Lisa Leonard Designs

chrissie’s story {chapter one}

February 16th | adventures, family

we just introduced the new chosen {adoption} necklace and we’re thrilled with the response! my twin sister chrissie has agreed to share her miracle story of adoption with us! it’s such a beautiful story. these are her words…
I knew I wanted to be a mom someday. When Matt and I started talking about getting married and having a family, we talked about having kids. Maybe two or three or four little ones. Having kids was a given, there was no question about it. We looked forward to being parents together.

Matt and I got married, and marriage was sweet. I felt a beautiful sense of “home” being married to my love and my best friend. We took trips, ate out with friends, and spent quiet nights at home. We enjoyed being a family, the two of us. We were content. We still wanted to have kids, just not yet. Maybe next year, or in two years.

Five years passed. I felt as content as ever, being married to my wonderful husband. Our lives felt whole. Our friends started to have babies, but the time just didn’t feel right for us yet. I just wasn’t ready. It felt too soon. I thought maybe in a year or so, I’d be ready to start having children.

Another couple years went by. Our friends were having their second and third children. People started asking us questions more and more frequently and giving us advice. “How long have you been married?” “When are you going to have kids?” “Are you able to have kids?” Are you pregnant?” “I heard you’re expecting!” “Are you trying to get pregnant?” “What’s holding you back?” “Why are you waiting so long?” “Don’t wait too much longer.” “Just go for it.” Everyday I faced these questions, everywhere I went.

I began to feel an immense, overwhelming amount of pressure, and I was utterly confused. “What’s wrong with me? When will I be ready to start having children? What if I’m never ready? I’m past thirty. I’m getting older. What’s wrong with us? What am I supposed to do?” I was completely consumed with self-doubt, frustration, and sadness.As hard as I tried, I couldn’t make myself ready to have a child. I couldn’t muster the desire to get pregnant. It just wasn’t there. I couldn’t picture my belly growing or delivering a child. I thought about pregnancy and motherhood constantly. I loved children, so why didn’t I want to be pregnant? I began to think that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mother.

Matt and I talked about the possibility that we wouldn’t ever have children. I felt mostly fine with it. I felt a peace about just being the two of us. Life together was full and sweet, and there were plenty of opportunities to teach and nurture children in capacities other than parenting. I was still teaching and working in the nursery at church. I had nieces and nephews I adored.

Maybe God had taken away our desire to have children because he had a different plan for us. I began to try to settle into this new way of thinking, “Okay, so we probably won’t have kids.” Of all the situations I could conjure up, this made the most sense. We would be one of those couples that never had kids. We would march to the beat of our own drummer. We didn’t have to fit into the pattern that culture laid out. We could be different and that could be good. I told myself all of these things, and I believed them. Or mostly believed them.

Until one Sunday a few months later when everything changed. We were eating lunch in a Mediterranean restaurant near our house. My face was buried in my hands and I was sobbing uncontrollably into my hummus. (Fortunately, the restaurant was almost completely empty.) Matt listened patiently and with concern as I blubberingly spewed all my thoughts and feelings. He listened and nodded and listened and stared at me, wondering if I had completely lost it.We decided to go the foster care route. My good friends, Paul and Tracy, had been foster parents and recommended we use the same agency they went through. Tracy gave me the phone number, and I filed it in my planner. All I needed to do was work up the courage to call.

I was nervous. I had no idea what I was doing, and I worried that I wouldn’t be qualified to be a foster parent. A couple days later, on my lunch break, hands trembling, I dialed the number for the foster agency. I stumbled over my words, trying to articulate the fact that my husband and I wanted to be foster parents. We made an appointment with a case worker to come visit our home to interview us and do an initial home inspection.

I started cleaning, organizing, and trying to make us appear to be the perfect couple. I worried that I was too fat, not good-looking enough, too old, and a whole bunch of other superficial details that have nothing to do with being a loving parent.

