by Jennifer Birdsall 1 Lives Impacted United States
Hello friends! God has answered our prayers and helped us to bring home "our boy", Jesse, who is now our oldest. He is a treasured fr...
God has answered our prayers and helped us to bring home "our boy", Jesse, who is now our oldest. He is a treasured friend, son, and older brother.
Our story is unique...
I had always planned to adopt a child or two from foster care, (after having a few "homegrown" kids). I had this dream since I was 17 years old... but over the years, different things prevented my husband and I from adopting, and the timing was never quite right.
Eight daughters later (including 2 surprise sets of twins!), I was ready to find the boy I had always longed for. But it seemed that adopting would be impossible at this point, as our house and family size would not allow us to be approved through our local foster care and adoption agencies. Just when I was considering giving up hope, God answered my lifelong prayer, and introduced me to Jesse.
I first saw him featured in a foster-adopt news segment that was posted in an online group. I watched his video a few times, and had a feeling that he would be a great fit for our family. Jesse was living in another state, in a small town over 1500 miles away... and about to "age out" of foster care, without any family. His parents had both passed away by the time he was 15 years old. The fact that he was aging out made mentoring and adoption a possibility for us, without the regulations of the foster system. He would be free to choose for himself.
Around the time that Jesse turned 18, (and after talking to the social workers at his local office and getting nowhere, as expected), I took matters into my own hands and looked him up on social media. I only had a first name, last initial, and his state of residence to go by... but I found him with little trouble. I took a chance and reached out, to offer our friendship and support, in hopes of eventually building a family relationship. To my surprise, he responded within a few hours of my first message. He was appreciative and polite. I liked him already. :)
In time, we began to share and connect. We really clicked. My husband and I learned of his difficulties and struggles. His life circumstances were not good, and we were there with resources when he needed help and advice. After a few months of building trust, and beginning to mentor and support him from a distance, we invited him to come and live near our family. We wanted to look after him better, and have the opportunity to include him in our family activities. We were cautious but committed.
It was a difficult decision for him to make, to leave all of his friends and his hometown to be near us, but his need to be part of a family and to improve his life eventually outweighed the cost. To make a long story short, "coming to live near us" became "coming to live with us", as God guided our situation and made it clear that we needed to bring him home to become a permanent part of our family.
We flew out to meet him (my husband for the second time and I for the first time) at the end of July--- and we brought him home two days later on July 31, 2017. It was about 2 months before his 19th birthday. I loved him even before I met him in person... and now, nearly 4 months later, I can't imagine my life without him. We all love him. We are currently working out the details regarding a legal adoption, but already Jesse is an essential part of our family.
Along with being a tremendous blessing, this adoption has come with expenses that we were not able to plan ahead for, such as travel and hotel costs, medical and dental bills, cost of family recreation, and home improvements/new furniture to accommodate our expanding family (in a small house)! ---Sharing three bedrooms and one bathroom between 11 people has been a challenge!--- we are expecting increased expenses for the next few months, due to necessities and the holiday season.
Which is why I'm hoping to raise money... to pay down some debt, and ease our minds for a while as we take care of medical needs (including surgery), enjoy our first holidays together, and take full advantage of the few months that we have left with all our "kids" under one roof.
We want to thank everyone for considering making a donation! It's not easy for us to be transparent about our financial situation, but we believe God will bless us for humbly reaching out and sharing our story. Hopefully it will help encourage other families who are considering adopting an older child. It can be truly amazing!
We really appreciate all of your support! Thank you!!!
Much Love, Jennifer
Disclaimer: I don't recommend that y'all go out and do exactly what we did. Haha. Only in extreme circumstances and with much prayer. Our story is truly a miracle... and a story of redemption and love that would not have been possible except for God orchestrating it in our lives. So keep the faith, be prayerful, and be willing to go where God leads you.