This could be really long so I am going to try to make it as short as I can but that may not be easy! (I will be linking up with Kelly's Korner blog and her SUYL...adoption stories!)
How our family began......we had been married one year when I found out I was pregnant with Taylor. I had wanted a baby for as long as I could remember so I knew once we got married we would start trying even though we were poor as could be and really shouldn't have gotten married much less have a baby. We were 19 and 21 when we got married! It took us about 8-9 months and lots of prayer to finally get pregnant. We then welcomed a healthy baby boy named Taylor, who is now 14! When Taylor hit the terrible two's we said NO MORE KIDS but about 4 years after he was born that changed and we started trying again. I saw a doctor after trying for about 6 months and that is when we were told we probably would never have another biological child again without invitro and even then our odds were not good! Neither of us felt led to do that and if I was going to spend that kind of money, that we didn't have, then I wanted to be guaranteed a baby. I was devastated at the thought of never having another child but knew I was blessed and at least God gave me one child. Boy did he have other plans for us....plans that if you would have told me that day I would have said YOU ARE CRAZY!
One day Marc had left for work and then called me and said "I feel like we are supposed to adopt a child....I know the Lord is telling me we are supposed to adopt and I think we should adopt from China!" That is all it took and I started endless research on international adoption and quickly found out that we were to young for China and would be 4 more years until we qualified so to me Korean babies looked the same (that is really how I picked Korea!) and we met all the criteria, so Korea it was! It was going to be $15,000 total and we had no idea how we would pay for it but knew we were meant to do it so we started the mountain of paperwork and waited for our referral. I just knew they were going to give us a girl...I mean China you almost always get a girl (this was Korea though!)....but the day before our anniversary we got the call and she said "Congratulations....It's A BOY!" Not only was it a boy....it was one of the cutest baby boys I had ever seen in my life!
Now most of our money was due....
During our wait for our referral Marc had changed jobs, making exactly $15,000 more and soon after that was sued by his previous employer for a non compete he signed when he was 17 and working in the warehouse. He had worked his way up that company to become their #1 salesman and they thought he would be a huge threat to them with him being gone. They had millions to spend on an attorney....we had nothing. To make a long story short the owner of his new company had been in on his first day there and said if you need anything don't hesitate to call me. Marc was not allowed to work after we were served with papers so I made him call his owner and tell him what was happening. This man stepped up....paid Marc like he was still coming to work each day and paid all our attorney fees. In the end Marc won his case and eventually became operations manager for another Texas based company this man owned. (Marc is now VP of three of his companies!) The day after our referral, this man, wired $15000 into our account as a bonus for Marc for all his hard work! WOW....God works in mysterious ways and if something is in His will he will find a way!
November 2Nd, 2002 we went to LAX airport and picked up our newest son, Noah Tae Estes! What a great day that was! Noah is now 8 years old and boy am I glad that God chose him for us. I can't imagine any other child or not having him as my son! That day I thanked God for us being "infertile"!
(I hope you are still with me......)
Three years later I was at home and keeping my best friend's kids and they were all screaming and laughing and I sit down to check my email and it was my agency that we adopted Noah from and it says...."I have been trying to contact you....if you get this call me right away!" So, I did! I could barely hear because of the kids but the lady on the other end said...."Tae Min's (Noah's) birth mother has had another baby and she would like for her children to be raised together...would y'all be interested?" Without hesitation, without asking my husband, I practically shouted YES! Then I said...."what is it??" (I just knew God was going to give me a girl!) She said "oh yes....IT'S A BOY!!!!!!" I said...."we will take him!" and then called my hubby! Ooops!! (then I thought to myself....wow God...you are so funny as I could not be any more girly if I tried and you have decided to give me THREE boys!) He knows best though! We then had two weeks to come up with $24,000....WOW! Korea had gone up since Noah's adoption! We had been saving some money already and were planning on becoming debt free so we had 1/3 of it and my parents gave us the rest. Of course they said we didn't have to pay them back that they wanted to do it for us but my husband would NEVER let them pay for that and not pay them back....plus my mom would then get to say what he wears and all since she paid for most of him!!! LOL! That was always a joke between us!
So, on December 30th, 2005 we went back to LAX and picked up our 3rd son....Jesse Min Estes! He was so tiny and stinky but was so precious! We went back to our hotel and cleaned him up and the next day we brought him home to Houston....on New Year Eve! One year later....we had paid my parents back in full! Again, if it's God will then somehow He provides and He did!
Jesse was always called our "Grand Finale"....he is a wild, Korean Dennis the menace but the sweetest cutest little boy you could ever meet! He doesn't meet a stranger and everyone knows JESSE! Today Jesse is 5 years old and is in Kindergarten!
Our family is now complete....or so we thought!
After God giving us a serious wake up call in our marriage and in our life as far as our Christian walk we almost got a divorce. I can remember just asking God why he would create this family that was so unique and let us get a divorce? He soon reminded me that WE had created this mess and that WE needed to clean it up and He would help us with His word and our faith in Him. After a LOT of hard work, changes, and prayer our marriage is stronger then ever! I would, as hard as it was, go through it all again to get where we are today! Thank you God for not giving up on us and making us stronger!
In December 2008 Marc was on his annual hunting trip and the boys were in school and I just thought something was off so I took a pregnancy test and what did it say...POSITIVE! I was shaking all over....I could NOT believe it! We were told that Taylor was a miracle baby and that we had a 1-2% chance of ever having a biological child on our own. Well...when the doctor tells you something like that.....God is upstairs laughing and saying...."little do they know the plans that I have!"
Marc was literally stunned.....I pictured him in that deer stand in a total daze the whole week...actually he said he didn't see anything that week as far as deer! Wonder why? Fast forward to August 8, 2009 we welcomed Emily Grace Estes into this world! (Her Daddy said from the day we found out we were pregnant that he knew she was a girl!) She is THE MOST beautiful baby girl in the world and I can't thank God enough for her! She loves her brothers and they adore her! AND I FINALLY GOT MY GIRL!!!!!!!
With four kids and three of them being boys it's hard sometimes for Marc to have one on one time with them so I signed he and Taylor up to go to Haiti with our church on a missions trip. (little extreme huh??? I am just weird like that!) Satan did everything he could for them not to go and literally at the last minute Marc said "oh well....I will just go!" Probably just so he didn't have to hear it from me! In July 2010 he and Taylor go to Haiti and the second day they were there Marc put a picture on his facebook of a girl at our church holding a sweet TINY little baby boy. I immediately knew in my spirit that he was going to want to adopt him. That trip not only changed Marc's life in a huge way through missions and strengthened his faith and his walk but it also led us to our fourth son....Vensly! Vensly is 20 months old and we are praying he will be home very soon! You can read about our trip to visit him a couple of weeks ago by clicking on January to the right on my blog. I blogged about each day there. It was an amazing trip that was also extremely difficult to leave. You can also click on the button at the top to read about how Haiti changed Marc's life!
Thank you so much if you have made it this far.....
My family may not be perfect and lord knows some days it is stressful to raise four kids but I would not want it any other way! I love how colorful my family picture will be someday! Can you imagine when we have grand kids??? WOW!
I know some of you reading this are probably dealing with infertility and feel like there is no hope of becoming a mother or father but remember adoption is not a second option it's just another option.
I actually look at Noah, Jesse and even Vensly and I can't believe that I didn't give birth to them....my love for them is no different then for Emily and Taylor! I just had three born in my heart and two under my heart but all of them have my whole heart!
Thank you for letting me share and please feel free to ask me anything! If I can lead one person to adopt I would be so happy!