Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The "Adoption Church"?

Several months ago a random person in the community asked one of my friends, "What is going on at Tunnel Hill First Baptist?  I heard everyone is adopting kids.  Are you adopting too?"  Through that conversation my church was some how labeled the "adoption church"!  Everyone is not adopting at Tunnel Hill First Baptist, (YET! HA!HA!).  But in our church from November 2009 to November 2010, five children were united with their Forever Families.  What in the world is going on?  Is it the latest fad?  Is it that we think adoption is a good idea?   I would say no.  I think what has happened at our church has been that we have caught a glimpse of God's heart for the orphan.  And we have also decided to say, with trembling hearts, "Ok Lord".  The story I want to share with you today is from one such family.  They are the Will's family and I am thankful to be able to post their testimony.
 We were not expecting to adopt. We hadn’t ever talked about it, I don’t think, at least not seriously. We have two wonderful children – in the order that I prayed for – we thought our little family was complete. Obviously He had other plans for us. Some people think we got the idea because of our church being so pro-adoption. That is not our case. I think God has a sense of humor and wanted to see if two 40 year olds could manage a newborn (I’m doing pretty well, but Bobby’s a year older than me and it shows). It’s awesome how God works things out.

Bobby and I were first asked on Easter Sunday, April 4th, of this year whether we would be interested in adopting a newborn. My immediate reaction was YES! Bobby’s was NO! And even though I don’t always easily lean the way Bobby does, I just let it go. He’ll tell you his story in just a few minutes, but I will say, I knew something was up because just a day or two after being approached about adoption he called me at work to ask if I’d heard anything else about the baby – the wheels were turning, and by Friday, April 9th, it was confirmed that we could indeed adopt this baby.

I believe God gives us signs. My first sign was that it was Easter Sunday when we were asked about adoption. My second sign was a picture on our church bulletin on April 11 (my 40th birthday) of a baby in an incubator holding its parent’s finger, and the verse was Matthew 15:28, “Your faith is great.” There was no special reason that I know of for that picture and verse to be on our bulletin that particular Sunday except for it to speak to us. My faith is not the strongest, in fact, it’s usually pretty weak, so I took two bulletins home and hung them in places so I would have to see them each day. I knew this baby was being placed into our family by God. Those two signs were my assurance that this definitely was a miracle from God – and maybe even a salve for the sadness still in my heart from losing two of the most precious people in my life - my Granny and my Granddaddy barely more than 6 months prior. Anna-Kate’s actual due date was Sep. 4th, one day prior to my Granny’s passing a year earlier. I don’t think Bobby saw these signs the same as I did, but God began working on his heart.

Once Bobby came around, (God got a hold of him while he was out in the pasture working. Bobby told God that he couldn’t do this adoption thing, and God replied that he (Bobby) couldn’t, but that HE (God) could!). I worried that he may find it difficult loving a child that isn’t his own, but that isn’t the case at all. You’d never know that I didn’t give birth to her. We love her exactly the same as our other kids as does the rest of our family.

I have a friend that would love to be a mother, but her husband will not consider adopting because he says he can’t love a child that isn’t his. To that I ask, “How can you not love a child who needs a family, or any child for that matter?” The Lord instructs us to care for the orphan. I never imagined that we’d actually be blessed by Him to adopt.

It’s easy to let Satan fill your head worrying about things like you’re not a good enough parent to adopt, or that the birth parents will change their minds, or that the judge will rule against you because you didn’t do everything correctly, or how can we pay for another child and another college fund! And it’s so easy to get discouraged when things get hairy. I know Satan is a liar, but I am human and I worry.

Every night before she arrived, I’d beg God to help me stay strong and faithful. When I’d get down, Bobby would say, “What about those bulletins you put up?” At night, I would cry in bed, & Whitney would hug me, remind me to pray, and tell me it was all going to work out. Every day at work I would read two verses I had taped to my computer - Rom. 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” And Ps. 37:7, “Rest in Jehovah and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret…”

I can’t say that it’s better meeting the birth parents than not meeting them, but once we were chosen to adopt this baby we got to know each other at doctor visits. For months I was afraid for the birth mom’s health and the baby’s. And when she wanted to do everything but take care of herself and cooperate by going to the doctor, I’d pray and beg her to do the right thing for the baby.

On August 13, three weeks and 1 day before her due date, we were blessed to be in the delivery room when Anna-Kate was born. I cried just like I did when my other two were born, and Bobby teared up too. I got to cut the cord, hold her first, and room-in with her just like it was us having her. She is named Anna after my Granny, Barbara Anna, Bobby loves Kate as well as I do, and Evelyn was my Great-grandmother Williams’ first name.

Our family and friends have supported up wholeheartedly throughout our adoption, and we are so blessed to have such a wonderful church family, and a support group like the Levi Circle. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us throughout these months!

Our journey with domestic adoption has been a heart-wrenching, emotional, happy one-day, sad the next, drama-filled, faith-testing battle that has ended in victory only by the grace of God. Because we didn’t say a whole lot about it, most everyone thought that once we made it past the 10 days the birth parents have to change their minds that things were final – but that’s far from the case. We didn’t go to court until Nov. 9th, a long way from the 3rd week of August when the birth parent’s rights were surrendered. It’s a very emotional and nerve-wracking journey.

My boss tells me all the time, “No good deed goes unpunished.” We had a hurdle to cross that most couples would not have had because we did what we thought was right, and went above and beyond to help the birth parents when they were in a dire situation, not knowing that it could cause us to lose our baby because of Georgia’s adoption laws. But again, God worked everything out. We didn’t have the crazy paperwork and other struggles that go along with trying to adopt internationally or through the DFACS system, but our journey was just as difficult; however, the reward is so worth all the struggle, worry, and tears. It reminds me of how God went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we get to spend eternity with Him in heaven.

In my opinion, God could not have chosen a more precious baby than Anna-Kate to complete our family. We are truly blessed and give God all the praise.

Welcome Home Miss Anna-Kate!


  1. Thanks, Renee & Tyson!! For all you do, and for all you both are! So glad God has blessed us with you as friends.

    Laura Wills

  2. That is an awesome story! Thanks for taking the time to share it. Love you!