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Olivia Verillo, West Chester PA

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My husband, Jeremy, and I married in 2002 – fresh out of college. We waited a year and a half before we felt ready to start a family and decided, like many couples, to try to have a biological child. However, we had known before we got married that having biological children would be difficult and due to some other physical limitations, the adoption journey was on our heart almost from the beginning. Almost five years passed and we knew that I would likely not get pregnant. We began actively praying about taking the first steps on our adoption journey.

In the fall of 2008, Jeremy and I attended an informational meeting about adoption and what we could expect along the way. Our hearts were full of excitement, trusting that God had led us to this path, that he would see us through each step of the process. Some of our very dear friends preceded us in an adoption journey as well. Through their experience we were able to see how God works in miraculous ways and were blessed to be part of their extreme excitement of being chosen as parents two weeks after starting their “wait” (as it’s known in adoption circles).

It took us a little while to get through our paperwork phase but in April of 2009 our own “wait” had begun. We scoffed at the warnings that there is no average wait time because each and every birth-mother is different just as each and every waiting couple is different. Time after time we were told that it could take no time at all or it could take up to 2 years. In our minds we decided that there was no way we would be waiting longer than a few months, tops.

I believe it took about two weeks before we received our first notice of a pregnant mother who was making an adoption plan. We were able to read some specifics and decide if we wanted to be in the group presented to her to choose from. We chose “Yes” and began praying and hoping and telling our families about it and were so certain that of course we would be chosen and this first child would become part of our family. We were not chosen. It was heartbreaking but we knew that God’s plan was perfect. We began being advised of new situations fairly regularly from then on we prayerfully considered each one and had chosen “yes” to most of them. For us, each time we were not selected felt like rejection, as if the child’s birth-mother saw something wrong about us that she didn’t like.

Three months of waiting and not being chosen had passed and we received a wonderful, nerve-wracking, phone call. A baby’s birth-parents had narrowed down their options to us and another couple. They wanted to meet in person to help make their decision. Praise God! We had a great meeting and felt very comfortable with the birth-parents. As we were driving home, discussing the conversations, Jeremy mentioned that there were a few conversation topics he wanted to bring up but felt “held back” internally. We both came to the conclusion that perhaps it was God holding him back for our benefit. After all, we had prayed that He would guide our conversations and give us wisdom. Our next call was informing us that we had not been chosen. The birth-parents felt like they had made a stronger connection to the other couple – in part based on a couple of those topic Jeremy had not talked about. At first we felt like we couldn’t breathe. It probably took a good week before we stopped screaming at God, “WHY?” I didn’t fault Jeremy at any point, I was too busy being ticked that God would encourage him to not bring up something that could have helped us connect better. Through so much prayer and what I call “discussions with God” we both felt peace in our hearts. God had chosen. He knew before that child was conceived who his parents would be and it wasn’t us. We also knew that God had done the same for the child that would be ours.

We continued to wait. In the beginning of not being chosen, I thought that I would remember each and every time we were not chosen. Praise be to God, I do not. I do remember a couple of the times though. For instance, on Mother’s Day weekend of 2010, we were on vacation with a group of friends and their families. We found out the day before Mother’s Day that we were, once again, not chosen. It was gut-wrenching but instead of letting these friends in, we suffered in silence, not wanting to ruin their weekend celebrations. How I wish we would have sought out their support!

Throughout our entire time of waiting, we struggled with the tug-of-war between the obvious questions – “what is wrong with us? Why are we not being chosen?” And the supernatural answer, “God has chosen your child. Be still and wait on Him.” I was continually encouraged by time spent in the Word of God and He brought a verse to my attention that I ultimately wrote on a piece of paper and put in a locket around my neck. It was The Message version of Romans 8:26-28,

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

In November of 2010, we were beyond tired of the waiting. We began having a discussion about taking a break; perhaps looking into other options. But had decided that we should wait until after the holidays to start discussing it for real. In December of 2010, my phone rang and I saw that it was our adoption agency. We were in the middle of renewing all of our record checks and clearances, so I answered the phone very nonchalantly. However, what I heard next was, “Are you sitting down? Does Jeremy happen to be there?” “Yes, and YES!” Our social worker went on to tell us that we were CHOSEN! I still get the lump in my throat at the memory! We got to meet the birth-mother of our baby the week before Christmas and had the joy of surprising family at our Christmas gatherings. In less than a month our son, Micah Benjamin, was born. His name, Micah, chosen from well before he was born, means “Who is like God?” We have not stopped asking that question. Though many hard trials continue to happen in our lives, we know that God is sovereign. He carried us through our adoption journey and continues to be our strength.

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