adopting {lots and lots and LOTS of babies}

when we started the paperwork to adopt emery, i thought and prayed deeply about the impact and impression it will make on our family.
could i handle the unknowns that were sure to come?
surgeries, doctors visits, therapy sessions, emoptional scars, family counseling, attachment issues, etc.
the possible negatives could mount up quickly if not kept in check with God's ability to heal

and now, 6 months in, i'm finding i have so much yet to learn. so many days that i wonder if the choices i am making as a parent are the right ones. i struggle. it's hard.

my dad always says:
anything highly worthy of doing is the hardest thing you can do 
and he's right...oh so right.

but there is another side to the challenge...it's the reward. today, i was present for something God needed me to see...one of the many rewards of adoption: its impression on my family

i've seen an incredible change in foster and rowan over these past few months. especially in foster.
when we sit to eat, he often asks if we can buy more chairs for the table so we can make room to adopt more babies. he talks of filling up our house with rooms and beds and kids. his heart is being captured by God's love for children in need...what a beautiful sight!

we've talked openly about orphanages. what the conditions might have been like for our sister. we've looked at pictures and considered what it would feel like to be one of those children. we've talked about birth parents and answered honest questions as best we could.
but we don't overtalk about it.

nonetheless, the boys "adopt" everything. they "travel to china" to adopt a baby nearly everyday.
sometimes they make cardboard box ships and set sail, coming home with a vessel filled with newly adopted stuffed animals
sometimes they schlep stuffed animals from their bedroom all the way downstairs one by one, carrying each one carefully on their journey across the world.

but today, i was struck by their deep understanding of what an orphanage is like...even taking on the role of orphanage caregivers. they gathered babies and lined them up in beds. they paid special attention to the sick ones, and went down the line offering food and band aids.
i wrote down some of their conversation, for fear i would forget such a precious moment. i couldn't for the life of me find the video camera. it was MIA, of course.

it went something like this...foster taking the lead and rowan repeating and adding accessory comments:

"rowan, hold that one carefully...she needs surgery soon. gentle, ok?"
"now this one, put her over here. she's so tiny!"

(hospital beds were in the works, and various medications were being administered)

"don't worry babies! your mommy and daddy will be here soon!"
"we'll take care of you until they get here."
"don't cry sweetie! it's ok!"

(all three kids are busy feed babies, making tiny beds, hugging babies, preforming surgeries, band aid repairs, etc.)

"their moms and dads haven't come yet..."

rowan: "oh no! that's terrible!!"

foster: "let's adopt all of them!!"

"hi baby, i'm your daddy! you're safe now!!"

(snuggle snuggle, hugs, kisses, etc)

(in the background, i'm choking back tears)

"i have lots of kids at home...do you want to come home and be a part of our family???"
said with extra enthusiasm

(me, full on weeping)

(...and then a character shift from orphanage caregiver to big brother...)

"babies, do you want to meet my baby sister? she's right here!!!"
(pointing to emery)

"my baby sister loves me so much!!"
(hugging her and smothering her with kisses as she tries to wiggle away :)

"hi mom and dad!! here's all my baby sisters!!"
"look, i look good care of them!"

(it was then that i was called away from my secret post of photoshooting and sobbing to come and be the mommy for all of the babies.)

their play got me thinking. would i have had the courage to talk with the boys deeply about these real life situations without emery coming home? would i have made a point to share with them the hurt of so many children (140 million to be exact) and the hope of adoption?

i already know the answer. i would have been too afraid to trust they could handle such truths. such pain. i wouldn't have given them enough credit to be able to consume deep sadness and allow God to produce hope.

because that's what God does.
He produces Hope out of despair

there are many many things in life i don't understand
i'll never know why emery was left at the gate in front of a government building at one day old
i'll never know what her mom was feeling that day or if she thinks about emery now
does she wonder where her small baby is? is she searching for emery the way i am searching for her?
does emery have more brothers and sisters?
most likely we will never know
and even harder, emery will never know these things either
there are hard questions.
adoption comes with a lot of questions, and often, few answers.
i feel a deep, paralyzing burden for her future pain and the fact that no matter how much i love her or care for her...no matter how many years i have longed for and made plans for her...it's never enough to heal the hurt of abandonment
but it's not my job to heal.
i can't produce Hope out of heartache...
but our sweet Father can
He has an incredible plan for my children
and i have a feeling that emery's brothers will play a vital role in God's plan for her healing
because He does have a plan
a grand and beautiful plan
being a part of it is better than i ever could have dreamed.


