I had no idea that Bob was praying the same thing and I certainly had no inkling of what the answer would entail. Shortly after saying that prayer, the answer came in the form of a phone call from my mom. She told us that my developmentally delayed brother and new wife (whom I had not met) were expecting a baby boy in about three months. An overwhelming sense of sadness for this innocent baby swept over me. What kind of life would he have? I cried out to the Lord and almost immediately sensed a need to get involved. Bob agreed.
Even though we thought we should “do something,” I had to overcome a major obstacle. Due to my brother’s erratic behavior in our home growing up, I was convinced that I never wanted to adopt. Even though my brother and I were adopted from different families, I was afraid that I would be given a child exactly like my brother. The thought of adopting a child born of a bipolar mother and two developmentally delayed parents added to my apprehension. In the midst of this fear, however, the Lord completely changed our hearts.
We reached out to my brother and his wife so we could meet her and tell them of our concerns and our desire to care for their baby. They initially agreed to allow us to raise their baby as his legal guardians, which would allow him to keep their last name. Later in the week, we learned that they changed their minds. Although we understood, we were also heartbroken and still deeply concerned for the child. Since Child Protective Services (CPS) had taken two previous children from the mother, we decided to research how CPS could get involved. On the off-chance that CPS would not appear at the hospital, we wrote a letter explaining the situation and our willingness to care for the baby. After Steven was born, and CPS had not come, we gave the letter to the nurse. Within hours, CPS arrived. The CPS worker told my brother and his wife that they could choose to either have Steven put into CPS custody or placed in our family. Since we had told my brother about the letter and why we did it, they could have said no to get revenge. Instead, they both said yes. Four days later, Steven came to live in our home and we officially became his foster parents.
Over the next ten months, we were on an emotional roller coaster, navigating through the court process. While Steven was with his birth parents, we prayed that either God would work a miracle in their lives and allow them to raise Steven or that they would change their minds and we would get Steven. Eventually, both my brother and his wife chose to stop fighting for Steven and, instead, allowed their parental rights to be terminated so that we could adopt him. Who else can change a heart like that? Praise the Lord!
On May 8, 2009, Steven officially became our son. The adoption ceremony is much like a marriage ceremony with the judge asking Bob and me to commit to loving and caring for Steven as if he were our naturally born son.
Through this process God has taught us a lot. He taught us that the way he calls us to serve him may come as a complete shock! He taught us that if we are faithful to his ways (being open and honest with my brother and his wife throughout the process), he will be there for us. He reminded us that his timing is not always as quick as we would like. As a result of his adoption, Steven’s birth certificate is being permanently changed so that it will list us as his parents. How reassuring and wonderful it is to realize that our eternal birth certificates are changed once we accept Christ and we become God’s children!
We want to thank all of those who prayed for us during this time. We believe in the power of prayer and just knowing that many brothers and sisters, in the Lord, were praying for us was very moving. What a blessing to be part of the Trinity church family as our own family grew by one precious little baby boy!
Written by Ann Tincher