It was a Wednesday afternoon. The kids had just come home from school when I saw an email from our adoption agency. They had an expectant mother they’d be showing family profiles to in the next week and they wanted to show ours to her. Our criteria fit her situation very nicely, the only problem… we weren’t done with our profile book yet! Actually, we weren’t even close.
I quickly forwarded the email to my husband, Putty, with only one word in the message, “Read!!!!!” To say I was a little excited would be an understatement. The experience of this, our first message about a potential match, jolted my being into a heightened sense of anticipation. But it quickly crashed. Even after forwarding the email for Putty to read, I knew that realistically we couldn’t pull this thing together. I was already preparing myself to hear him say, “No, it’s not possible to get it done in time.”
Well, he got home from work and I eventually brought up the email. Instead of giving him a chance to dash my hopes with realism, I said that as exciting as it would be, maybe we should let them know that we won’t be able to have the book done in time. He agreed.
That night, I had to talk to God about this possible match. I could tell I really longed to make everything work out so that we could present a profile book to this mother along with the other families’ books. I wanted to be picked and be on our way with preparing for our new addition. (It’s a little like when you’re trying to get pregnant and you think and hope you might be pregnant, but it’s too early to take a pregnancy test.)
What I heard from God wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I very clearly felt like He was saying this wasn’t the match for us. Even though it was exciting, I shouldn’t get connected to this match because it wasn’t His choice for us. My heart was sad, but I also felt peaceful about it. I know that it’s better not to rush into things, and if we finished our book to present to this expectant mother, we would definitely be rushing and ‘making things happen’ on our own.
Each Friday we make a plan for what we need to accomplish that weekend, what we want to accomplish, and what would be fun to accomplish that weekend. The Friday following the adoption match email was no different. We started adding things to our list so we could discuss and make decisions on how this weekend would look for us. It was apparent to us that we needed a weekend that wasn’t filled with tons of stuff to do. We have had a lot of busy weekends with more to come, so we left a lot of space open.
I suddenly realized that I never emailed back our adoption agency about the potential match. I dragged myself to my computer to carry out my assigned task of responding to them. I wasn’t looking forward to telling them, “No, not this time,” but I knew I had to. I let them know where we were at in the process of finishing our profile book and said we’d be working on it in case they wanted to share about our family even without being able to show the book. We definitely planned to finish it, we just couldn’t do it so quickly.
With that email sent, we continued to finish off the things on our list. It all went pretty quickly and Putty realized he felt a bit of creative energy building to work on the adoption profile. So, that afternoon he went to a coffee shop to work on the design of the book from the plan he had worked out weeks earlier. I had the fun task of going through all our photos and uploading relevant ones to a digital album where he could access them and use them in the book. I loved going through our family photos from over the years and looking at each photo to see what ones would tell the best story from a first glance. But more than that, I was excited that we were once again moving forward on our adoption process.
True to our need, we took a slow Saturday morning. The kids played on screens which gave us extra time to sleep and do devotional time and reading. It was soooo needed and really recharged us. We called the kids up from screen time and got breakfast out for them. Putty was doing some Bible time and so, we didn’t see him at the breakfast table. Eventually he told me he wanted to ‘just take a little more time’ on the adoption profile book. I definitely was happy to give him as much time as he wanted. So, as his creative energy flowed, I kept the kids (and myself) occupied.
As time went by, I started to wonder if Putty had eaten breakfast without me knowing it. He really seemed to be working on this book for a long time. Surely, he had taken a quick break to get a bit of nourishment and then headed back to his design work. The hours came and went and I began lunch preparation. That’s when Putty called me to see what he had done. He had practically finished the book! He looked at the clock and couldn’t believe his eyes! “Is it really time for lunch already? I just worked through breakfast! I didn’t realize I had been doing this for so long.”
It was pretty surprising. After planning our weekend to have some slow times, we seemed to fill it with working on the profile after all. The slow time and the motivation from Wednesday’s email, seemed to be just what we needed to make a big dent in this huge project.