The interview was simple enough, a few basic questions and explanations. We took our case worker around our home, and she pointed out different areas where would need to make adjustments to ensure safety for children-outlet covers, locks on cabinets, decals on glass doors, and on and on. She was very friendly and affirming. She gave us a stack of papers an inch thick to start filling out.

We got right to work on the papers, answering personal question after invasive, personal question, and getting the house ship shape. We also started telling family and close friends about our plan to become foster parents. As you can imagine, we received a wide range of responses. Most were supportive, some concerned, some discouraging, some knowing a child who needed a home and hoping it might work out with us. Everyone with an opinion. My level of excitement and fear never waned. Daily I continued to do research and pray and dream.

During this time, I took a trip by myself to the central coast to visit my twin sister, Lisa. On the drive up I was chatting on the phone with my friend, Michele. We were catching up, talking about everything and nothing. At one point she mentioned that our friend, Les, had twin nieces who were staying with his parents for awhile. She said their names and told me they were three years old.

It was just a passing comment, just an update, an aside. But I couldn’t get their names out of my head. It seemed like there was something there. I can’t explain it. Something stirred in my heart. Have you ever had that sort of reaction to an otherwise ordinary situation? These little girls, whom I had never met, were already in my heart. I couldn’t wait to meet them.

chapter two coming soon!

45 Responses

  1. What a beautiful story! I would love to feature it on my blog if you are interested!

  2. Karen James says:

    Beautifully told.

    Please don’t make us wait too long for chapter two.

  3. Kara says:

    I had no idea you had a twin. How fun!
    As a family still waiting to adopt, I love reading other adoption stories. I hope you’re going to post chapter two soon, I gotta find out what happens next!! :)

  4. Vickie says:

    But I want Chapter 2 right now!! Please?

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Ahh! I can’t wait for chapter two…hurry hurry 😉

    Thanks for sharing this by the way. My husband and I are newly weds who would love to have kids some day. We have also felt that God is leading us to adopt or have foster children. You are watering a seed, that God planted, thank you Chrissie.

    -liz (learningtosl.blogspot.com)

  6. Ruthanne says:

    Ooooh. I can’t wait for chapter two.

    I don’t know if you remember or not, Chrissie, but I was able to chat with you a bit at Blissdom last year. You are truly lovely.

  7. teresa says:

    OMGoodness!
    I am a SOLID chill-bump.
    I really want to take the time just to have a good boo-hoo…in a SWEET way.
    The SMILES on those little sweet faces.
    Oh my goodness!
    The SMILES!
    How could Chrissie have known?
    When she kept putting “kids” off…little did she know she already HAD two children!
    Okay!
    Cold chills coming on again.
    Such a SWEET story!
    Can’t wait to hear part two.
    Thanks for sharing Sweet Chrissie!
    And I just know those little bundles of JOY LOVE their Aunt Lisa!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I know I do! ;o)

  8. Dolly says:

    I just LOVE adoption stories. So amazing! I love how its a picture of Christ adopting us into His family!

  9. Karen H says:

    Wow! I have always known that I wanted to be a mom too, but had a gut wrenching feeling that I wouldn’t ever be able to. After 5 years of marriage and all the tests, we found out that God had brought my husband into my life for many reasons, however, conceiving a child was not going to be one of them.

    At Six years of marriage we decided to do artificial insemination, but the month we were to go through with it, we found out my husband needed a double lung transplant.

    God has been so good to us… 6 years after his life saving transplant and 12 years of marriage…we long to be parents. I investigated child abuse for 6 years and I am well aware of the need for good foster homes. So… that is what we did. I had all the same concerns as Chrissie… silly as they are since I literally dropped many children off at foster homes that were 500x worse than my home and to people fostering for a paycheck.

    Today, as I write this I have a beautiful little boy asleep upstairs. He is not ours legally or biologically, but he calls me “mommy” and I love him so much.

    God knows what He is doing, I don’t, but I know that He brought that little one to me for a reason, and I will love him for the rest of my days!

