just like that.

Guest Post by: Joanna Hodges

When did you know you wanted to be a mom? I remember a sleepover in junior high with some of my friends. Everyone was going around the circle, telling what they hoped their husbands would be like and how many kids they wanted to have. When it was my turn, I looked at everyone and said, "But how do you know you're going to get married, and how do you know you will have kids?" Everyone stared at me for a few minutes as if I had two heads. Then one of the girls laughed and said, "Why would you ask that? Of course we'll do those things!" The other girls giggled and conversation turned to new topics, but the question in my mind still remained.

When I thought of my future, I didn't necessarily see myself as a wife, or even a mom. I don't know why, but I always thought even as a young girl that my life wouldn't take the traditional route. Fast forward a few more years, and I continued to wonder what God had in store as the doctor visits began to point to the fact that bearing children might not be in His plan. Then I met and married my amazing husband who has wanted to be a father from the age of 9, and he said he still wanted to spend the rest of his life with me even if I was infertile. What a guy. We put the whole idea on hold so we could finish seminary, but began to revisit the issues once we moved to a settled place and Ross became a pastor.

That was the beginning of poking, prodding, doctor visits, a lot of tears, and a lot of prayers. Although we considered fertility treatments, we never felt at peace about the decision. We prayed and prayed for God to give us direction, and then the idea of adoption continued to pop up on our radar. All along, I was very honest with Ross that I still didn't see myself as a mom, and that the desire for me wasn't strong even though the infertility diagnosis was tough. I was honest before the Lord about all of this. We prayed together that if God did want us to move forward with fertility treatments or adoption, he would change my heart.

And then I attended a baby shower for a fellow church member. Boom. Seeing all those tiny little outfits and blankets tapped into an area of my heart that had previously been closed up. In fact, I lost it. Thankfully in God's providence, I was sitting next to a dear woman who was going through her own grieving process. She saw me crying, and I whispered my pain in her ear. She held my hand throughout the rest of that shower. I don't think I could have made it through without her. I remember bursting through the door of our apartment afterwards, and crying, "Ross, I just completely lost it, and I'm so sad! But I'm so thankful because I want to be a mom!"

And so began our research. We met with a dear couple at our church who had adopted their three children, and hearing them talk about it got us so excited. For the first time, this felt right. When my husband and I finally made the formal decision to start the adoption process, I had been leading our women's group at church through the book of Ephesians. In the very first section of his letter, Paul breaks out in a doxology of praise to the Heavenly Father who chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be His. Paul says that in love, God "predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will (1:5)." Adoption is part of who we are as Christians. We knew that as our mentors explained to us, our children would have the benefit of being adopted twice! Our prayer regarding adoption was to our Father, "from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named (3:15)".

Over the course of the next seven months, we went through seven situations with potential birth mothers that didn't work out for various reasons. The long wait for our child was probably the hardest and the best thing that could have ever happened to us as we relied on prayer and calling to mind God's promises to us through it all. Finally, the call from our lawyer came that we were chosen, and in fact we could pick up our son the next day! Words cannot describe the feeling of euphoria. It was time, God's appointed time, for our son to come into our lives.

You may wonder what it's like to adopt because it seems so very different from the way God brought your children into your life. Although I didn't go through nine months of pregnancy, I went through many aching months of waiting for our child. I went through my own kind of labor: paperwork, policies, plenty of sleepless nights, promoting ourselves through a photo book, pushing forward to the arrival of our son. Just like you, I waited and waited until that amazing moment when I held him in my arms for the first time and all the previous pain faded away. And just like that, I was Mom. What an unexpected and indescribable joy.