These dear friends of ours have stepped out in faith and chosen five precious children to love and welcome into their home. Most would look at what they have done and tell them how amazing and brave they are. How they have the luckiest children. How they could never actually do what Chris and Amberly have done. Although, I agree that they are some of the bravest people I know, I'd like you to take a closer look at their story. Chris and Amberly are a lot like you, most likely. They walked in faith one step at a time, trusting that God knew where they were going, and he led them to this beautiful sibling group of five.
Interview with Amberly
Charity: How did you end up deciding to adopt?
Amberly: When I thought about adoption, I always saw those couples as perfect people who had everything together already. I didn’t know many people who adopted, and the whole idea felt so distant and far away for so long.
Once, maybe four or so years ago, I requested a packet about private infant adoptions, and when the huge envelope arrived, I opened it, looked through the mounds of pamphlets, cried and hid it in my closet. It was overwhelming, and it was scary. I don’t even think I talked to Chris about it.
Looking back, it feels like, there were so many small nudges leading us to adopt. Admittedly, I am someone who does not welcome drastic changes! Ha! This year it feels like every single aspect of our lives have changed in huge ways.
We've had three miscarriages. I remember feeling more and more isolated as this journey went on-opening up about it less and less to people around me. I was tired of feeling bad, crying, and tired of my prayers not being answered the way I wanted them to. I was so very tired of hearing all of the well-meaning suggestions. My heart was very hardened. I think I can admit, I was holding on to some expectation for my life that was not in God’s plan.
God softened my heart towards adopting, but specifically older children. Once I stopped feeling guilty and angry for not being able to have biological children, adoption didn’t seem so distant—this was the way God would build our family. It was not something sudden that I can remember, but significant intentional conversations by others, being around families who adopted, and a persistent guidance from the Lord to ask more questions, and observe more and more, and ultimately to take those first steps last January in 2016.
Charity: How do you answer the question "why five?" What process did you walk through to get you to this point?
Amberly: When we filled out the pre-paperwork for our agency, we immediately both felt called to adopt a sibling group. That seemed like an easy question for both of us to answer, among the tough questions. We rarely discussed numbers in the beginning, but closer to the end of licensing, we started to discuss actual numbers. Both of us come from large families and so a sibling group never scared us—but five was not a number we had mentioned.
When we heard about the five (“the five” is what we called them for weeks), I prayed it about so intently before I brought it up to my family. It was not easy. I think God quickly put people in our path that just spoke God’s strength into this decision. Conversations that reminded us that it was a decision not to be ignored, and that fear was not from the Lord. We also tried to stop calling them “the five” and instead looked at them as individuals. This helped so much to see that it was five separate children who needed a family to step up, and to not be scared of loving them just because there were five of them.
Once I met them, I remember telling my “lunch bunch” at school—an amazing group of women that I worked with, about my first meeting with them. I could barely describe them without tears streaming. Everyone was so incredibly supportive. When we discussed our intention to adopt this group of five, our families were amazing. Certainly, there were widened eyes and lots of repeating the number five a few times, but truly we were supported above and beyond.
Charity: What difficult things have you encountered since the kids have been home? Failed expectations? Sins revealed? Behavior?
Amberly: The summer was so difficult. I felt alone, but I wasn’t alone at all. I had so many people that wanted to help, but I didn’t know what to ask for. Something that I have struggled with is asking for help—I have realized I wait too long to ask for help. I guess I try to do too much, and without realizing it, I wait until pure exhaustion to ask for help.
Failed expectations? Interestingly, I assumed all five would move towards feeling accepted all at the same time. Like, a nice little line, I guess we would all move through our milestones together all nearly at the same time. I am learning first-hand that each little perspective adds to how they each process through all the new changes. I know together we are moving in the right direction, but we are moving at different paces in the right direction, and I’m learning that’s ok! I also expected weekends to be so much more laid back and free of stress than they actually are.
Sins revealed? Definitely, I had conditioned myself to believe that I thrive when I’m in control, so I have struggled so much releasing that control to God. I can’t control anything, and trying to do so, creates so much mess and stress.
Behavior? We notice that largely, it is how we plan ahead that dictates what behaviors we see. Surprises and unplanned visits usually create fear and unregulated over-excitement.
Charity: How has your dependency on God increased?
Amberly: Maybe I thought that I would need God to help me manage their meltdowns and attitudes and behaviors more, however, it is my own personal meltdowns, control seeking behaviors, and attitudes that increase my dependency on God.
Charity: What is your hope for your family? For each of your children?
Amberly: I hope our kids see forgiveness being modeled. I hope our kids understand God’s love through their story… I hope they can see what redemption looks like. I hope they experience trust, healing, and feel wholly accepted for who they are.
Charity: What would you tell a family considering adoption?
Amberly: If you’re considering adoption, pray first, but then communicate with people who have adopted or are going through the beginning stages. At times, you will feel so incredibly alone, and having families who can walk with you literally because they have adopted, or are adopting is very important to have in your life.
Chris and Amberly are doing amazing. They have worked hard and have made so many adjustments to their lives, their expectations, and the way they parent their children. I have first handedly seen God changing them! He uses hard things to carve out pieces of us that keep us from him, and he is so good for it!
Hannah, Sky, Tyler, David, and Macey are also doing so well. They are the brave ones, opening their hearts to trust again! These are precious children discovering their preciousness!
What a beautiful story of redemption that is being lived out in each of their stories! Each individual heart, with all of it's wounds, finds healing in safety and love. Each heart learning to trust again as it settles in to its new home. Oh, that my own heart would find it's home and rest in Jesus! Just as Chris and Amberly are learning to walk patiently and kindly with their children to win their hearts and trust, God does so perfectly with me and with each of his children! It is a journey. It starts with the first step.
Amberly told me that after the family left their shoot, they loaded up and she cried! She said she felt like it was such a win for their family, and they needed a win! Five beautiful kiddos, stuffing their faces with banana splits and banana pudding, with their mom and dad. They are a family. Enjoy!
Shout out to the amazing Farm Luck Soda Fountain in downtown Waxahachie for letting us use your beautiful store for our shoot! If you're close by, check 'em out! Their desserts are amazing!!