Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Rest of the Story...

There's something that I've been wanting to share here, but it's a bit touchy and I know that I need to share carefully to be certain that you hear clearly the reason that I am sharing.

So let's just start with that - I am sharing this story today to give God the glory for all He has done for our family this year.  Period.  So please, please hear that.

Okay, so those of you that have been around here for any length of time know that almost 10 months ago our family was blessed with our precious baby girl, Penelope.  If you don't know our journey you can read more about it here, but let me briefly sum it up:

Two years ago I held a raffle on this blog to raise money for our adoption costs.  I mentioned at the time that we had some friends that had amazingly offered to pay for the majority of the adoption, but that we expected our portion to be about $5,000 or $6,000.  In one week we raised a whopping $6085!  It was overwhelming and touching and God's confirmation that He had a plan for our family that included adoption.

This last March we were contacted by our agency about a potential match for us, and long story short... just 7 days later we held our baby girl in our arms. {For the long story, read here, here and here.}

I shared a lot about what happened that week, but one major thing, one really significant part of the story, I left out.

I want to tell you now.

I'm just going to kind of retell the story, so those of you who have not read it before will not be lost.  {It's a fun story, so even if you have read it... please read again.  You won't want to miss the new details.}

One Wednesday afternoon I was packing to leave for my cousin's funeral and I got a phone call from our agency that there was a potential match for us.  This was the second time we had gotten a phone call about a potential match, and the first time it took an agonizing week for them to call back and tell us that the birth mom had chosen another family.

I called Nathan with the details and we decided that we did want to be presented to this birth mom, so I called the agency back and gave them the green light.  They said that they were going to be presenting her with three or four families that evening.

I figured we would have to just put it out of our minds until we got home from the funeral, but I texted my friend that was planning to pay for the adoption, just to let her know that there was a possibility that we could be matched soon.

What I got back from her were several panic-stricken texts basically telling me that they did not have the money to give us at that time. 

I panicked myself, and called Nathan to find out what we should do.  He was right in the middle of something important at work and told me we would have to talk about it when he got home, but I was afraid that would be too late.  I knew that if this birth mother chose us and we had to back out it would kill me.  It wasn't fair to her, and it wasn't fair to my fragile heart that had already had too many no's over the last seven years.  But Nathan assured me that we would figure it out if this was our baby.

I spent the next several hours panicking.  I finally got a hold of my mother who said to me,
"Emmy, there have been many delays in this process for you, but God's timing is perfect, and if this is your baby than He will provide the way."

I felt much better.

While I was still talking to my mom Nathan called to say he was on his way home.  He also said that he was confident that this was our baby, and that we would figure out the finances.  For my husband to say that was a miracle in itself.  He likes to have our financial ducks in a row.  The fact that he was at peace about this gave me the peace I needed.

So I went back to packing and tried to put the potential match out of my mind, since I figured it would be several days until we would hear anything.

The next day, less than 24 hours later, in a parking garage in San Luis Obispo, we got the call.

The baby girl, that they had originally told me was due in three weeks, would be arriving by induction in just 8 days.  Which meant that we now officially had less than a week to come up with about $20,000.

We put that aside for the time, and reveled in the excitement of the fact that the baby we had waited seven very long years for was on her way into our family.

The next two days we racked our brains trying to figure out how in the heck we were going to have $20,000 in just a few days.  I thought about having a calendar pre-sale, but realized that I would have to sell about 550 calendars in five days to make that work.  It wouldn't.  I thought maybe we could sell one of our cars, but they're old and not worth $20,000.  Plus then I wouldn't have a car.  That might be tough with an infant.

Saturday morning as we laid in my sister's hotel room trying desperately to find a solution, I suggested we try taking out a personal loan from our bank.  Nathan didn't think we would qualify, since we had pretty much just maxed ourselves out purchasing our home, but we decided it was worth a try.

We called the bank {because our bank is a credit union and it is open on Saturday mornings}, and I spoke with a loan officer.  It took about five minutes to apply for $20,000.  She told me that they usually have an answer in 24 hours, but since it was the weekend I should expect to hear from them Monday or possibly Tuesday.  Which meant that if we didn't get the loan, we would have about 2 days to find another solution.

We left for breakfast with my whole family.

An hour later, while we were still at the restaurant, I got a call from the bank.  We had been approved for the loan and could have the money by Monday morning.

I called my friend to tell her that we had the funds taken care of, and she assured me that they should have the money before I even had to make my first loan payment.  Which was good since I had no idea where we were going to come up with an extra $450 a month.

A couple of days after we brought our baby home from the hospital, my friend and her husband came over to meet her.  They again assured us that they would come through with the money within weeks.

I saw them a couple more times after that, by random coincidence, but that was basically the last we heard from those friends.

Without sharing too much of their story I will just say that all hell broke loose in their lives.  They are currently separated, living several states apart, and completely broke.  And I know all this because she is a blogger, and for a brief stint a couple of months ago she made her blog public and I caught up.  I requested access to her blog long ago, but she has never granted it to me.

Now, I want to again be super, super clear here: I am not mad at my friend.  I harbor absolutely no bitterness.  I feel nothing but complete gratitude that God brought her into my life, even for a brief season.  If she had not offered to help us with this adoption we would never have met our Penelope.  We would never have thought that we could do this on our own.  I know that her friendship had purpose, and that God used her, even if it wasn't in the way that she had hoped.  I have tried to reach out to her.  I sent her an email explaining all of this, and telling her that I missed our friendship, but I'm afraid her embarrassment keeps her from responding.

