“I want to adopt twelve children!” That was me as a little girl. I could picture myself married to a man who would love life, our home full of laughter and chaos, children of all ages everywhere. I had no idea that seven years into marriage my husband and I would be sitting at Catholic Charities, seeking adoption because we were unable to conceive.
I believe God plants seeds in our hearts that will blossom later, if we let them.
My husband and I went through the lengthy process of self-evaluation, home study interviews, and filling out forms. We sought out people to write letters of recommendation, and we created an adoption profile. Then we waited.
Waiting seems to be a very big part of God’s plan for each of us, perhaps because it gives us opportunities to practice virtues like patience and trust. It can lead to deeper self-evaluation and spiritual growth. Or it can make a person impatient!
During this time of waiting, we did several things. First, I began intense prayers to the Blessed Mother, asking for her intercession so that I could become a mother, too. Second, wanting to draw closer to God and embrace a spirit of simplicity and poverty, my husband and I began formation as Secular Franciscans. A year or so after completing our home study, still waiting, we decided to take up a project. So we bought an old fixer-upper and threw ourselves into remodeling it.
I can still remember the day we received the phone call. The sun hid behind a sheet of winter clouds, making the day cold, damp, and gray. My husband had gone to work while I worked on the house. In the evenings we would work together. I don’t remember the specific task that day. I was probably pulling out old things, like carpet and paneling, or scraping plaster from ancient walls.
When the phone rang, I picked my way through the living room and dining room, weaving around tool boxes and buckets of drywall mud, plastic bags of supplies, and stacks of drywall and trim. Several walls stood bare to their 2x4s, awaiting new drywall.
I answered the phone and received the news: a pregnant young woman wanted us to adopt her baby!
This news should’ve filled me with great joy, but as I hung up the phone my gaze traveled across the disaster of our fixer upper and my heart sank. Our house would need to be inspected and approved before we could bring a baby into it. This did not seem possible. We did not have the money to hire professionals, and the work was too extensive for us to complete in time.
I am sure I am not the only person who notices that God likes to spring the hope of good news on us when it seems impossible to obtain.
Tempted by doubt and anger, tears streaming down my face, I ran to the bedroom and fell on my knees. “Why, Lord?” I wanted to trust, so I asked for a sign. Opening my Bible randomly, I dropped my index finger on a page.
Blinking back tears, I read the verse: Romans 16:6 “Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.”
Even typing this now, tears come to my eyes and a tingling sensation washes over me.
Hope filled every corner of my being. I collapsed over the Bible, crying and thanking God. And thanking our Blessed Mother. She worked hard for me, interceding at the throne of God, at the throne of her Son, to bring our first baby into our home.
Here is what followed: People heard the news of our adoption and the trouble we were in, and they came to help. Friends, family, and complete strangers came to our house with supplies, money and assistance. Many worked long hours helping us.
With all the assistance, both visible and invisible, the job was completed in no time. We passed our home inspection, and fifteen years ago we welcomed baby Joseph into our lives.
We are truly one Body in Christ! Those in heaven care about us and can pray for us. What saints have you turned to in prayer? How have they helped you? I would love for you to share your story in the comments section.