Journey to Adoption

I will tell you up front and with honesty that I have struggled with sharing our story. I've gone back and forth because I tricked myself into thinking our story wasn't relevant or didn't matter because we hadn't been trying "X" amount of months or years. Then, a friend of mine who has been trying to get pregnant for awhile, reminded me that everyone's story, emotions, and walks are different. The Lord gives us all different plates and portions, we choose how and when to carry and if we share them; I think that's something we all need to keep in mind and remind each other of. I want to be someone who talks about the hard stuff when I feel like the Lord is nudging me, even if it is painful and uncomfortable. I also want to be someone who has ears to listen, tears to shed for and with others, and life-giving encouragement ready on my lips.
Our hearts break at the realization that adoption and/or foster care is very often perceived as the next best thing to having biological children, or that it is a back up plan. That is also why we know we need to share this; to tell you that is absolutely not how we view adoption and we hope and pray no one views it that way, and if you do, we would love to answer your questions. Adoption is a homecoming. Whether adoption is someone's initial desire, is something that is discovered on a road of infertility struggles, or a family walks into it after several kids (what happened in my family with my littlest brother), it is a beautiful but heartbreaking journey the Lord knew was going to happen all along. He is the master orchestrator and the truth of it is, we are all adopted into the Lord's kingdom. We believe and pray for our future biological children. We also believe and pray for our future children through adoption and foster care. 
Adoption has always been something we knew we were going to do. We talked about it when we were dating and knew we were on the same page. Since being married, we have talked on and off about how we wanted to to have a few kids and then adopt. 
We don't remember the exact conversation when we decided to start trying to get pregnant the beginning of this year (2018). It was more of a gradual process of us working towards the same page of "timing", which makes me laugh now, because I've realized how little control any of us actually have over "trying" to get pregnant. I *do*, however, remember the exact conversation in January when I told Neal I felt like it would take us a long time to get pregnant, if we even could. I knew there was a chance it was me just being negative, but I had this feeling in my gut I just couldn't shake.
The first month of trying was fun & exciting, except for the waiting. The few weeks of waiting every month were hard from day 1. My personality definitely played a role in that; I want to know what's coming down the pipe and exactly what it's going to look like. To say the Lord has been slowly stripping me of that compulsive desire in this season would be a huge understatement. 
We noticed some irregularities in my body and I had a couple of really hard months in the middle of us trying to start our family. Months that ended in me crying on Neal's shoulder, feeling like my body was broken. I felt like it couldn't do the thing it was created to do, the thing I was dying for it to be able to do. I got lost in a sea of temperature taking, tracking meticulously in apps, ovulation strips, pregnancy tests. All while feeling deep down this wasn't the path for us right now. I can't explain how or why I knew, outside of the Lord pricking my heart more and more every month. I voiced it to a few people, but we kept trying & praying. Negative after negative after negative. I stopped taking tests because I knew the answer before even opening the box. There was a lot more heartbreak in those months than I won't detail here, because some parts are too personal to share. 
One day this Summer, I called Neal and asked him to pick me up on his way home from work. We drove around and I cried and told him I felt so conflicted. I wanted to be pregnant and experience creating & bringing life into the world, but I was positive that our first baby was either already in the world, or was currently "baking" in an expectant, first mama. Sweet Neal, he didn't know what emotion to address and walk through with me first. He has been strong & consistent through this entire process, we've walked through the highs and lows together, and I love him more than I ever thought I could.
We prayed and talked. We talked and prayed. We talked about foster care, but then discovered lead based paint all throughout our house, which ruled out any foster children under the age of 6. We were super bummed, but had prayed for open & closed doors, and that was a clear closed door (for now, we would love & plan to foster in the future). Adoption came up again, and we talked around it every month, but the conversation always died out. So, we kept trying to get pregnant and we kept praying.
One Sunday in August at church, while singing Who You Say I Am, the Lord made it crystal clear we were supposed to start the private adoption process. I told Neal at breakfast right after church. He said he wasn't quite ready and for the first time we were on complete opposite pages. I was honestly confused- which was unfair of me. Just because the Lord made something clear to me, did not mean I should expect Him to make it clear to my husband at the exact same time.
A month later, I showed Neal this video our friend Molly had posted on our way home from my brother & sister-in-law's house. He finished it right as I pulled into our driveway and turned to me and said "Let's do it! Let's start the adoption process." Neal said he wasn't sure why he wasn't ready when it was brought up at breakfast weeks before. But, after thinking on & praying about it for a month, when he watched the video above and saw two parents loving a baby that needed a home and love, any fears or concerns he had evaporated. He was sure this is what the Lord had for us. So we began the paperwork, were accepted at our agency, and now we wait!
We know we are incredibly privileged to step into adoption and are already so, so thankful and humbled by the sacrifice & bravery of our future baby's first mama. Adoption is beautiful, but it's also messy. It's made up of love, sacrifice, grief, joy, and loss. We would love prayers for Neal and I, our future baby & our baby's first mama, our lawyers, and our agency. We know it will be a road full of twists, turns, and bumps; but we also know it will be a road full of God's sovereign grace and mercy. This song (this whole album, actually) has been a soft place for me to land and rest since it came out, and I couldn't recommend it more.
We hope & pray to adopt debt free, so we will be fundraising and applying for grants. If you feel called or led to donate to our adoption fund to bring home baby Smith, you can click here. Please know we are beyond grateful for your sacrificial giving! 
We are so excited to keep sharing with you all on this journey and plan to be transparent and honest. Thank you for your support, love, and prayers! 
 With joy,
Neal and Taylor


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