Monday, February 3, 2014

An Adoption Story: Nate & Laura

A popular question I hear often is: How did you decide where to adopt from? There are SO many children waiting for forever families here in the States and there are also millions of children in orphanages around the world. How do you decide which direction to go; international adoption, domestic adoption, foster-to-adopt, or word of mouth? While you may be unsure of what steps to take next, sometimes it just helps to hear other family's stories and a little bit of the journey that they have been on.

So we are going to start there. As time goes on and more stories are shared you will find that each adoption story is very different but my hope is that something in one of them might resonate inside of you.


Today I am going to introduce you to my friend, Laura. We first met in college, our friendship grew, and now 13 years later she is still one of my dearest friends. We have never lived in the same state or even been geographically close enough to visit each other on the weekends yet it has always been a blessing and a privilege to call Laura my friend. While our journeys have looked completely different, currently our families look quite similar. 

Here is her story:

I have wanted to adopt since I was a child.  I'm not really sure why, maybe it was the movies like Annie, Boys Town, Fighting Father Dunn, or even Shirley Temple movies that highlighted children who needed families.  Maybe it was having a dad who was an amazing example of the Father's love to not only his own children, but to many, many others who needed a father figure in their lives. Whatever the reason was, adoption was always part of my plans for my future.

When i was dating my future husband, I told him of my desire to adopt.  He was working with inner city children at the time, and was open to the idea after seeing so many fatherless children.

After we were married and had our first biological child, we moved to Haiti where we lived in an orphanage with 40 boys and ran their outreach program.  It was here that Nathan, my husband, saw the need for adoption firsthand and now truly shared my heart for adoption.  

We moved back to the US, Nathan became a children's pastor at his father's church in Michigan, and bio baby #2 arrived.  Adoption was still heavy on our hearts, but the timing wasn't right yet.  

We moved again the fall after our second child was born, Nathan had accepted a job as a youth pastor in Delaware, where my family lived.  About a year after we were there, a woman in our church shared about how God had led them to adopt a total of 8 children.  It really grabbed my attention to hear her speak about not waiting to get your "ducks in a row" or to get out of debt, or whatever your excuse may be, but to trust God completely if He was calling you to adopt.  Nathan and I both felt that now was the time to pursue our dream of adoption. He was leaving the next day for a mission's trip, so he told me to find an agency while he was gone.  And I did.

We used Bethany Christian Services, the largest Christian adoption agency in the States. We were very happy with them.  It only took 18 months from the time of our first informational meeting to the time we brought our 20 month old son, Malachi, home from Ethiopia.  

Shortly after he was home, we began the process again, knowing we weren't done yet!  This time it took 33 months to bring our second son, Isaiah (11 months old) home.  We have had Isaiah home for 7 months now, and can't even remember what life was like without him.

Meanwhile, while we were waiting to bring Isaiah home, God had a surprise for us.  People were always asking us "is this your last adoption?" and "Will you adopt again?" Our response was always "no plans now, but if we are living in Africa and God drops one on our doorstep we won't say no."  Well, God "dropped one on our doorstep" sooner than we were expecting.  Darrell (15 at the time) came into our family in March of 2012.  We met him through church and after months of relationship building, realized that he needed a "forever family." He has been a great addition to our family, I know we truly did hear from God even though we were apprehensive about taking in a teenager. 

We know one of the reasons Isaiah's adoption took so long was because we never would have considered taking in Darrell if we had a newly adopted baby, and Darrell needed time to "bond" with us before the new baby came. 

All three of our boys have brought us so much joy, we are truly blessed to be entrusted with their upbringing. 

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  1. The Normans are very special people. And their family is incredible! Hoping this blog inspires others. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I grew up around Nathan, and he is a wonderful guy! This story is so beautiful, I am actually thinking about adoption my self, I am a product of adoption and what a better way to pat it forward!!!!!!

  3. Nathan Norman is an exceptional young man, great preacher, and the best example to young people everywhere. We knew him at NJCF in Somerset,Mi. We always enjoyed him and he has an exceptional wife as well. God be with all of you!!

    Richard & Shirley Kollar

    1. They are certainly one incredible couple!


  4. Great people. They'll give you the clothes off their back....literally. TN


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