(Thank you to Barrett for today’s guest post!)
My wife Jenifer and I have been married for almost twenty years and we have four amazing biological children, aged 17 to 10. What follows is our story of how God stretched our faith and enriched our lives through his gift of our fifth child, Madeline Kate.
For a number of years, God had been preparing our hearts for something big.
We had been praying about fostering children or finding some other way to pass on the amazing love of God and our family to others. The way we figured it, God has filled our home with an abundance of love and blessings; we can either store them up for ourselves or share them with others.
Back in the spring of 2007, God placed before us the opportunity to adopt a newborn baby girl. After about a month of praying, dreaming and talking about the possibility, we came to feel certain that God had called us to invite this precious little life into our family.
The birth mother was a cousin of a dear friend from Texas. She was one of those extremely rare young moms who chose to do the very best for her child, even though it was very difficult. We felt so very blessed to get to minister to her and to her baby.
We got the call early on a September morning that the birth mother was in labor in San Antonio. We got Jenifer on a flight a few hours later and the rest of us loaded the van up for the sixteen-hour cross-country drive.
Jen arrived at the hospital about fifteen minutes before Maddie Kate arrived. Praise God for perfect timing! A few minutes after Maddie Kate entered our world, Jen was calling us on the phone (I think we were in Montgomery, Alabama), letting us hear the beautiful cries of our new baby.
Even from the beginning, she was a cute little gal, weighing in at 6 pounds 14 ounces and standing (or should I say lying) 20.5 inches tall. She had beautiful, thick, dark hair and a sweet disposition.
Everything went great at the hospital. Since the rest of us weren’t able to get there until the next day, Jen was blessed to have her mom fly down from Houston and join her at the hospital. They were able to get their own room so that they could enjoy Maddie Kate through the night. The hospital staff took great care of the baby AND Mommy AND Maw Maw.
After spending the night in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the kids and I finally arrived in San Antonio on Friday at about 1:00 and it was party, party, party!
With so many of our friends and family in Texas, we felt it was a great opportunity to officially welcome Maddie Kate into our family and to dedicate her (and ourselves) to God. On Saturday night, a friend of ours hosted 23 adults and 30 children at her house north of San Antonio.
In addition to having a great big party with some of our favorite people in the world, we had a very special time of worship together. We sang, thanked God for Maddie Kate, and all took a moment to speak words of our commitment to her as an official member of our family. Maddie Kate was the featured guest but God was the center of attention.
Once we got home, we got immediately used to the rhythm of life with an extra little Johnson along for the ride. Now, almost three years later, we can’t imagine life without her.
One unique part of our story is that we have chosen an open adoption. We want to stay in contact with Maddie Kate’s birth mom, as we see her “birth family” as part of God’s ministry for and through us in this process. In addition to seeing her once or twice a year, we receive occasional gifts from her and we encourage her to check our blog for pictures and updates of all that Maddie is doing.
As adoptive parents, we control this process and have the freedom to adjust our verbal arrangement however we deem best. But for now, we feel it is best for Maddie Kate to know us as her family, and to know her “birth mom” as a hero in her life.
There are more “God stories” than we can share in just a few short pages of type; and there are more ways that God is working in our hearts and lives than we can list. What we can say is that this whole experience has been God’s calling and we love seeing the numerous ways that God is glorifying Himself through this precious life that He has brought into our lives.
We’re blessed to know and love Barrett’s family in real life; follow along with their family’s adventures in blogland, visit Jenifer’s blog, LadyBird’s Nest.
Do you have a positive adoption story of your own to share? If so, contact me!