Monday, March 11, 2013

Our Journey to Max

 I have shared before (although not on here) about our journey to Ryder, but you may not know much about our journey to Max. Our journey to Max began long before our adoption journey, but we just didn't know it. 

Early on in our adoption process for Ryder, we decided to get approval for two children "just in case", because that was what was recommended. I always felt in my heart that I wanted to bring home two, but my husband was not on board. In fact, he said that it would take an absolute miracle for him to agree to bring home a second child. I happen to believe in miracles, so I continued to pray and beg to no avail (although I really, really don't recommend the latter).

There was a little girl that I fell in love with about the time that we committed to Ryder, and I desperately wanted to bring her home. I prayed and begged, and begged and prayed, but my husband was still insistent that we were only adopting Ryder. He felt that one was enough and he especially was not open at all to the little girl that I loved because she had a heart defect that would require open heart surgery. For those of you who don't know our story, our son, Isaac, left our arms for heaven last year after a long and courageous fight with a very severe heart defect. In his 18 months of life, he had endured 3 open heart surgeries, numerous other surgeries, and had spent almost 15 of those months in the Cardiac ICU. He was such an incredible blessing to all of us, but when he left our arms for heaven, a huge part of our hearts left with him. 

The memory of losing him was so raw and painful and my husband did not think that he could handle going through that again. But, I still loved this little girl and I knew that if God was calling us to be her family, then my husband would listen to Him despite his fears. 

I decided to fast with the intention of begging God to show my husband that we were supposed to adopt her - I know.....I know.....not real spiritual. But, seriously, I truly did want to do what God wanted us to do. If she was the little girl for us, then I wanted God to show my husband, and if she wasn't then I wanted Him to take this overwhelming desire away. I was convinced, though, that I was right and my husband was wrong. During this time, my husband still did not agree to adopt her. He truly felt that she was not the right child for our family. Instead of feeling heartbroken, like I expected, I had a true peace from God that I needed to let her go. During this time, my husband's heart was opening though. Although he had said no to the little girl, his heart began opening to the possibility of adding another child, as long as they did not have a heart defect.

As his heart began opening up, we considered several different children, all of them girls. He even began opening up to the idea of a girl with a heart defect as long as her heart was already repaired. As our travel date approached, we had an idea of the little girl we would be bringing home in addition to Ryder. In fact, I even packed clothes for her. 

Just a week before we left for Ukraine, this little boy was listed on Reece's Rainbow and he just "happened" to be in the same orphanage as Ryder. 

His special need was a heart defect. It was clear by looking at his picture that he would need surgical intervention. We did not even discuss him because we were looking to add a girl and definitely not a boy who would need heart surgery. In fact, adopting a "cognitively typical" boy is not something we had been open to. But, for some reason, I had this strange feeling that I could possibly be bringing him home. 

Once in Ukraine, we received our referral for Ryder and headed to his region. When I left our referral appointment, I thought that I would be back for a second referral for the girl that we had in mind.  Once in region, we met our wonderful son, Ryder, and we were completely in love.

During one of our visits with Ryder, we saw the little guy that was listed on Reece's Rainbow. His name was Max. I asked to hold him, and that was all it took. I read to him.....he laughed and played with our other Dad (who was there with me) even held him. 

When I handed him back, he cried hysterically.  After meeting him and holding him in our arms, we knew we couldn't turn our backs on him. We knew we couldn't leave him there. We knew what his fate would be if we did. We all just knew that we had to bring him home too despite his heart defect, so we traveled back to Kyiv to get his referral. He was meant to be our son all along. There were many, many reasons that we could have said no to him, but all we needed was one good reason to say yes. Our son, Isaac, was such an incredible blessing to us. He taught us so much in his short life, and as difficult as it was to lose him, the lessons that he taught us and the joy that he brought us still remain. We knew that we had enough love in our hearts to take this risk regardless of the outcome. Max deserved love and a family even if it meant we could lose him. He deserved a family who would fight to get him the best medical care possible and provide him the greatest chance at life no matter how difficult the journey would be. We loved this little boy and that was enough for us. All along, he was the child God meant for us. I believe that even before we began this adoption journey, God was preparing our hearts for Max.

I am convinced God must have an incredible sense of humor. I wonder if he just waits for us to say what we aren't going to do. After all, my husband said that we were NOT going to adopt two children. We were not going to adopt another boy. We were not going to adopt a child with a heart defect, especially one that needed surgery. And here we are with Max, our son who we love with all of our hearts, who has already had 2 open heart surgeries while in Ukraine and is scheduled for his 3rd open heart surgery next week.  We don't know what the future holds for Max, but what we do know is that Max now knows the love of a family and  we have the incredible privilege of calling him our son. God has a plan and we know that He will be with us through it all.

If you are wondering what has become of the original baby girl that I so desperately wanted to bring home.......I got to see her every day while we visited with Ryder. I got to love on her and tell her that she had a family coming for her. She is now home and thriving with her wonderful family! And the other girl that we thought we would be bringing home.......she has a mommy and daddy coming for her this month!

Even though the journey was hard at the time wondering where God was leading us, He had it all planned out. He just needed me to trust Him. He knew exactly who was meant for our family, and it couldn't have worked out more perfectly! Maybe we should be careful from now on what we say we won't do. I must admit that after we came home with the boys, I did say "I would never adopt an..............." Perhaps God found that amusing!


  1. What an incredible journey of faith ! Thanks for sharing !

  2. thank you so much for sharing!

    Max's little blue fingers and lips caused me deep sorrow and I advocated for him, praying a family would get to him in time. Then your family was there and chose him! He didn't have to wait while a family went through a home study, endless piles of paperwork for a dossier, etc..what an amazing miracle! a family ready and there :) Your family was truly God-sent.

    So happy you broke both the boys in stripes out :D

  3. Your boys are precious. I will be praying for a successful surgery and quick recovery for Max. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless!

  4. We love Max so much and happy I Am his great aunt! He is such a sweet sweet spirit, I know he is going to do great in Boston!

  5. Stephanie,
    I love how you write... with love, honesty and such great faith. So glad you've begun to blog.
    Debbie G