MEET ADRIENNE: she and her husband have said yes to His call to care for the orphan, and their adoption journey is drawing her nearer to Him while they wait.
How did the Lord call you to adopt from Trinidad and Tobago?
Before we were married, my husband, Colby, and I discussed our shared desire to grow our family though adoption. Colby had travelled to Romania twice in high school and twice more while in college. During these mission trips, he helped run summer camps for Livada Orphan Care. In 2010, I went on a mission trip to India and the United Arab Emirates. My group's main task in traveling was to encourage local churches, but we also had the opportunity to visit a couple orphanages and meet the children and their caretakers. I’ve also always loved working with children, serving in my church’s youth group as a small group leader while in high school, as a Sunday School teacher, and as the director of a summer Vacation Bible School program for a local inner city ministry. These experiences really impacted our hearts and opened them up to the idea of adopting "one day."
During our marriage, we have periodically revisited the subject of adoption, but God has always seemed to say, "Wait" or "Not yet." We actually attended a DFACS meeting a few years ago with the idea of adopting through Georgia's foster care system, but that was one of the doors that God closed for us. In his providence, God has recently led us to pursue an international adoption through Trinidad— where my mom is from.
As strange as it seems, in all of the years Colby and I had dreamed about adoption, Trinidad & Tobago had never come up in our conversations. Through the years, we have prayed that the Lord would direct us if adoption is something He wants us to pursue. Months ago, before we began this process, I muttered a quick prayer— not even really intentionally— that He would give us some direction. About a week later, I woke up immediately knowing that TT is where God is leading us.
What initial fears or hesitations did you have about adoption and how did you work to overcome them?
One of the hesitations Colby had mentioned in the past every time we discussed adoption was, of course, the financial burden. He has always said that with each child we have (we have three biological children), he feels the need to provide for his family even more keenly. The costs associated with adoption compounded this for him. I think, however, that God used Colby’s recent medical scare to teach us (again) that He cares for and provides for His children faithfully.
In March earlier this year, Colby had a couple pretty significant headaches; he described them as the worst he had ever experienced. Thankfully, his primary physician thought it was prudent to schedule an MRI. They discovered that Colby had a pituitary macroadenoma, a large tumor, on his pituitary gland, and it was beginning to press on his optic chiasm.
Our city has a rather large medical community, and we were blessed to find a skilled neurosurgeon in town. We, quite frankly, didn’t know what to expect when we visited him. Both of us, of course, were praying that surgery wouldn’t be required soon— that they could simply monitor the tumor’s growth. This hope was reinforced when Colby’s nurse mentioned that the hospital was not even scheduling elective surgeries anymore due to the impact of the corona virus.
Colby’s neurosurgeon had different news for us. The tumor, in his opinion, was large enough to warrant surgery within the month. We prepared diligently for the next few weeks, arranging Colby’s work schedule, coordinating with his insurance company to ensure that we would have proper coverage for what would be required, etcetera. We had no idea what the bill would look like for a brain surgery, and we were hard pressed to get an answer from anyone before the day of the surgery. As one can imagine, the final bill was astronomical.
Colby’s neurosurgeon was able to successfully remove every piece of the tumor, and Colby has healed wonderfully since then. It seems odd to say that the corona virus pandemic could be a blessing, but it was for us. Throughout the time we were readying ourselves for brain surgery, God was reminding us of his loving-kindness. There were no wait times at the hospital, because so many elective procedures had been cancelled. Colby was able to schedule his pre-op appointments so quickly! We were able to accomplish our preparations with as little stress as possible.
Years ago, Colby and I had decided that we wanted to live debt free apart from our mortgage. We have been diligent to save our money after paying off our debts, but our savings accounts were depleted when we had to pay off Colby’s medical bills. But God, as I have jokingly remarked,“dropped money into our laps” during the couple of months from Colby’s diagnosis to his recovery. We were able to pay for all of Colby’s procedures without going into debt!
I think this experience, in a sense, gave us courage when we realized that God was indeed telling us to adopt a child from Trinidad & Tobago. We don’t have all of the money right now, but we know God is going to provide. We’ve seen Him do so before!
What are some ways others are loving and supporting you well during this process?
Colby and I have always had a wonderful support system, but this adoption journey has sweetly expanded that group for us. The Lord has connected us with members of our church family with whom we were previously not well acquainted and even some friends and members of our extended family who all have connections to or a love for adoption. They have blessed us by supporting us financially and through sharing their stories and connections to adoption with us. My college roommate (who also went to Romania with Colby) surprised us by offering to donate her time and photography skills to host mini family portrait sessions and donate all of the proceeds to our adoption fund. An adoptive mom friend from our homeschool community lovingly gave us advice as we researched agencies and began planning our fundraisers. I have woken up to an email from our fundraising website that my high school teacher, who I haven’t seen in ages, made a donation to our adoption fund. The timing of a lovely card in the mail with a check or a sassy message with a Venmo payment for a t-shirt may seem random to some, but God’s timing is so perfect. Such things have arrived at times when we most needed encouragement, and we have been reminded time and again to “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
What encouragement can you offer to other families who are in the midst of their adoption journeys?
The words I would offer are the same ones I have to remember each day: “My child belongs to the Lord first and foremost.” This child has been known by God long before Colby and I even began dreaming about adoption. Matthew 6:25-34 says:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying,‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavily Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
As parents, we have the privilege of coming before God to intercede for our children. Pray these verses over your child. I’m a very “Type A” person, but being anxious about my child’s welfare or about the adoption process won’t change anything. Prayer will though, and we can trust our heavenly Daddy.
If you could tell the world one thing about adoption, what would you say?
We’re adopting because we were adopted. By his grace, God has been teaching us more about our own adoption through Jesus’ work on the cross— how we, through no righteousness or deeds of our own, have been brought into His family and been made co-heirs with Christ. The adoption of a child is a faint reflection of the love God showed us in our own redemption and adoption.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” - Galatians 4:4-7