Promise of a Heartbeat

A year ago today, we got to hear Caden’s heartbeat for the very first time. It’s a special moment in and of itself, but for us, it was all the more special and amazing because God took us through a crazy journey. Two Christmases ago, we were in our adoption process and were matched with a little girl on that Christmas eve. Little did we know that we had already conceived and Caden was growing in my tummy.

To make the long story short, we had to defend our desire and reason to adopt to our families who held on to the Asian culture’s negative stigma of adoption. I went through many arguments with my family and shed a lot of tears, and that was definitely not easy. It took a lot of courage to obey God’s calling in our lives. Not knowing what would happen with our families, and as scared as I was, we took a huge leap of faith and made the decision to inform our adoption agency that we would move forward in our adoption process. But the very next day, we would find out that we were pregnant with Caden!

Hearing his heartbeat was an incredible feeling and it was an undeniable answered prayer from God. He allowed us to go through that journey but not without showing us His faithfulness. His heartbeat was, in essence, God’s promise of the things to come. I think that’s why it was all the more beautiful. And now, we see the fruit of that promise, and it is truly wonderful!

A Change of Heart

I recently wrote an article for my work, and it was featured in our quarterly newsletter we send out to our subscribers in Georgia. The article is about our adoption story and I wanted to share it.

A Change of Heart
By Laura Jeong, Intercountry Adoption Specialist

I remember the first time my husband, Jason, brought up the idea of adoption. He mentioned how he had always been open to adopting and asked me what I thought about it. That was about two years into our marriage, and we weren’t planning to have children for two more years.

I rejected the idea, telling him that I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to love an adopted child as much and as naturally as I knew I would a biological child. When I made this statement, I wasn’t very far from the adoption world. In fact, I recently had started working at Bethany as a birthparent counselor and domestic infant adoption specialist. Even as I helped families make adoption plans and thought of adoptive families as big-hearted, wonderful people, it just wasn’t in my plans for my family.

I had reservations stemming from the stigma of shame and pity so closely attached to adoption in the Asian culture. My reasoning was that Asian families didn’t adopt, and if they did, it was only to keep a family secret or to hide something shameful in their eyes, like infertility. With the exception of meeting a few people who had been adopted, I didn’t know a single Asian family who had adopted, even into my later adult life.

But sure enough, God had a plan for my life. He began opening my heart more and more through each adoption I experienced. With every child I saw in the hospital, being born into a world where broken families are a reality, I saw that God had a purpose for that child and a promise of restoration and love.

During this time, God also revealed to me that our children are not ours, but God’s, and we are stewards of the children whom God has given us the privilege to raise. I realized that God was calling me to do more than merely work at an adoption agency; He was calling me to adopt!

I think it’s true that God doesn’t call the prepared but prepares the called. He taught us just how biblical adoption is. Ephesians 1:5 NIV says, “he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will….” The verse tells us that He made us His own. Adoption is truly an amazing reflection of the gospel of Jesus. With that understanding, I eventually caught up to the place where Jason was-where he had patiently waited and prayed for me-and together, we decided to build our family through adoption.

God began to fill me with excitement and anticipation at the thought of meeting our child for the first time and bringing our child home. But God didn’t stop there. He grew my desire to be a mother to become greater than my desire to be pregnant. I even became the more proactive one, pushing us forward through the process and taking on the task of completing the mountain of paperwork.

I feel that God brought me to Bethany largely to help families through their emotional journey of adoption, but God wanted us to experience something more joyful and beautiful for our family. However, what I didn’t realize was that God was using us to reach the Asian community as well. God has allowed us to share our story with others, in hopes of diminishing that cultural stigma and to teach about an aspect of God’s character.

We have received great support from our friends and have been encouraged by their enthusiasm for our plans. I especially love hearing from people how God is softening the hearts of their spouses, who were, at first, just as resistant to adopting as I was. When I hear that now, I just grin, knowing that God is preparing them for something more beautiful and eternal than they realize.

us in NYC Laura, intercountry adoption specialist, and her husband, Jason, are pictured here on top of the Rockefeller Center in New York City for their five-year anniversary. Laura and Jason are in the process of adopting from South Korea.

us in Korea Laura and Jason took a trip to South Korea in May 2008. It was Laura’s first time visiting since her family emigrated from South Korea to the United States. They visited Holt Children’s Services while in South Korea, the agency Bethany works with for intercountry adoptions. They are pictured here standing in front of Deoksugung Palace.

It’s now out of our hands

Today, we sent our home study paperwork off! It should get to Korea in about a week or so. We’ve done our part, and now the process is out of our hands. This is the only part of the process that we can control how fast we move. The rest is up to God, but we completely believe and trust that the entire process is in God’s hands. And, that is a good thing.

I am already excited and anxious about when and how things will move along. Even though we just sent off the paperwork, I already cannot wait for our child to come home. Waiting for your heart’s desire is hard, and everyone knows that, but now that we are waiting for such a thing as this, I only now realize how difficult the waiting is for adoptive families. Though I was always sincere in my hopes to comfort them, I see how easily I’d tossed those words around…

This journey is far deeper and more wonderful than I had imagined before. And through this journey, I realize how much more beautiful the character of God is, that He would adopt us into His forever family!

united, at last

Last night, actually, only a few hours ago, I witnessed two children arrive to the airport to be united with their forever families. The children were brought by the escorts, and they all endured a long travel, with the last flight delaying the moment of their union. Everything seems stalled when something so important is at hand, doesn’t it? As we were waiting for the children to arrive, I saw one of the parents standing there without saying much, and I saw another fidgeting like crazy in such anxiety and anticipation. They all had their hearts on their sleeves, hoping that they would finally meet their child and not wait another moment.

It was very quiet at the airport, being close to 3 am and all, and we found out that the babies had arrived at another gate. The parents and Jason and I walked speedily to the baggage claim, but I knew, in their hearts, they wanted to run but was keeping their composure. Of course, their hearts were already there.

And then, at last, the moment they were waiting for.

They each walked to their child and waited eagerly for the escorts to hand over the baby so they could hold, touch, talk to, kiss, and embrace their child. The children began to cry at the strange and overwhelming environment, and they grieved. With their tiny voices, and little droplets of tears, they grieved. It was incredible to see that they could sense that it was a stressful time.

Knowing that those children were abandoned or relinquished, for whatever the circumstances their birth parents were in, and for them to be received into a family to be loved, reminded me of the love that God has for us. We may be, or may feel that we were, abandoned by our earthly parent(s), but our Heavenly Father will never leave us. “In love, he predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ..” (Ephesians 1:5). Those parents exemplified the love of Christ through the act of adoption.

All the while, I was attempting to talk to the parents, take some pictures for them, and make sure everyone was doing okay, but it was such an inexplicable moment for me. I expected this to affect me, but it affected me in an unexpected way. I think when you experience another life being changed in such a powerful way, it undoubtedly changes you.