Today we’re going to talk numbers. I know it’s somewhat taboo to ask what the costs are when considering adoption. The fact of the matter is this, adoption is costly. There are many reasons for this that I will not get into, but the bottom line is, valuable things cost something. When we speak about adoption we are literally speaking about lives. Many times these are lives that either would not even have a chance at life if not for adoption, in other cases they are lives that would be tossed about from home to home never finding a permanent family. So yes, it is going to be costly. Redemption is costly. On average a late first trimester abortion costs between $300 to $500. An average domestic adoption costs between $25,000 to $50,000 depending on many factors. So when we look at the costs associated with adoption what we really need to be asking is, how valuable is human life? Abortion says, life is disposable. The fees to get rid of the “problem” are so low in comparison to what a family pays to save that life.
We need a perspective change. Instead of looking at the bottom line, and what it will cost in the end, we should be asking what is wrong with our society that a mother can pay $300 to have the life of her child snuffed out, when there are waiting lists of families all over the nation who have sacrificed and said, that child is very valuable. We are willing and ready to be a family for that child. The cost of adoption isn’t shocking to me, maybe it should be. When we look at it in comparison to the cost of an abortion my only thought is, what better way? What better way to live out the gospel. What better way to be Jesus with skin on to a world in need. What better way to show a mother in a desperate situation that not only is the baby in her womb valuable, but she is valuable! She is worth the sacrifice.
As a family we know the costs firsthand. Almost 1 month ago we got the call. The call from our agency saying, we were chosen by a momma, and did we have the funds ready to wire to cover the agency fees? Only a few days later we recieved another call, “the expectant mom will be having a c-section in just a few days, you need to make travel plans”. Because we were ready, we had prepared, we had saved, we had done some fundraising, and God had set the whole thing up, when that call came, we were able to jump into action and say yes. Today we have our daughter in our arms because we didn’t let the cost deter us. We could have, in all those months of waiting, and looking at the funds just sitting there, and setting aside money knowing that one day we would get the call, we could have given up hope, we could have said, it’s too costly. We could have spent that money on other things, on home improvements or vacations, but adoption is all about counting the cost. When Jesus adopted us, did He decide that hanging on a cross was too costly, and He would rather spend the day at the beach? He could have, He is God afterall. He could have said, yeah, no thanks, the price is too high, but He didn’t. Instead He chose us over His own personal comfort. Do I wish adoption cost less? Yes I do. You may be surprised at why I wish it cost less though.
If it were less costly, all that would mean for us is the ability to adopt more. Simply put, we have been called to adopt, to care for the widow and the orphan, this is true religion. This is true compassion, when you are grieved over an injustice and you can no longer sit idly by and watch from the sidelines. Our compassion for mothers in difficult circumstances has drawn us to action. The cost is a limiting factor for so many families who feel called to adopt, it holds them back and tests their faith and even results in asking the question, God do you really want me to do that? I believe a day is coming soon when life will once again be valued, when abortion will be a thing of the past, a memorial we remember of a by gone era. When that happens there will be children who’s mothers either don’t want to, or can’t care for them. Where will those children go? It’s time for an adoption movement to arise. It’s time for the church to get ready to take in the children who have no homes. I want to challenge you to grow in faith in the area of finances. If the cost is a limiting factor for your family, yet you feel called and have a heart desire to be a mother or father to the orphan, I challenge you to say yes to God in the area of Adoption. If adoption is something God has called you to and you’ve set it aside because of the cost, maybe God is simply waiting for your yes before He releases the finances? I’ve discovered oftentimes, when God calls me to to something He only shows me one step at a time, and usually there is not breakthrough until I’ve set all my excuses aside and said yes! Will you join me in asking God to release finances for families who are called to adopt? If you personally don’t feel called, then maybe God is asking you to be the one to provide in the area of finances for a family that does? #AdoptionIsRedemption #AdoptionIsCostly #AdoptionIsWorthIt #EveryLifeHasValue
We’ve known that adoption was in our future for almost 10 years, but our journey started years before that. The dreams started when I was pregnant with our first child 15 years ago. I had no idea what they meant at the time, but dream after dream have come through the years in which I gave birth to or was holding a dark curly haired, dark skinned baby girl. We first met someone with the name Hadassah at a church in the city which we were invited to come and speak about LIFE. The pastor and his wife were a black couple and they had a daughter whose name was Hadassah. I was giving the message that night and it was all about Esther. My husband Jeremy and I left and said to each other, “The next girl we have, her name is Hadassah.” That was 8 years ago.
