When we were considering marriage, adoption was a non-negotiable. We hoped for biological children, but whether or not we could have biological children, we were certain we would someday adopt. Adoption has been a part of our family plan from the very beginning.
Megan’s heart for adoption began in her teenage years. She was blessed to mentor two amazing elementary-aged students: a boy and a girl. After a few weeks, the little boy stopped doing his math problems. He loved math, but he would act silly and distracted whenever it was time to work. Through the weeks, Megan discovered that the root of his silliness and distraction was a need to communicate. He had a story to share, and his parents did not have time to hear it. It was not because they did not like the boy; it was because they were too busy working, struggling to make ends meet and struggling to ensure that his basic needs were met.
The little girl loved math too. She always rushed through her math work because she too had words that needed to be heard and her story was so much more important to her than her math work. When Fall Break approached, the little girl said, “I wish I didn’t have to go home for Fall Break. I wish I could stay here and do math with Ms. Megan.” The statement was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Kids don’t usually want to stay at school so her words said a lot.
That mentoring experience pushed Megan toward other mentoring opportunities. Laughing with children, singing with children, hearing their stories, and hearing them call her, “Mama,” furthered her desire to be there for the children who had no one else, to listen to them, and to let them know that they were not alone in this world. Megan’s heart for children is what ultimately led her to spend five years in a middle school classroom. Her students were not just students to her. They were family. As Megan shared her story with her students, they began to write their own stories in their notebooks. Each Friday, Megan would stay after school for hours, reading her students’ notebooks and learning the stories they were too afraid to share aloud. The privacy of the notebook pages opened the door for the students to be real and honest. They wrote about addiction, loss, fear, anxiety, depression, and so on. They asked for advice on dating. They asked for advice on friendship. Some of them had terrible home lives. Some of them had no friends. Some of them felt completely and utterly alone. Anytime Megan could help, she tried to. Though a lot of times there was nothing she could do to change a child’s situation, she knew she could offer them a classroom filled with love.
For Joel, adoption is something he believes Jesus has called him to do. We are adopted as children of God, and God loves us as His own. That is a love Joel wants to mirror in his own life. He wants to love an adopted child as his own.
Joel spent time with children in Guatemala and Belize. The little boys would line up in front of him, waiting for a turn to be dangled upside down and flipped over. Hearing those kids laugh and seeing their faces light up through that one simple gesture made him realize how important it is to give kids attention. They need to feel special. They need their time to shine. They need a father who loves them deeply. One of Joel’s favorite things to do with our two-year-old is flip her over and hear her squeal with excitement. Even at this age, she knows her Daddy loves her deeply.
Joel also built relationships with several of Megan’s students. The two of them did youth work together for a few years, and Megan invited along quite a few of the kids from her classes. Joel was able to work with several of the boys at youth events. He played basketball with them from time to time. He even welcomed some of the students over for family dinners.
We long to be present for a child who might never know his/her father, a child whose mother cannot give him/her time because she is working too many jobs to keep food on the table. We know that putting a child up for adoption is sometimes the greatest act of love a birth mother can do for her child, and we want her to know that her baby will grow up in a home with parents who are intentional, available, and loving.
We began the adoption process two years ago, after trying several months to get pregnant without success. We were ready to start our family. There was no positive pregnancy test, and we knew we wanted to adopt, so we set out on that journey.
Not long after we had found the direction we wanted to go with adoption, we found out we were pregnant. The adoption was put on hold, and our agency told us we could move forward after the child turned 1. Our daughter’s first birthday came and went, and we had not resumed the adoption process. We received a text message from a family member, asking if we would be willing to adopt a 6-month-old biracial baby girl. Her mother did not want her, and her grandmother was having a hard time taking care of her. The father was unknown. After some time in prayer, we said yes. We were excited to have a 6-month-old and a 12-month-old because they would grow up almost like twins. As soon as we said yes, the grandmother changed her mind and took full custody. As crushed as we were (we’d seen a picture of the baby and fallen in love with her), we were hopeful she would have a good life and her grandmother would provide all the love and care she needed.
We got pregnant again a few months after the failed adoption. Our first pregnancy had no complications whatsoever so we had no reason to believe anything would go wrong with the second one. However, at 6 weeks, we lost the baby. The two losses back-to-back caused us to spend a lot of time in prayer. Did we want to resume the adoption process or did we want to try again for another biological child before adopting? We felt lead to continue the adoption process. In the past few months we have had two unplanned pregnancies, two more miscarriages, and a second displacement. We have been through some hard times, but we know we are right where God wants us to be. We know there is a child (or children, since we’re open to twins) out there who is the reason we started this journey in the first place, and we know that him God’s perfect timing, we will meet him/her/them. Despite our hardships, we have seen God move faithfully throughout our adoption journey, and we cannot wait to see what He has in store for our family.
We have been awarded a $4000 matching grant from Colonial Heights Baptist Church Adoption Fund, administered by Lifesong for Orphans. What that means is if we reach our $4000 goal, that amount will be doubled, giving us $8000 toward our adoption!!
STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Phillips 09377”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 9, Gridley, IL 61744.
Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.
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