IN THE WAITING

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths."

Proverbs 3:5-6

A place to find encouragement when you're trying to trust God in the unknown. "In The Waiting" is the official blog of MyBabysFamily.com; a ministry that supports hopeful families seeking to grow through adoption.

 
 
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After our daughter passed away, my wife and I were faced with a really big decision. Should we continue the adoption process with our son? Before this time we were pursuing adoption for both children. But now alongside our grief, we were also trying to determine if we stay the course and finish what was quickly become an extremely complicated adoption, or if we take another path. On one side of the equation was the loss and the realization that our daughter would not be adopted. And if we pursued adoption with our son, would that create some sort of future identity crisis or division, or later burden on him?


Identity is a major factor in our well-being as humans! We draw characteristics of our identity from our family, our relationships, and our community. Our identity is also significantly impacted by the events in our life. It is important to remember that a stable source of who we are (our identity) is our relationship with our Creator!


It is in our relationship with God where we realize that He has given us all unique gifts and talents. There is nobody like you. You are important. You are special. You are loved. He has created us in His image and given us good traits. And His voice reinforces these traits and encourages and reminds us that He is proud of us for being who we are, and that He loves us. God’s love is most easily seen through His grace, which welcomes us each time we take a misstep on our journey.


And so in this process of adoption, my wife and I made sure that our strategy was to pause and pray (and pause and pray) several times to seek God’s will in this process. And as we sought clarity from Him, this topic of identity continued to be the major theme.


God’s plan for our daughter was to adopt her into the Kingdom of Heaven. God’s plan for our son was to provide him with an adopted earthly father who could point him toward a Heavenly Father. God’s plan for our family was to use this adoption as an illustration of His desire to adopt each of us into his family, and to show us that death was not to be feared and that no challenge too big, when we meet it in faith.


We weren’t done with our challenges and though we didn’t know it at the time we were not done waiting either! But, with clarity and resolve and a refreshed purpose from our Creator, we moved forward toward the final steps of the adoption process confident that we would see this through to the end.


Waiting is hard! Before my daughter passed away there was already a waiting period that we were going through. We were given legal advice to wait a year to see if their biological father would make any attempt to communicate with, or to see the children. In March of 2017 that one year period expired with no communication from the biological father or even his extended family.


And now the actual adoption process would begin. We filled out paperwork. And then more paperwork. Paid more legal fees, and sat down to get an overview of the process from our adoption attorney.


The notification process itself would begin with a series of notifications sent out to the biological father and to his extended family. For months attempts were made to notify the biological father. But with no known employer, no known physical address, and a disconnected phone number there were a number of delays in the notification process. And then once a physical location was found it took several attempts for papers to be served and received.


When the extended family received the notification we waited to see if there would be a response or even a legal challenge to the adoption. There wasn’t.


I would also come to find that It wasn’t just a notification process I would soon realize that the actual process was notification, wait 30 days, re-notify and wait 30 days. This particular process happened five times before the biological father finally accepted the certified correspondence and verified identity.


And the final wait? Incorrect paperwork after the entire process was completed meant we needed to re-disclose!


If you find yourself waiting, can I encourage you with this:


Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him

Psalm 62:5 (NLT)


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I never did get to be her legal dad. But I still got to be her daddy. As hard as that is to say, it is true. I find solace in the fact that I know she looked at me as her daddy. And I took that responsibility to heart. I prayed and prayed and prayed for my daughter. I prayed relentlessly through deep and dark valleys.


I lived out 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Never stop praying.

As I've looked back on my adoption journey I've realized that there are wishes I hold on to all of the time. One of them is that I wish I had started the adoption process sooner. I’m not sure what it would have actually accomplished for my relationship with my daughter but I still have this unfulfilled wish that I carry forward.


I’ve always had a heart for adoption. One time my wife and I sat down to watch Cider House Rules together. Thirty seconds into the movie and I’m in tears, and not just that slow-leak cry, but the ugly version with the staccato-sharp inhale and vibrant exhale that shakes the body. While the idea of orphaned children pains me so much, I must say that I have so much grace for mothers who make the decision to bring a life into the world rather than choosing abortion. If you are an expectant mother and are reading this, would you please know that choosing life is a powerful gift to those who are unable to have children?