Throughout this process every time I wanted to give up on this dream, every time I got discouraged, or thought it was too hard or maybe wasn’t God’s plan, I had a dream. In one specific instance, I had a particularly challenging day with the kids. I went to bed and as I was falling asleep I cried out to God and said this is too hard, the waiting is hard. Either come through or take away this desire. The next morning I had a message from a friend she said, “I had a dream about you last night, in it you had adopted a baby girl.” This has happened multiple times over the past nine months. God is so faithful! So many times I wanted to give up on Him, but He never gave up, He never left our side because He knew the plan He had in store. It’s so much better than I ever hoped or dreamed it would be!
Over the course of our marriage we have had many adventures! None have even come close in comparison to this! July 1st 2015 we sent in our first application and check to hire an adoption consultant. We also started praying for the momma that would carry our Hadassah. On November 20, 2015 we got the completed home study. I cried as I read that our family had been approved. It was time to begin applying to agencies! On Friday March 11, 2016, just days after getting matched we were notified that we needed to get ready to leave our home state because birth mom was scheduled for a C-section Monday morning! That entire day is a total blur of packing, and phone calls with the attorney and the adoption agency. One thing that I will always remember about that day is the attorney asked me if we had a name picked out. I told her we had chosen the name Hadassah Joy. She said, “Oh like Esther in the Bible? Isn’t there something coming up soon that has to do with that?” Purim is a Jewish holiday commemorating what Esther did when she was used by God to rescue the Jewish people from Haman’s plan to have them wiped out. This year Purim happens on March 23rd and 24th. If all goes smoothly we will bring Hadassah home during Purim.
We had planned to leave early Sunday morning so we would be sure to be there in plenty of time. Saturday night Jeremy had a dream, he rarely dreams so when he has dreams that he remembers we take notice. In the dream he was leading a group of black children to safety and there were trees with low branches lining the path he was leading the children along. In the trees there
were men with small paring knives that would jump out and try to cut off the hands of the people leading the children. We prayed about this dream and knew that God was trying to warn us about some kind of danger. After a little more prayer and searching we discovered that the trees in the dream looked very similar to Myrtle trees. The root word of Hadassah is Hadas which mean Myrtle tree. We knew this dream had significance and meaning. The knives we believed represented word curses and cutting off of hands we felt was a warning that the enemy was trying to cut off the work of God’s hands. We sent off a quick e-mail to a few prophetic friends and asked them to pray and call us and we were off. We got about ½ way to our destination and we got a call from a prophetic friend of ours saying she too had a dream that night with Jeremy and I in it. She told us her dream and we talked a little about the 2 dreams and what they might mean. Her dream was that there was a home remodel happening but there were a lot of delays. And obstacles in the way of accomplishing the goal. We talked and prayed and felt that although the Lord was warning us that this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, He was also guiding us along the way and showing us how to pray through it. With that ammunition and faith boost in hand we continued to drive and pray. We had no idea just how challenging the week ahead would be.
We arrived at the hospital Monday morning and right off the bat we were met with delay. The C-section was not going to be at the time we had been told, they were moving it back 2 hours. We were able to meet Hadassah’s tummy mommy and she told us she chose us specifically because we had other children and she knew we would be able to take good care of her baby. This blessed my heart so much. The reason so many agencies had told us we wouldn’t be chosen was exactly why she thought we would be a good fit. The nurse came and told her it was time to get ready for the C-section and we headed over to the Labor and Delivery waiting room to get ready to meet Hadassah. It would be 2 more hours until we actually got to meet her.
