super to adopt.  We don’t have to be anything but dependent on God.

How are you challenged by adoption? 

{Giveaway for a copy of the book Rescue: Raising Teens in Today’s Drowning Culture still open for entries!}

Jen and James collage WEB

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