Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We have an announcement

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m excited to announce that Craig and I have started the adoption process for a baby girl from Ethiopia. As many of you know, it has been a long, arduous journey (I will go into more detail about this in later blogs), but it feels so good to know in 18 months we will be traveling back to Africa where we fell in love to bring home our first child. There are a few things on my heart that I want to share with you.

Last October, Craig and I decided to adopt from Ethiopia, and we signed up with the Gladney Center for Adoption out of Fort Worth, TX. At that point, I had done a lot of research, read other people’s blogs, and felt inspired by the unconventional ways in which families find each other. I could envision our lives with a little, beautiful baby who looked like all the wonderful people we met while living in Lagos, with her fine features, sassy curls, and sweet, sweet spirit. I felt like I knew her and that she was meant to be ours.

We ended up deciding for various reasons to put adoption on hold and keep trying for a biological child. Although I was excited about our plan to do in vitro in the summer, I grieved the loss of my precious girl, even if she only existed in my heart. Miraculously, we conceived not long after that, but we miscarried. We immediately conceived again but miscarried at 9 weeks. After 3 long years, I felt like a hamster on a wheel who for month after month, year after year, was no closer to being a mommy than the day we started trying.

It is a big decision to adopt. I don’t take that lightly. After my last miscarriage, I was talking with the best bunch of ladies you could ever dream of working with, and my teaching partner, Pinar, said something that pierced right to my heart. With tears in her eyes, she said, “When you showed your “Living in Nigeria” slideshow to the students and you and Craig were holding those babies at that orphanage, I thought to myself, those are her kids. That’s what her family will look like.”

A few nights later, Craig and I were going to sleep, and I thought about that experience visiting the orphanage in Lagos. There were about 40 kids and only 3 old nuns (bless their hearts) who took care of them all. The older children, walking age and older functioned only out of survival. They grunted and tended to look right through you. They had never been nurtured by human touch and bonding. It broke my heart. But when we went to the baby nursery, it was a whole different story. There was one little girl in particular that I held. She looked in my eyes and was very curious about my facial expressions. We smiled at each other and I rubbed her head. After 15 minutes or so, I went to put her back in her crib and when I did, she started to cry. So I picked her up, and she stopped. I carried her around for a while, then tried to put her back in her crib, and she started crying again. We did this about 4 times until I realized I wasn’t going to be able to put her down. Finally, I rocked her to sleep, laid her down, and quietly sneaked out.

As I lay in my warm bed, snuggling up to my husband and thinking about this, a lump swelled in my throat. I had never thought about when she woke up. No one would be there to pick her up. No one would be there to rub her head, put big, bright flowers in her hair, and tell her she’s beautiful and that she embodied everything good God ever put into the world.

And that's when I knew. There’s a little baby out there without a mommy, and I’m a mommy without a baby. It just makes sense.

And Craig said, “Let’s do it.”

I’ll end with this. Looking for inspiration, I found this scripture from Proverbs 15:30. It says: “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” Some people might look at our situation and think, ‘Bless the Lord, some little orphan with a weary soul is getting good news from a distant land (adoptive parents).’

But I can assure you the weary is me. And that precious little life from a distant land is like cold water to my weary soul.

Let the healing begin.


This is Craig and I at an orphanage in Lagos, Nigeria. 2007


  1. As tears of joy stream down my face.. my thoughts are these.

    This just makes sense.

    Hankie, you and Craig will be awesome parents. This is evident to me when I watch you with your neice and nephews... when I think about how you both spend your days working with kids... but mostly when I listen to you. You are filled with love and compassion and have always loved all people. Whatever in this world you'd ever choose to do, I would and will always be there to support your decisions and choices. I love you!

    My own heart is filled with joy that you have peace. I will welcome your child with open arms and cannot wait to love her, too.

    xoxo Your Mama

    ps I have ordered coffee.. and a sweatshirt. AND, let me be the first to say I want to buy puzzle pieces, too. :)

  2. I too have tears streaming down my face. Your opening blog is beautiful. Hank, I don't know you and Craig that well, but from the few times I've met you, I am impressed with the genuine love and compassion you have for each other. And not only will your child enter a loving home with you and Criag, but they will be part of the most incredible extended family! I wish you both the very best as you travel down this new road. Allison C

  3. This is so right. I just know it, feel it. Yes, the tears are falling down my cheeks, too - tears of such joy and love. There is a very blessed child out there just waiting for you to connect with her. The journey begins - I can't wait to hear her say "Aunt Suzy."

  4. So happy for all of you. I am wishing a speedy adoption for some lucky little girl.

  5. Hanky,

    I am soooo glad that you are on your way to have the baby you so rightly deserve. You and Craig will make wonderful parents.

    I agree with the other posts....this just feels so right.

    I cannot wait for another grandchild to grace our presence around the old campfire!



  6. What a beautiful blog intro, Heather. I'm so happy and excited for both of you as you start this new chapter to build your family. It'll be an amazing journey unlike any other and I look forward to reading all about it. Thanks for sharing with us!
    Colleen Thompson

  7. Thank you for sharing your story with me. You have been down a long road looking for your answers...and you found them. I am so happy for you. I hear the peace in your heart from across the US. :) my dear cousins, you are both going to be wonderful parents. I am so happy for you. I continue to pray for you often. Your prayers will soon be fully answered. I am honored to be on this journey with you. Hugs and love from Texas!

  8. It feels good to have such support! Thank you!!

  9. Hi Heather! My name is Eryn Kesler and I also have a little one from Ethiopia. I think we may have mutual friends and both live in Vancouver?

    My dad just called to tell me that he was talking to my cousin, Traci Johnson, at a family function today, and she told him about your blog.

    I think I might remember you from Prairie high school? When I saw your comments from your parents calling you "Hank" it rang a bell and I recognized your pics.

    Anyhow, we adopted our daughter in 2010 from Ethiopia with Gladney too! Love love love Gladney! Wanted to pop over and say hi and welcome to the crazy ethiopia adoption ride! I would love to connect with you if you ever need support or a listening ear. Or if you have questions about the process...theres TONS of paperwork and hoops, and I've been there! There's actually several Gladney ethiopia families in the area, and we see them occasionally. We'd love to include you if you're interested. Feel free to friend me on FB or email me anytime! erynkesler@gmail.com or visit our blog www.5byfaith.blogspot.com