We finally got the news that she was born, and we had more waiting until we were told we could go in to see Hadassah. What a glorious meeting that was! She was absolutely perfect! The first time I held her I cried like a baby. It was so good to finally have this promise of God in my arms. Leading up to this day we had been praying for favor with the nurses and doctors. We knew that some hospitals are not very friendly toward adoptive parents and we had asked God to give us a staff that would be understanding toward us. He delivered in more ways than one! Hadassah’s first nurse was amazing and she helped us have skin to skin time within the first hour after her birth so we could bond. The entire nursing staff was very supportive and worked to help us navigate this dance.
The 5 Day Fight
We were so happy to have this promise in our arms but having been warned through dreams, knew we our journey wasn’t finished. It’s such a delicate dance in an adoption situation. The adoptive family is in a place of absolute joy at the arrival of their much awaited blessing, but there is another mother who is grieving the loss of a son or daughter. As difficult as her life situation may be and as much as she may know that she can’t raise this little one, it is still a hard path. After 2 days in the hospital Hadassah’s birth mom was discharged. We were minutes from being discharged from the hospital when our representative from the agency came into the room and asked to speak with us. With tears in her eyes she told us that Hadassah’s birth mom had changed her mind and didn’t want to go through with the adoption. We were filled with faith that this wasn’t over. We knew in our hearts because of the dreams we had, and the promise of God that this was an attack of the enemy on Hadassah’s life that he desired to cut off the work of God’s hands by taking her from us. He had given us too many signs along this journey for us to turn away without a fight. We called some dear intercessor friends we knew would stand and pray with us, and we set our hearts to prayer. We made the little room in the hospital literally no bigger than a closet, our prayer closet and we fought for this promise. Psalm 126:5-6 has been the verse we have stood on during this journey, and we knew that God had given Hadassah to us as a harvest of joy. So we held her and prayed and cried and asked God to intervene and change the situation. Then I left her there with Jeremy and went with our agency representative to talk to Hadassah’s birth mom. I prayed the whole way there and asked God to fill me with his spirit and give me the words to speak. In the end we left that meeting with a provisional custody agreement giving us temporary custody of her until signing day.
I returned to the hospital. And found Jeremy sitting in the rocking chair with Hadassah. He told me the Doctor had ordered blood work to check her bilirubin levels because she had some jaundice, and that she wasn’t being discharged that day. After that whole ordeal we were slightly traumatized and couldn’t imagine leaving her alone at the hospital all night. We stayed in the room as long as we could and when they kicked us out at midnight we went and slept on the floor in the hall. Even that ended up being a way for God to show His kindness to us. Nurses brought us pillows and blankets, and
everyone seemed to understand why we refused to leave without our daughter. We were shown such kindness by everyone it really is a testimony to the power of God.
The next day Hadassah was discharged to us and we cried. Her doctor was so kind and understanding with us. He was a gift from God! After the scare of birth mom almost changing her mind we still had to wait 2 more days for her to sign her relinquishment. Today, Saturday was signing day. We received a call from our attorney at 11:14 am with the good news that mom had signed and it was irrevocable. Hadassah Joy was officially our daughter. We have to wait a few more days for some paperwork to clear her birth state and our home state before we can go home. We are thrilled, amazed, and in awe of the awesomeness of God. His plans are so much higher than ours. We are also so very thankful for our friends and family who dropped everything on short notice to help out with our kids at home. And for our church family and our dear intercessor friends who stormed the gates of Heaven with us. Hadassah is absolutely precious. Her birth mom is an amazing, coureagous, and brave lady. We love her and have welcomed her into our family as well. We can’t wait to build a relationship with her from a far. We are in love.
