OUR ADOPTION STORY
Our adoption story began in 2009. Missy and I had wanted a baby for a while, and we found out that we were going to have a child. Around the end of the first trimester, we learned that the baby had died during the pregnancy. The pregnancy was ectopic, so the baby did not survive. Missy had a few medical issues as a result of the ectopic pregnancy, and she had to have several surgeries to fix those issues. Obviously, it was a difficult time.
We still wanted to have a baby, but we were unable to conceive a second time. We went to doctors to be tested to determine why we had not been able to conceive. The doctors had no answer. There was no medical or scientific explanation for why we were unable to have a child but, for whatever reason, we weren't able to conceive again. Over the next few years, we considered in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, but those were very expensive options with little chance for success. However, adoption seemed like a good option.
Missy and I considered several adoption agencies, and we quickly found out that adopting a child is extremely daunting! It's overwhelming to say the least. There are so many agencies -- some are upfront and above board; some are underhanded and borderline fraudulent. We had no idea how we were going to choose an agency. We found an agency that advertise themselves as a Christian agency. We went to the orientation, and we liked what they said. We filled out the application, and we were denied. Missy and I have been a faithful members of our home church for over 25 years. I am also involved in the music ministries at other churches in addition to attending my own. I was able to provide multiple pastoral references. However, because we weren’t voting members at one specific church, we were turned down.
We contacted several other agencies. Two others turned us down because of the same reason as the first agency. Another agency turned us down because we weren’t part of a specific denomination. It seemed like every time we turned around, we had another stumbling block in our way keeping us from adopting. We decided to put it on hold for a while.
In January of 2015, Missy asked me about going to another orientation. This time it was not for an adoption agency. It was for an agency called AIS. AIS was essentially an agency that helped prospective adoptive parents through the entire adoption process. They help find an adoption agency (actually they give us a list of several agencies to sign up with), find other adoption opportunities, complete a photo profile book, complete all of the necessary paperwork, complete a home study…all of the things that go in to an adoption. We went there, and it just seemed like the right fit. Over the next several months, we prayed and felt like it was the right thing to do. We had our first meeting with AIS on August 28, 2015.
We began filling out a mound of paperwork. We began trying to choose adoption agencies to sign up with from the list AIS provided. We also began creating a profile book — a profile book is essentially our lives put into pictures and words. We told about our relationship, I wrote a page about Missy, Missy wrote a page about me…we told about our hobbies, our house, our community, our families, our dog…you name it, we told about it. All the while, AIS was sending us other adoption opportunities. They knew the criteria that we were looking for (such as drug and alcohol addictions/usage, familial mental problems, familial health problems, etc), and they would periodically send us an opportunity that they felt would be something that would be what we were looking for. We were told to order 15 - 20 of the profile books. They said we might need to order profile books twice. But 30 - 40 profile books and no more than two years of waiting should result in our having a baby.
On Friday, October 2, 2015, Missy and I left for a vacation. While we packed, Missy said that she felt like we needed to bring a profile book along with us. Up until this point, we had been sent several opportunities that weren’t right for us. We had not yet sent our profile book to anyone, and we had not yet signed up under an adoption agency at all. Still, I told Missy that she should pack a profile book if she felt like it.
We were approximately half way to Nashville for vacation when we received an email from AIS about an adoption opportunity. It seemed like the perfect situation. The birth mom did not have any medical or mental issues, she wasn’t on any drugs, and she had not drunk alcohol since she learned that she was pregnant. I told Missy that we should send her our profile book but that we would have a lot of competition for this child because this situation was so perfect. There was nothing in the situation that would have been a deal-breaking issue for anyone.
We sent an email to AIS and told them that we were interested. She gave us the address for the birth mother's adoption agency for us to send our profile book to. She told us that she wanted the adoption agency to have the book by Tuesday. She didn't tell us why; she only said that was what she wanted. We thought perhaps that it was because the agency might show the profile books to the birth mother as they arrived. On Monday, Missy went into a UPS Store in Nashville to send our profile book overnight to the adoption agency. UPS told her that they would have it to the agency by the end of the day on Tuesday for a certain price, or she could pay extra to have it there by 10:30am. She chose to have it there as early as possible.
On October 7 (mine and Missy’s wedding anniversary), we were walking around a Christmas store in Pigeon Forge when I got a call from AIS. I was expecting her to tell me of another adoption opportunity for us to consider. She asked what we were doing, and I told her that we were in a Christmas store. She replied, “Well, buy an ornament for a baby because you guys are going to have a baby. She picked you!” I just broke down crying right there in the middle of that store. Missy said that she thought that someone had died because of the way I reacted. She asked me what was wrong. I told her that we were going to have a baby! We hugged for a minute in the store. I cried a bit more; Missy just said, “Huh!” over and over — she was just so surprised. I found out later that she didn’t really realize that she kept repeating that.
