I thought I understood motherhood. And then we chose to adopt.

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In September of 2017, we set out on the journey of adopting internationally. We made a decision to grow our family, just like we did when we started trying to get pregnant with our son. September was nine months ago. If I were pregnant again, this is the point when I’d be giving birth. Instead, our daughter sits in a transition home halfway around the world.

I remember the last month of pregnancy with Atticus. I was huge and heavy and hot, and every day, I could focus on nothing else except my body, watching for warning signs of labor and wondering if this. was. it. I loved pregnancy. It was exciting, and I marveled all the time at the miracle of it. But by the time I hit 37 weeks, I was done, done, done. I was sick of waiting. All I wanted was my child in my arms.

Pregnancy and childbirth and postpartum taught me so many things about patience and faith when you feel like you’re in your desert season. I am trying to bring those lessons to remembrance as we walk through this process of adoption but truthfully? This is a whole different ballgame. This is a waiting I never knew with Atticus. And this waiting is especially difficult, because that’s when fear creeps in. The moments of “What in the world are you doing?” or “This is absolutely crazy!” The worrying about school, about her eye, about whether she’ll sleep well or how I’m going to learn how to do her hair. The stress about money and bills and the expenses of a family of four. The waiting can make you doubt, if you let it.

But then I think about all that has happened to get us to this point, and I think — how could this NOT be a miracle? I didn’t have to become a missionary in 2009, but I did. I could have gone anywhere, but it was to her country, a tiny nation I’d never heard of, that I went. There were well over a hundred children I worked with in several different orphanages, yet it was with her that I formed a bond strong enough that she would call me “Ma” while the other kids called me “Auntie”. The thought of it brings me to tears. It’s as if she was always meant to be mine.

She was my family before I even had one.

Friends, adoption is beautiful, and it is hard, and it is expensive, and your love and support has carried us thus far. With your help, we have raised almost $19,000. That means we have fundraised almost an entire adoption. We didn’t have to take out a loan because you, our village, believed in us as parents enough to donate, and buy shirts, and purchase necklaces, and share our campaign, and pray unceasingly. That humbles me in ways I cannot convey.

We recently applied for a grant to help fund the remaining adoption costs but were sad to learn that it was not approved. This means we are back to fundraising in unique, innovative ways for the remaining $6000. This money is for: the last installment for the adoption agency; visa costs; travel; and an updated home study (since it will expire at the end of the year due to the delay in processing our paperwork).

I love J. so much it hurts, and I cannot wait to have her in my arms. More than that, I cannot wait to tell her — a young girl abandoned as a toddler, who has grown up a statistic — just how loved she is by all of you, complete strangers who believe she is worthy of a family and a home and a new start. Thank you for loving our daughter in such a way.

I know you might be sick of hearing about fundraising (and that’s ok, by the way!) but I have to mention again that our campaign is still running, and we’d be so honored if you joined our “Love Makes a Family” tribe. Please consider making an online, tax-deductible donation by going to: https://mystory.lifesongfororphans.org/stories/love-makes-family/

Additionally you may send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Delhagen 7718”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.

We have also partnered with Gobena Coffee to offer fresh-roasted coffee and accessories like mugs or filters, and we get 50% of each purchase sent to our Lifesong account immediately! To shop, visit https://my.gobena.org/stories/delhagen-adoption-fundraiser/

If you already have, buy for someone you love. If our adoption journey has taught me anything, it’s that we all belong to each other, and love is the loudest voice. Thank you, friends.

Until she’s home


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