    God Bless you Chrissie! And Lisa for sharing so much of you with all of us!

  10. Pam Godwin says:

    I love to hear adoption stories. I was adopted by a wonderful, Godly couple 52 years ago. I couldn’t have been more wanted…more loved…more adored…I know God chose me to be their child and for them to be my parents. To this day my mom and I laugh as people say…”You look more like your mom everyday!” Only God could do that!!

  11. <3
    can't wait to hear the rest.

  12. amber says:

    Wow I’m so intrigued. I can’t wait for chapter two! I’m relating a little bit since we only have (and are content with) just two. Everyone around us seems to have at least four kids and are surprised that we may be done. Thanks for the story. I’ll look forward to the next chapter!

    Amber

  13. Tracy Aung says:

    Lisa, It is so awesome that you posted Chrissie’s story on here! And I just LOVE that you made an adoption necklace! Now I am going to ask Paul to get one for me! haha!!

    Chrissie, as one of my best friends I am so in awe and thankful that we both share the JOY of adopting our children! I am SO thankful to God for your beautiful girls! I share your story wth others all the time!

    To everyone, I don’t really have the words to express what joy adoption has brought into my life!! Really only tears can express it! Our first daughter is from China and is 5 now! She is beautiful and amazing inside and out! Our son was adopted from a birthmother in CA. She was just $4oo away from an abortion. There are 3,700 abortions a day in America…but not this baby, our son was saved by God to do something awesome on this earth! He wasn’t going to be another statistic, and he is the most incredible little boy I have ever met! Almost 3 years old now! Then, after 8 years of trying, we got pregant and have a one year old little girl who brings a smile to my face every day. I can’t express the depths of my LOVE for them ALL! I have 3 miracles!!

  14. Melissa says:

    I can’t wait to read chapter 2! It is always amazing to me how God works things out for us before we even know!!! Love!!!!

  15. April Hunt says:

    Can’t wait for Chapter 2!!!! This is such a beautiful story already!

  16. Anni says:

    Absolutely beautiful story. I can’t wait to read the second part.

    I have the exact same reaction to having kids (as in, I don’t want to) but I would consider adoption or fostering. This is wonderful to read, and know that someone else felt the same but isn’t “selfish” as those of us who don’t want kids are so often labelled.

  17. Paige says:

    How awesome that God gave her TWINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is SO in the details!

    Can’t wait to read Chapter 2!!!

    paige

  18. Victoria says:

    Can’t wait to read more!!! Such a beautiful (beginning to a) story!

  19. Jean says:

    Oh my goodness…please finish the story soon. :)

  20. debra parker says:

    beautiful, just beautiful.

  21. Kristen says:

    L & C: Thank you so much for sharing your story.
    My husband and I met late in life and then struggled with infertility for over a year before finding that adoption was our path. This journey has been incredibly difficult, but so rewarding and has brought us ever closer. We’ve just begun with a wonderful agency and have nerves and hopes and so, so many questions. But in the end He does have a plan, we just need to follow. So that’s what we’re doing – one day at a time. Thank you again for sharing. I’m looking so forward to Part II!

  22. babi says:

    too much suspense is killing me, the story is beautiful!
    Hurry up!

  23. Chrissie says:

    Thanks, Lisa, for publishing my story. And thanks, everyone, for your sweet comments. I am blessed.

  24. Just as part 1 was bringing beautiful tears to my eyes it was over – very much looking forward to part 2 and the rest of the story! My sister was adopted at 4 days old a year before I was born. We could not be more sisters if we tried. Love a good adoption story :-) -Jen

  25. oh you have me on the edge of my seat!
    I can’t wait for chapter 2!!

  26. Myself unable to have kids.. want to.. ins not cover. However I am good. enjoy work with kids with after school care. Love other kids. (teary). No thoughts of adopt kids in our plans.

    What a beautiful story.. so ready for chapter 2!!(teary)

    Thank for sharing!!

