Our lives as husband and wife began on August 1, 2009, but our journey together began long before our wedding. Our families have been friends for as long as I can remember and our sweet little love story began when we were little (maybe four years old). My version: Justin was the little boy who chased me around and tried to kiss me. I ran away from him, and told my daddy about his antics. His version always involves me going after him in some way– this is certainly not the truth!
Before we got married, we discussed having children. This was a big discussion because every OB-GYN I had ever visited told me I would have a hard time getting pregnant, even with fertility treatments. We weren’t sure on what methods we would be willing to try and thought adoption would be the route we would take to expand our family- we were perfectly happy with that.
Shortly before our first anniversary, after a move from Louisville, KY to Columbus, IN, we discovered that against all medical odds, I was 2 months pregnant. Justin walked around our house shocked for several days before he actually believed the news!
Our unexpected miracle was born on March 23, 2011. We cannot imagine our lives without our precious baby girl! God’s timing was perfect. She is the most particular, sweetest girl I know. As the first grandchild in each of our families, she’s spoiled rotten, but brings lots of joy to everyone!
We started having discussions about expanding our family in January 2012. We prayed for God to show us a clear path and guide us on how/if we should expand our family. Throughout the month, it began to be clear what we should do. Adoption seemed to be coming up at church and in our community. We didn’t search for adoption services, but we attended three at different churches in the month of January. We didn’t look for families whose lives have been touched by adoption, but we ran into them often. Adoption seemed to be all around us. After many prayers, we answered God’s call and submitted our application to Lifeline Children Services on January 28, 2012 for their Ethiopia program.
Our adoption journey was certainly a filled with a roller coaster of emotions. After threatened closures, changed processes, and dramatically increased wait times we tried to detach from the process and prepare our hearts knowing that our adoption in Ethiopia may never happen.
On April 18, 2014, we got the unexpected call. We were matched! Tearfully, we gathered around the computer and saw the sweetest little face. Justin sat in shock, much like before, and I hysterically cried tears of joy.
Throughout the adoption process we cried and smiled, we questioned God and praised Him, but most of all we grew. We grew together as husband and wife, as parents, and in our faith. We leaned on family and friends for emotional and financial support. Some days their prayers and kind words were the only thing that kept us hopeful. We will be forever indebted to the countless people who offered encouragement throughout our journey.
Loving a child you have never met is one of the most heart wrenching processes we have ever been through, but we would do it again because his little smile and sweet eyes make it all worth it. CPhotos by Hope Staves