Saturday, November 5, 2016

How She and We Came to Be

Setting: Late evening, early Spring. Kids are down for bed. Mom and dad sit wide awake. Thinking. 

Grace: So, do you have any names in mind, yet?

Chris: I don't know. Do you? It's kinda early to be thinking about names. Isn't it?

Grace: I mean, maybe. Not really. I know you're thinking about it. What'dya got?

Chris: If you haven't given any thought to it yet, why don't we wait. Seriously, Grace. Let's not do this right now.

Grace: What if I can guess the name you're thinking? Will you tell me, then?

Chris: Grace...

Grace: I'm gonna guess! Hannah??

Long, very long pause.

Grace: It's Hannah, isn't it?! I knew it. (Smug grin)

End Scene


We knew within days we would be married. And we knew almost as immediately that we'd adopt again. What we didn't know yet, was how soon.

There was a little girl we'd fallen in love with. 

Well she's little, to be sure, but more accurately, I suppose, she is a young lady. She's all kinds of sweet, with an equally soft personality. And a killer smile. Oh, and did I mention she has that extra chromosome that we've come to love? She was close friends with our son, Tony. (Michaela and I met her and were immediately smitten.)

The only problem was, she's long since aged out of the system. Never to be adopted. Never to know the love of a family. So, after we'd felt God calling her to mind for a period of time, we decided to respond in obedience and make sure, once and for all that there was nothing that could be done for her. That we couldn't, by some other means, bring her home.

We decided to pray and trust God with all the faith we could muster, knowing that there is nothing, absolutely nothing He can't do. 

Our hearts broke for her. We did our due diligence and found out what we had been afraid was true. We were several years too late. Her situation was complicated. It was not to be.

But by this time, the doors of our hearts had been swung wide open, and we knew we had room at our table for one more. Even if not this tiny love we'd been praying for. 

Enter Hannah Joy on the scene. 

As God's timing would have it, Hannah was listed for adoption right as we received that final verdict. 


If you know me well, or, well, not that well, you've probably noticed I've made some pretty big decisions these last several years. 

Moving back home. 

Taking a job at the church. 

Getting involved in Haiti.

Adopting Sam 

and Tony. 

Marrying Chris. 

Decision making is different as a single woman. 

Although I've had generous help from my community, I was the only one truly responsible for my decisions. 

Well, God and me. 

But that was then.

When you're married, though, two brains that share one life need to somehow "know" at the same time. Right?

We took our time deciding to adopt Hannah.

We both felt it. We felt called back to adoption. We already had a love for Hannah and a passion for orphan ministry. But we wanted to know that we knew. You know? 

But how does a couple make a decision like that together? How could we know for absolute sure that this was God's will for our family.

Under Chris's humble leadership, we dug into God's Word and leaned in close to hear our Father's heart in prayer. We decided to put the issue away. We wouldn't talk about it. We wouldn't talk about Hannah. At least not to each other. 

We'd talk to God. We'd read His Word. We would seek wise counsel.

So, that's what we did. For several weeks we went on like this, before finally we would make a call to our pastor, explain the situation, and ask that he would call together our church elders to pray over us and offer us their wisdom. Submitting ourselves to their authority, we agreed that if there was not consensus that we should move forward with the adoption at this time, that we would let it go, knowing that we were not God's plan for Hannah.

I don't know about Christopher, but I surely had butterflies in my stomach the day we sat around a table with the godly men who lead our church. They'd already been in prayer for several days before we met. One by one they went around the table. They asked questions. They shared their concerns. And then, 

They offered wholeheartedly their approval. More importantly their support. 

They were honest, though. They know it won't be easy for us. But they are behind us all the way.

And so, we went on our way to confirm our decision. Again, under Chris's leadership, we asked ourselves one last time the following questions.

Is this decision Biblical and right for our family?

We do believe so. Yes.

Do we have the passion?

Yes. Absolutely.

Do we have the skill set to match our passion?

Humbly, yes. And we have terrific professional and personal support to back us up.

Have we prayed for a period of time and sought wise counsel?

And to this, we could now also answer, yes.


Sitting at my office desk, working away, my husband walked in and pulled a chair up next to me. He placed his right hand on my knee and said quietly, "I'm in. I think she's ours."

We love the name Hannah because of the strong meaning behind it. The biblical story of Hannah is a beautiful example of a woman, longing for and crying out to God for a child...for a family. And of God, in His mercy, answering her prayer.

Our Hannah has been an orphan for 14 years. And now, in His mercy, God is giving her a family, too. Hannah's name means 'grace' and 'favor'. We think it fits her just right. It is by God's grace that Hannah will have a family. And his favor toward us that we get to be it.

Lots of love to all of you.