Sunday, June 14, 2009

God's Signs in Adoption

God has blessed the Sweeney home in so many ways. Yes, I admit, that Chris and I feel the stress of having 4 kids that are spaced 20 months apart on a daily basis, but it is always so refreshing to reflect on how we came to be who we are today. We wanted children so badly, that it was painful. Any couple that has experienced infertility can relate. We did try "medical interventions" with no success. I have always felt led towards adoption, Chris needed a little work. The thought of trying to adopt a child seemed so difficult. We were never intimidated by the idea of being parents. It was the idea of having to pass some test that determined if we were good enough. It was the idea of having to go through the government of two different countries and filling out soooooo many pieces of paper. It was frustrating for me to think about people who could have babies and mistreat them and we were having to be approved. Though it seems now to be such ancient history, the emotions are surfacing now as I type. It was a very hard time for us.

Aside from each other, and our children, infertility was perhaps the biggest gift God has given us. We grew so much stronger in our faith. We learned how to depend on God, how to listen to his plans, how to pray, and how to wait. Granted, if we were better listeners, we wouldn't have spent all those hours at the fertility clinic in Nashville. We would have started our process with Holt International much sooner. Our last visit to Nashville, our doctor said, "You are two healthy people with a very big problem." I don't know what else he said after that. We were done. We went home and filled out the pre-application online and started the process of adopting our son.

How did we know that we were following God's plan? Signs, signs, and more signs.
Landon's Story:
After 4 years of infertility, we decided to finally listen and start the adoption process. After filling out the pre-application Holt sent us the paperwork. We filled it out and sent it back. It was postmarked June 3, 2003. A very nice lady from the Holt Waiting Child office contacted us on July 7 just to touch base. She also had a referral on a little boy that seemed like a good match. She mailed us his file, we looked over it, we accepted. Our little boy was home in Kentucky on October 22, 2003! Our son, Landon, was adopted from South Korea. The process took less than 5 months from start to finish. Why did we wait so long to take our lead from God?

Annie's Story:
When Landon was 2 years old, we began the journey into foster care. We started fostering another little girl (the child I have mentioned in previous posts) very soon after approval. She was a challenging child. I was a very busy mommy during this time. I had two children that were 3 months apart. When March 2006 came around, she was 3 and Landon was still 2. I never had a chance to sit down. I was still fairly new at the parenting thing, so I was probably a little more particular about things. For some strange reason, there was a day in March that God told me to rest. My husband came home from work early and I told him that I had to lay down. I just felt like I needed some rest. (Keep in mind, this was a week day. Those that know me well, know that I always have this moment on Sundays!) I took a good, long nap! We got a phone call around midnight that night. One hour later, a 14 month old Annie was brought into our home. She was scared and dirty and I was up all night holding this beautiful, chubby little girl. My sign from god was that nap!

Luke's Story:
The summer of 2006 was certainly busy. I was now a Mommy of a 3 year old Korean boy, a 3 year old White girl, and a 1 1/2 year old Biracial (w/b) baby girl. We jokingly told our social worker that we didn't want anymore children unless a newborn Hispanic boy came was to come into care. Please do not get offended by that statement. We are not racial people and pretty much consider ourselves colorblind to race. God didn't see it as a joke. He took us very seriously. Of course, one thing that we learned is that God does His work in His time.
School started on August 2, 2006. I had a very busy first day of school with my new batch of first graders. Less than 5 minutes after dismissal, my classroom phone rang. It was my social worker. She had a newborn Hispanic male. I picked him up the next day. The timing was definitely not how I would have planned. God knows what he's doing.
Our sign: We asked, we received, we never expected it when it happened.

Trinity's Story:
In October of 2007, Chris and I thought the time was right to do one of those odd things on our life's To Do List. We were going to host a Korean exchange student. We already had a video of him telling us about his likes and dislikes and his goals for his trip to America. We thought it would be a great learning experience for all of us, especially for Landon. We were excited about having someone in the house to teach him first hand about his birth country. On November 29, we were supposed to make the call to finalize all the plans. We were set. My husband and I both experienced a very strange, overwhelming "feeling" about 3o minutes before the scheduled phone call that the time wasn't right. We said no. The next morning, during reading groups at school, I got a phone call from a social worker. There was a three week old baby girl in the NICU at our local hospital that needed a mommy. We didn't know if it would be permanent, but we knew she was meant to go home with us until she had her Forever Family. Would we have adopted her? ABSOLUTELY, but she did return to her birth father 11 months later. I still feel like Trinity's sign was the most clear sign that we had from God. It helps us know that we are cut out to be foster parents. Sometimes I wonder why He picked us, but he did.

Chloe's Story:
We learned in Feb. 2008 that Luke's birth-mom was pregnant. Upon learning that news, the ages of our children at home were, 4, 3, 18 months, and 3 months. We didn't know if we were going to get to adopt Trinity, and Luke was quite a handful. We really didn't think we were going to be able to take Luke's sister if she were to go into foster care. Once again, I jokingly said, "Watch, she will be born at the very end of the school year. We brought Luke home the second day of school. She'll be ready to come home the second to last day of school. That will be a clear sign, wouldn't it?" Well guess what! Three days before school was out (May 21), I was on a field trip with my class. My cell phone rang and it was a social worker. Chloe was born on May 20. She would be ready to take home on May 22. -- The second to last day of school.
I can't think of too many times when you can actually tell God what you want the sign to be. I guess God knew that it had to be really, really clear this time. Chloe is the most amazing baby. I can not begin to imagine what it would be like without her in our family.