  27. JD says:

    I know that feeling… I had the same feeling when my daughter’s best friend mentioned after months of having known her that she had a little sister that didn’t live with her… her little sister lives in a foster home. The same little sister we’re now in the process of being match with for adoption.

    Eager for part two — of your story, and ours!

  28. Jeannie says:

    Dear Lisa,

    I don’t even remember how I found your blog (googled Avila Valley Barn, I think?) but I fell in love with your beautiful photography. I have occasionally returned to check out what was new and discovered you had a child with heart defects. Wow, I thought, we have something big in common. It’s hard not to relate, mother to mother, the experience of sitting in a hospital room not knowing what is going to happen to your precious child.

    Today I returned to your site and felt I had to come out of the wood work to comment. Not only were you featuring adoption (how all four of our children have come to our family) but your dear sister fostered twins. The very thing my husband and I are doing right now! We have two adorable 5-month-old boys that we are hoping to adopt.

    Her story touched me greatly, and I can’t wait to read the other part(s). Thank you both for sharing!

  29. Jen says:

    What a lovely and inspiring story. I feel like I was meant to read this today. My husband and I are going through a very similar situation. We’ve been married 5 years, together 10 and still not ready to have a baby. We just sat down with a foster family agency last week and are going in to start the paperwork process tomorrow. COuldn’t ahve been better timing to read this and know that there are others out there with similar situations. Thank you for opening up and sharing.

    Warmly,
    Jen

  30. Whitney says:

    SO glad I am not the only one who didn’t have that “longing” to be pregnant…I love this story. Please, go on . . . you are amazing!

  31. Alison says:

    I have chills…what a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Can’t wait for chapter 2.

  32. Tina says:

    Sweet adoption story!! I look forward to the second chapter!

  33. Amy Lynne says:

    I am with everyone else, I cannot wait for chapter two! It is such a beautiful story so far!

  34. Chrissy says:

    Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing and I am looking forward to chapter 2.

  35. This is so precious! We are praying about adopting, so I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. :-)

  36. April says:

    Such a beautiful story. Brought tears to my eyes.
    I have always wanted a twin or to have twins. My 5 sisters luckluy are great:))) (and brother) And my 5 kids are plenty:)

  37. Em says:

    can’t wait to read chapter 2!! :-)

  38. Tamara says:

    this story is incredible. i’ve been thinking about it since i first read it last night, and knew this morning i had to comment. stuff like this is what makes blogging such a beautiful addition to my life. thank you to you and your sister for sharing.

  39. So the Best Hair in the Universe is HEREDITARY? You guys are so blessed! You look so much alike; she sounds like she is just as beautiful inside (and out) as you are. I can’t wait to read Part 2!

  40. LOVING this story, I can’t wait for chapter two! :)

  41. becca says:

    i’m not sure how long i can wait for chapter two! judging from the photos, i’d say this story most definitely has a happy ending and i can’t read to read it. thanks so much to your sister for sharing her story!

  42. desiree says:

    :) Yes – A mommy knows! My best friend is adopting & although they were in line for a placement of a “healthy baby” they kept looking at special needs and waiting list children. One day she called me and said, there is something about this one little boy that I cannot shake off – God is asking me to pray hard for him & I feel connected. Well, in short – He is now their son! God puts things in your heart & you know. You can just feel it. :)

  43. Leslie says:

    This has brought me to tears. You will never know how much sharing your personal experience means to me. Since I was a very young child I knew I wanted to be a mommy. I told everyone that I was going to adopt and no one that I was going to have children. I’ve never had that desire to have a “growing belly”. My husband and I became foster parents a year and a half ago. People often wonder what’s “wrong” with me that I’m not having my own, and no one believes us when we say we have never even tried to get pregnant. I’ve felt so alone for so long, and thought no one would ever understand how I feel. Until today reading this story. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. Now excuse me, I need a box of tissues because I can no longer see the screen.

  44. Shelley says:

    Does your sister still have a bloc? I loved her crafty ideas!

Leave a Reply