WHEN GOD SPEAKS by Angela Dekkers
When God calls you to sometime, do you obey Him or do you question? Do you listen to Him or do you ignore? Seems like an easy answer, right? But can I admit something to you?
I am guilty of latter. When God called my husband [Jim] and I to the adoption journey, I questioned Him. I ignored Him. I did everything in my power to pretend like He never spoke.
Even though adoption was something Jim and I talked about while we were dating and even agreed it was something we wanted for our family, when the moment actually came, I panicked. When I felt the call to actually do what I long ago imagined I might, I started to doubt myself.
How is this going to work? Can I really do this? There are so many layers and complexities that come with adoption; how am I going to deal with all that? Maybe it was a better dream than it was a reality. Maybe it’d be possible for someone else, but me…?
I know now where those lies came from, as well as the prize they almost robbed me of. In some of my deepest moments of vulnerability, the enemy planted those seeds of doubt in my mind, and they almost won. Almost.
Even in the dust clouds of doubt, I knew who I was, and I knew God had called us to. With every fiber of my being, I knew He asked us to support the orphan and widow, to stand for the oppressed, and to be a refuge for the fatherless.
The doubts were never silenced in an instant. I continued to question almost daily. Honestly, I think I’m still wondering, “Are you sure I can do THAT?” and all my adoptive children have been home for years. But we moved forward anyways.
In January of 2014, Jim and I started the domestic adoption process. We did all the paperwork, attended all the classes, finished all our reading, and completed our family’s home study. We were moving forward in incredible strides. But along the way, those doubt would creep in again.
Satan would tear at my heart and whisper into my mind, convincing me all over again that I would never be able to do this. “You can’t get all that paperwork done and those questions answered,” I’d hear him say. “You aren’t going to have time for a baby with 4 kids at home already. How will you pay for all this! You are going to have to deal with a birth mom and/or birth family, if they so choose to have a relationship. And what if she changes her mind? You’ll never be ready for that.” So. many. doubts. So many more doubts I haven’t even written.
Still, during this whole process, we continued to hear God say, “Trust me and obey”. And as the doubts crept it, He spoke it louder. And louder. And louder. When my heart said “run”, He said “stay”, and I’m not sure I could have made it any other way.
All of this aside, there was one particular question in all of our paperwork that I kept coming back to: would we choose an open or closed adoption? I wanted Him to speak loudly, like He had in so many other ways, but with this one, I felt like He left me wrestling.
Having a closed adoption meant we would have no contact with our child’s birth mom or first family. Having an open adoption, on the other hand, meant leaving those doors open – having some sort of relationship, maybe a little, maybe a lot. But it also meant there would be someone else in our lives. Forever.
That thought stunted me. Cue the floodgate of doubts again.
In both my insecurity and first instinct, I gravitated towards a closed adoption, because, really, how am I going to “share” my baby? There’s no way it’s possible for her to have a relationship with me and her birthmom. That will only confuse her. Will she love her more than me?
The questions kept coming, and it would have been easy to shut myself off; to choose a closed adoption and “never have to worry”. But there was something deep inside of me that pushed our family in the opposite direction; we knew what we needed to do. Greater than my insecurities was a baby girl that would grow up with her own.
In the end, this decision wasn’t about us. It wasn’t about our wants or our needs. It was about a baby girl, a daughter, our daughter – hers and mine – and what would be best for this little girl as she grew into the woman God created her to be. It was about giving her access to every opportunity of wholeness and healing and taking hold of His plans for her life. And two mamas – whatever it looked like – was always going to be a part of that, if I would allow it to be.
Trust and obey.
And we did. We marked our paperwork as “open” and continued moving forward. But if you thought the doubts were over, think again.
The closer we got, the more overwhelmed I felt. We were already a busy family of 6, and the thought of adding a brand new baby about knocked me off my feet. I already felt like I couldn’t do it all, and I wanted more than anything to run away from this call. But as Jim and I prayed and as we talked, we knew God was still calling us to adoption. It was bigger than us; more than just about us.
Trust and obey.
Adoption fees, lawyer fees, doctor bills and so much more. We were already living paycheck to paycheck. We got to the point of being ok with taking out a loan if we had to and maybe trying to do a few fundraisers – something we never would have considered before. God put us in a place of complete dependence as we worried and wondered how it would all come together.
Trust and obey.
It seemed as if every step of faith that we took, more space was created for Him to move. He brought so many people into our lives that had walked the road ahead of us and were willing to help us out. More than that, He continued to change our hearts.
The worries and doubts that were consistently present before were becoming less frequent, and we were starting to get excited for what God had in store for our family.
After waiting with finished paperwork for couple months, we were matched with an expectant mom. We received the call and were told that she had chosen our family to be her daughter’s forever family. We were so excited!
The worries I had about an open adoption disappeared in a way I cannot explain, and I was excited for the relationship I would not only have with my daughter, but also this incredible woman who chose life for her.
We had the privilege of meeting with our birth mom a couple times before “our” daughter was born. Before every visit I was a tangled web of emotions – equally as excited as I was nervous. They were extremely hard in the way you might imagine, but every single moment was worth it.
Creating a relationship with her before the baby was born was such a blessing to us, and I can’t imagine it any other way.
We are so glad we decided to trust and obey. Because in the process of putting ourselves aside, God gave us an amazing woman to love right alongside our child.
On August 7, 2014, our lives changed forever. After so much prayer and patient waiting, our daughter Hadlee was born and placed into my arms by her birth-grandmother.
This is a day I will never forget.
Every doubt was silenced in the weight of the moment. I could not shrug off the significance if tried. An extremely strong and selfless woman put everything aside to choose life for her daughter, and she trusted us to be her parents. I’ll never be able to understand how hard that decision must of been, nor the moments that unfolded that day.
On August 7, we not only added a beautiful daughter to our family, but we also gained another beautiful woman, our daughters half sister, a grandma and a grandpa. Some people see this as added complexities to Hadlee’s life, but we see it as more people to love on her, to raise her up, and to do life with her.
Trust and Obey.
To this very day we have an amazing relationship with Hadlee’s birth family. We consider them a part of our family, just like Hadlee is. I know this isn’t possible for every family and their adopted child, but if it might be, I can’t imagine not giving my child that gift.
We stay in direct contact with Hadlee’s birth mom and email often. We have visits three to four times a year and always have an amazing time. These are visits Hadlee asks for and gets so excited to go on. We’re invested in each other and generally interested. We both long for the other to have the best God has designed our families.
Is it hard and complicated sometimes? Yes. Is it hard to stay in contact all the time with the business of life unfolding in your home? Yes. Do I wish things could be different sometimes? Yes. I won’t deny any of that.
But I know that to have an open relationship with her is the best thing for Hadlee, both now and in the future. And I think it’s good for me, too. God had this ALL planned out before Hadlee was born, so we continue trusting in Him for guidance and strength along the way.
Trust and obey were the words we let move us, and we are so incredible thankful we did. The doubts that we had were proven wrong though a faithful God who never forsake us in the process. He has taught us so much about Himself and His love for ALL His children – even the ones that are grown and having children of their own.
My life verse is this:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3: 5-6
He has yet to fail me in this.
Praise be to a God who has always made these words real to me, and I pray He will make them real to you, too.