Ever since we were dating, kids had been a topic of discussion. At that time it was more about commitment to each other and dreaming of the future than it was about how we would start a family. Rewind to when I (Natalie) was an upperclassman in high school. I had given up on “love” and decided I was going to adopt in the future and be a single mom. As you can tell, that changed drastically when I fell in love with Jacob. Then, when Jacob fell in love with Jesus while we were dating, it was like my own passion for Him reignited. I began to see Jesus the way Jacob saw Him, as this all-loving God who chased after us relentlessly. I had always heard these things growing up, but when Jacob stepped into this new realm, it felt new again for me, too.
After we got married, we started getting more involved in our church. We wanted to live out our newfound/refreshed faith. We ended up going on a high school trip as leaders, and connected with several students, one of which was adopted. A couple years later, we took a group of students to Cuba. The same girl we had connected with on the first trip came with us. Not only were we able to deepen our relationship with her and get to hear more of her story, but we also connected with a student who was adopted internationally and another student whose family had adopted two of his siblings. At the time, we didn’t think anything of it. We just loved these students and their hearts for God and people. They were so bold in sharing their life with kids their same age in Cuba. I loved getting to see them grow. As someone who’s timid when it comes to sharing in a group, it was extremely inspiring to see high school students face their fears. These students are now our close friends that we can’t wait to see and hang out with every week.
As we celebrated anniversaries each year of marriage, the topic of kids started to come up around the third and definitely during the fourth year. We knew we wanted to start a family soon, but we had mixed feelings about it. I couldn’t tell why at the time, but for some reason I was wrestling with the thought of how we would start a family. One evening after spending a long time thinking on my own and talking to God, I presented Jacob with the idea of adopting. It had been something we’d discussed when dreaming about our future for maybe our second or third child. But, I felt like God was pushing us to start our family this way.
We began digging into adoption and connected with parents of the kids we were close with and with family members who had also adopted. We wanted to make sure we knew somewhat what we were getting into before taking the dive into the process. One of the biggest takeaways we had from those conversations was from one family that said “if we didn’t adopt our first, I don’t know that we would’ve adopted.” They were referring to how lengthy and detailed the process is to adopt, but after their first adoption, they learned the process and continued to grow their family this way. That solidified our decision. We were officially going to adopt. While this journey is far from over, we have learned so much from adopted kids, adoptive parents, through our adoption agency, and from God.
Whenever we decided to say yes to adoption, I felt a huge sense of peace. That this was the clear path for our family. We hear a lot that adoption is hard. It’s challenging and heartbreaking. I think God knew that we would be willing to go through it. He helped us meet friends who have been there, who have gone through it and are still going through it, as parents and as children. He pointed us towards it so many times, that when we made our decision, we knew it was right for our family.
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