Once upon a time, a fifteen-year-old boy saw a fourteen-old-girl from across a Baptist Bible study. His first thought? “I’m going to ask her out.”
A few instant messenger conversations, supervised dates, on-and-off again shenanigans, high school diplomas, college majors, plenty of unnecessary drama, and even more laughter later… the same boy and girl got married, moved around a bit, traveled a bit more, ate a lot of frozen pizza and tacos, and eventually became parents to two wild and wonderful little boys. That’s the story of how one Sewell became four Sewells. The basics of it anyway.
But you’re not here for that story. You’re here for the story of Five Sewells. And I am all too eager to share it with you!
Four and Finished
Josh and I first began discussing adoption ten years ago. I didn’t quite know the details, but I felt pretty strongly that we would one day adopt a child. Josh was somewhat open to the idea but said we would cross that bridge when we came to it.
Our boys were born in 2013 (Jackson) and 2015 (Elliott). Those first months of parenthood were a sleep-deprived, overworked haze of enormous mountains of joy and valleys of discouragement.
Shortly after Elliott’s first birthday, we both agreed our family was complete. I still felt a strong call to adopt, but I thought maybe I was misinterpreting it. I believed strongly that Josh and I would need to be on the same page wholeheartedly to adopt a child. This is not the kind of thing you whine, manipulate, or drag a spouse to do. (I mean, you really shouldn’t whine, manipulate or drag a spouse to do anything, but sometimes you just really want to get a new rug or go see Pitch Perfect 2, so it happens.)
Anyway, I told Josh I was okay with our family of four, but I didn’t want to close the door on fostering a child in the future when our littles were less little.
Then I just let it go. Entirely. No nagging. No guilt. No passive aggressive hints. I prayed God would bring me closure if the decision was right. I also told God he would have to lay adoption on Josh’s heart if that were in the cards for us. I prayed with genuine confidence that God would bring us to a place of unity and peace regardless of the decision.
Many months later, the four of us were driving home from church while Elliott said cute things in the backseat. As we commented on how sweet he was being, I jokingly said, “And he’s our last baby. Enjoy it now. We don’t get to do it again.” Or something of that nature.
I couldn’t quite interpret the look on Josh’s face. It wasn’t nostalgia or amusement. It wasn’t wistfulness. He asked if I wanted another baby.
Here’s the thing about that: I love my kids. I love that I got to carry them for 9 months and sustain them with my own body for another 13. What a glorious and wonderful privilege that was! But I am done. I have absolutely no urge whatsoever to have another biological child. While our family felt incomplete, the pregnancy chapter of my life is over. I know some women say how much they love being pregnant, but I think this scene from Pitch Perfect sums up how I feel about that.
So I said no. I didn’t want another baby, not by way of pregnancy anyway. But I would still love to adopt.
God at Work
I have to stop here and derail a bit. One of the ways you know something super cool and important is happening in scripture is when the Bible sets up a situation and then transitions with this phrase: BUT GOD
My favorite application of this is in Ephesians 2:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
OH my word. Read it again, because it’s beautiful. Incredible. The greatest news from the greatest story every told. BUT GOD.
There in that car on the way home from church was our very own BUT GOD moment.
Our adoption dream from our newlywed years had been abandoned. We were overwhelmed by the idea of three children, unsure and afraid. Our family was four people and no more. BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, moved in Josh’s heart and then mine. During a church baptism service, Josh felt the undeniable call to adopt. And the call was urgent. He had gone home and read a book on adoption called Adopted for Life.
So now not only had Josh gotten on board with adoption, he was steering the ship. When I said we could maybe start the process in March, Josh pushed back and said sooner was better. So we researched options, interviewed agencies, and filled out a giant stack of paperwork.
And that’s where we are right now. We are adopting a child from South Korea. The process can take anywhere from 12 – 24 months. We are prepared for a child with minor to moderate medical needs. We are open to either gender, but age will need to be at least one full year younger than Elliott (due to Korean law).
You can learn more about why Korea, our adoption timeline, and other such FAQs here. Right now, I just wanted to tell you that the heart of this story is BUT GOD. This is HIS story. We are overjoyed to be a part of it, and we are confident that he is the giver of good gifts and can be entirely trusted as our journey unfolds.
We ask for your prayers through all of this, and we absolutely can’t wait to tell the Fifth Sewell all about the incredible network of prayer warriors and loved ones who supported his or her journey home.
사랑과 함께 (with love),
PS: Read more about how we were matched with our precious baby boy in this update.
Or about our amazing (and fast!) journey so far to EP Submission!
PPS: God was all over this adoption journey. Absolutely ALL OVER IT. And he continues to move mightily even now months after our son Sam joined our family. You can read our latest update to learn more.