For those who have sought adoption as a path to expanding or starting a family you should probably know, there will always be a “valley” season. One where it feels like there’s no hope, or an insurmountable climb, or just an uphill battle in general. For some this can be a legal battle, for others, it could be unexpected health concerns, or a government organization requiring additional documents or funds, or a heart-wrenching decision by the birth mother that impacts your process.


You will encounter valleys, but that doesn’t mean that you are alone, or that you’ll be there forever. And as a friend of mine likes to say, you need those valley moments so that when you are on the mountaintop you’ll have a beautiful view to look back at.


For me, the valley season was one where my faith stretched beyond what I thought was possible.


Psalm 23:4
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid. Your rod and staff protect and comfort me.

In the Valley: Complications With My Daughter’s Health


In May of 2017, my daughter’s health took a significant turn for the worse. Her regimen of medicines and chest therapies were becoming less effective, and she needed to be hospitalized as a result. At this point, we were directly in the middle of the adoption process and it felt like a major mountain was placed in front of us.


And then to make that valley even deeper and the mountain even bigger, we were notified that she would need to be transferred out of state for her continuing care.


My wife left with her by ambulance to a plane that would transfer her to the out of state hospital where she would receive the level of care she needed to help stabilize her ongoing heart failure.


Within days her kidney’s began to fail.


I grabbed the first flight out and emergently joined them. We immediately began praying and sending out to our prayer network for prayers. I never thought I would be asking for prayer for one of my kids to pee!


We began to receive prayers from people across the globe and in every corner of the US. People we didn’t know were reaching out to us for prayer support. All joining us to petition God for the healing of her kidneys.


And then she peed! What an answer to prayer!


A few days later we sat down with a hospital caseworker to review the insurmountable medical debt, and to discuss the ongoing care plan for our daughter. As we sat through counselors and staff and verified info like health insurance coverages, income sources, relatives, and more, we realized that there would be a series of notifications to her absent biological father, who had not made contact now in well over 6 months.


On top of medical concerns, we now were also balancing legal options for adoption with our attorney, and exploring options to accelerate the timeline, or to evaluate the impact of an absent parent reengaging. We had to look at the impact of being out of state. How would this impact residency? Or where the adoption paperwork needed to be filed? What about legal representation? Was there a different notification process now? Different legal circumstances?


Sometimes, when you are in a valley season it feels like that mountain keeps growing.


Apart from God, anxiety, stress, and turmoil can build to unbearable levels during this time. Down in the valley, it can feel as if all of the pressure above you is bearing down on you.


That list from above. . .that's just what I remember now. I'm sure it was 10 times as long at the time.


In these moments, we have a choice. . .go alone or ask for help.



Psalm 27: 1-2 reads:

The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

And later in verses 4 and 5 it goes on to say:


The one thing I ask of the LORD - the thing I seek the most - is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in his sanctuary. He will will place me out of reach on a high rock.

It can be dark in the valley, and we need a light to hold onto; to guide us in the direction of hope. It can feel isolating down in the valley - like you are exposed to the elements - and we need a fortress to go to for shelter from the storms. But most powerfully for me is this idea of being placed (hidden) inside of a special sanctuary. In times of trouble, God has a special place set apart just for me for protection and rest and concealment from troubles.


And just as encouraging is that he can take me from the valley and in an instant put me out of reach of my troubles on a high rock. For me, this high rock and concealment meant time at home with my daughter and my family.


During this season my shift of focus changed from being in a “process,” (one where I had to figure out the steps and the pressure fell solely on me) to being placed within His protection.


And finally, we can often forget that our destination on this journey is to live in the house of the LORD for all of our days.



In the Valley: Loss


For two months I sat nestled in the temple and placed high on a rock. I spent time at home with my daughter, my wife, and our kids, together. Our prayer of healing here on earth turned to healing in Heaven. And in this process, I heard the LORD clearly speak to me about my daughter’s relationship with Him. His love for her, His plan for relationship. And I heard her talk about being unafraid. Jesus had specifically told her that death is nothing to fear!


My perspective on being a parent completely shifted during this time.


I didn’t need a legal document to memorialize this time with my daughter. I didn’t need her last name to change to mine. These were my requirements, not God’s.


He asked me to understand the partnership I have with Him as a father. The submission to His will and the knowledge that His plan is good. He helped me to understand a different perspective on healing, and impacted my relationship with my other children. So much was revealed to me during this valley season, and so much of it made a permanent and positive impact on my life going forward.


In spite of the tragic, painful loss, I can clearly see God’s goodness in this valley season.


