Life as Lou

This Crazy Journey Begins

  • July 29, 2012 10:40 pm

Chris and I have decided to try to adopt through the foster care program.

I know.  WOW.  I literally cannot verbalize that without feeling like a single point of light just exploded in my brain, and we made this choice several months ago.

It feels the same as saying I’m pregnant, with lots of the same “whoa, so we’re really doing this” moments, and “oh no, what if it doesn’t work out and we lose this kid?” (After three miscarriages, I am very familiar with that feeling). And then there are the golden bliss thoughts of adorable children and imagining those crystalline moments in motherhood where everything, for one morning, or one hour- or even one minute- is so breathtakingly beautiful and fulfilling- that you can absolutely do all of the hard stuff that mothering a unique and precious individual entails. Possibility is empowering.

Chris and I have spent the past several years casually tossing the idea of adoption around.  Even before the hysterectomy we were well aware that another pregnancy was a bad idea. My six pregnancies have all had serious complications- three didn’t make it, and the other three were so physically debilitating that more than one doctor recommended that for my own health we call it good. Chris was always very pro-more kids, just very against ever having me pregnant again.  We told ourselves- when the time is right, we can adopt- and then tucked it away, a tidy little package that we might never have opened.

When we found out I needed a hysterectomy (right on the heels of a miscarriage) I was of two minds. I understood everything I just told you, but I also hurt, knowing that incredible door of creation was closing, and that there was a definite finality to that part of my life. Frustration aside, I knew it was the right course. I can’t tell you why, precisely; I just knew. It really didn’t matter that I didn’t like it- it just mattered that it was the right choice for us.

Two weeks after my surgery, adoption was the farthest thing from my mind. I was making myself very content with the concreteness of what we had been given.  I was ok. I was accepting. And honestly, I was so preoccupied with feeling like crud from the surgery that I didn’t even have a chance to mourn my now non-existent fertility.  Hey, adoption was still on the table as it had always been, but it wasn’t a pressing issue at all.  I didn’t need a baby to make me feel better- I was so jacked up from post surgery hormones and recovery that I didn’t even feel like I was thinking straight. I even banned myself from all life-altering decision making, because no one should do anything too crazy when you are that physically, emotionally and spiritually drained. A hysterectomy sucks the life right out of you.  I had been wholly unprepared for that phenomenon and it was cruelly humbling.

I was well enough, on St. Patrick’s Day, eighteen days after my surgery, to attend a Women’s Conference at church.  I love these. You get to attend a bunch of wonderful mini classes on a variety of topics and I always leave feeling stronger and better and more capable of being exactly who I want to be. I could barely sit down, still being so sore, but I was getting that spiritual boost, no matter the cost!

I walked into my first class feeling jazzed to be in the company of such excellent women and grateful to be spending time with good friends.  I delicately arranged myself on the chair, a friend on one side and on the other a woman I hardly knew, but who I was familiar with from church.  She mentioned that she had heard I had surgery, but didn’t know what kind.  Hysterectomy, I told her, and before the word was out of my mouth, she left me positively gobsmacked when she said, “I have a six year old granddaughter in foster care who needs to be adopted.”

I cannot begin to describe the feeling that came over me at that moment. I began to cry, immediately, and I had no explanation.  I felt the most profound sense of joy and direction and rightness. I felt that deeply compelling, sacred feeling that you experience the first time you hold your very own newborn child in your arms.

I felt as though a minute earlier, I had been a completely different person.

When the conference was over, I called my husband right away and explained what I had learned about this child, and many others like her and also a small portion of how I had felt.  I would never, ever push my husband into something like this, and I held back how strongly I had felt because I didn’t want to pressure him in any way.  He grew silent for a moment and then affirmed my feelings, saying that this really bore looking into. We talked about it at length, and decided to look into it.

I held back a few days, waiting for him to bring it up (I was really worried about putting any pressure on), but he did ask a few times if I had the information yet.  I talked to several people on the phone, got a packet of info in the mail, and then sat on it for nearly a month- almost afraid to do anything with it. Chris was definitely on board with going down this path, taking the classes, doing the incredibly involved home study, the background checks, putting ourselves through an unnerving level of judgement and scrutiny, and jumping all of the other necessary hoops.  We completely agreed on the ages and genders of the child or children we were looking for. We completely agreed on all of it, which for our marriage is almost unheard of.  We are yin and yang, always striving for balance and cooperation, because we make each other so much better, but often stepping on each other’s egos because we don’t see eye to eye. This has improved after eleven years of marriage, but even so, being so unanimous on a decision is a rare thing for us, and typically only happens when we are dealing with the truly important choices.

During this time work was crazy for Chris.  Church callings were overwhelming.  I was still in a lot of pain, and riding out the hormonal and physical aftermath of a surgery with complications and ten weeks of prescribed recovery.  Part of me worried that this intense desire to do this NOW was a reaction, and not a decision, but deep inside, I knew it wasn’t. What I had felt hadn’t been me.  It wasn’t my reaction.  It was a gift; a divine directing.  All of this talk about possibly adopting later, in the future, down the road- well, later was now, and it was time to be very faithful and just start walking down that path, even if it seemed a little crazy on the heels of so much stress.

