My life has been easy. I was raised in a Christian home; didn’t have a lot of money, but everything we needed and a little more. I fell off the back of a moving pickup truck once and skinned my knuckles a bit…and that’s pretty much the extent of my childhood trauma. I strayed a little in college, but came back when I went on a first date with my wife at her church (there are various versions of how we came to this point depending on which one of us you ask). So we dated for less than a year and married in April of 2006.
Six months later we were ready to add to the family. Backtracking a tad: my wife, Missy, had a simple dream:
To be a wife and a mom;
and, being an extremely attractive young woman, meeting half of her goal was fairly easy…for both of us. The other half didn’t go according to our plan…and nine years later, I couldn’t be more thankful for that. Seven years of prayers and tears and two more after that, the dream is complete and life began…but, again, I’ve skipped a little…
In 2008 a new job moved us from the northeast to the southwest with the assurance that we would be back in Maine in 18 months (as I write we are encroaching on 2016 still in small town southwest Arizona in which we have moved four times…three in six months…twice with a baby on the way…once with an infant arrived). After a medically successful yet reproductively unsuccessful surgery, fertility specialists were consulted and various procedures attempted with the desired result still absent. Adoption was then on our hearts and we chose the foster care route. While not our intent, a need arose, and we quickly had two six year olds, a boy and a girl. Homework and baseball filled three months; then the two and three year old sisters moved in and life was educational for two weeks. We quickly loved those four like our own, but their Native American heritage, our pastiness and the pesky goal of parental reunification made the likelihood of adoption miniscule…and then they were gone.
I don’t really remember exactly when that was or when exactly we first heard that we were one of two couples being considered for a one year old little girl, but whenever it was, things seemed to he moving forward. Shortly after hearing of our 50/50 consideration, we were met with another offer. Another one year old girl, and in this case, we were the only home being considered. In August of 2013, we met with the aunts who were her respite; two days later we met again, and a day after that we took her home. We arrived home with tears streaming as we read the welcome banner draped across our home:
Hope Lives Here!
I quickly read through The Strong Willed Child (she is now three, and I don’t think it helped). Suffering through two long months of anticipating parental rights hearings was unpleasant, but looking back, it was only two months, and we were one step closer to having a daughter to call our own.
God has a perfect plan, and I am in it. Seven years of asking Him “why” and/or “why not” has proven to me this:
The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
Two years after the Judge said “You are her parents”, the feeling I get when she says “I love you, Dad” or prays at night for mommy and daddy, her baby sister (and sometimes her friends’ mom) or when she sings a Frozen duet with me, I can only describe with sobs. And when I look at my baby’s face and smile, I can’t say “thank You” enough.
So, the story above was written nearly two years ago, and more of our steps have been directed, so I thought I would share. Before 2016 arrived, we moved yet again, but finally, we are back home in Maine, and, as I mentioned above, Hope has a sister thanks to much prayer, patience and a new combination of fertility drugs that was not available prior to the adoption. So, this isn’t just a story of adoption. As the title indicates, this is a story of praise; praise to our Lord for the miracle of our adopted daughter, the miracle of our biological daughter (both of whom are not just loved as our own but are completely our own) and one more incredible direction of our steps. Our move back to Maine was neither easy nor was it quick. After approximately four years of rejected job applications, I was finally selected for a transfer home, however, I would be required to switch agencies in order to do so. This had been a last resort for years. I took pride in my job and believed I was in the profession God wanted me in, but, especially when we became the parents of two children, my wife was ready to return home. I accepted the position and was scheduled to move at the close of 2015.
The day before the move, I arrived at work with the intent to leave the agency we had dedicated over seven years to; I brought in my equipment for other employees to paw through since I would no longer be needing it, and geared up to head down to the secretary’s office to begin the resignation process and start our new adventure. As I sat at my desk reminiscing over the last few years, all of the trials endured and blessings received, my phone rang. The phone call was a job offer that would allow me to remain with the agency, and transfer to the same location that we were moving to on the very next day. When I received the call, my wife and father were on the road to pick up the moving truck for the already planned trip home. We were able to keep the same moving date, the same date to start work in Maine, I was given more time off for the move, and I wouldn’t have to go away for an additional five months of training.
It is now 2017; my wife has her dream house, an old farm house built in 1860, with a few additions to fit my style. We’re close to family with a family of our own via divine direction, and I don’t believe there is any question of that. I know why God had us in Arizona for the time that he did; I have not yet come to the realization of our purpose in Maine, but I know we are where we should be. I could give every minute detail of this story, but I’m afraid it would mean little to those outside of my head, so I will leave them where they are, or maybe I could let this sit for another two years and add another amazing turn of events, inexplicable outside of divine provision. I just hope I don’t forget our story no matter where our plans take us, the direction of our steps, and to Whom it is owed.