Driving to the courthouse was, understandably, familiar and stirred quiet reflection in our hearts. Ben held my hand and asked if I remembered our first adoption agency visit. We walked out deflated. It felt like we were never going to be parents. That was eight years ago.
It's almost too much to take in. The pain and adventure of the last several years have rooted two truths into our deepest places - 1) God redeems all things; 2) Marrying each other was the most significant life decision we made (second only to salvation). Nearly every day, Ben lays his head in my lap and says, "I couldn't do this with anyone else."
Our dating relationship wasn't remarkable. It looked pretty similar to everyone else around us. I would like to say, I had some divine revelation that Ben was the one for me or that I had wisdom beyond my time when I walked the aisle at 20. Sure, I was crazy about him and I knew he loved Jesus, but I had no idea the magnitude of treasure buried under his heart's surface. It wasn't until we hit hardship, years into marriage, that I discovered what a gift God gave me.
Nothing about our life, today, is ordinary, and I am grateful every day to be married to a man who says yes to our Father - even when he wants to say no.
I don't know what the next chapters hold, but we are settled in the closing of this one. There was something affirming, knowing this was our last adoption. Something fresh in the possibilities ahead and rich in the experiences behind.
The judge allowed everyone present an opportunity to share the meaning of the day. When I looked across the sea of faces, I was moved by the love and tears woven into all the words spoken. Days like today aren't specific to our team of seven. They inspire a greater community and encompass the many, many people who walk beside us, every day.
The presiding judge noted how difficult the morning had been and the joy she found in the goodness of such an event.
We had the opportunity to also meet the judge that was on our last three foster/adoption cases over the past two years. He hugged me tight and said in fourteen years of service he had never been able to keep three siblings together. He was, genuinely, grateful and found peace in meeting all three kids that until, today, were only a number in a file.
A friend noted how normal adoption has become over the last several years and that it's not until she talks to people outside our influence that she recognizes the gripping qualities of fear. Sadly, it's instinctive and limits the lives of most.
I am so thankful for God's gentle pressing and every yes along the way. From Rebekah's doorstep to each previous foster family to my growing interactions with Sweet Mama. Each relationship gives me glimpses into the true heart of God.
It is a great privilege to introduce you to the newest member of our team.
True to our conviction, we kept Hunter's first name, but chose Samuel for his middle name because Samuel is my absolute favorite person in the Bible. Not only did the desperate prayers of his mother mirror my heart at one time, but I am hopeful that all of my children will grow in the presence of God and be quick to respond to his voice.
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord for his whole life.