As many of you know, my seven-year-old son, Trey, stepped into eternity with His Savior, after a yearlong battle with cancer in 2012-2013. September 1, 2016 will be Trey’s three-year anniversary in heaven. Needless to say, these past 3-4 years have been very difficult for our family.
In the weeks and months following Trey’s death, our family began a unique journey. It was a journey mixed with grief, faith, and joy. There were, and continue to be, days where the grief was and is overwhelming, but there were, and continue to be, days where our joy was and is inexpressible. We have learned how to live with pain, as we trust, hope, and rejoice in the goodness of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I cannot remember when it happened exactly, but one day at church, I noticed a little boy that I did not ever remember seeing. This young boy was full of life and energy, and for whatever reason, had taken a serious interest in Trey’s story. He would come up to me each week and say things like, “I can’t wait to meet Trey one day,” or “Trey is my hero.” He loved Trey, even though he never met him.
I began to ask about this child and quickly came to find out that his name was Andrew, and that a woman in our church was fostering him. To make a long story short, my wife and I began to pray about adopting him. He was about Trey’s age and my family was growing to love and care for him. All my children became very connected to Andrew as well, and were in agreement that we should pursue adoption.
My wife and I began the process of Department of Human Services (DHS) approval. From paperwork, to home inspections, to 27 hours of training, etc., we were finally approved. We were excited and expecting to be able to adopt Andrew. Unfortunately, shortly after our approval, DHS informed us that we would not be able to adopt him. That, in and of itself, is a long story, but simply put, there were certain regulations in place that did not allow for us to move forward with adoption. We were heartbroken. The good news was that the lady fostering Andrew in our church was able to adopt him, and she did. We rejoiced greatly in that.
Several months after all this happened, my wife and I got a phone call from DHS letting us know that Andrew’s birth mother had recently delivered a baby boy. Due to our relationship and connection to Andrew, DHS said we could be considered for non-related kinship adoption. We did not have to pray long about this and let them know that we were willing. Right around Christmas day in 2014, we brought a little four-month-old baby boy into our home. We named him Luke. We all quickly fell in love with him and began the process of moving forward with adoption.
As you might assume, we quickly ran into some challenges and were made aware that we may not be able to adopt Luke. We began praying very hard about this situation and sought to trust the Lord. We were not sure what would happen, but as we did with our son Trey, we laid this precious little boy before the Lord and simply said, “God, Your will be done.”
About ten months after we took Luke into our home, I received another phone call from DHS. They informed me that both Andrew and Luke’s birthmother had recently had another baby. This time it was a little girl and she was only four days old. They wanted to know if we would be willing to take her in and pursue adoption with her as well. My wife and I said, “Yes,” and in just a couple of hours after receiving the phone call, found ourselves taking this sweet little baby girl home. We named her Addi. In this process, our family prayed, waited, and simply trusted the Lord with these two precious children that God had brought into our lives.
While our family was on vacation in June of this year, we got the official word that we would be able to adopt both Luke and Addi (who are half brother and sister with each other and Andrew, by the way) in August! When we got the news, tears of joy streamed down our faces. We were so happy and relieved. On August 9, 2016, the Freeman family added two new members, Luke Kenneth and Adele (Addi) Joy! It was an incredible day of celebration and thanksgiving to God for allowing us the privilege of having these two children in our lives forever.
When I look at my life, I could have never imagined it looking the way it does. I miss Trey every second of every day, and cannot wait for him to meet his new brother and sister. But, because of Trey and how God used him in our lives, our hearts were opened to take in these two wonderful children. We like to say that Trey sent these children to us because he knew we needed them. I know that is probably not true, but I could see Trey saying, “Jesus, do you think you could send my family these two children? They miss me so much and they need a little help.” Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but whatever the case, God has used these children in our lives in ways I never thought possible. To Him be the glory!