Our story is simple. My husband and I met and married later in life. I was 39 and my husband was 45. Within six months of marriage and no pregnancies, we started working with a NaPro Technology provider. However, after almost a year of treatments, we decided to stop. I personally struggled a lot emotionally with the treatments and felt relief as we closed that door behind us. Charting, hormones and testing is not for the faint of heart!

As most people know, adoption is not a substitute for biological pregnancy. However, even during our courtship, my husband (who was adopted at birth) and I talked about adopting one day.  As we accepted that infertility was a part of our story, we began praying and discerning this call to adopt. Our first step was to meet with close friends who had adopted once through private domestic adoption and twice through foster care. They sat down and described the entire process for us, encouraging us to start with private domestic adoption. We took their advice and reached out to a local agency for a home study. Following that, we interviewed several adoption consultants, finally choosing a small Christian outfit that we felt supported our values and ethical concerns.

A “consultant” is an expert in navigating the adoption process and who also works with multiple agencies to present cases for potential matching. We wanted to work with a consultant who appreciated the dignity of the human person. This was in respect to the birth parents, the baby and the hopeful adoptive parents (us!). We also wanted someone who understood our approach to adoption: trusting and waiting on God’s plan. Our consultants prayed with and for us. They also connected us to the agency we matched through and walked us through the adoption process itself.

The next year was bumpy. During and following the pandemic, there were significantly fewer children placed for adoption. We experienced two disruptions (one after being matched for 4 months!) before we received a phone call that our daughter was waiting for us in a NICU in Texas and that we needed to get down there right away to bring her home. That was 11 months ago, and we now have a beautiful baby girl who is the light of our lives!

The one thing that really kept me rightly ordered during this entire process was the belief that if God wanted us to be parents, he would bring us our child. I knew that having a child was a gift, just as much through adoption as biologically, and that since he or she was a gift from God, I had no right to demand or expect one. I could only hope and ask God that if it was the best thing for my husband, myself and our potential child, then it would happen. This mindset carried me through the days of infertility treatments, wondering with each month if I could possibly be pregnant. It helped buoy me up after the disappointment of the disruptions we experienced.

The first disruption happened in the blink of an eye. We received a call that a potential birth mother wanted to interview us. We met through Zoom on a Saturday morning, things went well, and she told us we were her first choice. We let only our closest friends and family know, but we were so excited! Then Monday morning the agency called to apologize and say she had changed her mind. Since we had only a few short days to revel in the idea of becoming parents, you might think it would be easy to move on, but it wasn’t. One of the hardest things about private domestic adoption is the not knowing. You don’t know if you will ever be chosen; you don’t know if you will ever become a parent.

The second disruption was especially painful as we had accompanied the mother through her pregnancy for four months. However, I was careful in all that time to always think of the baby as her baby. I would tell myself, “Until she has signed termination rights, that baby is not your baby.” This helped with controlling expectations and, once again, to stay focused on the Lord’s plan, not mine. When the birth mom decided to parent, I had a lot of peace knowing she would be a good mom to that baby and also a firm conviction that this was part of our adoption journey, not the end.

After each disruption, my husband and I took a little trip and focused on having fun together. We didn’t want to act like nothing had happened, and we needed to grieve and accept that it wasn’t our time yet. There is a Jewish prayer called the Dayenu that says, “It would have been enough, Lord…” and each line builds on the last, showing that God keeps giving more and more undeserved good things to his people. I feel that way now. It would have been enough Lord, to give me my faith in you, but you gave me a loving husband to walk by my side. It would have been enough to have a husband who loves me, but you gave us a child to fill our home with joy. There are so many verses I could write about from my own life, and I suggest giving it a try, especially if you are feeling desolate or hopeless.

A strange twist to our story was that we were very interested in adopting a baby with special needs. Our first disruption was with a baby diagnosed with a genetic disorder. The second disruption was with a baby that was expected to have special needs (undiagnosed in utero). When we received the call for our daughter, we were told that she had large brain cysts and would likely have motor delays and possibly cerebral palsy. Through God’s mysterious ways, the cysts have completely disappeared, and she is not only reaching her developmental milestones, but meeting them early. We welcomed the idea of caring for a child with special needs, but for her sake, my heart sings that my child is learning to crawl and stand when we thought she might not even be able to sit by this age.

As we approach our daughter’s one year old birthday, we are beginning the process to foster for reunification. In our state, this is the main purpose of foster care. Honestly, I hope that God has a plan to bring another child into our home through adoption someday, but regardless, we will stay focused on Him and trust in His goodness.

Celeste has been married to Patrick for almost five years and writes from southeastern Connecticut.