My daughter was ushered into Heaven on July 9th, 2017. She has been adopted into the Kingdom of Heaven, placed inside a special sanctuary and out of the way of danger. She is high on a rock and outside of trouble to rest inside of His presence, living within the LORD's salvation for all of her days.


And while my adoption story with her could seem like a failure, it is nowhere close to that. I was given the job by God to be her daddy. To be a spiritual father. I was given the opportunity to reinforce her relationship with Jesus. And in the process, she secured an adoption infinitely more powerful than a piece of paper from a judge. In fact, the Most High judge welcomed her as His daughter, and celebrated and trumpeted her arrival into the Kingdom of Heaven, forever!


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Brad Lindemann is the CEO/Co-Founder of MyBabysFamily.com. This blog was originally published on In Business For Life, and has been republished with permission.

The following is an excerpt from from Brad Lindemann’s forthcoming book, In Business For Life: What Being In Business For Life Has Taught me About the Business of Life.


Throughout my personal faith journey, God has reaffirmed His love for me and mine in a myriad of ways. None more moving, however, then the way He arranged for the completion of our family with the addition of our fifth child.


In 1990 we had four children, a fledgling business less than a year old and were in the early stages of recovering from devastating financial losses in recent years. That’s why when my wife started talking about adopting a “special needs” child I thought she was completely off her rocker. So much so, I assumed she’d either come back to reality or the guys in white coats would show up one day to take her away. Either way, my strategy was to wait it out. I had plenty on my plate and couldn’t begin to digest anything else, much less another mouth to feed.


His given name was Samuel Alexander. His birth mother was my wife’s younger sister. A few weeks after he was born, God revealed to Elaine that “Samuel” was going to be our son—a little secret she chose to keep to herself. A few weeks later, her sister called to ask for our help in finding adoptive parents for her newborn. She was at a difficult time in her life and compassionately chose the loving option of adoption. Having been very active in supporting crisis pregnancy centers and promoting adoption, I was thrilled to hear of her courageous decision. Imagine my surprise when I heard my wife say the words that would forever reshape our family tree—“we’ll take him.”


I nearly choked on my Hamburger Helper. Unlike when God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to give him a “heads up” that his fiancé was pregnant with the Messiah, I was clueless in Indianapolis. After all, there were a million or so childless couples in America who would have given anything to adopt this child…this chosen one. Never mind the thousand reasons not to adopt and only one reason to adopt—because God said to. Seriously, that’s the best you got? Uh ah. I’m not buying it…not yet.


If you’ve seen the movie War of the Roses with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, you understand something of what life was like around our house in the days following Elaine’s “we’ll take him” bombshell. We were like two prize fighters who would step into the ring, punch each other’s lights out (figuratively speaking), then retreat to our corners to rest up for the next round.


While we threw no punches, we did throw an object or two…maybe three. Pity the fool who came through that bedroom door at the wrong time. Can’t recall if we fixed that before selling the house. Though we did stop short of swinging from the chandelier, beyond that it was a three day no holds barred battle of wills.


My best friend, Tim, and I ran together every weekday morning at six o’clock. It was a bitter cold February day in 1990. Our constant banter kept our minds off the cold and our aching legs. For the last three days, we had spent every minute of our run talking about one thing…my wife’s insane notion of adopting her sister’s son. Tim and I were in complete agreement. It would be the biggest mistake of our lives. But, Elaine was standing her ground. How would we ever resolve this, the greatest conflict of our married life?


Before heading in to shower, we stood shivering at the end of my driveway praying that my wife would come to her senses. But God had us at “Amen.” All Heaven broke loose, as I looked up at Tim with tears in my eyes and said words I could not have imagined uttering until that moment. “He’s my son, isn’t he?” Without hesitation, Tim replied, “Yes brother, I believe he is.” God had confirmed what He had revealed to Elaine two months prior.


In the blink of a tear-filled eye, God changed the hearts of two best friends, confirming His plan to change the course of Lindemann family history. His name is Bradley Louis Lindemann II, named after his father. This “chosen one” will forever serve as a poignant reminder of how God can turn our mistakes into His miracles…how He still speaks to His children today…how when two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in their midst. 26 years later, from that frigid February morning in 1990 to this very moment, I have never had a moment’s doubt about our decision to adopt Bradley. He has been a wonderful blessing to our entire family who will soon be celebrating his second wedding anniversary with his high school sweetheart.


God is so good.

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