For many families looking to adopt, the ride can be scary and expensive. That was the case for friends of Focus on the Family, Jonathan and Amanda Schmitt. The Schmitts’ story is the third in the adoption series I’m running during this November, National Adoption Month. (You can also read parts one and two.)
Here’s the Schmitts’ adoption story, as told by Amanda.
Months turned to years and I still wasn’t pregnant. We were beginning to question what was going on. While we had always planned on adopting, we had always assumed we were going to have biological children first.
It was soon apparent that God had other plans for us, and we began to consider adoption as a way to start our family. I’m so glad we did. Not only did God use adoption to bring us our precious Abigail, but He also used the process to teach us three very important lessons.
Lesson #1: God can turn mourning into dancing
The story of Abigail’s adoption doesn’t start with her. It starts with a little baby boy we almost adopted.
We were connected to an expectant mother who was considering an adoption plan, but whose attorney was having a hard time finding couples for her to consider because of the baby’s ethnicity and because the expectant mother was struggling with her adoption plan. She changed her mind daily. We spent days of caring for both mother and son at the hospital after his birth. The mother signed the adoption papers, but at the last minute ultimately decided to parent her baby.
My heart grieved for this little boy who was going to a world of drugs, abusive men, and rehab centers. I still think of him and pray for him, and his mom.
I share this with you not to wallow in the heartbreak of an adoption that fell through, but to encourage you to persevere if the road becomes rocky. If we had not continued in our efforts to adopt, God would have never given us Abby. Our Lord is big enough to mend our broken hearts, and He is an expert in creating families. He can turn your mourning into dancing if you trust Him.
Lesson #2: God provides for our every need
Jonathan and I are both hard workers. We’ve taken pride in the fact that we’ve been able to marry young, work our way through graduate education and be faithful stewards of what God has given us.
That’s why it was so hard for us to realize that, if we wanted to pay for an adoption without taking out loans, we’d need to raise the funds to do so.
It was a blow to our sense of self-reliance. But I think God made it that way by design. After all, doesn’t God want us to fully depend on Him? Hasn’t He placed us in community for a purpose? Isn’t He pleased when we step out in faith?
God slowly started to provide for every need, at every step. When our old junker car was on its last legs but we didn’t want to take away from our adoption fund for a new car, a family member who didn’t know our struggle spontaneously wrote us a large check to buy a new car. We received free student housing through Jonathan’s job, which meant we could save our rent money for the adoption. Then, we received a grant through an adoption foundation. Friends and family donated funds to help our adoption fund and God provided every penny, helping me overcome my personal insecurities as we raised funds.
Lesson #3: God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine
Through a series of divine interventions, God eventually led us to a birth mom, Natasha. She was a young Christian girl who made some mistakes and needed a couple like us to raise her baby. The Lord spoke to her and told her that this wasn’t her baby to keep, but His to give away.
Getting to know Natasha was a completely different experience than our first encounter with an expectant mom. Natasha was confident in her decision to follow an adoption plan. Plus, both Jonathan and I immediately clicked with Natasha, and with her family. We even started becoming friends. God was knitting our hearts together. I was even blessed to be in the delivery room when Natasha gave birth to Abigail, and was the first person to hold her. It was a desire I hadn’t even dared to hope for, but one that God made a reality.
Abigail is now a sweet, loving and rambunctious toddler. We have an amazing open adoption. We’ve seen God work in Natasha’s life as well as in our lives. Our relationship with God has grown by leaps and bounds. The process may have been painful, but God knew what He was doing and I wouldn’t trade His plans for ours any day!
Since adopting Abigail, we have learned that it will take a miracle for us to have a biological child. Honestly, we would love a miracle, but we are completely okay with continuing to grow our family by adoption and have already started the process. We’re praying God may guide everything and remind us of the lessons He taught us through Abigail’s adoption story.