And it's okay.  I get it.  But I miss her.

There are really two reasons that I felt I needed to share this here.  One, like I said, is to give God the glory for once again providing for our family in a way that only He could.  He performed a miracle that week in our lives.  A modern day miracle.  It would have been easy for the praise to be given to our friends instead of the Lord who provides all things.  Even the money they would have given us.

The other reason I wanted to share is that I want other families out there to know that adoption is possible.  In the end, we payed about $35,000 out of our pockets for this adoption.  The loan has been paid in full, and our tax return will pay the last of what we put on a credit card.  I am telling you this because I want you to see that out of the $6,000 that we had in savings, God paid a $35,000 bill.

Fishes and loaves.

If you are hesitating to start an adoption journey because you have no idea how you will come up with the money, please just put one foot in front of the other and start the process.  Don't let money be the thing that keeps you from getting a baby.  There are grants and funding available, and you will get a huge tax credit from Uncle Sam the year your adoption is finalized.

There are also people that are willing to help.  Ask.  And then accept their help.

Get creative.  Hold a raffle, have a bingo night, ask friends to donate items to a garage sale.

Maybe you could consider starting with Foster Care.

Just please don't let money be the thing that keeps you from getting a baby

I truly, truly hope that you have heard my heart here.  I love my friend and I pray for God's great provision in her life as well.

I just felt like my readers, who have been so amazing and supportive throughout this journey needed to know the rest of the story.


  1. THANK YOU for sharing this story. I have a great friend who tried with her husband for 10 years to have a biological child. When they finally listened to God wholeheartedly, they heard his call for Russian adoption. They had NO idea where the money would come from but persevered. After 2 years of being matched to their son, and waiting (not so) patiently, they brought him home and 8 months later got a local call from someone pregnant with a boy who wanted them to have her baby. YES- God gave them TWO SONS in 8 months! They are financially sound- and it's ALL because of God! You are so incredible to adopt your precious little Penelope, and to share the trials and tribulations with us! I hope your friend reads this and comes back to you- to enjoy that sweet baby girl.

  2. ummmm, wow. WOW. thanks so much for sharing. God is good and ALWAYS is good. such an amazing story and how wonderful for penelope to be a miracle baby in more than one way! so very happy that you trusted in the Lord to provide even when things were uncertain.

  3. fishes and loaves - exactly. love that baby girl.

  4. thanks for sharing your story and for making it so clear that God provided the way for your sweet girl to join your home. i also want to say you are a good friend. i would have been in a clear cut panic and would have missed the blessing of going for the thing God called you to. i hope your friend reads this. she will see you and many others are praying for her. i hope she remembers there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. there is nothing that can separate her from the love of God. the sweet Lord worked out all the details for you and you have that precious girl to prove it. blessings!

  5. A modern day miracle, indeed! Who says they don't happen. I love that you have this CLEAR providence of His hand in this part of your life. When the going get's rough (as it does for ANY parent), you will have this assurance to rest upon. Love that you share this so willingly!

  6. 49 years ago my dad's boss asked him when they were goin to adopt their second child-- my dad said they should have the money in another year -- his boss said to fill out the paperwork and send the bill to him---I was born the next day!!! God is good!!!

  7. "Leap and the net will appear". Great story Emmy. You were such a fun , smart and generous friend as a teenager and you are now an amazing woman.

  8. This is so beautifully written, candid and heartfelt. God is so good to constantly remind us that it's all about HIM, and HE is the one who gives us every good gift. And your daughter is one of the goodest I know. :-) I'm very thankful that you shared this!

  9. I love you sister!! Be sure you print this and keep it handy so that when she is two and throwing an enormous tantrum in the grocery store you can reread it! :)

  10. I had never read this whole story. I am forever changed. You are such a portrait in faith, and I'm so glad our paths crossed. Thank you for sharing this story, even if I am terribly late to the party.

  11. I just read your adoption story & it is very inspiring! I love that you give God all the glory!! God is so good! :) Thank you for sharing such a beautiful message about trusting Him! Your family is beautiful!

  12. I would love to know what adoption agency you worked with. Can you just comment below because i'm posting anonymously.. thanks!

  13. We used Heart & Soul Adoptions in Farmington, UT (even though we live in CA) and we would HIGHLY recommend them!

  14. I am so glad you shared this part of your story!

  15. THANK YOU! I have always felt in my heart that adoption would be apart of my life story. I have a Step child who I only 100% consider my own child and two biological children. My husband and I want to have one more child and then we would adopt. (so that's 5 kids altogether) finances are the one and only concern I have. Your story even though it is obviously uncomfortable to share i really appreciate it. We have not started the process but you have helped gain my confidence for when that time is right to start. Thanks again.

  16. I stumbled upon your blog by accident -- i'm a high school friend of Brittany and Sam Estes, and tho we live far apart, i blog-stalk her...she makes me feel ok about myself when i have a rough time with my kids...she makes me feel like its ok to fall apart sometimes.

    ANYWAY...i want to start by saying i'm NOT a religious woman. I don't go to church, and to be honest, i don't know if i believe in god (a long story, feel free to email if you'd like to hear it)...but i wanted to say that your story...is amazing.
    It is amazing that you were given the strength to endure this for a child you love, though was not born of you. I can not imagine what it was like for you to be sterile while so young, and tho i plan on not having anymore kids, it would kill me to get news like that.

    You are an inspriation.