We only sent one profile book and never applied with a single adoption agency. It seemed as though God has worked out a wonderful situation. We were over the moon, but we also realized that a lot could go wrong. In addition to all of the medical issues that could cause a problem, the birth mom could change her mind and decide to keep the baby. So we told very few people. That was increasingly hard because we had an abnormally long wait. Most adoptions have the birth mom and the adoptive parents matched within a month or two of the birth. We were matched toward the end of her first trimester. We had a long time to keep a secret…and we were about to bust with excitement!
In December, 2015, we met the birth mother in person. We expected to meet with her for 45 minutes or an hour. We spent nearly four hours with her at lunch. So much of our life story spoke to her. It seemed that God had gone before us and opened the door. We also found out that the reason that we had to send our profile book by that Tuesday was because the adoption agency was meeting with our birth mother at 11:00am on that Tuesday. No one had told us that the meeting was going to be at 11:00am; Missy just felt like she needed to have it there as soon as possible. The lady at the adoption agency said that she waited at her office for our profile book to arrive before going to her meeting with the mother. Had Missy sent the profile book to arrive by the end of the business day, they would have had their meeting without our profile for the birth mother to choose from. Again, God had opened the door.
A couple of weeks before leaving for the adoption, a friend of mine at Covington Christian gave me a Third Day CD called “Move On”. I was listening to it the week before our last Sunday before we left for our baby's birth. There’s a song on that CD called “Children of God”. I was familiar with the song, but I hadn’t sung the song before. I decided to sing “Children of God” on my last Sunday before leaving. I also wanted to sing Israel Houghton’s “Your Presence Is Heaven To Me” that same Sunday. There was a version of that song on YouTube where Israel sings the song with Aline Barros. YouTube is the only place I know to hear that version. On Thursday, I listened to that video on the way to work. After it was over, I pulled up Third Day’s “Children of God" video...
After the first 30 seconds, I began to cry in the parking lot at my office. I had to stop watching. I had thought about the correlation between our adopting a son and our being adopted into the family of God. I had thought about it before, but it just really hit me on that morning. I had pulled myself together and then, as I was backing into my parking space, I looked back down at the video. It was 4:40 into the video and the whole band was standing there in t-shirts that said "Adopted" on them. Their families filled the screen all wearing the same t-shirt. I broke down again. This song will always be special to me because of that morning.
I sang "Children of God" that Sunday. It went well, but I'm sure it meant more to me than anyone else in the congregation.
Our baby was due on March 28. However, he was bigger than we expected at his doctor’s appointment at the beginning of March, so we left a week early for the birth just in case he came early.
Well, he didn’t come early. Not at all. But he was right on time! On April 2, 2016, Samuel Eli Cyphers was born. We named him Samuel because, in the Bible, when Hannah had Samuel, she said that she would name him Samuel "because I have asked him of the Lord". We asked the Lord for a baby, and God answered our prayers. Also in the Bible, Samuel was woken by God three times by God calling his name. Each time, Samuel woke up his priest, Eli, thinking that it had been Eli who called his name. Finally, Eli told Samuel to answer the voice, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." Samuel Eli seemed like a good fit for our son.
The birth mother signed the paperwork without any issues, and, on April 3, Samuel was officially left in our care.
I've learned a lot in this adoption process. I know my own dad made the statement when I was born that he didn't fully understand the sacrifice that God made when he sacrificed His own Son until dad had a son of his own. I get that now. I truly care for each of you reading this. But if your wellbeing was dependent upon my sacrificing Sam for it, you'd have to find another way.
I also learned a great deal about being adopted into the family of God. Samuel is not biologically kin to me. As I finish writing this in the hospital waiting to go home, he doesn't even have my last name -- that will come later in court. But he is now and, as far as I'm concerned, always has been a Cyphers. I am his and he is mine. He is as much a Cyphers as anyone can be -- biology has nothing to do with it. He was initially given his birth mother's last name. I don't know what that name is; I don't care to know. It's not important. That's not Samuel's true last name. His last name is the same as mine. I think I now have a better understanding of how God feels about us after we've been adopted into His family. Everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior has been adopted into God's family. It doesn't matter how you got there. Who you were before doesn't matter. God doesn't know and doesn't care to know who you were before. You are now a joint-heir with Jesus. We are the sons and the daughters of our God.
I was also in the room when Samuel's birth mother gave him to Missy and kissed him for the last time. I got a glimpse into the sacrifice that God made when he gave His Son for us. The main difference is that Samuel was given to us because Missy and I were in a position to give Samuel a better life than he would otherwise have. Jesus was given to us to be crucified. However, both Samuel and Jesus were given up out of love.
If you've never accepted Christ as your Savior, I invite you and encourage you to do so. Adoption is an excellent thing...being adopted into the family of God is the pinnacle.
- Jordan Cyphers