The following adoption story is one of a former coworker who is very dear to me, Scott Rainey. The Rainey family’s story is incredibly moving as they adopted three sisters who were previously in foster care. A special thanks to the Raineys for sharing their story with us.
I have often been told that God answers all prayers, but in only three ways: yes, no, and, sometimes, most distressingly to our limited, impatient minds - wait. It is in this third way that my wife Katrina and I have most clearly seen Jesus at work in our lives – the times when it seems He is not there, are, in reality, the times when He is closest to us.
Upon realizing that having children biologically was apparently out of the question for us, we turned to the idea of adoption. We first explored adopting from the Marshall Islands, a small, poor nation in the South Pacific. We prepared ourselves emotionally and practically for our new child – setting up a nursery, reading up on how to care for a baby, alerting our families that a new addition was on the way. Katrina’s friends even threw her a baby shower.
Finally, the baby we were arranged to adopt was born, and we got as far as giving the adoption agency her name for the birth certificate when the adoption fell through. Shortly thereafter, all international adoptions from the Marshall Islands were halted, owing to shady practices by some adoption agencies. Shocked and saddened by the loss, we turned to God, and looked for answers.
After a short time, we redirected our energies towards adopting a child from Ukraine. After several months and endless miles of bureaucratic red tape, we found ourselves in an eerily similar situation: all international adoptions from Ukraine had been shut down, owing to a scandal within the adoption ministry in Kiev. With this avenue closed as well, we again sought solace from the Lord.
Several weeks later, we were contacted by a friend who was a pastor. He introduced us to a woman who had become pregnant in an unfortunate situation, and wanted a Christian couple to adopt the baby. Shortly afterward, our lawyer introduced us to a woman in a similar situation. Within weeks, I myself was contacted by a young woman who’d been a student in the youth group at my old church. Now 26 and unhappily married, she told me she was pregnant with her sixth child, and wanted to know if we would consider adopting the baby.
All of these situations fell through. Our despair deepened, as it seemed we would never get any children. We began to ask ourselves, what if God really doesn’t want us to have kids? It was a valid question – after all, we had now experienced five failed adoption attempts in a little over 2 ½ years. Our nursery gathered dust; bottles of Enfamil began to expire with age.
Our attention turned to the foster care system, and older children awaiting adoption. We sent in countless inquiries on older children, from all across the nation. We inquired about children of all races and backgrounds, desperately hoping to find our kids. Weeks dragged into months. Every inquiry became a dead end.
March, 2005. Katrina and I had made a nightly ritual of looking at the countless faces of children in foster care, awaiting homes. A photo of three small girls – two redheads and a blonde – flashed across Katrina’s screen. Meet Emily, Nikki and Kayla! the first line of the profile read. The three sisters, 10, 8 and 5, had just become available for adoption that day. We sent in an inquiry. Their social worker responded the next morning, asking for our paperwork. We sent it via overnight mail.
“Don’t get your hopes up,” I cautioned Katrina.
“But these girls are different,” she offered.
We were told two weeks later that we were among some 40 families who met the basic requirements to adopt the girls, and that we would be hearing more shortly should we advance in the screening process.
Through April, May, and June, we passed hurdle after hurdle, until it came down to us and one other family. We took part in a conference call with several social workers, and were told we’d know the next day what their selection was.
Less than an hour later, the phone rang. The only words I remember the social worker saying are “… and we would like you to consider becoming Emily, Nikki, and Kayla’s parents.”Three weeks later, we nervously entered a meeting room at a small church in western Colorado, and discovered the truth of the previous three and a half years: Jesus had never abandoned us. To the contrary, He had led us through the desert for all those months, holding the two of us close by His side the entire way, telling us wait, wait, wait… and now, I saw before me what we had been waiting for: the most beautiful little girls in the world. Our girls.
The girls - 2012
Adoption Day 2006