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Our adoption journey has taken so many twists and turns, it is crazy to think back to the question: “How did we know where to adopt from?” Justin and I started our adoption journey back in the spring of 2008. Our son Jaxon was 2 years old and we were ready to grow our family. We had just gotten back from our second trip to China and the Chinese people had stolen our hearts. Chinese adoption was an obvious choice for us. We knew that the Chinese adoption process took 2-­‐3 years, so we decided to go ahead and start the process while we were trying to get pregnant. The paperwork frenzy began. By the beginning of 2009, our papers were signed, sealed & delivered and were headed to China. We received our official “log-­‐in” date of April 2009. Our agency told us that it would be about 1-­‐2 years before we would be matched with a little girl that would become our daughter.

This started a very painful season for me. After more than a year of trying, we still were not pregnant. The word kept coming that the wait for our Chinese adoption would be more like 3-­‐5 years. For as long as I could remember, all I ever wanted was to be a wife & a mom with a house full of kids. All around me people were getting pregnant and adopting so quick and easily. The phrase I feel like God kept speaking to me was: “Wait…keep believing in MY GOODNESS, but wait.” ARGH!!

This leg of the journey went on until the summer of 2010. In July, Justin approached me with the crazy idea of us considering foster-­‐to-­‐adopt. Without hesitation I said, “NO WAY!” There was no way that I could love a baby knowing that I might have to give him or her back. I could not survive that with all the emotional struggles I experienced in not being able to grow our family!  I kept thinking and praying about this whole foster-­‐to-­‐adopt idea.  I couldn’t get it out of my head and off my heart.   God used two things to open my heart in moving forward with foster-­‐to-­‐adopt.  The first, happened one day in early August 2010.  I heard God speak to me so clearly.  He made clear to me that it was not my job to self-­‐preserve my own heart.  I’m supposed to love who he has given me to love, and let HIM take care of my heart…no matter what the risk. The second thing God used was a lady that I had met through a ministry that helps women who are in the cycle of poverty & abuse. I had been mentoring this woman for several months. Her teenage daughter had a baby in November of 2009 and I knew they were struggling. Justin asked me if I had a chance to foster her granddaughter for 6 months and then give her back, would I do it? Of course I said, “Yes!” Having a face to put with the idea of fostering made it feel so different. So we decided when summer was over, we would begin the process of foster-­‐to-­‐adopt…while we waited on our Chinese adoption, and continued trying to get pregnant.

About a week later I received a call from the woman that I had been mentoring. She called on a Thursday morning and asked if we would consider letting her 9 month old granddaughter live with us. CPS was probably going to remove her from the home and she wanted us to take care of her. We were blown away! How amazing that God had totally prepared our hearts for this! She texted the next morning to ask if we could meet her at court. After a couple of hours, we watched grandmother & mom put their 9 month old baby girl in our car…with tears streaming down their faces.

We were definitely open to adoption, but also wanted to see God redeem & restore this birth mom so that she could have the joy of being a healthy mother. We spent 16 months loving this beautiful baby girl & investing in her birth mother. In December 2011, she was returned home to her birth mom with CPS still monitoring their progress. The loss of the little girl we had grown to love as our own had many emotions wrapped up in it, but we fought to trust God.

When 2012 began, we decided to make the switch to special needs with our Chinese adoption. It had been 4 years now since we started this whole process and we were ready to have some resolution. Our caseworker looked every month to match us with a little girl without success. I felt like my heart was getting torn in two. It was so painful to give back our foster daughter, to not find a Chinese match for us, and still not able to get pregnant.

At the end of March we received a call that our foster daughter’s birth mom had been arrested and they wanted to know if she could come back to our home. The next day she was home with us. Several more twists and turns have happened in her case, but on May 1, 2013 she was officially adopted into the Cofield family as Annie Pearl Cofield!

So, as I think about the question, “How did you know where to adopt from?”, I realize the only thing I really know is that God is telling a story through our lives! He sees willing hearts & lives ready to be used by Him. As you seek answers on where to adopt from, know that when you are willing, God will write HIS story through you. No matter the plans you make, the papers you fill out, or the home studies you complete, HE will get your little one home to you. He will draw your heart closer to His! Cling to the ONE you KNOW, Jesus, but be ready for a crazy adventure! And…just in case you were wondering…we are still waiting on our Chinese adoption. The wait is still 3-­‐5 years! Can’t wait to see how God writes the next part of our story!

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Jana Cofield can be found in her backyard in Austin, Texas leading a pack of crazy neighborhood kids on an adventure to fight tigers and drink kool-aide. She and her husband along with their two children love riding bikes, eating homemade chocolate chip cookies, and having dance parties in the kitchen. You can connect with Jana via Facebook or carrier pigeons.

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