From Used by permission.

A good friend of mine told me once to "shake everyone's hand that God puts in your path, because everyone has a story that needs to be heard and no one else may give them the chance to tell it." This is my story. I tell it with the prayer that God uses it for His glory, and He sends it to whoever needs to hear it.

My wife and I are the proud adoptive parents of Parker and Emma. Parker was born on October 13, 1998, and eleven months and twenty days later Emma came into the world on September 23, 1999. Though they are still babies, they have taught me so many things in a short time. One of those things is that God creates families however He sees fit, and I am not one to question his methods! In our case, He chose adoption and He chose wisely. My kids have also taught me that sometimes God's greatest gifts are the prayers that did not get answered. At least not the way I wanted them to be.

We tried to conceive a child for what seemed like eternity. I could write a book on the horrors of infertility and the effects it has on every aspect of your life, as anyone who has been down that lonely road undoubtedly could. My wife and I felt that God had abandoned us. And if that were not bad enough our families constantly gave us well intended but horrible advice. "You're too stressed about it! Just relax and it will happen." I swear if I had heard that one more time I would have gone postal and ruined Christmas dinner. It also seemed like every other couple we had ever known was suddenly pregnant. I will just say we were not the happiest couple in the room at the endless string of baby showers.It was around February and our doctor had advised us that the next thing to try was invitro-fertilization. Adoption was already in our thoughts, and the prospect of a fifteen thousand dollar medical procedure that would not be covered by insurance and was not guaranteed to work was the confirmation we needed to start our adoption journey. And when we started that journey we discovered that though God had closed one door, He had opened another and we just had not noticed yet.

Through the internet, a few phone calls, and a seminar, we were led to a wonderful woman named Marcia Barker and her organization, Adoption Information Services. Marcia is an adoptive parent who works to help other prospective adoptive parents get through the process as quickly as possible, and she helps them find the resources that best suit them. When you start looking into adoption, you have to answer a lot of questions that you would have never otherwise considered. What race of child? How old? Special needs? Domestic or international? What country? Marcia and her staff helped us through all of that and matched us with some attorneys that we felt would be best suited to help us.

We had an initial meeting with our attorneys, and right away knew we were on the right path. John and Barbara Bados have four adopted children and knew from both sides of the table what we were going through. One of the things they asked us was if we could take a child with no advance notice, to which we fervently agreed. That would come to be the most important question anyone ever asked us.

We checked in with the Bados at least once a month, and usually once a week for the next several months. Since we live in Georgia, all we could do was call. That time of waiting was hard. We had been through the home study, which I have come to find out many marriages do not survive. We had done everything in our power to facilitate the process, and now all we could do was wait. And we waited. And we waited.

We woke up the morning of Wednesday October 14, 1998, and got ready for work like any other morning. As I was leaving, Shea stopped me and said that she felt like it was time to give the Bados a call to check in. We agreed to meet at home for lunch to make the call. That afternoon we called to Oklahoma, expecting to get the machine at the office and say hello. Our attorney answered the phone. I told her we were just checking in, and she said, "Well I guess you got the message." I asked her what message she was talking about, and she informed me that a woman named Julie, who had just given birth to a baby boy, contacted her the night before. She wanted to place him for adoption because she was unable to care for him. Barbara said at the time she got the call, she was representing us and one other couple who had agreed to take a child with no advance notice, but she did not feel right about calling one over the other, or calling both of us only to have one get disappointed. So, she prayed that God would have the couple that was supposed to have this child call her. That was the message she was talking about. She told us that she was leaving to see the birth mother and had to present our portfolio along with the other couples' portfolios they represented, and we needed to pray she picked us.