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Coincidence--a remarkable occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. You might also call it serendipity. Or favor. In our case, we just call it a God-story.
Way back in 1997, I started physical therapy school at the University of Central Arkansas. Newly married, I should have probably been spending any free time at home with my husband. Instead, I reverted back to my college habits and immediately jumped into the world of intramurals. Flag football, softball, even soccer, you name it, I was there. It was on the intramural field I got to know a fellow PT student named Nathan. He was pretty newly married at the time too and his wife Pam often came around to cheer him on. Over the next two years, we got to know them a little better as Nathan and I finished school.
After graduation, we all drifted our separate ways and I really had no idea where Nathan and Pam ended up. So, imagine our surprise when, on our first day to visit our church, we immediately ran into Nathan. We caught up a little about where we both were professionally, and then we again went our separate ways. On our way out of the parking lot, we happened to notice Nathan and Pam leaving with SIX boys in tow. To our surprise, there were 4 blonde ones and two others who didn't quite look the same (one of these things is not like the other). "Hey, look! It looks like Nathan and Pam have adopted a couple of kids. How cool!" And that was the end of it. So we thought.
So, how in the world does this rabbit trail lead us back to our adoption story? After that night at On the Border, we called DHS and told them we wanted to move forward and find out a little more about the boys in that email. From there, they set up a disclosure meeting. We had no idea what we would be walking into, other than that we would receive more information about these boys. Armed with little more information than that, we walked into the Washington Co. DHS office on March 18, 2013. And the first people we saw were Pam and Nathan. Those boys we had been praying for for so long (even before we received the first piece of information about them), had been living with those friends we had met almost 16 years before. So, while we were praying they were safe and protected in a loving foster home, they were living with people we already knew and had no reason not to trust. Later, we also discovered they were praying for us all along when they were praying the boys would find the perfect forever family.
You can imagine how we felt God confirming our "yes" when we walked in and saw them. And that gave us a confidence we needed when we started staring at the mounds of paperwork the DHS workers set in front of us. Not to mention the sheer number of people in the room. There was a case worker, an adoption specialist, a mental health professional, a CASA worker (with purple hair!), the foster parents, and probably others that I can't even remember. We can look back on the experience and laugh now, but to say it was overwhelming would be an understatement. I am not exaggerating when I say that each boy's file was 3-4 inches thick. And we had approximately 3 minutes to look at these files before all the talking began. Everyone in the room spoke about the boys and what type of home they needed. They talked about the challenges each boy came with and the ways they hoped the boys could flourish in a stable environment. We learned they had already made great progress in the home of their fantastic foster parents, but that there was still a lot of work to do. And then, without even another minute to look through those stacks of paper, they asked us if we wanted to move forward.
Looking back now, I can't even remember what we said. I think it was sort of a mumbled, "uh, okay" (because that's what you say when you think God is saying "GO" but all you really wanna respond with is "SLOW DOWN!"). We quickly exchanged email addresses with Pam and agreed we would work directly with them to come up with a time to meet the boys for the first time, and we walked out of the office with promises to call the adoption specialist in a few days and let her know our thoughts about moving toward adopting.
In retrospect, I imagine we felt similar feelings to what parents feel when they find out they're pregnant. There was some shock, some fear, and some unexplainable excitement about what these children would look like and act like when we finally met them face-to-face. We talked more, prayed more, glanced through the overwhelming paperwork (which included everything from medical records to therapy notes), and we quickly agreed that nothing was there that could scare us off yet. Just like parents-to-be sometimes do, we even stopped on the way home to look at what kind of furniture we might put in a boys' room one day. In pregnancy, however, you have 9 months to prepare. In our case, we had 24 hours.
To be continued...
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