Monday, November 21, 2011

Adoption Day!

November 18th, 2011. God knew the day ages before any of us even existed. He knew that was the day we were going to adopt Isaiah Michael Clarke.

We left Matt's parents house at 6:00am to make the drive into Houston and my heart was beating fast and the tears came and went the whole drive. In just a few hours, Isaiah would have his name changed. He would no longer be a foster child. We got to the courthouse at 7:00am and had an hour to kill. We went and got breakfast tacos from a shack, 'cause what else are you going to do?

We met our family developer, Jessica, in the parking lot and made our way into the courthouse. There were all these families coming in. All these orphans being un-orphaned.

We signed papers. We waited. Isaiah ran up and down the hall crowded with caseworkers and proud families and kids in their Sunday best.

We worked hard to try to keep Isaiah entertained.
Shout out to my husband. He is the best. He is an amazing father. And a world class entertainer.
That boy loves his daddy...and the feeling is mutual.

We waited and waited. Our lawyer kept apologizing. For the wait. For the chaos. I told her I didn't care. I was adopting my son. I would've waited til whenever I had to. I had already waited 20 years. What was a few more hours?

When we finally were moved into the court room, Isaiah busied himself by...
brushing his hair,
climbing in the stroller,

and laying on the floor grunting.

Then it was our turn.

All the praying, the crying, the waiting, the trusting. We were here.

This moment right here. This moment is the one I have been dreaming about for at least twenty years. I never dreamed of the white dress, or the church, or the big wedding. I dreamt of me with my son on my hip in front of a judge. Making promises and claiming the ones that had been made to me.

Then it was over. The adoption petition had been granted by the judge, along with all the other petitions that our hearts had made to the Father for our son. Hallelujuah!

Then we went downstairs and ate cupcakes, took more pictures, and partied Harris-County-National-Adoption-Day style.

Through all this, I was suprisingly composed. Then on the way out of the courthouse I stopped off in the bathroom and when I sat down to use the bathroom, I started sobbing. It hit me like a ton of bricks. He was staying. I did not have to pack him up and stand in my front yard and wave goodbye. God promised and delivered. I thought if I had never known what it was like to say goodbye to a child, then maybe I wouldn't know just how sweet it is to not have to do that. In that moment, crying in a bathroom stall, I was thankful for every stinking piece of the whole puzzle and I wouldn't have taken an ounce of it back.

So there is the story. At least, my version of it. But I do want to take the time to honor the people who God used to bring our son home. Lisa Patterson, who loves orphans and works with God to place the lonely in families. Dale Smith, who runs our agency with humilty and obedience to the Father, and a deep love for the orphan. Kay Whyburn, who is crazy and just knew he belonged with us and broke countless rules to get him home. All his caseworkers: Sharon Love, Deedra Red, and even the one who almost dropped the ball who shall remained unamed. Amy Slaughter and Michelle Teal who helped seal the deal. Finally, Jessica Hall - our family developer, who is really more like a super-hard working, completely-invested auntie and friend. She puts up with my crazy antics and my shrill incessant phone calls with patience and love. You, my friend, are a light in the darkness of this system. A woman of God who loves Jesus and serves His people. We love you so much and cannot thank you enough for all you do!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Plan

This morning we are leaving for Houston. Tommorrow we will adopt Isaiah. This week I have been overwhelmed with gratitude for my son, his story, our story, and for Jesus. The other day it struck me that God made a way for Isaiah 5 years before he was born. 5 years before Isaiah had been adbandoned God had given him a family. 5 years before he was ever not named God told me his name. 5 years before Isaiah ever entered the system God made him a way out. The other day I was telling all this to Isaiah through tears. And I said "Your heavenly Father, the God of the Universe. He loves you SO much." And then I thought "Me too". God did the same for me. Before I fell apart God knew how to put me back together. Before my life hit the fan in 2000. God knew what I needed. Before I overdosed that awful June day God had a plan. Before I ever sinned God gave me Jesus. Before I ever turned away he was already bringing me back. When I think about my sons story, I will always think of it as a parable to my story, all of our stories. Being brought home before we ever left.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gotcha Day! All about Isaiah

One year ago today my son came home. I paced by the window and waited and then the car appeared and I ran out to meet him.

This is one of the only pictures that I took that day. I was too busy staring at him to take pictures.

One year. I have never parented a child for a year they have all left before.

We dedicated Isaiah in a service at our church on Sunday.

Here is what I said (imagine me ugly crying and stopping to sob)
(I am praying in the picture)

6 or so years ago God told me He would give me an African American baby boy and that he would be abandoned and that I would call him Isaiah

2 1/2 years ago God told me he would come to us through foster care

1 year ago we got the call that we were chosen for an African American baby boy named Baby Boy because he has essentially been abandoned at the hospital.

When we went to meet him I asked the caseworker what they had been calling him in his foster home (he was 4 months old)...she said Isaiah.

God had given us our son.

God's promise fulfilled.

Psalm 68:6 says He places the lonely in families. And that is true. But it is not just for the sake of the lonely but for the sake of the families too.

This summer on the day of Isaiah's termination trial I was anxious and praying for a scripture and I felt the Lord leads me to Isaiah 62

"You'll get a brand-new name straight from the mouth of God. You'll be a stunning crown in the palm of God's hand, a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God. No more will anyone call you Rejected"

On November 17th (hopefully) his name will legally change from Baby Boy to Isaiah Michael Clarke. The name God intended for him 5 years before he was ever born.

I was praying Sunday morning asking God what he wanted to highlight about Isaiah's story. I felt like he said" That I am real. I am still relevant. I care. My plan is good. I still intervene. I went into a completely hopeless situation and changed the course of everything. Beauty from ashes, from abandonment to belonging, unnamed to named. Glory to God. That's is Isaiah's story.

Happy Gotcha Day Isaiah Michael Clarke! I love you more than I thought I was capable of. We are so thankful, I pray you always know that the God of the universe loves you so much that he did a miraculous work to bring you home. All glory and honor to him. The author of my faith and my family.