Back in my college years (graduated in 2000) MY plan was to have two biological kids and two adopted. However, as usually is the case, GOD had different ideas. I was a long ways away from being able to make those plans become a reality so I put them on the back burner. In 2008, after having married my husband, Spencer, and having two kids, God gave us a surprise of kid #3, which caused me to question my plans of having two more adopted kids. Even four kids would have been a stretch for me, let alone 5. I grew up in a family of four total, including parents. Did I still want to stick with my original plan of having TWO adopted kids? The three I had were enough to think about at the time so once again I put my adoption plans in the back of my mind, until 2012. That was when I felt strongly that if we were going to adopt it was time. However, there was one detail still holding me back. I needed Spencer to be on board as much as I was. I knew that it could be a tough road and didn't want to feel like I was the one solely responsible. It needed to be something we both wanted equally. The problem is Spencer is not a planner/dreamer, so thinking about adopting some day wouldn't cross his mind. He loves to serve and is always happy to do what God asks of him, which made me sure he would go along, but I didn't want him just going along with what I wanted. There were several aspects of adopting that seemed scary to me, so I also had thoughts that maybe it wasn't for us. Therefore, I made a deal with God (I know - not how things are supposed to be done!) that if Spencer brought it up once on his own, we would move forward and not doubt that that's what we were supposed to do. I waited and waited and waited, but Spencer never said anything. I got to the point where I was about to explode so I caved and brought the conversation up myself. I got the answer I expected - "Sure, let's do it." I had mixed feelings. I was excited that we were going to go through with it, but disappointed because I felt like it was more "my thing" that we were doing. We began the overwhelming process of researching and learning how to go about finding the newest member of our family. Four kids seemed plenty, so I had decided on just one.
The first step to make it official was to electronically send in an application to an adoption agency. Spencer and I sat down at the computer to work on it together. We got to the end and were about ready to hit send when I heard him say, "How about two?" STOP EVERYTHING! What???? 5 kids???? I can't handle 5 kids! But I figured because Spencer brought it up I should at least consider it. So, we did not send our application in that day. I needed time to think. Why couldn't I have 5 kids? We have the means and I'm a stay-at-home mom. Other families have even more kids, so it is doable. My biggest fear was trying to cook for that many, but that did not seem like a good reason not to give a child a home. Had I known how much was involved in caring for a black girl's hair, that would have scared me away too, but I am SO GLAD I was forced to learn. I love doing her hair! And I am now thankful I can say there is one creative thing I feel confident about doing! I am terrible about doing my own or Liana's hair but Marley's I can do! Who would have thought? Well, Spencer said he would be sure to help as much as he could with the cooking. Also, the biggest reassurance about adding on the 2nd child was that God gave me what I needed to feel like adopting was what we were supposed to be doing - if Spencer was going to suggest two he was definitely in this with me 100%! So our application was submitted for TWO! In May of 2012, our journey of paperwork and waiting and more paperwork and waiting began. We were given a referral of a beautiful 2-year-old girl and 5-month-old boy in May of 2013. Our whole family traveled to Haiti and spent a few days with them in July. What an awesome experience!
In December, God gave us our next surprise! Our adoption coordinator called with news that we had not at all expected. She let us know that Marley and Nico's older sister was also being placed up for adoption. She was not pressuring us to take her, but just wanted us to know she was there. Wow! Now what????? 6 kids???? 4 had been a stretch! So once again I took the time to do a lot of thinking/praying. My final conclusion was that we were putting all of this in God's hands and trusting Him. I felt strongly that He put adoption on our hearts and therefore He would help us through it all. It was not just a random thing that we were matched with Marley and Nico. It was a God thing. He knew about "D" when he gave us Marley and Nico so He must have thought we could handle having her also. And just to be sure that we had no doubts He gave us a huge sign. We knew "D" belonged with us when we found out her birthday is April 21st. Marley's birthday is April 22nd, Gehrig's the 24th, and Liana's the 29th (she was 3 weeks early just to be with everyone in April!). Plus, Spencer's dad's is the 21st, niece the 22nd, uncle the 25th, and sister the 28th.
We have now had Marley and Nico home almost 2 years and, while there have been challenges, things have gone better than we ever expected. Marley and Nico transitioned so well and fit in great with our family. God showed me that I could indeed handle being a mom to 5! I remember taking them all out to eat for the first time by myself at the county fair and feeling like I could now conquer the world, lol. That experience, along with many others, reinforced my trust in God's plan for us. We may have many challenges ahead of us but God will get us through, AS A FAMILY OF 8!