This is a follow up to a three part series The Best Laid {Adoption} Plans. Missed it? Start here. The following is an account of mid-October 2014 shortly after we received our referral for Caleb. 

do not fear

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice.” Sound familiar? It’s a quote from Will Smith’s character from the movie After Earth. I didn’t know the phrase “fear is a choice” would stick with me and resonate so much with me until after we accepted the referral for our baby boy.

Our hearts had already made a decision for us about adopting this baby. We had a call scheduled with a pediatrician at the international adoption clinic at our nearby children’s hospital who was reviewing his file. Her assessment was very positive. The bottom line was that he had an MRI of his brain at 4 ½ months old and was diagnosed with “cerebral dysplasia,” but he was developing right on target, which is outstanding for being in an orphanage setting. Despite the love his nannies have for all the children, it’s just not physically possible for them to give all the children the time and attention they would receive in a home environment. His development mattered more to us than a Chinese to English translation of his MRI results. In his videos, he was engaged with his caregiver and interactive, cooing and smiling as she spoke to him. He appeared so strong! He sat up alone and pushed himself up off his tummy. Looking at this baby, you’d never believe anything could be “wrong.” He looked just like our other three kids did at his age. As soon as I got off the phone with the pediatrician, I called Kevin and said, “I don’t need to hear anything else. I know this is our child.” With that, I sent an email to our agency containing our Letter of Intent to adopt. They celebrated with me via a series of emails back and forth, and I couldn’t find it in me to stop smiling.

We carried on for the rest of our day until the phone rang at 8:45 pm. It was the pediatrician again saying that a neurosurgeon looked at the MRI results (we had no scans, just a written report), and said that it was possible that our baby would have delays. My stomach sank with fear, and I began visualizing different worst case scenarios as she continued talking. I remember looking over at Kevin, who was listening on another phone, and feeling like I was having an out of body experience. My heart was racing, and I was in panic mode. He put his hand on my knee and shook his head, trying to reassure me. I let fear, absolute fear, take over every thought I had. I went to sleep that night with worry, and I woke up the next morning crying over the what-ifs.

That Friday, the day after we submitted our Letter of Intent to adopt, was tough, as I had such a range of emotions…ecstatic, overwhelmed, anxious, thankful, blessed, and terrified. I cried for our baby, for his birth parents, and for our biological kids. I let the enemy tell me, and I let fear tell me, that I might not be enough, that the pieces of the “Mommy Pie” might become small enough that nobody would ever be full. I let fear tell me that this child’s needs might be so significant that it would have a huge impact on our family. I went to the elementary school library that morning to volunteer and got teary eyed if I saw an Asian child or if I saw a child with special needs. I confided all of this in one of my Facebook groups for fellow adoptive parents, and I received a resounding message of, “This is totally normal! Welcome to the world of adoption! We all felt this way.” I prayed and prayed and prayed that day. I asked God for peace for me and protection for our future son. As I lay in bed that night filled with worry, Kevin reassured me that this was our child, for better or for worse, and that we had already been chosen as the best possible parents for him.

The next morning, I woke up with a new sense of clarity. I woke up thinking of his beautiful smile and of our four (FOUR!) kids playing together. I thought about Braden asking permission to punch a kid for messing with his little brother. (Ha!) I thought about the request for the “baby cage” (her words, not mine!) to be in Waverly’s room. I thought about Annalise showing off his picture to her friends before we had even said “Yes.” I thought about how I couldn’t deny the fact that I already loved this baby.

I was watching tv with the kids when I heard the phrase “light a candle,” and something clicked. The Lord took me back one week prior to our trip to Montreal. We visited Notre Dame Basilica. Our family got separated while walking around. It was just Waverly and me, and she begged me to light a candle. I finally agreed, and we prayed for the safety of her future brother and that he wouldn’t have to wait for us much longer. She said, “Please, God, please, give us our brother.”



I thought it was just precious.

It was almost 72 hours after that moment that I received the referral call. This was all God’s design, and this baby is the answer to years of prayer and preparation of our hearts.

There’s a verse I’ve kept on the camera roll on my phone for months now. On the days when I couldn’t sense that we were getting anywhere with this adoption, I would read it:


when everything is ready


On that peaceful Saturday morning, I looked at it again and saw something that blew my mind. Call it coincidence or call it a sign, but the verse is John 14:3. Our baby was found in a bus station abandoned on 3/14. That little “God wink” was exactly what I needed to affirm our decision.

Honestly, we don’t know what the future holds for Caleb. We know that he had a brain scan, and there are abnormalities. Could you and I go in for an MRI and have the same results? Yes. It’s absolutely possible. Could Caleb have cerebral palsy? Yes, it is possible. Could he have seizures? We don’t know. I do know that there are no guarantees with ANY of our kids, biological or adopted. We are not just taking a leap of faith. We are stepping off the cliff, but I am ready for whatever our future holds because love always wins. When the enemy starts to whisper doubts and incite fear, I let God’s words drown him out. Fear is a choice, and I choose faith over fear.

For I know the plans




One thought on “Fear Is A Liar

  1. Thank You Brandie….
    So very true… We all need these reminders frequently… Fear is the bitter tool of so many failures…. Faith the healing calm that works for so many ills that are felt and born by fear and disbelief of the positive possibilities….

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