I want to be honest with you, open, and raw about my adoption story. I want to share the beauty and the purpose and the worth of adoption (it is so worth it). I want to share about our precious son, O’Ryan, whom God gifted us with, and I want to point to what an incredible work God did through O’Ryan’s adoption story. God’s heart is for adoption, His heart is for families, His heart is for giving children mothers and fathers through adoption, but you know what I found through my adoption journey? I found that God’s heart is also to teach me through the entire process, His heart is also for me to grow closer to Him, and His heart is to align my heart to His heart in how I walk through the adoption process and how I respond to all areas of the post-adoption process with my adopted child.
Our adoption journey started when my husband and I found out after a year of trying to get pregnant that I have a health condition that was preventing me from sustaining a pregnancy. I cried and cried. To be honest I had this plan in my mind what my future was going to look like and in that future: I got married and we had lots and lots of babies biologically. Psalm 26:2 says “Examine me, O Lord, and try me. Test my mind and my heart.” This is an accurate description of what a large portion of God’s plan for my journey to motherhood was about; and this was not to hurt me but it was to give me a purpose and calling. At the time I had an index card I had written about my purpose in life and it said something like this “my purpose in life is to be a wife and mother.” This was a major identity crisis for me because a huge part of my purpose in life was to be a mother and I remember thinking “what kind of woman am I? If my identity is in having babies what does that make me?” I felt like a failure.
God’s plan in revealing our heart is always to bring us life and even in this identity crisis he gave me a fresh and new life. I realized my identity could never be in being a wife and a mother, my identity truly and deeply had to be that I was God’s daughter. Out of this identity God could bring a calling, but the identity that was the wellspring of my purpose came only from being HIS and HIS ALONE. He began breaking down my ideas, my plans, my self-focus and began giving me a heart not just for me in the process to motherhood but for many other areas and people as well. Out of this time God began drawing our hearts to foster care. My husband Forrest and I became licensed foster parents. September of 2017, we opened our home to two sisters from foster care. I can’t share my adoption story without talking about these two beautiful girls. They taught me about motherhood and they taught me about letting go.
I learned that adoption isn’t just about meeting a dream of having a child, but instead it is about learning to love a child no matter what the cost is for me. These girls changed my life forever the year they lived with us. We prayed that God would allow us the gift of adopting them but God sovereignly allowed them to go back to their biological mother and father. This was another part of the surrendering. Our adoption journey with each child does not always end with adoption. If I went back to the moment we said yes to bringing these two girls into our home; knowing I would have to say goodbye, I would still say yes all over again. This was a process in our adoption journey I would never take back, because it again taught me that real love is to love no matter what it means for you in the end; to love if you get to hold them forever, or if you have to let them go. I had to come to terms with the reality that the journey to adoption is a blessing and it also challenges us to look deeper into our motives, to be honest with God and ourselves, and ultimately to recognize that God is in control and that he is good all the time. Yes, he is good even in the grief of saying goodbye to a child you wanted to adopt. Yes, he is good in the long process of waiting for a child to adopt. Yes, he is good. All the time.
During the time we had the two sisters we got a phone call about a baby boy that was 24 hours old and needed to be placed in a foster home. We said yes and within a few hours we had a baby in our home. God taught us again to surrender and trust His plan. We were told early on that O’Ryan was not going to be adopted by us. When he was three months old he got very sick and was hospitalized. Late one-night Forrest was in the hospital holding O’Ryan and God spoke into his heart telling him “hold him and love him as if he was your own.” That is what we did. We loved him and poured every ounce of love we could into his life not because we would be able to adopt him but because God loved him and God created him to be loved and held. One month after both of the girls were reunited with their family we found out we were going to be the ones to adopt O’Ryan! It truly is a crazy story all the details of it but God placed him with us and God chose him to be a part of our family. Adoption Day was so special. The entire courtroom was full of people who walked through our journey with us. The moment it was all final was incredible! We changed his middle name to Seth because Seth means “God placed” and that is exactly what God did in O’Ryan’s life and in our adoption journey; God placed him into our family. Our adoption journey is just beginning. I praise God for adopting O’Ryan.
I praise God for the journey he has taken me through to know my identity is not in being a mother biologically or even through adoption; my identity is in being a DAUGHTER OF GOD!
We are adopting again through domestic adoption with Lifetime Adoption! Want to join us in our adoption journey? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope McCleary graduated from Mesa State College with a degree in Mass Communications. After graduating she spent two years working in local news at KKCO 11 News in Grand Junction, Co. She decided to give up her career in the media to share the message of Christ full-time. She joined full-time staff with Master Plan Ministries the summer of 2012 and got married to Forrest McCleary in September of 2012. Through her own personal ups and downs in college Hope has a heart for college women understand their worth as God’s daughters, to see them grow in their faith, to grow in the unique gifts God has given them, and to stand firm in their faith even with the pressures of the world all around them. Hope’s interests include world and local missions, photography, singing, playing guitar and writing music, reading, meeting new people, coffee, and hiking.