As you have heard me say over and over this year, God has been teaching me that his plan is always better than our own. Our adoption journey with Parke gave me moments where I trusted God, but struggled to see his plan while everything was happening. God continues to move within my heart and assure me that he has every intention of making my heart whole again...as long as I trust in Him.
Part of trusting and obeying God was Micah and I deciding to move forward with open hearts and minds about another adoption. We talked about what we thought our family and our hearts could handle, and we decided that we might not want to adopt a baby again, and we definitely didn't want to adopt a Marshallese baby boy ever again.
Micah and I decided to meet with a local Christian organization that helps families get prepared to be foster parents in Arkansas. We decided after meeting with them that we would be open to adopting a child of any age, race, or gender...we specifically talked about adopting a teenage girl. We came home that night, and I prayed that God would bring us our next child and make it clear who that would be. We knew that we would have months of training and home-studies coming up with changing from private to state adoption, but we just wanted to express to God that we would take whatever he sent our way. We told God that we were open and willing to open our hearts and family to any child he had planned for us, and we prayed that he would make our paths clear.
The next day, God did just that. I received multiple phone calls from a number in Oklahoma that I didn't recognize. Finally, I received a text message asking me to call them immediately. When I called back, I was surprised to hear Parke's biological aunt on the phone. I had tried to stay in contact with his family, but I had not heard from them in months because their cell phones were turned off...and they had moved. She shared with me that her sister (another sister that I had never met, not Parke's mama) was pregnant with her 6th child, and currently has a 10 month old. She is due in August, and she would like for us to adopt her baby if we were willing. She had been told all about our family from her sisters, and she expressed that it would be a relief and blessing for us to give her baby the opportunities that she felt she could not give with her situation.
I was shaking at this point and so, so shocked. The day before, Micah and I both felt like we were turning another direction, but we had prayed for God to make our paths clear....this seemed to come from thin air. The sister went on to tell us that she had been trying to find our phone number for weeks, and that they were finally able to extract my number from an old cell phone to get in touch with us. They had worked hard to find us again, and they were certain that they wanted US to be the parents to this baby.
They went on to tell me more details about the pregnancy, and then dropped the bomb on me towards the end of the conversation....it was another BOY. Initially, my heart sank thinking of Parke and feeling the burden of "replacing" him. I didn't want another boy that looked like him. I didn't want another boy that was born the same year he was. I didn't want another boy that would remind me so much of our loss.
I told the sister that I would talk with Micah about it, and that we would call her back. Micah was as shocked as I was when I told him about the call. Initially, neither of us knew if we should move forward or not. We PRAYED, I called a million friends to pray, and we again asked God for clarity.
As we talked and prayed about it over the next few days, God began convicting me that I had said to multiple people, "I will never adopt a Marshallese boy again. I just can't." I had told the foster care people that we would adopt anything in the world except another Marshallese boy. I had told God my heart was open to anything he had in store for our family, but really my mind was made up that would NOT be another boy that was anything like Parke. I didn't think my heart could handle it. God showed me in those days, once again, that He has plans that are nothing like ours. Was I willing to trust Him and his perfect plan or leave my heart in a place of "I can't" or "I won't"?
Ultimately, Micah and I said yes to the adoption. We are expecting our new baby boy, Bretton James, in late August. The biological cousin to our sweet Parke Henry.
That phone call and this adoption give my heart another layer of peace and purpose to Parke Henry's life. As I have had time to process this over the past month, I have become more and more ECSTATIC about God's hand being so visible through Bretton's story. Forever, Parke's life will get to be honored through Bretton's adoption story because we would have never ever been connected with this family if it weren't for Parke's precious life. I am over the moon to be getting another baby boy that will possibly look like Parke and remind me so much of him. I am beyond excited that throughout Bretton's life, we will get to talk about Parke and continue to discuss him being part of our family in a joyful, not sorrowful, way. I am thankful that God made our paths clear and is merciful to give healing to our hearts.
I've traveled to Oklahoma to meet the birth mother, Roselen, and attend a doctor's appointment. We text multiple times a day, and she is keeping me updated on every little thing that is happening. They doctor said that everything looks great, and Roselen is ready for him to be here! We have told Landry and Collier, and for some reason, Landry likes to say that her baby is in "Princess Roselen's belly." She is so, so excited to get another brother.
|Roselen with her sister and her 10 month old little boy.|
Before I agreed to the adoption, I talked with Parke's birth-mother, Miram, to make sure that she was okay with us adopting this child. When talking to her through a translator on the phone, she kept saying, "And it's another boy! And it's another boy!" She was beyond excited, and I could tell that she really believed this was a way to heal the loss of our family. After that phone call, we were pretty positive we were moving forward.
As we move forward over the next month with paperwork and adoption hurdles, I ask that you pray for our family. This is an emotional process, and the logistics of this baby being delivered over 4 hours away and me having to stay in Oklahoma for multiple weeks (possibly a little shorter) makes my head spin a little bit. At least my brother and sister-in-law live in Oklahoma, so I won't be hotel bound with 3 young kiddos! :)
|Bretton's birth parents and two of his biological brothers.|
|What a cutie, huh?!|
We are thankful for this opportunity to grow our family. We are thankful that God has provided this child for us that he knew about long, long ago. As he knit him together in his mother's womb....even as we were bringing Parke into our family and dealing with his illness...God was creating Bretton knowing that he was specifically ours. I'm so thankful!
Then young women will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.