Where do I begin? That’s a question I have been contemplating for a day or so now. I feel the need to explain why our family who already has five beautiful children would even consider adoption. I know many people probably think that we already have our hands full. I am sure others may think that our kids are a little rambunctious. Many may be concerned that we can’t possibly afford to raise any more children. (The Lord is so gracious to provide.) Some may be worried about the feelings of the children that we already have. Possibly others may believe that I am upset with God for closing my womb so I am just going to show Him that He is wrong by adopting more children. It’s okay if you think or have thought those things. I am very grateful for your concerns. They show that you love us and care about us. We welcome your feedback. We will take any concerns that you have to offer and pray for God’s perfect will for us. To be honest, I have thought all of these same things at one time or another myself and have prayed about them.
I don’t have the time or space in one post to focus on every concern mentioned above. So, I would like to take the time to explain only one of them tonight. The Lord closed my womb at the birth of our fifth child. And, now that I have had the time to process everything and think about a time-table of events that have occurred in our lives, it is obvious that my barrenness is not the reason for our family’s decision to adopt. The devil would like to trick us into thinking that we are bitter or mad at God. But, we are not. Adoption was not put on our hearts as a way to get back at God. It was not born from bitterness at all. God only does what is best for us. He is on our side. Adoption is a gift from God. A gift that initially comes from brokenness. But, it is indeed a gift from Heaven. It is the only way to give children in need a chance to be a part of a family. A chance to be a part of a family who loves Christ.
As I recovered from a very scary and traumatic birth after my C-section with our fifth child, Jayce, I was heartbroken. I was sad. I was happy. I was confused. I was thankful. I was relieved. Yes, I felt all of those emotions all at one time while my body was working overtime to recognize the fact that my womb had been removed. Adding hot flashes and night sweats to an already emotional woman right after giving birth to a baby nearly 3 months early isn’t always the best idea. But, it was God’s idea, so I have accepted His perfect plan, and I am thankful.
Did my thankfulness happen overnight? Of course it didn’t. It didn’t happen overnight. It took well over 365 days. This past May was particularly difficult because it was the one year anniversary of Jayce’s birth, my hysterectomy, and my precious grandmother’s death. Unfortunately, I was not a pleasant person to be around the first of May. I am sorry to all of those who had to deal with my crazy emotions during that time. But, I will have to say that I am now feeling so much better. I even helped plan a baby shower and decorated for it just last night. I did not even have to hold my breath or fight back the tears. It was actually such a blessing and a lot of fun. It brought great joy to see that sweet mama smile.
I said all of that to say this: I am now content with God closing my womb, but that contentment hasn’t removed the desire to be a mother to more children. I have said it before, He put that desire there. The Lord taking my womb has helped to rekindle a focus for those children who are searching for their forever families. But in my personal case, the desire to adopt came long before my womb was removed. My story and someone else’s most likely will not be the same. God is the author of each person’s personal story.
I believe most of my friends who are unable to birth children would agree with me that adoption does not come about as a direct result of barrenness. Adoption is not the “second best option.” Adoption is prompted by a loving God. God knows what will bring our focus to His plan for our lives. Adoption comes from God. It is His perfect plan for certain families. He is the one who puts the burden of children in great need on people’s hearts. There are just as many couples who are very capable of conceiving a child adopting as those who are unable to conceive naturally. He knows what each family needs to follow through with His plans. Also, there are many, many in both categories that God does not lead to adoption and that is okay! However, He does command all of us in His word to care for orphans in one way or another.
I wrote this statement when I was pregnant with our third child: I would love to help children and families in need one day, but I haven’t figured out how yet. Maybe I will adopt a baby one day. I have always wanted to but seem to keep having them through birth at the moment. However, if it is up to me, this will be the last baby I birth. I am excited and very thankful for my kids, but it is hard to have a baby.
Ha! The last baby I birth… I had a lot of complications and surgeries after my second pregnancy, so I was very fearful going into the birth of our third. God took the fear of birthing babies away as I watched my third baby become a toddler. And, I fully surrendered my womb to the Lord after our 4th child was born. The only regret that I have is not surrendering before I even became pregnant with our first. But, my relationship with the Lord was not the same then as it is now. God doesn’t want me to focus on what might have been.
Not long after I wrote the statement above, I had the privilege of working with several babies in foster care. I made a short career change after the Lord first called our family to homeschool. I was a Developmental Specialist for a few months. And during those months, I really enjoyed getting to see the progress those precious babies made. I witnessed love in each of those homes. I saw hope.
I have also witnessed hope each time missionary families show pictures of what they are doing to help orphans internationally. Each time I see the faces of those hurting children, I have thought how I would love to bring one or more of those adorable hurting orphans home. I love reading and listening to stories of those who have been fortunate enough to welcome a child into their home through international adoption (any type of adoption really!) I was thrilled when I learned that our friends were planning on raising funds to build a children’s home in Peru. I remember saying that they were living out one of my dreams.