  1. TEARS TEARS TEARS AND MORE TEARS, ANGIE! What precious children you have! What an amazing example of Godly parents and Christ's love!

  2. thank you for sharing this precious moment with us. i am in awe of the beautiful things God is doing through your family!

  3. Oh my goodness!!You have me crying here at my desk at work. That is beautiful and adoption changed our boys hearts as well. They were changed by mia but really changed by Finley (mia was chaged too) and they will further be changed by bringing Emery home. It is beautiful-- it has changed all of us. We never intended on adopting more than just mia but when you see the need and what we have, there is just no way we, as christians, cant act. So, people ask me if we are done with Emery -- #5 and I say that we thought we were done with adoption #1 but God has had a different plan for our lives-- so we just leave it open to what He has planned for our lives (but we did put 2 kids on our I800A approval just in case--:)

  4. Oh, sweet mercy!!!!! Off to get a Kleenex!!!!! Just beautiful.....(and, I love how they have a shark in the mix too) lol. Thank u for sharing such sweetness, and the heart of God through your babies' eyes!! Much love!!!!

  5. So beautiful! If you tried to have that conversation without having the experience of bringing Emery home, it would have been so abstract. She's their sister and so very real, her story is deep and they totally 'get it'. Such big hearts they have to play it out with the baby dolls!

  6. From another adoptive mom this is beautifully written.

  7. Happy tears!!! Boys are so great!!!! My 5 year is that way! Love it! You are setting their mold!

    Hugs donna

  8. thank you. His beauty shines through you and your family. I am forever and ever grateful you have chosen to share the story He is writing in your family.

  9. This is so beautifully written. I struggle with so much of what you said in the end about the pain that is inevitable for them with abandonment. My Hayden is so strong and confident, but I know he wonders and I see his pain on the fleeting moments when it comes. God is the one and only healer and thank God for that. He brought these children to us and he's never going to let them go. I LOVED the story of your boys. TEARS! What a beautiful display of God's grace and love, acceptance and nurturing.. right in those kids of yours. Beautiful. You have a beautiful family Angie. So so beautiful. God bless you.

  10. Ah, this is so sweet. How cool that you are opening them up to compassion like that. The depth of which, they likely wouldn't have had if it weren't for this experience and collaboration of kindred spirits.

    Very interesting take on Emery's relationship with her Mom. I wonder too. Was she a young mother, an ill-equipped Mother, a Mother hoping for a son? I hope someday you are able to reach her. But I have no doubt she will have a very full life because of you all.

  11. Beautiful post. Love how your little boys have such tender hearts. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of how adoption has changed your family's life. You are doing a great job and are an inspiration and encouragement.

  12. **tears** what sweet, sweet souls. God has big plans for your boys.

  13. ahhhh, so sweet! thank you for sharing the beautiful grace that comes from opening your heart and your home to love without limits. What an amazing formation for your sons. What fantastic fathers they will be some day ... with lots, and lots, and LOTS of babies :) nothing like planting those seeds now.

  14. I have no idea how I stumbled on your blog! Your post is beautiful and you spoke so many of the things I feel and see happening within our family. We have 3 bio children and just brought a little boy home from China a year ago! I love the transformation our journey has had on our other children. I see their hearts breaking for those things our Father's heart breaks for. God is good! Your family is darling and your sweet little Asian princess is a doll. She looks like such a little peanut. Blessings on your journey!

  15. you have the most wonderful kiddos. i had tears running down my face reading this to see how God is so present in your family. such a beautiful scene~ thank you for sharing it!

  16. This is such a beautiful post. I'm so glad to have discovered your blog! God bless you and your beautiful family.

  17. I. Love. This.
    Makes me teary.
    And if Kelly hadn't asked you first,
    I would have asked to steal it for WAGI.
    Yay for Kelly! :)

  18. Don't kids just amaze us sometimes. Their ability to understand compassion and love. Speaks alot to their parents. What a blessing!!

  19. Precious. Children's hearts are so untainted so naturally loving. I loved sneaking a peek into your life... it truly gives me much to think about! You're an amazing mama!

  20. This is absolutely beautiful. I love every single thing about it.



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