Adoption has always seemed important to me. I always thought it was a great thing to do and that it was something Christians were specifically called to do because of this one verse from the Bible-
James 1:27 Pure and faultless religion is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress…
All that being said, I always thought that adoption was something for other Christians to do. I thought it was for people who had lots of extra money or I thought it might be for people who couldn’t have biological children. The list of reasons why adoption was great but wasn’t for our family could go on and on.
After 7 years of marriage Jon and I had our daughter Annalise and a mere 18 months later, we had our son Noah. After having two kids so quickly and having one child of each gender it was easy to look at our family from the outside and say that we were done and many people (especially grocery store strangers) frequently said things to me that made me think I was crazy for having two kids in less than two years and that we should stop now since both of our kids were darling and healthy. Why gamble with a third kid who could be less cute or even worse, have a special need?
We began to think about adoption shortly after our second child turned one. Jon took a job to work at a church in Austin where many people adopt. This broke the mold I had for who should adopt, which was exciting and scary to me. We knew that we weren’t done growing our family, but for many reasons I wasn’t dying to be pregnant again. This was when we first realized that God was calling us to expand our family via adoption.
In the fall of 2010 we attended a conference called Together for Adoption. By the time the conference rolled around, we knew we wanted to adopt but had no idea how. There were so many options! We went to conference hoping that we would be handed the perfect kid in exchange for a few signatures. We learned about adopting from foster care, and we learned about international adoption, both of which are crucial needs and wonderful avenues for adoption. But for many reasons, neither seemed right for us.
Then we attended a domestic adoption info session. The lady leading the info session talked exclusively about open adoption. When I thought of open adoption I thought of scary Lifetime movies where birth parents came to steal their children back and broke apart the happy adoptive family. After open adoption was explained to us at this conference, we were sold. I loved the idea of having a relationship with a birth mother. I loved knowing that our child could hear from her someday about why she chose an adoption plan for him. We were most excited about the possibility of being able to share Jesus with this kind, young woman who would choose us to parent her child.
God answered our prayers and we left the conference with a plan for how He was calling us to grow our family. When we finally called the agency we thought we wanted to use, they weren’t accepting any new families because other families had been waiting too long. So we called them again the next month and the month after that, only to keep getting the same answer. We felt a pressing urgency that our baby was out there and that we needed to find him quickly. We began researching and found our wonderful agency, Generations. We spent the summer of 2011 filling out papers and jumping through all the right hoops. Paying for the adoption was so daunting at first but God took care of everything and it ended up not being stressful. He provided every single penny we needed at just the right time. We made a profile book about our family with pictures for birth mothers to see. We were officially a waiting family by November 2011. Much to our surprise, a birth mother chose us right away and we met her on our 12th wedding anniversary in December 2011. Our sweet and darling little boy, Elliot was born February 3rd, 2012. We met him just a few hours after he was born. There were some unusual legal bumps that delayed his homecoming. During this transition time, he lived with a family from our adoption agency that took great care of him and sent us lots of picture updates. He finally came home to our house on March 28, 2012, just a few weeks after he was born.
We love having Elliot in our family. There are challenges we have encountered that all families who have a third child, or who adopt outside of their race. We have visited in person with his birth mother three times this year. In between visits, I send her pictures in the mail and we email and text.
If you are stuck wondering about adoption, pray and ask God for faith and wisdom, and then get information. Talk to other adoptive families. Check out local agencies. Get on the same page as your spouse. Getting information about all of our options was super helpful for our family. Most importantly, trust God that He will open the doors and make a path for your family to your child.
Amelia Dansby lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jon, who pastors at Austin Stone Community Church and their 3 kiddos (Annalise 5, Noah 4, and Elliot 1). She loves snow cones,occasionally exercising, and spending time with her friends and neighbors. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or on their family blog.