Lisa and I have been trying to get pregnant for over 4 years. When we were dating we had always talked about adopting and having biological kids. We just figured having a natural born child would be the easiest way to have our first child. A couple years into trying though and we started to look into adoption. We had no idea how much of a process it was to adopt an infant and how crazy expensive, especially taking the child home right from the hospital. We had talked to some couples who had been trying to adopt for as long as we had been trying to get pregnant. And when we started working with different agencies we quickly found out that the cost could easily be $30,000 even as high as $50,000 in some cases and that doesn’t guarantee you will get to keep the child. So we started the process! We first signed up with DHS through an organization by the name of The Call. This involved multiple weekends of training, multiple home studies, and books and books worth of paperwork. As we got further into the training we found out the odds of us getting connected with a child under the age of 2 was slim to none. We kept our house open though just in case. We then started exploring different agencies. (On a side note, I was kind of dragging my feet. For some reason I was really scared to become a father. I just didn’t feel ready or put together enough, or maybe I just wasn’t ready to be that selfless. I didn’t really have any peace during this season. If we had of gotten a call for a child I don’t think I would have been excited, but I would have gone along with it. Plus Lisa really wants a girl at some point and that scares me half to death. I felt like I could handle a boy, but a girl… I don’t know anything about girls).
Somewhere in this process Lisa and I started to get worn down with the heartache and grief of not bringing children into our home the way we had dreamed of. We were also getting overwhelmed with how much work it was to start the process of adoption. So we started praying that someone would just call us and say they have a perfectly healthy child that needs to be adopted, which we had heard of happening from time to time. We prayed that it would cost us nothing or no more than a natural birth would cost. And I prayed that it would be a good looking healthy baby boy. (Lisa would always get frustrated when I would pray this. She felt like we were limiting our choices and slowing down the process. I am not sure if it works like that or not).
The first group we decided to work with actually rejected us because our budget wasn’t high enough (they said it needed to be above $45K) and we had to be open to any child they wanted to place us with. This was after we had filled out books of paperwork and gotten an independent home study, which took multiple meetings and about $950. Then we started talking to Bethany (which seems like an incredible organization and we will probably work with them in the future). Their costs were around $25-30K and it would probably take a year or more for us to get matched. So we started filling out more paperwork as quickly as we could. Lisa and I had set a goal and started praying we would have a child in our home by the end of the year and it was at the time around August. We got the main paperwork done in a couple of days. Then all we had to do was submit our application and the $600 application fee. I told Lisa to go ahead with it, but for some reason she started dragging her feet, which is not like her at all. I was kind of confused at this, but I didn’t want to push her on it.
A couple of days later on Tuesday, October the 20th, Lisa got a call from her dad. She was driving out to one of her tutoring clients. Her dad told her to pull the car over. At first she though someone had died and he was calling for that, but then he said one of his OBGYN doctor friends had just called him (Lisa’s dad is a doctor in Fort Smith by the way) and said she just delivered a perfectly healthy red headed boy and wanted to know if we would like to adopt him! Lisa told him YES immediately. He told her to get our attorney to the hospital ASAP. Our Attorney? We didn’t have an attorney, especially not in Fort Smith. It turns out though that Lisa had just (like the week before) started talking to a family friend in Fort Smith who is an attorney. She works with DHS and many of the adoptions that happen through foster care. The attorney was incredible and was able to get all of the paperwork together and go to the hospital immediately. The miraculous part about all of this is that because she handles the adoptions through DHS she knew the whole process. Not just the process, but she knew everyone at this particular hospital. She knew the risk management person for the hospital (I didn’t even know that person existed) and the social worker. Within hours she was able to put together all of the paperwork, talk to risk management people, and then sit down and talk to the birthmother before she could leave the hospital. That last part is a big deal. From my understanding if she had of left the hospital before our attorney got there our son would have gone into foster care and who knows where he would be now. She sat down with the birth-mother and tried to talk her out of leaving her child, but the mother had made up her mind and was ready to sign the release forms to make us his legal guardians until the adoption was final. She even signed over access to her medical history. The attorney sent us a text shortly after that telling us to drive down to Fort Smith to come hold our child. We were able to take him home from the hospital soon after that.
We also found out later once we got him on our insurance that there was hardly any cost associated with the adoption. I think it was less than what we would have paid to have him ourselves!
We named him David Samuel West and he is Amazing! It is funny how we named him. The Saturday before this I was thinking about some of the most influential and some of the more incredible people I have been around in my life and most of them are named David. So I threw out to Lisa that if we have a boy one day we should name him David. I had actually forgotten about this after we got the call about adopting David and I was sitting on the be praying asking God what we should name him. I felt like He said to name him something that means you are loved. Shortly after this Lisa walked in and we started talking about names and she reminded me of what I had said on Saturday. So I looked up the meaning of David and sure enough it means beloved. If you look up beloved on dictionary.com it literally says “a person who is greatly loved”. So that name was clear. Then Lisa suggested we name him Samuel which means God has heard. Which was also perfect because we had been praying for David Samuel for so long. It was also near to Lisa’s heart because she can relate so much to the story of Hannah and her struggles with getting pregnant.
That is the story of David Samuel West. One of the greatest gifts we have ever received. (David one day when you are older I hope you read this. I want you to know how much we love you and how much we prayed for you to come into our lives. We prayed for you to know God, for your future wife, and for much much more. I Love You Son and I am so proud to be your dad!)
12-22-15 – We got a notice from the insurance company that we only owe $947.01 in total for all of David’s medical expenses. I prayed that it would cost no more than if we had him biologically and I think this is less!!