The hands and feet of Jesus. That is what this wonderful couple was to us. Dave and Kristy not only opened up their home TWICE to us, but they loved us through the the thick and thin of both our adoptions. They held us when we needed to be held, gave us a shoulder to cry on, fed us, played with our kids and took us on several adventures in the area. They became our family and saying goodbye to them was hard, especially not knowing when we would be back.
When I say that adoption is for everyone, I mean that. Does that mean everyone should adopt? No, but everyone can do SOMETHING to support those that are. We never once went through the adoption process alone, there were always those praying us through, supporting us financially, helping us physically, and blessing us in ways we could have never imagine. I could give you countless names. Still today, it's overwhelming and humbling to think about. So my prayer for YOU is, if you ever have an opportunity to be a part of an adoption process (big or small), just know that you are making a difference in the life of a child. YOU ARE their voice and your piece in the story is just one way you can serve and be Christ in that moment. That is what being a part of the body of Christ looks like, that is being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Almost two weeks after arriving in North Carolina, our family of 6 was heading home. It was bittersweet, but we were ready to start our new reality! I will forever be grateful for Dave, Kristy, and all those that shared our adoption journey with us. This is not just our story, it's yours too.
The call. We had been in Charlotte, NC for 10 days and were anxiously waiting for "the call" saying that we could take our baby boy home.
Since usually it's REALLY cold back home in South Dakota, we wanted to take full advantage of warm weather and get outside as much as possible with our kids. This happened to be an extra special day, as it was also Danny's birthday. He told me that his birthday wish was getting the call. Well, his wish came true! As the kids were running around playing, Daeston and I were basking in the sun. I remember actually whispering to Daeston at one point saying "don't get too used to this!" His little life in the south was going to change in NO time and he would have to adjust to colder winter months😉
I'll never forget when Danny took the call and I saw his smile. It was an AMAZING feeling to know we could finally go HOME and we couldn't wait to tell the other kids.
God was So good and yet I had so many feelings rushing through my mind. Is it okay to take this child away from where he was born? Away from his birth family? Would we ever be able to speak with them or meet them? How is life going to be at home adjusting with a newborn again? Do we really have to leave and go back to reality? When will I ever see Jerik again? Yes, knowing that we were leaving NC, I still had a heavy heart knowing we would be leaving Jerik yet again. Will Daeston bond with us the same way Coyer did when we adopted him?
Through all these thoughts, fears, and questions, Philippians 4:6 kept running through my mind, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." So as a family we did just that, knowing that God's plan for our family was just beginning to unfold.
We knew our time in NC was coming to end and it would be ANY day that we would get the call of clearance to take our baby boy home across state lines. I could NOT wait for my family and friends back home to finally meet Daeston instead of having to facetime and skype. Let's be real, what mom doesn't love to show off their newborn baby?!
Honestly, I was not ready to go home and face reality. I was enjoying the little "mini-vacation" with just our family. I loved that we didn't have to have a care in the world, other than having fun together and we were having TONS of that! Some of my favorite moments were our nights spent at our host home, cooking supper, playing, going on walks, snuggling, reading, giving bathes and taking turns holding Daeston. I can't tell you how many times I looked at him and thought "is he actually mine, forever?" I knew the reality wouldn't set in until we boarded the plane home. The moment I dreaded SO much last time was going to be replaced with excitement as we went home as a family of 6.
To this day, it's one of the best experiences we've ever shared as a family. I am SO thankful we decided to take our kids and let them experience this time with us, there is NOTHING that could replace that. When Danny and I decided we wanted to adopt again, we knew that we wanted our kids to be involved as much as possible. We wanted to go through the entire process, the ups and the downs, as a family so our kids would understand how God worked through it all. We knew it would help Coyer understand a little bit more about his story too! I can't begin tell you how much it has taught our kids. So if you ever adopt and ask me if your kids should could along with you, my answer would probably be yes 😉
The next hour was a BLUR. It was filled with questions, hard conversation, answers, tears, but most of all, JOY. Never did I think I would be able to experience JOY in that moment, but I did, it was an answer to prayer. Being able to see all my children in one spot and have them meet, it was surreal. God knew what He was doing and conversation with Shinara was better than I could have ever imagined.
I know a lot of people questioned her, were angry with her, and just didn't get it. To be honest, I had moments of this too, but at the end of the day I knew she was brought into my life for a reason and I loved her. She was the mother of our son, regardless if he was living with our family or not. He would always be our son and I wanted the best for not only him, but her. We needed this moment together, we needed to heal. Never will I forgot the look in her eyes as she apologized to us. She was sincere and in that moment, I forgave her for all the hurt she put us through.
Having Daeston in my arms was a secure feeling, as we sat and talked. It was as if God was of saying. “I had a plan, I am faithful, and he is yours." Nothing will ever change the way I feel about Jerik or his mom Shinara, and NOTHING will ever change the way I feel about Daeston. He is son, and was always meant to be. He is our "joy" after our "mourning."
Before it came time for us to go, we were able to get some pictures together. My absolute favorite picture was the one that Shinara took of Danny and I with our five children. Regardless of where Jerik lives, he will always be part of our family and our story. To this day, we still keep in touch with them, send pictures, and talk. I look forward to the day when we can be in the same room again because I know God is at work and has an amazing plan.
I never thought this day would come. When we lost Jerik, I cried for weeks thinking I would never see him again. I struggled with moving on and had to force myself to find joy in the every day moments. When we got the call for Deaston, it was VERY clear that God was at work. Jerik was from the Charlotte, NC area and when we left, I felt like I was leaving a piece of my heart there. Never did I think that my future son would also come from this area too. It was like God knew exactly what we needed. Before we left SD to adopt Daeston, I prayed that God would give us the opportunity to see Jerik again. I know that sounds crazy, but I believed that God was working in ways we could not imagine.
You see, Daeston would never replace Jerik, and I was not looking for that. I was overwhelmed with love for our new son, but that didn't mean I still didn't love Jerik or his birth mom. They were forever our family and knowing that we were going to be in the same area as where they lived, gave me hope that we would be able to see them. Over the last month since saying goodbye to Jerik, Shinara and I kept in touch by texting. So after being in NC for over a week as a family, I asked her if she would be interested in seeing us. I asked if we could see Jerik again and if our kids could meet him. (Most people probably thought we were crazy, but honestly, we didn't care.)
I believed whole-heartedly that God had a plan through it all and our story with Jerik was unfinished. Thankfully, Shinara said "yes," and we made plans to meet them at a local mall park so the kids could play and we could talk. I'll never forget the moment when she walked up and we embraced without words. Really, it was all God. Never did I think I would be able to face her without hard feelings after all the pain she put us through, but there was something unspoken that was even stronger. It was LOVE. Regardless of what she put us through, I had this immense love for her, and I still do.
Hi, I'm Kansas! I wish we could be doing this face to face over coffee. Maybe someday, till then this will have to do!