THE JOURNEY TO ADOPTION
Kathy and her husband, Rich, always envisioned having a family of their own. After trying to conceive for many years, with countless medical visits, tests, loss and grief, Kathy believed she did not have the heart to continue down that path. Kathy and Rich began to consider adoption to grow their family, but didn’t know where to start. They discussed this option with some dear friends who referred them to New Life Adoptions.
“The whole thing was full of prayer; doors opening and closing. We approached our journey in the same way, God closed and opened doors for us. We had the mindset to be okay with wherever God sent us. We didn’t know what New Life meant for us, but we were open to whatever God had planned.”
As Kathy and Rich began the adoption process with New Life Adoptions, they always held their focus on the next step in front of them. After every visit with their social worker, they read and prayed through all of the information they received. Little did they know that the day they prayed over their application and mailed it in to New Life Adoptions was exactly nine months before their daughter Hannah was born.
CHOOSING LIFE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
Hannah’s birth mother, Inga, had learned of her pregnancy following a difficult divorce. Already a single mother to a four-year old daughter and unsure how she could add a new baby to the mix, Inga found herself at New Life for support.
“As I watched my baby move on the ultrasound monitor, there was no denying that choosing life was the right choice, but I also strongly felt that this was not my baby to raise. This child was a gift God was allowing me to give to a family that so desperately needed and wanted a child of their own.”
Inga hoped she would be able to choose a family before Christmas in order to bless them with the news of being chosen as a gift on her favorite holiday. When she got down to the last profile book in the stack, she knew she had found the family for her child. “When I read their profile, my heart skipped a beat. They started it out with a story of ‘someday.’ How they would someday take their little one to the zoo. As I read this story, I knew that these were the parents of my little girl. Rich and Kathy radiated the love of Christ just from their pictures.”
“In December of 2007, our social worker set up a meeting with Inga. I remember writing down her name, Inga, and looking at it. I was so emotional when I realized this was all real.
This was a real person with a real child. I was putting myself in her shoes when I looked at her name. How hard it must be to make that choice. I remember constantly thinking, ‘How could I ever thank or repay this woman enough for what she is choosing to do?’”
Rich and Kathy’s first meeting with Inga and her parents was comfortable as they easily connected with one another. Kathy described their relationship as, “a rose quickly opening.”
Inga remembers that meeting in detail. “Instantly, I knew that they were my baby’s parents. The excitement and nervousness I saw in their faces was a total reflection of how I felt. As we shared our stories, it was more and more evident that God had prepared our families for each other. From having attended the same small church, somehow without meeting each other, to having quite a few mutual friends, God’s hand was evident. There was no denying that this was the family for me.”
In fact, soon after that meeting, Inga called her social worker with her decision adding, “Tell them Merry Christmas.”
THE GIFT OF OPENNESS
Hannah was born in March of 2008. Kathy reflects on that special day,
“I don’t think I was emotionally prepared for the moment when Rich handed Hannah to me, and I don’t think a person can be prepared. When you receive the gift of a human being from another human being, it really is indescribable. I held overwhelming admiration for Inga, she filled a hole in our hearts. We reciprocate our love for her and the gift of our daughter with our open adoption relationship.”
Ten years later, Rich and Kathy are still very close to Inga, “Our relationship with Inga has grown incredibly. I consider her my friend, even though she’s 19 years my junior. I know I can trust her and I can call her anytime. I just love her.”
Inga has found hope through her story. “Hannah, is my healing grace. She has helped me heal from a painful past and turn to see what my God has for me with a hope that could only be a result from the blessings of her life.”
“I met a wonderful man who loves me, we are now married, and we have been blessed with another child together. Through all of the changes in my life, Rich and Kathy have been a constant. They have become wonderfully close friends. We share the joys and the hurts while learning how to navigate our stories together. Hannah is a beautiful, confident girl, who has the privilege of knowing her siblings.”
Kathy describes Hannah, now 10 years old, as soft hearted, funny, and intelligent. “She’s in an accelerated program and loves to read, which she developed from both nature and nurture. Hannah has given her heart to Christ and grows closer to Him every day.”
After going through the adoption process, Kathy has a great admiration for all birth parents. “In order to participate in either side of adoption, you need to have courage and trust. In my perspective, the birth parents are incredibly courageous. It was never about me, it was about a baby. To entrust other people with your child takes strength and love.”
Inga adds, “I see my future being intertwined with Rich and Kathy for the rest of my life. We are family. God has brought us together in unimagined ways that have blessed all of us. Each season of life triggers moments of grief and joy that are a bittersweet part of our adoption story. I am confident that God has gifted us to each other as we move and experience this awesome, beautiful life together.” •