After years of trying, praying, and longing to be parents, Joel and I made the decision to change course and turn our plans toward adoption. We were both done with the emotional and physical roller coaster of infertility. We were both at peace with and excited to pursue adoption. We believed then that it was the road we were to travel.
After that decision, the first adoption road took two more years. At last, in May of 2007 in Guangzhou China, this beautiful little brown-eyed, scared and curious baby girl was placed in our arms. She was whom we had prayed and hoped for, for so long. Suddenly all the pain of loss and longing was replaced with a love and joy that one cannot imagine if you haven’t experienced it. We weren’t perfect, and there remained challenges but there was a joy and heart full of gratitude that God’s plan was better than I could have ever hoped or planned on my own. Our flawless and amazing God chose us to parent this beautiful child, who couldn’t have been born much further away from us. He knew before she was conceived in my heart or in her birth family that she would be our daughter.
Over the next seven years we went on the adoption journey two more times. In 2009, we brought home our cute, funny, creative son, from South Korea. And in 2014 we returned to China for our youngest daughter, our pretty, little spitfire. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory…” Ephesians 3:20-21
Adoption can look like a lot of different things to different people.
On a daily basis, in our family, adoption looks like this to me:
- God’s “Plan A” for Our Family
No matter how much time, effort, or pain it took, adoption was never Plan B for us. It was Plan A, it was always our road to travel. When I understood that, I was ready with my whole heart to go on that journey. But if we hadn’t experienced the years of waiting & trying to make our plans happen, I don’t know that we would have taken the road of adoption. God knew that, and in that, He fulfilled my dreams of family. I wouldn’t want it to be any different. “May He give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4
- Our World Expanded
We have met so many people across the world before, during, and since that we would not know if it weren’t for our children. Some of those relationships are so close that we consider family now. Adoption didn’t just change our family, it shaped our family and our relationships.
- Appreciation and Celebration of the Beauty in Other Cultures
We want our children to have a love and appreciation for their birth countries. It is part of who they are. It’s not always easy or convenient to do this, but we try. We had the great privilege of travelling to each of their birth countries, which gave us an even greater love and appreciation for those places and people. We try to study and reach and talk about the Chinese and Korean cultures as much as we can. On occasion we are able to attend cultural events. We definitely enjoy the foods. And if I’m feeling adventurous, I will try to cook some. Our favorite tradition is celebrating the Lunar New Year with friends and family since both China and Korea celebrate this holiday.
- Safe and Common Conversation
We want our kids to always feel safe talking and asking about their stories. Each has a story, which is theirs alone. They have to decide when and how much of that to share with others. But they need to know that it’s okay to say or ask anything in the safety of home. That is part of who they are. That is part of who we are as a family.
- Guarding Their Hearts
Being a multicultural family, we sometimes receive comments, questions or just glances from others. Sometimes these reactions are loving, and on occasion they are hurtful. Sometimes people understand or think they understand, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes people are just curious about how the five of us became a family. Sometimes I want to talk about it, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it’s hard to know motives of others. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. But regardless, it is important to always protect the hearts of my children
There are challenges before, during, and after the journey of adoption. But most often and most of all I see beauty: the beauty of answered prayers; and the beauty of how God brought us through three amazing and different journeys to who and what our family is today. I’m incredibly grateful. I’m grateful to their birth families. I’m grateful for the journey. I’m grateful God is with us every day of this life with adoption. “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27
Shauna Oswald was born and raised a Texan. She received her degree and met her future husband at Evangel University. She has been married to Joel for 17 years. She is grateful to be a stay at home mom to her three little loves. Shauna is a previous art student who now uses her creativity in party planning, decorating, and crafting. She loves the beach, coffee, and chocolate. Shauna and her family attend the Kingstowne location.