bringing home oliver


We had hit our two year anniversary of adoption, and we have had the joy and privilege of watching our son shed his identity as an orphan and step into his identity as a son. He was made for this, I often think to myself as I watch him play with his siblings. He was created to be a son.

We’ve had our sleepless nights, our fear filled days of what our future would hold, but for the most part, those days have passed, and we’ve moved into a peaceful reality. We’ve all bonded well, and even the siblings I worried about a bit more, have transitioned into a beautiful relationship. Answered prayers, all of them, and sometimes the moments of where he’s been and where he is now strike me so hard, I find myself choking back tears as I hear one word whispered to my heart, ‘Redemption’.

Redemption is messy, it is difficult, it is purposeful, and it is costly, but it is also beautiful. It’s beauty is not always a surface beauty, but the kind that can only come from deep prayers, deep pain, and an even deeper love.

While we enjoyed our new reality, there was truly nothing in me that desired to join the ranks of my friends that were diving in to adopt again. We were firmly settled, and our house is full.

I saw his picture, and looking back, I think I knew then that he was different. I showed his picture to the kids. They are used to seeing the waiting children, but this one was different, and we all knew it. The kids all asked if we could adopt him, but we weren’t interested in taking another leap of faith and growing our family at that point. They told us all of the things they would be willing to give up if we would only consider adopting him. And so a conspiracy of young minds and hearts of strong faith began. Their requests were not from the naivety of the unknown, they were well aware of the cost of redemption. We had always said we would listen to our children, and longed to encourage them to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in their lives, but when we talked about the reality, fear gripped me.

I requested his file, and reading it left me broken. His birthmother discarded him in a place that no human being should ever be, much less a precious new baby. He was miraculously found and brought to an orphanage. A family, a very good and loving family, crossed the ocean to adopt him when he was 16 months old, but after having him for four days, they realized he had nf-1, and were unsure if they could care for him, so they took him back to the orphanage. I cried as I heard one word whispered to my heart, ‘redemption’.

And then, and unlikely but beautiful friendship formed. I called the family that had chosen not to adopt him. Carrie answered the phone and I could hear the tears in her voice. She loved this child, and had lived with the decision she had made for the last year. I heard her pain. And I hear HIM whisper, “I make all things new.” And while she will not be his mother, she will be my friend. She is a part of his story, and she will watch his journey unfold. I am so thankful for this beautiful path that has intertwined us. I am so thankful to call her friend.

I threw myself into researching his condition, and the more I read the scarier it looked. Tumors, learning delays, and so much more kept me awake at night. I talked to Justin and the kids about all this could mean for us. I was desperate for them to understand that we couldn’t take this step. I knew our decision was made and it was time to close the door on this.

It was bedtime and I heard his feet pad across my floor. This child that has been a gentle leader to his younger siblings greeted me in his characteristically timid way. “Mom? I’ve been thinking. I know you’re scared, I’m scared too. I just keep thinking, even if he is going to die, don’t you think he deserves to die with a family?”

How do we get so caught up in having comfortable lives, that we fail to see the importance of making sacrifices for these little ones?! I tell my children all the time that God has not called us to live a life of comfort, but sometimes, I need them to remind me of my own convictions.

And so, we’ve let go of the strongholds, and have surrendered to the Redeemer’s plans for us and for Oliver. His life has redemption written all over it.


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