Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adoption: Grace Ann & Jack

  This is one of my most favorite families in my life.  I love their kids....and the parents are okay, too :)  I have known Chris and Melissa most of my life and their adoption of Grace Ann was the very first adoption that I was blessed to witness and experience with my own eyes and Jacob and I were able to organize a yard sale to help them raise money for Jack's adoption, so their story is special to me, too.  It is a story of families joined through open adoption...

  I am so thankful to Misti to be able to tell others my family’s journey to adoption. Our story begins like most, Chris and I got married, I finished college and then after two years ditched the birth control in hopes of having the average 2.5 children to make our family complete. I had no idea that God had a much greater, much better plan for us.
  After years of trying to get pregnant, two miscarriages and so much heartache we finally had a doctor tell us that God had a great plan for our family. The doctor went on to tell us that somewhere there were children waiting for us and wanted us as badly as we wanted them. I half heartedly listened to him as he talked to us. I, being a control freak, wanted to fix the problem myself. I knew God could make me fertile or send the right birthfamily to us, but I did not want to bother him with our "little problem". (Don’t we all do that?) After about a year of refusing to believe the doctor, Chris and I finally turned to adoption and of course, we began praying for a child through adoption. We contacted Abrazo Adoption ( ) in April and were scheduled to come to their famous orientation weekend in May. We left that weekend after meeting twelve other couple just like us, excited about the possibility of being parents.
  A little word about Abrazo and the types of adoptions that they do, they only do open adoptions. With an open adoption, both the birthfamily and adoptive family meet. You exchange information and begin a relationship with the birthfamily. I admit I was a bit scared of open adoption, but like anything else once you educate yourself about something, you are better able to embrace it. Like any great relationship, you must interact with one another. Adoptive and birthfamilies talk on the phone, visit with one another and basically become family. I cannot imagine not having a relationship with the very people who helped me to become a mom. Some people think that by having an open adoption, the birthfamily just pops in and out of your home and take over when they are there. This common myth of open adoption is far from the truth. Chris and I are our children’s’ parents in all sense of the word, but we do stay in contact with their birthfamilies and let them know what is going on in the life’s of the children they love enough to place for adoption.
  Jump forward to Aug. 28, 2002. While I was teaching, the office buzzed my room to tell me I had a call. I grumbled the entire way to the phone because I was in the middle of a great lesson. When I picked up the phone, I heard the voice of our adoptive parent support person from Abrazo. She told me there was a couple that really wanted to talk to Chris and me. I immediately called them with little regard to my great lesson. We had a great first talk. Everything just clicked. It was as if I always knew this couple. Chris called them once he got home and they told him, that they really wanted us to adopt their baby girl once she was born. YIPPPEEEE!!! We had just a few months to get to know this wonderful couple and their family before the baby was born. We grew to love this family not for what they were going to do but for who they were through visits and many phone calls.
  We were in the room on November 19, 2002 when Elizabeth Grace Ann made her appearance into this world. During the hospital stay, we kept the nurses very confused. They had never witness an open adoption relationship before. They kept trying to figure out who was who. Those days were such special days. We just passed Grace Ann around the entire time and loved on her.
  When Grace Ann turned three we really, felt the urge to adopt again. Grace Ann’s Sunday School teacher told me that every week without fail she would pray for her baby brother or sister to find her. She said this prayer for two years. In November of 2007, we returned "home" to Abrazo and began the process once again. Once again, while at school I receive a call from Abrazo. I was told the mother would be expecting my call once I got home from school; imagine trying to teach with that though on your heart. When I called the birthmom, once again things just clicked. We had a great time on the phone and talked for well over an hour. At the end of the call she said, "I want you before anyone else gets you!" I was thrilled to say the least. This time around, we had six months to get to know this sweet birthmom.
  On June 10, 2008 surrounded by his birthmom, her sister, Chris and myself, Ethan Jackson was born. The days that Jack spent in the hospital were wonderful but sad. We were there for his birthmother as she grieved and made such a heart wrenching decision. Placing a child for adoption is not easy but with an open adoption Jack’s birthmom is never left out of his life. Being able to witness the pain allows us to never take for granted the gift she gave us when she placed her son into our arms.
  Since the adoption of both children, we have made several visits to San Antonio to visit their birthfamilies. They have come to visit us also. Grace Ann even had her very first tooth pulled by her birthmom when she was staying there while we were at the hospital with her brother. We talk to both sets of birthfamilies by phone, text and of course Facebook. (Isn’t technology great?)
  The years following both children’s births have been filled with so much joy. God has truly turned my weeping into laughter and he made the barren woman a mother. To quote Grace Ann after hearing about her baby brother, "He heard me! He heard me! God finally heard my prayers!" I am so thankful for God’s greater plan which expanded our family of two to many whom all share a common love for each other.

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