Adoption Consulting

Adoption Stories

Adoption Stories
Adoption Stories


Contact Me

Adoption Story: Joel and Lori

As Christ followers, God's word teaches us that this life will not be free of hardships. In fact, trials in this life are an expectation for believers. The beauty of trials is they develop in us a longing for heaven. They shift our eyes off of our wordly affections and remind us to keep our focus on eternity. I've learned so much from Joel and Lori as I've watched them rely on the Lord as they navigated unexpected trials and devastating loss. While their story is unique and tragic, it is also incredibly beautiful. It's a story of a family who set aside their agenda to follow His. What an honor it is to have them share today about their precious son, Caleb, and all that his life taught their family.   


Lori and I had both been looking for a way where we could both serve God together. We were each involved with different things, but we felt we were always serving God separately. So in 2016, we made the decision to adopt. We thought this would be a great way for us to serve God as a family. Looking back on that decision, it brought us closer together than we could have ever imagined.

My two biggest fears when we felt God calling us to adopt were that 1) a birth mom would choose to parent at the last minute and 2) that we would have a sick child.

On December 20th, 2017, fear #1 came true. The expectant mom that we had been matched with 4 months earlier, went into labor, so Lori and I jumped on a plane and flew to Florida as quickly as possible. We were sitting in our rental car a few blocks away from the hospital when my phone rang. It was the adoption agency telling us that the birth mom had chosen to parent and that we needed to fly back to Houston. The child we had been dreaming about was gone. We felt betrayed and were completely devastated.

We were matched again in January with an expectant mom who was due in May 2018. Hope was alive again and we were confident that this sweet boy was ours. On February 20th, 2018, fear #2 came true. Our son, Caleb, was born on 2/2/2018, at just 23 weeks. He weighed 1 pound 5 ounces and was 11 inches long. Due to his prematurity and the infection surrounding him in the womb, he was, as the doctor said, “not born alive.” The doctors performed chest compressions to revive Caleb. He fought hard for 18 days, but eventually his body started shutting down. He had a disease in his intestines. His kidneys stopped working. The doctor’s performed surgery on Caleb on February 19th where they removed six inches of his bowels. Six inches on a child that was only 11 inches long. Hours after the surgery, it became clear that Caleb was not going to survive. They unplugged his tubes and let Lori hold him for the last few hours of his life. He passed away in Lori’s arms. The son we had been dreaming about was gone.

My two biggest fears came true in a two month timespan. This is not what I was expecting from our adoption journey. My expectations were to bring home a beautiful baby boy that would be loved and cared for in a Christian home. My expectations were to watch Caleb grow into a loving brother that would adore his two sisters. My expectations were that Caleb would grow up to be a caring husband that would love his wife and eventually have children of his own. These expectations were not met. Naturally, as you go through an experience like this, so many different thoughts go through your head. I went from sadness to anger to confusion over and over again. 
For years, I knew God was calling us to adopt, but I ran from it. I used every excuse in the book, but the excuse I used the most was the cost. Adoption was too expensive. We couldn’t afford it. However, through friends, family, and people we had never met, God provided the funds we needed. He will provide for you, too! God knew there was a little boy about to be born who would need a family to love him for just 18 days. We were that family. The pain can be unbearable at times, but even in the pain, it is such an honor to be Caleb’s parents. To show him that his life had meaning, and he was and is worth every ounce of grief we still feel. 

We committed to Caleb long before he was born, and we were even more committed to him after he was born. We committed to love Caleb for as many days as God allowed, and we would make sure that Caleb knew he was wanted and loved by his family. I flew back to Houston to care for our girls and Lori stayed in Florida to care for Caleb. Lori sat next to Caleb for 18 days. She changed his diapers and sang him songs. She prayed over him and told him about his sisters. She held him as he breathed his last breath and watched him as his soul left his body and into the loving arms of Jesus. So what has God taught me through Caleb?
He made me a better husband.

He made me a better father.

He brought me closer to God.

He made me understand that the Christian life isn’t about me.

He has changed my outlook on what is important in life.

He has helped me stop striving for a perfect life.

He has helped me better understand the miracle of eternity and everlasting life.

He has made me realize how short our time on earth really is.

He has helped me better understand the sanctity of life.

He has helped me to better cope with this broken world. 

After our experience with Caleb, our lives have changed dramatically. Lori and I knew that God was not done with us, and that Caleb would not be the end of our story. It is because of Caleb’s life that we now realize how easy it is to love a child who is not biologically ours. It is because of Caleb that our hearts and minds have been opened and made aware of the need to love kids who are not born with the same opportunities that we were given. Because of Caleb, we have recently started working as house parents with an organization called Boys and Girls Country. If it weren’t for Caleb, we never would have pursued something like this, but that’s how God works. Even in the depths of our sorrow, He was still leading, guiding, and preparing us for what was next. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t talk or think about Caleb. Our daughters talk about him all the time and they each sleep with one of his blankets, so they can remember him.

As you pursue adoption or wait for the phone call that will change your life saying you’ve been matched, you will have many fears and face many uncertainties. We urge you to push through those fears and trust God to work out all of the details. Our story is unique and tragic, but God has carried us through and we are beginning to see the light again. Things don’t seem as dark as they once did. Whatever story God has written for you through adoption, you can rest assured that He is faithful to complete it!


As Lori so beautifully said " the end of the day, there was a little boy who needed a family to love him for 18 days. For reasons we will probably never know or understand, God chose us to be that family. Oh how I have a deep longing for Heaven. To feel no more pain, hurt, or sadness. To see our Caleb whole and healthy and to have this heavy burden lifted from my shoulders. That day will come, but until then, there is a child out there who needs you to stand in the gap for them. To advocate on their behalf and to show them that they are worthy to be loved, despite their brokenness. It is scary to trade a life of comfort and familiarity for one of uncertainty and brokenness. