Scarlett Lillian is a blogger mama. She loves Jesus, interior design, essential oils, the color pink, and her precious babies. She became a mama by adoption and had a little surprise along the way. Read more about Scarlett’s adoption story.
What’s your name? Scarlett
Did you adopt alone or with a partner? What is his/her name? With my husband, Stephen.
Were you and your partner on the same page when it comes to adoption or did one of you need convincing? Yes we were on the same page. However, I was the one who did not want to adopt originally. As an only child whose dad went to Heaven too soon, I wanted to carry on my family's bloodline. But as every adoptive mom told me, once you get your child in your arms, DNA no longer matters, they just become your child (which I found to be completely true!). So after a lot of wrestling with the Lord in my heart, I finally said I was willing to adopt, and it was soon after we got matched with our children's birthparents.
How did you adopt? (Private, relative care, foster care, etc) We first dipped our toes into the state system years before trying to adopt an older child out of the foster system, but ran into so many headaches with that route that we ultimately went the private agency adoption route.
How many children have you adopted? We set out to only adopt one, thinking she was going to be our one and only. But then when she was 9 months, we got a call from our agency that her birth-mom was pregnant again, and did we want to adopt her sibling on the way? We said yes, and I say we got to experience both sides of the spectrum in trying to become parents. First the immense longing for a child, and then the surprise, another one is on the way!
How and why did you choose adoption? My husband and I were unable to have our own biological children, but I never wanted that to be the "reason" why we adopted, which is why it took me a long time to come around to wanting to adopt. I wanted it to be a conscious longing to adopt, never a last resort. The Lord continued to be gracious in opening my eyes to the beauty of adoption one story at a time, and showing me how dear it is to His heart, and ultimately I came around to seeing it through His eyes and what a miracle in and of itself it truly is.
What were your biggest hurdles to adoption day? Honestly, getting to the point of saying "I'm willing to adopt" was the hardest part. I remember that once we said "Ok, let's do this," feeling like I was standing at the bottom of a huge mountain I had no idea how to climb, but I trusted that God would send the right people into our lives to help navigate through the world of adoption, let alone tackling the finances needed to make it happen. And I had to tell myself, it just begins with one step. Then another step. Then another. And eventually we'll tackle this mountain that seems so daunting to figure out. It was so beautiful the circle of love that formed around us to help make our adoption happen, and I will forever be so grateful to everyone who helped us.
What emotions were you feeling before, during, and on adoption day? For me, the emotions came more so on the day our daughter was born. We got to be there at the hospital, and I got to be the first to hold her. I even was able to induce lactation and breastfeed her myself, which meant a lot to me since I wasn't able to carry her myself. So on that first day of holding her, after hugging her birthparents goodbye, and feeling that immense honor of being trusted to love this child, all the emotions hit me sitting there in the hospital holding her. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed because of all the years of trying to become a mom, I finally was one. It all started with a promise God gave me 5 years before, when I found out we may not be able to have our own biological children, and He spoke to my heart that day that He would create a baby girl for me and He gave me her name that day. For 5 years, I prayed for her by name, and now I was sitting there holding my promised child, through a completely different way I had ever imagined, but how beautiful her story had evolved first through the courage of her birthparents to choose life for her, and for our courage to say we were willing to love a child not of our own but as our own. And then 9 months later, surprise, God doubled our blessing when we found out about our son was on the way too!
Would you adopt again? We are done adopting considering we only expected to adopt one, but got the surprise blessing of adopting two siblings!
Has the experience been all positive or have there been things that turned you off to adoption process? Every adoption story is so different and has it's ups and downs, but overall we were blessed with a positive experience. We will forever be grateful to the birthparents who trusted us to love their two heartbeats, and the agency who helped make it all happen.
What is the first thing you consciously did as a family after adoption was finalized? For us, though we had our babies from day 1, our adoptions were not finalized until 3 months later. I feel like a lot of our celebrating happened before that time, and the finalization day was just the icing on top!
Did you take professional pictures of your new family? Why/Why not? Absolutely! I was previously a professional photographer so I completely understood the importance of documenting our family history in the making!
If you took pictures, how do they make you feel when you see them on your walls? And why would you recommend them to families who have just adopted? Everything they always told me is true... you blink and before you know it, they have gotten so big. My daughter is 2.5 years old and it still just feels like yesterday that she was born. I cherish all the professional photos on our walls of our family that we've gotten along the way. But I still need to work on both of their baby books, that's another story. ha! Also, the first year of motherhood will feel like such a blur with all the changes swirling each day and sleep deprivation, so don't delay getting professional photos done! They will become such a gift to look back on!
How is your relationship with biological family? And have they maintained a relationship with your child(ren)? We have an open adoption, so we still keep in touch with our children's birthparents and send photos and updates and chat from time to time. I feel like we had an exceptionally beautiful friendship with our birthparents after going through two pregnancies alongside them, and I will be forever grateful to them both for choosing life not once but twice, and choosing us of all people to love and raise who have become our greatest blessings.
Where do you see your family in 10 years? I plan to homeschool, so I'm sure each day will be an adventure with an 11 & 12 year old. But my greatest prayer is that they will always have joyful hearts know matter where life takes them. And that they will always know and share about how their stories started with victory overcoming so many odds. One of my favorite verses for them is: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." -Jeremiah 1:5 God has beautiful plans for their life and I can't wait to see what He does with the gifts He has instilled in each of them through starting their stories with how he set them apart through adoption.
How has adoption changed you as a person? It has really helped me to understand the depth of God's heart for all of us who have been adopted as His children. When you really look at the center of what Christianity is all about, it starts with adoption. I've said all along that I never really understood the depth of God as my Heavenly Father until I lost my earthly father to cancer. And likewise, I never really understood the depth of my true unwavering faith until I faith was all I had to rely on to continue believing that God would fulfill the desires of my heart to become a mother. Though I never imagined adoption would be my path to motherhood, I'm sure glad He knows better than I the bigger picture because I can't imagine my life now without these children hand selected to be mine.
What would you say to someone contemplating adoption? Don't stress about all the logistics that go along with the confusing and daunting adoption process. Just take the first step, and then another step. And don't be afraid to ask questions to those who have been on the journey ahead of you. I'm so grateful for all those adoptive mommas who became my village with guidance. The adoption community loves to help and will become an amazing encouragement for you!