So, I've had lots of requests for our adoption story, but, honestly, it all happened so fast that we are all still processing it all. Also, I want to be sensitve to the birth mom and her story, it is not mine to tell. So, as we adjust to our new normal, I'm going to wait a bit for the whole long story. Until then I decided to write about something that has been on my heart for a while and has exploded in the last week. I'll be honest, it will probably be as fragmented as my life seems to be lately, but here goes....
As evideneced by my week, we live a wild life. Here is the thing, while from the outside looking in it looks crazy, in my heart of hearts it has been awe inspiring. This week was the culmination of so much of what I have prayed for for a very very long time. As a young girl I always felt called to missions, but also to being a mom. I didn't know how those two things would mesh, so the pragmatic side of my brain just kept on moving and kept on praying. I thought I was being called to medical missions so I went into nursing school, often a nurse in a third world country is just as valuable as a doctor. Then I met Clay, and while he is completely missional minded God took us in a way different direction. I often struggle with are the things I think I want and pray for really what God has in store for me, so Clay went to seminary, I worked as a pediatric nurse, we started having babies.
That's where the first crazy answer to prayer came. Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to adopt even if I could have kids. I also felt super called to have a mixed race family. No idea why, as a 12 year old girl, I had that random desire, but I did. Also, when Clay and I got married we both felt like we would have 7 kids. Psychos, I know. Clay and I were foster parents before we had Cole. We actually almost adopted a sweet little hispanic baby, but at the last minute it fell through (a whole other long story). We rested in God's plan, had Cole via emergency C section and 5 weeks later, after a week long stay at the hospital for pancreatitis, I had my gallbladder removed. We felt like we needed to put our foster care license on hold for me to heal from two major surgeries and adjust to a new baby. Fast forward 10 months and I get a call from a foster mom who was also my co worker who says, "hey Megan, do you want to adopt a baby??" ummmmm. I told her I'd have to talk to clay (looking back, this is so laughable). Obviously, God is so good and their is so much more to the story, but that's how Cooper became a part of our family. He was just supposed to be a Nettles. Our first adoption, a son, 25 days younger than our other son. Not sure why I continue to be surprised by the author of my story, but I still am.
As we continued to grow our family, we decided to move to St Augustine because Clay and I felt like the mission field God was calling us to was actually our family. I think as Christians we often forget this. Our families and our children are where it all starts. We knew if we wanted a large family and to possibly adopt again St Augustine was where it needed to happen. Our family continued to grow. A year and a half before I got pregnant with Rose we STARTED the process to be re-licensed as foster parents. This is where I will interject that the foster care system is broken. It is broken for so many reasons, but, I think, mainly because we live in a broken world. It is painful to be part of, it is painful to watch. IT is a mission field. We ended up getting pregnant with Rose 6 months after being licenced and when you have 5 kids in your house you cap and the state won't place with you anymore children. We felt like that was God closing the door. Another time when I felt like maybe my prayers were more of what I wanted and not what God really had for my story.
Before Rose turned one we were approached about adopting a sibling group. After a long, heart wrenching process that also fell through. I'll also interject here that Clay and I pray pray pray about welcoming children into our home. We do not take it lightly. We also don't take the responsibilty of the children God has put in our home now lightly. So, with each "prospect" we talk with our kids and pray and talk and pray. To be honest, all of this will be a part of our children's story and we don't take that lightly. A huge reason we decided to have another baby was because each on of our children begged for another sibling, how precious to be a part of a people who loves their people so fiercely.
After our miscarriage in December we felt like our family wasnt complete. I knew having another baby meant us adopting again was most definitely out of the cards for us. That's where our adoption story starts....but we'll get to that later. Fast forward to last week and I sit in awe of the story God continues to write. Somehow, as a 12 year old girl I prayed for such a wildly specific crazy life and here I am, 23 years later, living it. I'll be super honest. Most days I feel completely and totally ill-equipped and unqualified for this calling God has called us to. To rear these hearts to guide them, to teach them, to love them, to point them Jesus, to be real with them and to be transparent about this painful beautiful life they will lead. It is heavy, honestly overwhelming most days, but if i've learned anything in my 35 years, it's that my prayers are heard and so the prayers for each one of my babies (including the mama's that birthed some of my babies).
This actually wasn't at all what I thought would come out. I was planning to talk about my big boy babies heading to Haiti in a week for their first mission trip and my hope for them, but I guess that's for another night. My hope for whoever reads this is to pray wildly and expectantly. Don't pray for easy or pain free or simple. People tell us we are amazing and they couldnt do it. 1. Yes you can. Be the difference in one person's life. Say yes to things that scare you. 2. We are not amazing, most of the time we are terrified, but sometimes, saying yes and moving forward is life changing and so worth it. I will be honest, this life we have chosen is hard and exhausting and doesn't leave a ton of time (or money) for what most desire in this life, but what this life does give us is unspeakable joy. The children God has put in our family, biological and adopted, are not lucky to have us, we are humbled and in awe that we get to be their mommy and daddy. So pray big, but be careful, because God is listening!