Chris and I walked into this together, knowing that we might be rejected from the system. We knew and were ok with the fact that the child mentioned at the beginning of all of this might not be ours. We kind of assumed that, actually. There are thousands of children in this system who need homes, permanent or just for a little while.  We just prayed that we would learn what we needed from this journey, and that whatever child or children were meant for our family would be prepared and watched over, and that whatever was supposed to happen would happen.  We gave it to God and started the journey.

This all started waaaaay back in March 2012.  I’ve been sitting on it since then, telling only a few of closest friends and family members, quietly keeping my thoughts in my heart, praying and processing. So if this (and the next few posts seem like they are coming at you quickly- remember that it is nearly six months for us). This is the (mercifully) condensed version.




  1. Prayers for you and your family and good luck on your journey.

  2. Nancy Jones says:

    I have tears streaming down my face with happiness for you. OH LEAH. You are just such an amazing angel to me. Always so positive uplifting and encouraging and look what YOUR DOING. I am serious I am just sitting her crying my with joy. I am so excited and happy for you. What a BLESSED child that the lord has for you guys. You all need each other no doubt. I FIRMLY BELIEVE God has a reason and a purpose for everything. He will send you the child or children you need and that need you. He has this like everything in the palm of his hand. I admire anyone that can do this. What an amazing testament for all of us of selflessness and love. Know you all are in our prayers and I will be here for support hugs and tears xoxoxoxox

  3. micki says:

    that is wonderful for you. I always wanted more kids. I have 1.

  4. Wow! What an exciting time for your family. God truly has a special child in mind for you. You’ve always been someone I’ve looked up to and in this situation it’s not different. I’ll keep you in my prayers!

  5. Sue Lui says:

    Leah, this is a wonderful thing you’re doing. The lives of both your family and the child you’re adopting will be so much more enriched for it.

  6. claire says:

    God bless you and your family, you are doing an incredible thing for some lucky kid somewhere that the Big Guy upstairs had destined for you a long, long time ago! Good luck to you all!!

  7. amie says:

    So wonderful! I’m very excited for you and your family. It will be a wonderful and heartbreaking (possible happiness and sadness!) experience for you. You can do it!

  8. Bob Warren says:

    We do not know each other…I am a friend of Jessica. I just read your remarkable story. I felt the Spirit in great abundance. May Father bless you in your endeavors and may He be by your side always. For I know you will share that with your family.

  9. Aw, great news Leah! I hope it works out for you. You are doing a beautiful thing.

  10. Barbara Wyly says:

    If you want to talk about it let me know. I suggest fostering first, if you are going to do a child from the welfare system, instead of going into it with adoption in mind from the get go. Often the foster kids become eligible for adoption and you will then know how they fit into your family. We took children to adopt and the state is so anxious to find homes they are not always honest with you about their past. This can sometimes lead to issues that affect your own family. I don’t regret doing what we did, but it did not work out for us. We bit off more than we could chew and it was hard on our own children.

  11. jessica says:

    Well Miss Leah…I know what it takes to get that moment and what it takes to follow through with the prompting…and as if that isn’t enough, you have to endure the home studies and the almost unbearable waiting…but it’s worth every tear and sleepless night. Check out my blog if you want to read about our journey, hopefully it will give you some peace and comfort when you need it. Best wishes!

  12. Lisa Geraty says:

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, Leah. I’m so excited for you, Chris, and the kids to add to your family. Best wishes and keep us posted.

  13. Elaine says:

    You will never regret your decision
    In a few years no one will ever thing she/he is adopted
    The child God puts in your trust is a blessing Dorlon & I adopted Wade as a tiny baby at 17 days old Even as a small child we always let him know he was our special gift His Mom had allowed us to adopt him We never ever refer to a child being Given Up or Put Up
    as the child can get the idea that they were given away It was always Your birth Mom and Dad were not prepared to be parents they wanted to find a good home for you and we were blessed to be the ones chosen..

  14. Alex says:

    Oh Leah, what a wonderful news! I am so happy for you and your family. You are doing a beautiful thing. Good luck on this amazing journey.

  15. Good luck Leah, I am sure that any child you will get will get a loving home with you and your family ♥

  16. Sanisi says:

    This is so exciting. You’ve got a big road ahead of you; I can’t even imagine.

  17. jcaron says:

    Congrats on the decision! We have often talked about adopting teenagers once Cassie is out of the house. I will have to keep tabs on your progress and pick your brain a bit. I hope everything goes well and is smooth for you!

  18. I know that feeling! I hope all this works out for you as you wish and that ithey don’t make you wait too long.
    Keeping you in my thoughts and preyers. Wishing all the best for you on this beautiful journey.
    A new child id the best gift.

  19. Lauralee Hensley says:

    How wonderful for you. I was never able to get my husband on board with me with foster care or adoption. Wish I had been able to. I believe it would have been a blessing from God. Yet, my husband is quite a bit older than I am and he said he wasn’t up to the kid thing again. He had full custody of his one son from his first marriage and that was enough for him. I so wish we could have been parents to a little girl, but both really have to be in agreement on a thing like this or it could tear a marriage apart. I just baby my dogs to craziness sometimes (really I do).

  20. msdramateacherlady says:

    As you have sat on this, telling only a select few until now, I have sat on my response. My husband and I closed our file with the foster system within the last year. After over a year of classes, counseling, and many roadblocks we gave up and called it quits. It truly broke my heart. I have so much I can say on the subject, but I will only add I do hope that your process runs much smoother than ours and that you successfully bring a new family member in.

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