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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

Only God

I remember a time when I was pregnant with Will and I had gone in to see Dr. Smith for one of my routine check-ups. It was time to sign consents for my repeat C-section. I was unable to have Emma the “regular” way so I didn’t bother even trying to with Will. I remember having the conversation with Dr. Smith asking about a tubal ligation. I was done having children. At thirty years of age, I had it all planned out. One of each, I’m good. My little family I had dreamed of and planned for. We were almost there! I can only imagine the thoughts that ran through her mind, but she talked to me about how that was a permanent decision. I was only 30. Things could change. My feelings could change. Making decisions like this is probably not the best when you’ve been dry heaving for months and carrying around a basketball that kicks your ribs every 3 minutes. But I was sure. No more. I would not go through another pregnancy again. She agreed to let me sign the consents to do the tubal ligation at the time of my C-section but we agreed to readdress it at the time to make sure I was certain. The day came for Will to be born. Cory and I opted to wait. As much as I knew I was done having children, the words Dr. Smith spoke left a lasting impression. Was I 100% sure? No, I wasn’t. Only 99.9%. So we went with the 0.1% chance and didn’t go ahead with it. Fast forward to the spring of 2012. We had just purchased our dream house in our dream neighborhood. Will was 9 months old. As I was packing things up in our house. I had piles of his clothes that he had outgrown. Remember, I was done having kids? I was going to take them to the resale shop the next day to sell. I remember Cory asking me what I was doing. When I told him, his response was …. “Well what if I am not done?”. Excuse me? I was shocked by his statement and kept doing what I was doing. And yes, I sold all the clothes the next day. Another year or two passed and I was in a “cleanout mode” at home. I was tired of closets being packed with things so I went through and cleared out everything that I no longer needed. All the baby stuff! It went quickly on one of those Facebook garage sale pages. Relief. Clutter gone. Every once in a while Cory and I would have the conversation about kids and our family. He had the lingering feeling that our family was not complete. I considered what he was saying but held strong to the fact that I would not physically have another child, even if the Lord even allowed us to conceive again. It took a while for us to get pregnant both times. Who’s to say that we even could? Each time I shared with Cory that it wasn’t the idea of having another child in our family that I was against, it was just the idea of another miserable pregnancy and another surgery to have the child. None of that felt enticing. So entered in the initial discussions of adoption. We would go on to have these conversations periodically but nothing ever came from them. I remember periodically looking at adoption agencies online and speaking to friends that had adopted and asking questions. I remember one day reading an article on sweet babies in China that had congenital heart disease. I remember one day I was driving to work and felt the Lord was telling me we were to adopt one of these children. Being a pediatric cardiology nurse practitioner, this seemed to make perfect sense. Something that would scare most people and I didn’t even flinch. I shared this with a few close friends and family. Time passed and nothing happened. Then came cancer. The summer of 2015 that changed everything. After this particular season of suffering, I was finally convinced that I would never physically have another child. At that point, I only had half of an ovary left, so the chances were low that I could even get pregnant, especially after chemo as well. Plus two C-sections and two surgeries for cancer and cysts. These women parts had experienced enough trauma for a lifetime. So Cory and I decided to pursue permanent sterilization. Enter in the sack of peas into our lives in the Fall of 2016. Done deal. No more biological children. January 2017, we went to church on a Saturday night and the sermon was on the sanctity of life. Pastor Matt spoke on all topics related to life. Abortion, adoption, special needs children. The close of the sermon was a video on a family in our church and their journey with fostering and eventual adoption of their two sons. I literally sobbed. The Lord was awakening something in my heart that I didn’t know was there. We left the service and when we got in the car, Cory looked at me and said he felt the Lord was pursuing him as well. This was huge. This just got real. Cory just doesn’t say these things lightly. I am the one in our relationship that has lots of dreams and crazy thoughts. They come and go and nothing ever comes to fruition. Cory is a man of few words, so when something like this comes from his mouth, it carries a lot of weight. This conversation began the moment in our lives that we realized the Lord was pursuing us intently. And our family wasn’t complete. I started looking into adoption agencies. Wow, it is really expensive to adopt. I talked to a few agencies but it just didn’t feel right to move forward. Cory’s brother and wife had been fostering-to-adopt for almost a year. We both loved what they were doing, but didn’t know if this was a feasible option for our family. With us both working, how would we work out visits with family? And how would we possibly be able to let a child go back to their family one day that had been a part of ours? Heartbreaking. Too much to even allow our hearts to go there. So we went on with our life and the Lord continued to pursue us individually. Fast forward to now. An opportunity has been given to us to adopt. A precious little baby. What in the world Lord? How could this even be possible? Only God. I have found myself saying these two words over and over again over the last few weeks. As I see His hand in every step of the way. It’s been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. Doors closing. Doors opening. The only option to bring this baby home is to foster first. But we aren’t even foster certified. Ok, Lord. You’ve given us this chance, yet how in the world can this happen? We were in the process of getting respite certified so that we could help Ryan and Brandy out when needed with their foster children. So I contacted this agency to see what it would take to get foster certified. Typical process is 1-2 months. We don’t have 1-2 months. Here we are two weeks later and we are now in the final stretch. Everything is done and we are just awaiting final approval. Only God. But today I am struggling. As close as we are to bringing the baby home, I feel so far away. We have been given a deadline for our certification or else they will need to seek another home. I am now doubting everything that has happened. I am believing the lie that our future lies in the hands of man. When the Lord is the one who holds it all together. We could get this far and still not be able to take the baby home. I mean people, you should see the number of boxes in my house full of baby gifts. I may have to return all these. I haven’t head the heart to take even of them out of the box yet for fear I will have to put them back in. I go back to the time after I was diagnosed with cancer. For weeks, I struggled with life day to day and what the outcome would be. Would I live or would the battle take my life? I wrestled with God. Without a doubt I believed the Lord could heal me. I never doubted His ability to heal me, but I doubted if he would. Maybe His plan was that I would not live. It took a lot of time and wrestling on my part and grace and patience on God’s part. He knew the very things I would struggle with. Yet he was so gracious to love me through it. As much as I learned through my journey with cancer, the Lord is still pursuing me and my heart to be more like Jesus. He is allowing the waiting for a reason. There are unknowns for a reason; if anything to allow Cory and I to learn that our faith doesn’t rest in man but in the One who made us and orchestrated this all. I never imagined we would be where we are today, but now I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. We are ready to bring this baby home to be part of our forever family. We have no idea what this will look like. There are so many unknowns, but today I will cling to the One who does. I will keep repeating the truth of Jesus over and over again, allowing his words to saturate my thoughts. The enemy has no room in our hearts. One day I will be able to share all the crazy circumstances that have happened in the last few weeks that have led to today. Only God. And yet I still doubt if he will come through and allow this baby to come home with us. I am thankful for a God that not only loves me, but knew I would struggle with this and loves me despite my shortcomings.  Join us in praying as we enter in this journey. We have no idea what tomorrow holds. I completely trust in the sovereignty of the Lord in every detail. I believe that this baby is supposed to be ours. My heart is sad at the idea that he could not be. But I will keep trusting in the One who knows what is to come. I don’t want us to be anywhere other than in the will of God for our lives. So every day, we will continue to say “yes” to God. We will continue to have obedience rooted in faith and taking a step towards the one who is leading us along the way. Lord, may you alone be glorified in this process. There is no one like you. Give us peace in the waiting. “I believe, but help my unbelief”. Mark 9:24 Jesus, this is all for you. Holly

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