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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

Preparing our Hearts

Reid's adoption story- part 2

I remember it was around 7 years ago and I packing up Will's baby clothes one night to take to donate. Cory walked in the room and said, "Well I guess we won't need those again?". Nope. My response was "not from my body". While I was so thankful I was able to physically have two children, my pregnancies were not pleasant at all. Stricken by sickness for 2/3rds of my pregnancy with Will, I was left with no desire to try to do it again. I told Cory the only way I would have another child was to adopt one. That was the gist of that conversation. Then in 2015 came my ovarian cancer diagnosis. I was actually left with enough reproductive organs that there was a chance I could conceive again, but I knew that I didn't want to pursue this option.

The first time the Lord put a desire in my heart to have another child came in December of 2015. There was a patient of mine that would potentially be placed for adoption shortly after birth. For a brief period, I seriously prayed about this option for our family. I dreamed about how we could give this baby a life full of meaning and purpose when his biological parents didn't see that significance. His life was important and I wanted to be able to provide him that chance. Several days later, I had my first scan after completing chemotherapy and a new cyst was discovered and would need to be surgically removed the following week. I knew at that point this baby wouldn't be an option for us. The Lord closed that door. Thankfully the cyst was not cancer, but it did leave me with only half of one ovary and a certainty that I didn't want to have any more biological children. I felt my body had been through enough and even if we could conceive, after so many abdominal surgeries I didn't want to risk anything else. We decided to proceed with Cory having a vasectomy, which would close that door unless the Lord miraculously grew those tubes back together. We continued to live our life with two amazing kiddos and were satisfied.

This morning I came across one of my journal entries from a sermon at church in January 2017.

01.21.17 - Prayer Series - The Sanctity of Life - Matt Chandler

The lense we see life through determines how we make decisions.

What would it look like to be a community of life?

We would believe and declare God is the author and sustainer of life (Genesis 1:26-28)

We would believe that life begins at conception (Psalms 139:13-16)

We would believe God is the creater of biology.

We would believe God values all individuals.

We would believe that God knows the day we will be born and the day we will die. God uses suffering. We won't get to decide our day of death (Jeremiah 29:7).

We would actively fight for the oppressed, the vulnerable.

-babies in the womb, children in foster care

The sermon ended with a video story of a family in our church. They told their story of how they fostered to adopt two siblings. I literally cried the whole time. The Lord broke me right there on that Saturday night during that church service. At the end of that service, we walked out to the car and got in. I didn't say anything and just was waiting to hear what Cory took from that. I don't remember what his exact words were but he too felt that we were supposed to pursue adoption of a child for our family. He knew then the Lord was pursuing his heart for adoption as well. In the weeks to come I started researching options for adoption through private agencies and even foster agencies. Cory's brother and family had already been fostering so we knew a lot of about what this looked like. We had grown to love a precious girl they had been raising. Honestly I was shocked at how much a private adoption costs. Upwards of $40,000, I was quickly discouraged and felt very overwhelmed thinking about how we could make this possible. I mean I "trusted" the Lord could make a way if that was his will, but that's a lot of money. Plus being the type of person that doesn't like to ask for help, this quickly became less of a viable option. For the fostering route, Cory and I had discussions and with our work schedules and the logistics of doing parent visits, we were not sure this was an option for us as well. A few weeks went by and I felt the Lord was just silent and not pushing us to go either of these routes.

Then I felt the Lord stirring my heart again. There was a baby girl in the hospital that was a precious patient of mine. She was admitted to the hospital and we found out several days later that CPS had been involved and would be taking custody of her. I had been involved in her care since before she was born and she had spent several months in the hospital. I came home one night from work and told Cory about her. For the first time, I started thinking about how we could bring her home. We could love her and give her a home and a life. Cory was a little taken back and silent about it all. He wasn't where I was with it. The Lord was definitely working on me though. Long story short, it ended up that CPS wanted to place her with a family close to her hometown so the mom could have visits. I was so sad because for the first time I really felt like we were supposed to have another baby in our family and the Lord closed that door. The best part of this story though is that this sweet baby girl is now my niece. Cory's brother and family were from her hometown area. They were already foster parents and my sister in law is a nurse. I knew they would be a perfect fit for her needs. They legally adopted her this past Spring. Nora Ruth Tomlin. God's plan is always perfect. That is easy to see in hindsight, but not at the time. The days after they took her home I was so happy for them but I felt a huge void in my heart. Emptiness and disappointment that couldn't be explained. I really had felt that the Lord was asking us to take this sweet baby and then he closed the door. Had I heard him wrong? Had I placed the desires of my heart over his desires for our life? What I know now is that the Lord does know the desires of our heart because he places those there. He was merely preparing my heart for what was to come a few weeks later.

On the night of March 3, 2017, I was getting ready to go to bed when I received a text message from our hospital social worker. She was letting me know that the parents of one of my patients had signed the papers to terminate their parental rights. They went to the hospital and said their goodbyes. We had been fighting and advocating for this sweet baby's safety for almost 2 months. I was literally shocked this had happened because his biological parents had been fighting and determined they could not care for him. I got out of bed and went into the living room and told Cory about what I had just found out. I told him... "I think this is supposed to be our baby".

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