One of the most essential ingredients in any adoption journey is humility. Andrew and Ashlee walked out their adoption with humble hearts-wanting to learn, wanting to grow, and wanting to follow God's direction for their family. They asked me thoughtful, wise questions as I served as their adoption consultant. But more importantly, they humbly went to the Lord with their questions and sought to follow His direction throughout their adoption journey. Ashlee shares some of what God did in their hearts as they surrendered their own plans to follow where He led:
I'll be honest, when we started our journey we were not comfortable with the idea of an open relationship with H's birth parents - like, at all. We were uneducated and really just ignorant to what an open adoption really looked like and had only heard the "scary birth mom" rumors. But after choosing to at least be open to well, being Open, we begin to really seek God's guidance in this area. The more we read and talked with other adoptive families about it the more we saw God's heart and his desire to weave together families and build connections out of potentially broken situations. And we remembered that this child is ultimately God's - not ours - and He is certainly more protective of her than we could ever be. So we began to fall in love with the idea of embracing another mother and truly showing her compassion and acceptance and love. And not only that, but being able to demonstrate this to our boys and H as well.
This picture is a painting I made for H's birth mama... I remember crying as I made it for her because I knew how far we had come in really caring about her and truly trusting God in our relationship. She said it's hanging in her living room and she reads it everyday. That makes my heart smile. We are in no way experts regarding Open Adoption and in fact, are treading on very unfamiliar territory, just taking it one day at a time. As the weeks, months and years go by I'm sure our relationship with H's birth parents will ebb and flow but one thing is for sure... She will know them and will always be able and encouraged to reach out to them.
Andrew and Ashlee got started with CAC in September of last year, began seeing adoption situations in February, and were matched in March. Their daughter was born in June, just 10 months after they had started with CAC. Reflecting on their journey as a CAC family, Ashlee shares,
Because it's just so true that you don't know what you don't know. And the more you learn, the more you realize how much you don't know." For this reason - and so many more - we are forever grateful that we were put in touch with Katie at CAC. A friend who had adopted the year before recommended I call her and so I did. My husband and I knew we wanted to adopt, but were still in prayer if it was the right time. I had my list of questions ready for Katie and she was so encouraging, non-pressuring, and full of honesty. I remember hanging up the phone feeling so peaceful and reassured that God would give us clear guidance on this journey.
Shortly after that first conversation, we were confident that CAC was part of that tangible guidance. Besides the incredibly helpful resources they provided, Katie was always there for us, ready with an answer, or an encouraging word, and most importantly, perspective, as we took one step in front of the other for the next several months. Her experience and wisdom was pivotal in our conversations surrounding open adoption, meeting our daughter's birth parents for the first time and what an ongoing relationship with them might look like, handling the intimate details of our daughter's birth, and truly trusting God with everything.
Our journey, in hindsight, was nothing we expected but everything we prayed for. It challenged every belief that we had and we are truly different people then we were at the start. We know without a doubt that God put Katie and CAC in our lives for such a time as this, and we are forever humbled and grateful.
God is good and He is faithful. Our daughter is the perfect caboose for our family of six.
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