By Sunday evening, we were ready to put the finishing touches on our Family Adoption Profile. We finalized which photos we were going to use, we tightened up some of our text and reviewed our work. I was in awe of this book that came together so quickly over the weekend. A weekend we hadn’t planned to use in this way and a project that we didn’t want to rush. As we pressed ORDER, I was so thankful for the way this all worked out for us! Because the work came out of rest, it wasn’t rushed and we weren’t depleted by it. We really made something we were proud of and will one day be very happy to share with our adopted child.
This book really synthesized what our family is about. We got a chance to reflect on this crazy journey of the Putman family and put into words and photos all that’s come about since we said, ‘I do’ 14.5 years ago. Our family is filled with adventure, love, family, fun, friends hope, community, and above all of that a desire to follow hard after God. It made me take notice of how many opportunities we’ve had for travel, international relationships, and cultural diversity. I reflected on the family and friends in our lives and feel so grateful for the support and love all around us! From all this, we created something that shares the broad overview of our current life in a really neatly designed, compact package.
So, this time I couldn’t wait to email our adoption agency again. “We finished our adoption profile book! But, unfortunately, they won’t arrive until the following week. So, we won’t have them this week. We’ll leave it up to you if you’d like to show us to this expectant mother or pass this time around.” I hadn’t heard anything since our last email sent on Friday, so I was interested to see if there was any way we could still be shown to this mother.
However, I still had the feeling that this wasn’t the baby God had for us. I tried to rationalize that maybe I didn’t hear God correctly and was trying to help myself feel better about not having a profile book ready. This was on Friday. I tried to rationalize that maybe God really was trying to keep us from rushing, and now we hadn’t. So, maybe He’ll work it out so that we can be shown (and chosen) after all! This was on Sunday. Still, on Monday I shared with Putty that I wasn’t sure this was supposed to be and I asked if he’d gotten any sense. He hadn’t really prayed specifically about this one because it was so early in the process and the mother hadn’t even chosen us at this point. That made a lot of sense-wait until there’s more details before trying to plan everything.
Well, Monday came and went. No email from our agency. On Tuesday morning I got the email I had been waiting for. It seemed like even if we had been able to get our profile in for the proper week, the birth mother wanted to look at families immediately and had already made her choice on Thursday. We were out of the running before the race even began! I felt a mix of emotions. I was sad because I had hoped that maybe this would be it. Maybe it really would be ‘this easy and quick.’ This news hit me a little bit like when you think you’re pregnant and then realize one way or another that you actually aren’t. So, it’s onto the next cycle of waiting and hoping.
At the same time, I was relieved. I’m glad to know so quickly that it wasn’t going to work out and I could let go of that hope for this time and maintain waiting on God for our child. I was encouraged too. This was confirmation that I had heard God correctly. Time and again I seem to need affirmation that I hear God’s voice correctly and this was another of those instances. I also felt thankful that God didn’t have our agency respond to us until after we finished our profile. Honestly, this whole bunch of excitement coupled with the let down was worth it because it got us moving on the adoption profile book and lit a fire under me once again to keep pressing into the adoption process. What a big weight off our shoulders to be done with such a big step in this process.
The Following Wednesday…
So, what’s next? Well, I’m writing this blog and reflecting on how this past week has affected my thinking, feeling, and actions. The holiday season really put the adoption process on hold as so many other things took priority, but now it’s over. Now, my mind and heart are feeling the familiar tug of growing our family. I’m excited to keep learning about interracial adoption, adoption in general, and waiting with anticipation for our adoption match.
We still don’t know the definite way that our adoption match will come, but we’re trusting God and asking Him to lead the process. Maybe we’ll be matched through our small agency (Illini Christian Ministries), maybe we’ll be matched through an adoption attorney or larger agency, or maybe there’ll be some sort of connection made through our personal contacts. We don’t know, but we trust that God does and in that trust we will remain steady and full of hope and anticipation.