There are at least a dozen other amazing things about our story that we would really like to share, but we cannot. Hadassah deserves to hear many of the details we are not sharing from us first as she grows up, but we are amazed at the faithfulness and kindness of our heavenly father. He has woven together an amazing story for us with incredible intricacy. It is a pleasure to run after God and join Him in another amazing adventure.
Yesterday I was privileged to be at the Supreme Court of the United States praying as those who marched in the March for Life 2016 arrived. I have been leading a pro-life prayer ministry in my home town for 8 and a half years, and this is the first year I was able to be in DC on this significant day. I love praying at the court! It is one of my favorite places to be. In the heat of summer or during a blizzard I love it there. Yesterday had a profound impact on me.
Before we even arrived, a group of pro-choice counter protesters had already set up shop on the sidewalk in front of the court. They had their signs, and their megaphone and they were shouting all the usual things; “My body, My Choice” and “Abortion on Demand and without apology” and this one (Which was new for me) “Pro-life you’re a lie, you don’t care if women die”. That last one had me really scratching my head because a large majority of the most recent laws that have been passed in regard to abortion are specifically designed to prevent women from dying during an abortion. The giant bill from Texas (HB2 which is now before the Supreme Court) the big things in this bill are all there simply to insure that certain safety standards are in place across the board for abortion clinics. Things like making sure abortion providers have hospital admitting privileges just in case something happens, they can be with their patient at the hospital. Requiring clinics to have hallways wide enough that should a woman need to be transported to a local emergency room, a gurney can navigate the halls and get her out quickly so she can get lifesaving care. Things like requiring that an ultrasound first be conducted and the woman allowed to look if she chooses, we call this informed consent. The pro-choice side hates all these things and fights against them every time! Yet they say we are the ones who want woman to die?
As disturbing as all those things can be, the one thing that pierced my heart yesterday was a comment yelled angrily by someone in the group very shortly after we arrived. She was talking about how we in the pro-life community talk about how that child might grow up to find a cure for cancer or some other terrible disease, or what if they are Albert Einstein. Then she went on to say that no one should force a woman to carry and raise a child that is UNWANTED. That word unwanted, hit me like a truck. I felt literally like I had been stabbed in the heart. You see, that child is very much wanted. There are waiting lists of families, for every “unwanted” baby there are at a minimum 4-5 families who have said, “we want you!, We’ve been waiting for you, praying for you.” The claim that any child is “unwanted” is a myth and a lie.
I spent the rest of my time at the court yesterday with that phrase echoing in my ears, even with my earbuds in and worship music playing, that word, “unwanted” rang in my head. It caused hot tears to stream down my face and freeze on my cheeks, and even now as I type this I”m tearing up again. If there is anything I could say to women who are facing a pregnancy they did not plan it is this: You are valued and loved. Your life has value and so does the life of your child. God does not make mistakes, and yes He has a plan and purpose for that child, but He has a plan and purpose for you as well. You may not want, or even be able to raise and care for your child for 18 years, but can you give your child 9 months? Regardless of your situation, I guarantee there is a family somewhere who has been waiting and praying for you, and for your child. You are loved, you are valued, and you have a purpose.
I’m not a person who is necessarily good at waiting. Waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting for dinner to cook. Waiting and I don’t get along. In fact I am fairly convinced that it is my lifelong task and goal to learn patience. I have 6 kids and the most common thing I hear from people when they find that out is, “Wow, you must have a lot of PATIENCE!” No! I don’t, at least not nearly as much as you would think. I usually just laugh and tell them they have no idea. I am learning patience. I’m learning, in the waiting, to wait well. It’s not easy, in fact just when I think I’ve got this waiting thing mastered, God sends a new challenge, a new and longer thing I have to wait for. My first few pregnancies, for example seemed to drag on, and on (it should be noted here that never have I actually carried a pregnancy all the way to the “due date”, I’ve gotten close, but always have had my babies “early”). That’s called being impatient, reaching the goal early and celebrating like you’ve overcome some great obstacle. I see now, those first few pregnancies were only the training ground for the waiting. All my babies were born between 36 and 39 weeks. The nature of learning to wait well is that when you master the challenge in one area, you sort of graduate to the next. By the time I had baby number 6 (who was born just 1 day before his “due date”) I felt I had mastered it! I got to the point where I was at ease with the waiting, and I had surrendered to God and said, Lord have your way. I’m completely content for this baby to come on your time table, not mine. I thought that was great, like I had passed this test, I had figured it out. Finally, I had attained this elusive “Patience” everyone was always telling me I had an abundance of.