By now, you may be thinking that this is a one-sided deal. That I am dragging Jamie along with me on this adoption journey. But, that’s not the case. Jamie’s heart started opening up to children who need a family while I was pregnant with Jayce. During that time, we had the privilege of meeting a little girl in foster care. He said more than once that he would love to bring her into our family. Around the same time, He also inquired about a sibling group of 5 children who were in need of a forever family. I was very nervous even thinking about bringing five kids into our home at one time. Ten kids? However, I was also thrilled. And while we were on vacation at the end of March, he shared that he had recently learned of triplet infants who were in need of a family. I have loved watching the change that has occurred in Jamie’s heart. It has been the greatest blessing to see. Is this really the same man who was okay with raising one maybe two kids 13 years ago? God has really changed his heart.
We quickly learned after inquiring about the sibling group, the sweet girl in foster care who just happened to cross our paths, and the triplets that having the desire to adopt these children is simply not enough. Compassion alone will not bring these sweet children a forever family. A family who will care for them, clothe them, give them food, but most importantly love them. Love them with the same love that Christ shows us. “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)
None of those things are possible without an action plan, lots of paper work, and even more training. I was recently reading a book on Nehemiah. And, in that book I learned that God expects us to move when we have compassion for those in need. We are not to sit idle when God says that it is time to move forward. Trust me. We have prayed and prayed and prayed about this decision. Earlier this spring, we started the process of getting our home study complete. And, we stopped that same process when we felt the Lord telling us that the timing was not right. We are listening to His leading. We are humbled by God taking the time to guide us each step of the way. I have cried. I have felt nervous. There are times when I have not had an appetite at all. But, I have felt God’s hand on our family through it all.
It would be easy to be content with five kids. It would be much simpler to say that we can’t find babysitters so attending all of the training sessions that are required to become foster or adoptive parents is out of the question. I am not used to leaving all of my children for more than a few hours every so often. I don’t enjoy being away from them. I love them. God called me to be a mother (a mother of many). I am by no means perfect. I am a sinner saved by grace. God is slowly teaching Jamie and me how to parent through His mercy and grace.
There are times I have not felt adequate, or I have felt like a failure. I have asked for forgiveness. I have poured out my love to my children. This whole process has made me appreciate them more. It has helped me to see their worth. It has made me realize what a gift they are. It has helped me to see each of them as individuals. I am so fortunate! I love them so so much. No matter what choices they make, I love them unconditionally.
Just as He has called our family to help those struggling with addictions, we feel that He is leading us to adopt. The ministry has actually opened our eyes wider to the need. There are children hurting and struggling because of sin. We see it every Thursday and Friday night. There are moms and dads hurting and struggling because of sin. We need to be in continuous prayer for these moms, dads, and children. We need to show them how much we care. There is no greater joy when we see broken families restored and walking in truth. That’s our goal. That’s God’s goal. But, the need for foster and adoptive families remains.
We are not sure when God will add a child or sibling group to our family. We are praying that He will in His timing. We feel that we are walking in obedience. We have asked God to stop the process completely if this is not His perfect will for our family. If we have been misled one way or another, we want to be stopped in our tracks. He sees the big picture. We do not want to be outside of God’s will. But right now we are ready to move forward with what we see as His plan at this time. I distinctly remember telling all of those in the NICU that I was not going to make our 6th child my idol. At that time, I did not even feel worthy enough to think of the possibility of adding more children to our home. I couldn’t understand why we had ended up in the NICU for a second time. It seems that I always question my worth in difficult situations. The NICU journey is a hard one to walk. But, God is faithful. He reminded me that my righteousness is as filthy rags. And, He has shown me that He will help me be the mother that He so desires me to be. All perfect gifts come from above. I want God to be the only one. I do not want to lose my focus. His guidance and direction are so important to our family.
He has taken away a lot of fears. He has spoken to us through His word time and time again. He literally brought a complete stranger to our door to share his family’s adoption story. We want to be ready. He knows if there is a baby, a child, or children waiting for us. A little one or sibling group waiting to call us mommy and daddy.
Is adoption easy? No. Is there a lot of hurt that comes along with adoption? Yes. Is adoption God’s plan? He sent His one and only son to die for whosoever. Are you His child? He wants you to be. He loves you, and He is waiting to adopt you into His family. Please pray for us as we continue our training courses to become foster or adoptive parents. We are moving forward because God has asked us to. We will listen if He asks us to stop…
James 1:27 – Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. KJV
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
-Deana Fleenor Photography
I am very touched by your story! You guys are amazing people and truly have a passion for God and family. It is my honor to call you friends. As a foster Mother…I can tell you that the need is great. At times I feel over whelmed by the demanding scheduled and continued trainings.But, when I begin to entertain thoughts of giving up…God steps in and gives me renewed strength. He reminds me that He is right by my side at all times and I can take comfort in knowing I am not alone in this adventure! I am blessed beyond measure. My love and my prayers are with you all. Never forget that I am here for each of you. May God continue to bless your family! All my love, Beckie
Thank you so much for your encouragement.
When I read your messages I hear a family filled with love for God and each other. You have so much to share with a child or children in need. I will pray with you that you find the right thing to do for both you and your children and most of all for that child waiting for you. God Bless you as you go through this journey.
Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers!