When the phone call about a prospective job at another church came in late summer, we weren't looking to leave Montgomery. My comment to Brian was, "there's really no way this will work out. It's going to take a miracle for all the pieces to fall into place."
That's me, folks, full of faith.
And five months later, I'm packing up our house and we're heading to Asheville, North Carolina.
What had to line up and fall into place, did exactly just that.
From the very first conversations with the church, we were excited about the potential for Brian and our family, but tempered our expectations.
We weren't leaving Montgomery without Jayden. We believed that God had ordained J-man to be a permanent legal fixture in our family. There was nothing we would do to jeopardize this gift. It was a risk we weren't taking.
At that point, we couldn't even leave the state for a one-day trip without permission from DHR, so moving to North Carolina was out of the question. Everything had to be wrapped up with his case before we would be going anywhere and DHR had told us to prepare for a wild ride that could take years.
As the conversations with the church increased and we grew more and more intrigued, we also very candidly shared with them about our situation. There would be no question of our commitment to Jayden. He came first.
They understood and let us know that they had joined in with so many across the country who were praying for our son's story.
November 20th was one of the biggest days for Jayden's future. A judge would decide whether or not he would be adoptable. If she ruled that day, she could determine to prolong his stay in foster care or terminate parental rights, thereby freeing him for adoption. She also could hold off on a ruling and instead make decision weeks or months later. We were told not to expect her to make a decision, and if there was a ruling made, to expect his case to be prolonged, though the evidence was very clear-cut.
We walked into the courtroom and the judge quickly informed us that she only had an hour before she had to leave. Most likely the case would be continued. We had already waited a year for this court date and it was possible we would have to be delayed another six months. My heart sank.
Thankfully, every lawyer, social worker, and witness in that courtroom that day was prepared and ready to testify to the facts. With just three minutes left, the lawyer gave her closing statement. I clenched Brian's hand and waited nervously for the judge to respond. After what seemed like an hour-long pause, she granted the termination of rights, immediately got up, and left the courtroom.
Everyone in the court room was so stunned they just looked around at each other in disbelief. A miracle had occurred.
He was on his way to having a permanent, forever family.
It was a tremendous leap in the process, but there were still more hoops to jump through and papers to be signed.
If Brian was to begin working at the church, he would need to fill the position by February 1st. We were already in the middle of December, and still waiting on some important signatures and looking at a two-week wait period after that signature came.
Once the appeal period was over, there was more paperwork for us to sign and then we couldn't finalize Jayden's adoption for another thirty to forty-five days. It was looking like late February or early March before we could leave the state with our son.
The timeline just seemed insurmountable. Though we would have loved to partner with the Asheville church, we didn't want them to wait on us and a process that was unstable and unpredictable. Everyone had been in limbo for too long.
So the answer had to be "no."
It was frustrating, disappointing, and honestly, really confusing for us.
Were we not hearing God correctly? Would He bring us this far on the journey only to leave us still feeling unsettled?
A week went by, and then things started happening.
We had finally made it into the appeal period. The fourteen-day countdown had begun and a gracious church had called us back. They were unsettled with our answer as well.
Many variables were still in flux- if we were meant to go to Asheville, Jayden's finalization would have to be completed. We were looking at least another month to a month and a half before a court date.
Or so we thought.
We passed through the appeal period with DHR working diligently to compile all of the necessary paperwork to finalize. They put us in contact with a lawyer who had worked with other families to waive the 30 day wait period for extenuating circumstances. The lawyer told us she thought the finalization could be pushed through before the end of January. We were hopeful.
The appeal period ended on January 2nd. We signed the consent to adopt paperwork on January 6th, applied for a waiver the next day and that afternoon we received a call confirming our court date. We would be finalizing our son's adoption one week later.
Five months after stating that there was no way everything would fall into place for us to accept the job, it did.
Funny how that happens.
Leaving Montgomery and our church here has been a bittersweet decision for our family. When I moved here five years ago, I had just become a wife. In a few weeks, I'll be leaving as a mother of three boys, two of whom we met in this city.
Yet, we know that it is time for us to go and God has made it clear that Asheville is our next home. Brian will be filling a new role, as the young adult pastor and we'll both be starting an orphan care ministry at the church.
I wish I could include every detail of the past few months and the ways in which God has orchestrated our move, but this post is already way too long.
I can confidently say that amidst the chaos of packing and nervous anticipation of the unknown, we are expectant and excited for what is to come in Asheville, NC!