“I can’t adopt a child, not with my career.” “There is no way I can do this as a single person, and my family lives in another state.” “I travel too much for my job, this will never work.” These are just a few of the many thoughts that swirled in my mind for close to five years. I had long known that God was calling me to adopt. Whether I was married or not, this was something I was sure about. But practically I just didn’t see how it was going to happen.
Eventually I began to take baby steps of faith toward adoption and as I did God specifically laid on my heart to adopt from Guatemala. But just as I came to the point of moving forward Guatemala was in the process of closing. Most agencies were no longer accepting applications for Guatemalan adoptions as the country was closing for adoption because they were not Hague compliant.
At this same time I heard about Tapestry from someone at my church and soon after I met with Amy Monroe. She took the time to share with me about their adoption experiences and talked with me about many of the questions and concerns running through my mind. As we talked I learned that she had adopted from Guatemala! A small “coincidence” for most people, but this was the first time I really felt like “OK God, I am no longer putting this off . . . I am moving forward by faith knowing that You will supply my needs and calm my fears.”
Soon after I started to make connections through Tapestry and learned much about the adoption process, experiences and expectations. Thinking my chance to adopt from Guatemala had passed, I looked into adopting from other countries. I participated in webinars, took classes and even met with a lady from an agency about adopting from another country. Still something wasn’t right. I went to that meeting with a completed application in my purse, ready to hand it in. I left that same meeting with the application still in my purse. I could not escape the fact that God had placed my heart in Guatemala. But why?
Two days later I got an email from my sister. She had heard of an agency still accepting applications for Guatemala. I immediately followed up and the agency indicated we still had a couple of months for me to “try” to get in before Guatemala closed to new adoptions.
The couple months I had to complete my paperwork in order to receive my referral quickly turned into a matter of only weeks. As a result I was told I needed to travel to Guatemala immediately, and once again all of my questions and fears – all the thoughts of “I can’t and it won’t work” – came rushing back. But I now understood better than ever before that this was to be a journey of faith. So even in the midst of this incredibly stressful and uncertain situation, I had a calming peace and knew that God was simply saying “Go, and I will be with you.” With that I went. Hours later I was in my hotel room in Guatemala experiencing the best moment of my life . . . holding my four month old baby girl, who I named Melia.
Since that day in December 2007 I have traveled several times to Guatemala to see Melia, now 21 months old. The process and the wait have been difficult, as I knew they would likely be. I hope to bring Melia home soon. Of course, I still have lots of questions. But what I have now that I didn’t have before is a lot more knowledge, support and a place to find answers to many of my questions. Being connected to Tapestry and to others who understand what I am going through has provided me with all of that. I have learned so much from attending Tapestry’s educational events and from the stories of others that have gone through what I am going through and can help me better prepare for what is still to come.
Tapestry’s waiting families group has been particularly encouraging for me. There I not only find support for my adoption but I am also able to hear about others’ adoption and foster care journeys. As a result of these connections I have been blessed with new found friendships. Recently, Barbie, another waiting mom-to-be, rode with me to Austin where I needed to update some adoption papers. Barbie’s adoption process is quite different than mine – she is adopting from foster care. But we share a common bond and during our drive we had the opportunity to share ideas, thoughts and prayer requests.
I have always loved God and been amazed at how He works, but as I travel this journey I have come to understand His love for me and for Melia in a whole new way. Even as I continue to wait I know that God is at work – a blessing I hope I never take for granted.
Jill’s other “baby” is a three-legged Maltese, Murphy. Murphy is known for his handstands and you might just catch a glimpse of one if you see he and Jill walking in Valley Ranch.