THANK YOU to the generosity of Tippecanoe County Right to Life! Gifts of Grace was invited as a guest to the annual Right To Life banquet in November. There we were blessed with 8 gift baskets to pass on to our birth mothers who choose love, life, and adoption. Passing the Blessings On!
Jeremy and Mary have two sons adopted from the same birth mother and two biological daughters. One of their adopted children has an undiagnosed special need. They are actively working with medical professionals to determine his diagnosis.
What led you to want to focus on special needs within adoption?
Mary: As we began to explore adoption I kept finding myself going back to children or birth families with special needs. But, I would tuck it away and say "no." But, God kept bringing it back to me. I was afraid Jeremy would say no but as soon as I presented it he said yes. Over time God kept giving us more and more of a desire to pursue this adoption and opened us up to the thought of raising a child who had special needs or may come from a family with special needs.
Jeremy: To be honest, I was naïve at the time. We knew of people in our lives who had children with special needs. But, you don't fully know the struggles that come with making this decision until you are in the middle of it. But, your child with special needs brings so much joy to your family and to your life.
What type of adoption do you have and why?
Jeremy and Mary: We have an open adoption. When we adopted our first son we got a call later down the road that his birth mother was expecting again and wanted to create another adoption plan. We asked Gifts of Grace to present us to the birth mom because we wanted the boys to be raised together. In our open adoption we exchange photos and have two visits yearly with the children's birth parents. It's important to us that our children have a relationship with their birth parents.
What advice would you give to friends and families of future adoptive parents who adopt children with special needs?
Jeremy: Don't be afraid to ask questions. It means a lot to us as parents for others to have a better understanding. It shows you care and that you are invested in our child.
Mary: Be positive and encouraging. These adoptive parents need encouragement and shared interest in the joy and rewards that come with parenting a child with special needs.
Why did you choose to work with Gifts of Grace?
Mary: We were very choosy with the agency we wanted to work with. We personally know a few birth moms and we wanted an agency that would do right by our birth mother. We wanted an agency that wouldn't coerce our birth mom. We knew that Gifts of Grace would support their birth moms whether they chose to parent or if they continued with an adoption plan.
1. O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
2. O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
3. O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,That morn shall tearless be.
4. O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be. - George Matheson
"Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."
Deuteronomy 15:10 (NIV)
"Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee."
Deuteronomy 16:17 (KJV)
What led you to adoption?
Natalie: God. My desire to adopt had been there since I was a little girl. Through a series of events He led me back to that desire.
Lowell: It wasn't something I grew up with. I knew my wife had a strong desire for that. Over time God worked in my heart a desire for adoption as well.
How did you feel when you first met your child's birth mom?
Natalie: Terrified. Not because of her because she is amazing. Mainly because the situation was so sudden. We didn't know how to approach her or talk to her. We were so scared. but, she is super sweet. When we met we talked, hugged, and I believe we even cried. It was a special time.
Lowell: She put a lot of trust in us. We have so much thankfulness to her for her decision.
What was it like the day your child was born?
Lowell: Chaotic. For us we didn't know about our child until we got the call he was in the hospital. We started our day as normal. I went to work, I am a farmer and was out in the fields when I got the call.
Natalie: But then meeting him was indescribable. As soon as we held him in our arms he felt like ours. He (Lowell) was worried beforehand if he would be able to love this child but later after everyone left and it was just the three of us he (Lowell) looked at me and said, "this is my child and I love him."
Adoption can oftentimes take a while, how do you get through the wait?
Natalie: We are still working on it. It's tough. There are good days and bad days. Most of it for me is working on not being angry at God for the waiting and trusting that he really does have a plan and that it is good.
Lowell: It's hard when you have people around you having babies and you're waiting.
You've had a successful adoption and a failed adoption plan, what was that like?
Natalie: Really hard. With our first adoption of course we didn't even know about him until he was already born in the hospital. So we weren't really prepared and had to quickly get things. I think if I remember correctly we even left the hospital for a few hours to go buy things to take our son home. Our second adoption we had more time to prepare for the child but the mother decided to parent. It's been a couple of years since that loss and we are still waiting for the chance to adopt again. Some days you wonder about the child and what they are like and who they are now. We pray for the mother and the child often.
Lowell: Honestly, I just try not to think about it.
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