We met the Alms years ago while both serving in youth ministry. Sarah and her husband, Jason, were on the junior high team, and Justin and I were on the high school team. After years of arm twisting and a lot of things out of my control, to my joy, they joined the high school team. Sarah is always up for anything, the crazier the better. I will never forget Summer of 89, our freshman retreat, when she played "buck-buck." I don't think I ever laughed harder than that day. She has been there to catch my tears, to offer a listening ear, and she shows up, which is a big deal to me. She is the girl I get into the most trouble with, and maybe am the most myself with. She just has a way of bringing out the best in others. In fact, we affectionally call her Switzerland because she is everyone's friend.
Sweet Sarah wrote this blog post for me back in August and for some reason, to which I have no idea until now, I haven't posted it. But I guess it is perfect timing.
In Sarah's words:
My journey to plan B has brought me through deep sadness, but has also lead me to great joy. The road of life can be dark and bumpy, but through those times, I’ve learned that God can be trusted and is in control. Here’s my story…
I was born when my amazing birth mother was just 16 years old. She was not able to raise me, so she made the selfless decision to choose adoption. I was adopted by my mom and dad when I was 2 weeks old. My parents were actually living out their plan B, as well. They were unable to get pregnant, so they chose to build their family through adoption. They first adopted my brother, and then 3 years later, they adopted me. I remember my mom saying that she was thankful for her infertility, because without it, they wouldn't have me or my brother. I was raised in a home where adoption was talked about often and celebrated.
Fast forward to my adult life. My husband Jason and I were married in 2006. We always wanted children and our plan was to have a few biological children and then adopt in the future. Because I was adopted, it was always something we wanted to do. In 2009, we unexpectedly got pregnant. We weren't "trying" yet, but it was a happy surprise. Right away, we found cute ways to tell the future grandparents and started taking side pictures to document my future growing belly. Being a mom had been my lifelong dream and I was so excited it was finally happening. I couldn’t wait to outgrow my clothes and feel our baby move.
Our excitement came to an end about 7 weeks into my pregnancy when I miscarried. This was the beginning of a very dark couple of years in my life -- I went through a deep depression. During this time, God placed very specific people in our lives to help us through, and between that, counseling that Jason and I were getting, and a class at our church called VP3, I was able to let go of my plan for my life and search for God’s plan. During this time, Jason and I very clearly heard God telling us it was time to start the adoption process.
One of the things our adoption agency asked us is if we would be open to transracial adoption. Right away, we said yes. We knew that God was going to bring us our child and that is all we cared about. One of the classes we had to take from our agency was a transracial adoption class. In it, they showed us a video of grown kids who were different races and all adopted by white parents. They talked about how they all continually struggled with their identity, and in some cases, resented their parents. I left the class in tears. I didn't ever want our child to struggle with those issues or resent us. We prayed about our decision, and talked to our friends who are in a transracial family. After that, we knew God was leading the way and we felt total peace. So after a year of never-ending paperwork, interviews, and fundraisers, we were finally on the adoption list!
Our lives changed forever on July 26, 2012. I got a phone call from our adoption agency. Our case worker said that we had been chosen by a birth mother. She then asked if I was sitting down. That’s never usually a good question, but in our case it was. She told me that the baby was born yesterday -- an African American baby boy, and that the birth mom wanted to meet us that night before she signed the papers in the morning. Once I got all my ugly crying under control, we got in the car and drove to meet her that night. We hugged and cried and talked for a few hours. When we were getting ready to leave, we asked her what do you want us to know about raising an African American child, and she responded, "Take care of his hair and don't let his skin get ashy."
Once we said our goodbyes, Jason and I drove home in total shock. We were going to go pick up our son in the morning and bring him home. Obviously, I didn't sleep at all that night. The next day we drove to the adoption agency and brought our son Luca home. I have never had a day in my life filled with so much love and rejoicing. Our house was constantly filled with friends and family providing us with all our baby needs, food, and even cleaning our house. They all shared in our joy because they too had been praying for this baby boy long before he was born.
Luca is now three and I am so grateful that I was chosen to be his mom. The past 3 years have been such a learning experience for me. One of the hardest things for me to overcome was my own anxiety when people would stare at the store or ask me questions about Luca being mine. Most people mean well and are just curious. It took time for me to learn and understand that, and it’s important that we teach Luca to navigate those questions too. We want him to grow up to be a confident black man who loves the Lord - that is what we pray for.
This story talks about my plan B, but the reality is that this was God’s plan A and we are so thankful that He is the one who brought our family together. We are in the process of trying to adopt again. This time, we have already had 2 failed adoptions and so it has been emotionally difficult, but we have faith and great peace that God is once again molding our family and will bring us together in His perfect timing.
Perfect timing, indeed. Little Eva Noel was born Christmas Eve, 2015. They were notified that their profile had been selected and the birth mother would like to meet them. The first time they were supposed to meet, she canceled. They were trying not to get their hopes up Jan 3 as they made the 3 hour drive, unsure of what was to come. Twelve hours later, Eva came home.