• thefruitfulhollow

Adoption: your story

November is Adoption Awareness Month so we asked ourselves what that means. We decided that it means learning more about the gift and the journey of adoption so that we can better support and understand families who are called to adopt, and be open to God’s plan for our own families. The best way we can do this is to listen. We are delighted to present the stories of five couples who have grown (or are growing) their family through adoption and we would like to thank Gillyan, Mark and Alyssa, Dara, Dominique and Mary for sharing them with us.

Your story

Where are you in your adoption journey and what was the motivating factor in your choosing adoption?

  • Gillyan: We have what we call “very explained infertility”, so the door on biological parenthood was firmly closed early on. Adoption became the logical next step, as our hearts desire a child and children deserve a safe and loving home. We had actually discussed adoption during our engagement and were both very open to the idea. We are in the dreaded “waiting period” after all the paperwork is done but we haven’t been matched yet.

  • Mark and Alyssa: We adopted a baby girl in May 2021 through foster care. She was a Safe Haven baby - surrendered at a fire station the night of her birth, and then placed with us until the adoption was final. We never wanted adoption to be a "back-up plan" if we could not have biological children. Adoption is not for everyone and it is certainly not something you "just do." We needed to be in a place of trust with God that His ultimate plan was the best for us, with or without children. We had to be very open and on the same page with one another about our root motivations for adoption. We just wanted to build our family and we really felt God was allowing us to pursue adoption in order to do that, so we followed His lead.

  • Dara: I wanted to be a mother and love and raise a child. We adopted my daughter through domestic infant adoption.

  • Dominique: I was an adoptee myself, and I have adopted two children. I personally had a positive experience as an adoptee, so I liked the idea of growing our family through adoption. Once we faced infertility and treatment wasn’t working, we felt it was even more clear that we were meant to pursue adoption.

  • Mary: We wanted to grow our family but couldn't get pregnant. We spent some time within the fertility medical studies but I found it difficult and depressing and clinical. Whenever I spoke to anyone about adoption it seemed so hopeful. We adopted our son who is now 16 years old. We tried to adopt a second time but after a 3-year wait we removed ourselves from the waiting list.

What does adoption mean to you?

  • Gillyan: I anticipate adoption being the best and hardest thing to ever happen to us. I don’t take for granted that this beautiful gift will be born out of brokenness. I intend to take nothing about motherhood for granted, especially our unique journey to get there.

  • Mark and Alyssa: Beauty and joy revealed through brokenness and suffering. We are so honored that God has entrusted us to raise our baby girl. When we ask ourselves how this came to be, our answer is that there is no other way than God's way. Adoption was God's plan for us and we are experiencing the days and moments we prayed many years for.

  • Dara: Adoption is love! Out of difficult situations, God brings about good. We are honored to be our daughter’s parents and to love and raise her to be the person God is calling her to be. My daughter’s birth family and our family love her so much and want the best for her. That is beautiful.

  • Dominique: Adoption is an important part of my whole life. It is an incredible blessing. I am so grateful that my family was able to grow through adoption.

  • Mary: Adoption means life: life for my son, life for my family, life for me. It means opportunity: an opportunity to give and love selfishly. Adoption means awareness: I've grown more aware of the fact that there are many people in difficult circumstances for whom a pregnancy is not helpful, or maybe not wanted. Yet, birth parents make the most selfless decision possible. I want to honor that in how I live and how I parent. I guess in the end it means loving - loving those that suffer, those that have loss, and loving the joy that can come from that.

The highs and lows

What challenges did you face on your adoption journey and what advice would you give yourself looking back now?

  • Gillyan: The lack of control is even harder than I’d imagined. We’re completely at the mercy of God’s plan in a way that I don’t believe I have ever been before. My trust and faith have been shaken to their core. I would go back and tell myself to let go at the start, but I know I wouldn’t listen.

  • Mark and Alyssa: The main challenge we faced at first was finding an agency that reflected our morals and beliefs. When we found one, they informed us they were not placing any other couples on the waiting list for infants because the list was too long. This actually led us to pursue foster care. We knew our family would grow differently this way, but we knew we were ready to love and support children in need. After a year of being foster parents we decided to contact a different adoption agency. Our biggest challenge (and unexpected last twinge of hopelessness) was the financial obligation. We knew it would be expensive, but it was a bit more than originally expected. The *next day* after meeting with this agency we got the call for our baby girl! Looking back, the advice (or perhaps a reminder) we would give ourselves would be to continue to cling to hope and keep praying. God really does hear our prayers!

  • Dara: It can be challenging to find ethical agencies and attorneys who provide excellent and compassionate support for expectant parents, but they are out there. Always remember you are simply an option for birth families until paperwork is signed. Make sure you fully understand the process before beginning. Talk to others who have adopted or who are adoptees to get advice, support and real life experiences. Then surrender any worries you have to God.

  • Dominique: The financial aspect is definitely the largest hurdle at first, but there are many resources to make adoption more doable. If I could go back I would tell myself to do more research into those avenues. Also a lot of people don’t understand adoption. I wish I had more resources at the time we were adopting to explain it to them.

  • Mary: Be sure to grieve your own infertility, if that is what brings you to adoption. I was so focused on having a family and moved quickly to adoption. I probably didn't give enough time to letting go of my inability to control the destiny of my motherhood. When the second adoption never came to be I was devastated - I didn't want to raise an only child. In time I came to realize that I had never really processed the fact that I couldn't just "get pregnant" like my friends, nor could I “simply adopt”. In the end I couldn't control the