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Friday, March 21, 2014

Building a Family

In celebration of the 19th birthday of our sweet Miriam, I decided to share some of the story of how God created our beautiful family. When we began the journey of parenting, we were clueless to the heights of joy and the depths of pain we would face. Parenting our crew has drawn Syd and I closer to each other and to the the God we serve. I wouldn't trade it for anything, although I'd correct a few many mistakes I've made if I had it all to do over.

For those of you who don't know our history, we have adopted eight children as infants. Five of our children have African American heritage and one of them is Native American. Our first adoptions were termed "touch adoptions," in that we had letter and photo contact that was filtered through our adoption agency. No identifying information was shared, to the point that one child's birthmom had to use a pseudonym since she has a very unique first name.
The day we became parents to Rachel, April, 1989

Rachel (2) and baby brother, Nathan, Summer of 1991

Fast forward a few years. We were a "perfect family." We had a daughter and a son who were 27 months apart in age. They even looked like us, so no one knew we had adopted them unless we chose to tell our story. As we were having a dinner celebrating our 11th anniversary, Syd and I began sharing what was on our hearts. There was room in our hearts and home for more children, and we just couldn't get away from the nagging feeling that God had other plans for us. We prayed and prayed, and when we knew the Lord's direction for us, we contacted the adoption agency. We knew there were children from minority groups who needed forever families, and we asked the agency if we could be considered for one of these children. It wasn't long before David joined our family.

David's first day as a Newman, July of 1994

Seven months later, we were licensed foster parents, were about to finalize David's adoption, and were a shepherding family to birthmoms who needed a place to stay. We welcomed a birthmom into our family on a Monday afternoon, believing she had about 6 weeks until her delivery. Surprise...less than 36 hours later, she delivered a healthy, full-term baby girl in our living room! After the birthmom returned to her family, the agency asked us to provide foster care for the baby. David was only 7 months old, but we loved babies, especially this one, so we agreed. It didn't take long to fall in love with Miriam.

David, Nathan, and Miriam, March of 1995

Many agencies were moving toward open adoption, but our agency wasn't one of them. When we had the opportunity to adopt Miriam, we jumped at the chance, and thus became our agency's first open adoption in which the birthparent and adoptive parents met, formed a relationship, and mutually agreed to the placement. The details of how God worked in amazing ways to make Miriam a part of our family are material for another post, but let me just say that we serve a mighty God and that the fatherless truly find compassion in Him. (Hosea 14:3)

Syd and Miriam taking a nap, March of 1995

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