The last two weeks have been a crazy start to an amazing adoption adventure and testimony of God’s love for crafting adoption stories. We acted like we were on vacation and tried to build lots of memories as a new little family. We visited landmarks in the area, played putt-putt and laser tag, went shopping and went to church together. It was a strange feeling being a family overnight, but the more time we spent together and the more we laughed and played, the more we all felt comfortable.
One would be celebrating their birthday during our trip, so we decorated our hotel room with birthday balloons and banners and even planned a little party for him at Main Event over the weekend. We allowed each set of grandparents to send one gift and a card for him to open on his birthday to know that he was loved by them, too, even though he hadn’t met them yet. We also took him lunch at school on his actual birthday and tried to make his special day a big deal – just like we would if he were our biological child back at home. We tried to do and include everything we felt like a normal family would do for their child into our weeks of visitation. This was a little different than most pre-placement adoption visits in that we were staying in their town at a hotel for an extended period. Most adoptive placement visits are shorter in length and over the course of several weeks.
We were able to bring them back to our house for a weekend visit and were able to show them our home, their rooms, their new schools, and important places around town. We visited our church and were able to enjoy some holiday festivities. It was quick but nice to be able to let them see and experience their new home before moving in. Our immediate family members met us at church and went out with us and the kids after, but we were pretty protective of our time with them and didn’t want to overwhelm them with a bunch more new people.
We faced several challenges during these last weeks meeting, visiting, and bringing home our adopted children. We can definitely say the process wasn’t much like what we had prepared ourselves for, but God gave us strength and quite literally worked out critical issues and details time and time again during our stay. If you know me, you know I’m a planner. I love having a plan with agendas and checklists! I know God was working on my heart because we lived day by day and moment by moment at times. He gave us what we needed to know and do just a little at a time. And – He gave me peace to do so without a panic attack. I’m sure He knew our brains would explode if we knew everything going on all at once.
For the most part, we texted back and forth with the caseworkers who kept us in the loop on what we needed to do next. Some things would be last minute just due to circumstances. God helped us remain flexible and positive. We daily surrendered the entire process to God, and we tried to make the most of every moment. In the end, we thought everything went very well.
Our situation was somewhat unique in the things we faced during pre-placement visits, but I would guess that every adoptive family’s story and situation is unique. The Texas CPS departments we worked with were wonderful about coordinating the details and being available to us every step. They kept the kids’ best interests at heart and moved accordingly.
Inside the profile book we sent to the kids, we included each one a key with their name on a key chain. When we came home, we let each of them use their key to open the door to their forever home. They absolutely loved those keys. (Update: Even two years later, they still beg to open the door with their key).
We are thankful to everyone who has prayed for us during this time. We have truly felt each and every prayer and know God heard and answered. God alone is the very reason we were able to bring our kids home for final adoptive placement, December 19th, with a full Christmas break ahead. Talk about a great Christmas! Adoption is God’s greatest gift!