Our adoption journey began long before Jon and I ever met. As an 18 year old, Jon found himself on the verge of death due to a very serious case of appendicitis. During that time, he prayed. He told God that he was ready to go, but if it'd be His will and He'd spare him, he asked for these things: a wife, a home, and two kids. He specifically told God that he'd like to have a boy first and then a girl.
Fast forward a few years. We met and in about a year, were married. We were young and very much naïve. We'd never gone through any situation were we had to have God immediately. Little did we know, it was coming. We'd been married about 4 years when we decided it was time for a baby. We got pregnant very fast and easily. Things were going great.
At around 31 weeks or so, things started to go south. I went to the doctor and had gained 13 pounds in two weeks. I was put on bed rest for a weekend and lost about 6 pounds over that weekend. I guess that was enough for my doctor to see I had to take it easy - I was immediately put on bed rest. A couple of weeks later, I started going to the doctor twice a week for non-stress tests. During this time, I started having severe pains. We assumed it was gallbladder, as did my doctor. Little did we know, it was much more serious.
I went to the doctor on December 4th. I had been absolutely miserable in pain with the assumed gallbladder. I was one day past 34 weeks. They put him in the hospital that day and induced labor. We quickly found out my pain had nothing to do with my gallbladder, but was my liver due to my developing severe preeclampsia. By 11:03 that night, our son, Dakota, was born via C-section at 4lb 6oz. He was tiny but healthy. I was the one who had been so sick. I was so bad that they'd prepared my family for me to be put on a ventilator. Thankfully, God saw differently. He came by, touched me, and I didn't have to be on life support following surgery.
That whole situation scared us about having another child. We both wanted more than one, but we were scared. I wasn't thinking at all about adoption and had decided I was just going to have to risk my life for us to grow our family. Every single time we thought about it, it came with a fear - a heavy load.
I received an email from our local DHR about families needed. It was asking for a flyer to be posted at our church. It was weird because my mom had previously worked with DHR so I didn't understand why I got the email instead of her. Jon and I talked and decided we felt like it was a sign from God. We met with the agency that stuck out to us on the list and began our adoption journey. Once we decided to proceed with adoption, the load (fear) that we'd felt over another child lifted. That was my second sign.
Our agency prepared us that the wait might take 2-3 years. I made it pretty good for the first year. By year two, we began preparing. The further along in year two we got, the harder it seemed to wait.
Black Friday, while eating lunch with my dad, I got a call from our attorney. There was a situation he was "cautiously optimistic" about. It was a little boy. DHR was involved, as was another family. We traveled the following Monday to that town, visited court, and came home empty handed. We were planning to still try to adopt him, but things kept getting more complicated (due to DHR involvement and the other family) and we finally decided to back out. I was devastated, but knew this wasn't our baby.
By about mid-April, I got very discouraged. I'd decided that it wasn't God's will for us to have another baby and that He wasn't going to grant the desires of my heart. Discouraged is such an understatement. I was distraught. My husband gave me some of the best advice I've ever received - write down my prayer, throw it up in the air and let the wind take it. Give it to God and let Him have it. I tried. It was hard, but I tried. I wrote down my prayer and threw it out the window going down the road.
May 1st, I heard a song that would change my way of thinking. It's called "When I Lay My Isaac Down." It talks about how Abraham wanted a son so badly and put Isaac so high, he had to be willing to give him up. Once he was willing, God provided another way. I saw right then that it wasn't that God didn't want to grant my prayer, but rather He wanted me to be WILLING for His will. I changed. Talking about adoption was now "if" and not "when," not because I was trying to doubt, but I was trying to prepare myself for the fact that it might not be God's will.
Two weeks (exactly) later, I got the call. A little girl had been born mid-April (remember the time when I was getting discouraged?) and was about to be released from the hospital. That was on a Friday night and on Sunday morning, we met our daughter and brought her home.
It took us three years. We began our adoption journey February 28, 2012 (when we met with our agency for the first time), and our daughter came home May 17, 2015. I still say those were some of the hardest times of my life. The wait was hard - so hard. It was emotionally the hardest thing I've ever done. However, once our daughter was in our arms, every single day (and every single tear) was worth it.
My advice to anyone waiting who may be struggling with keeping faith - don't give up. I've heard God answers every prayer you pray. Sometimes, His answer is "yes." Sometimes, His answer is "no." And sometimes, His answer is simply "not yet." My answer was "not yet" for three years, but once He gave me a "yes," it was so much better than anything I could've even imagined.
The Burns Family
Holly, I love how God heard the prayers of your husband and knew the desires of your heart and answered! What a beautiful story and family God knit together. Thank you for sharing.
As with any adoption story, there are no two adoptions that are the same. We would love to hear your adoption story from a Christian perspective. Some families choose international adoption while other families choose domestic adoption (private or foster care). If you have adopted and would like us to feature your adoption story on Adoption Story Wednesday, please go to our Share Your Story page to submit to Adoption Strong.
“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” Valerie Harper