That was only the beginning of the lesson. Shorty after our baby number 6 was born we felt the Lord was leading our family into a new season. For us this meant a season of being done having children biologically and the beginning of our journey into adoption. Adopting a child was something we had talked about for years prior, but always knew for our family it was not something we could pursue while I was pregnant or nursing a baby, we also felt as seasons change, that it would happen in a season when our biological children were all out of the “baby” stage. When my husband come home from a prayer meeting one day (which I didn’t attend because I was home with our newborn baby #6) and told me he had heard from the Lord it was time. I almost jumped for joy. I knew that meant it’s time to adopt. But in my impatient head I thought that was the green light. I was ready to start calling agencies the next day and getting a home study started. At this point we had already been waiting about 5 years to adopt. Waiting, patiently waiting. Not really talking about it, not really telling anyone except to say we wanted to “someday” when we were asked if we wanted more children. But just waiting. Adoption has been a dream in our hearts at this point in time, for about a decade. For 10 years I have been in the waiting. It’s been a dream in the heart of God even longer, we’ve only known about it for 10 years. That’s the mystery of God. He has dreams for us and if we grab hold of and latch onto them we can dream with Him. It’s a wild adventure, and it often takes longer than we expect. God’s timing is perfect, and it’s often not the same as ours.
Many things in life require waiting. Yes mommas have to wait for their babies to arrive, through adoption, or through pregnancy. Dreamers also have to wait for the fullness of their dreams. Adoption is a personal dream of mine. I have literally had dreams, multiple dreams, of a child. A daughter who is not from my bloodline. God has given us a name and I’ve seen her face in my dreams. I feel that I’ve been pregnant with this dream for almost a decade. I haven’t let go, I’ve wanted to! Many times I’ve said to God, “It’s too hard!” I can’t just keep waiting. I’ve tried to give the dream back to Him, but He won’t accept it. It’s part of my destiny, it’s who I am and part of my calling. A funny thing happens when you take up the mantle of prayer for a certain thing, it becomes interwoven into the very fabric of who you are. That is what has happened with me and this adoption thing. You can’t spend 10 years praying for the ending of abortion, and a heart of adoption without it somehow changing who you are. Habakkuk says it best in Habakkuk chapter 2:1-3
I will climb up to my watchtower
and stand at my guardpost.
There I will wait to see what the LORD says
and how he will answer my complaint.
Then the LORD said to me,
“Write my answer plainly on tablets,
so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.
This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
This is my way of writing the vision plainly on tablets, so that a runner may carry it to others. There is a time coming soon when abortion will be a thing of the past. We are already seeing the shift in the culture where the next generation is turning away from the mindset of the past. They are, in large numbers, rejecting the theory that a child in the womb is “property” of the mother to do with whatever she wills. What happens when abortion ends in our nation? There will still be unplanned and sometimes unwanted children who are conceived. The people of God must arise and say, I will take that baby. I will raise him, or her as my own. And not only be available to do so, but have a heart desire to welcome these little ones like Jesus. It takes more than a willing heart to say, I will raise that child. That baby that you don’t want or aren’t capable of raising. it’s takes a heart willing to be content in the waiting. Adoption is hard, it’s costly, and it requires patience at a level that many people don’t possess. Adoption is also a beautiful picture of a loving God who gave everything, even his own son so that He could adopt us as sons and daughters. #AdoptionIsRedemption #WorthTheWait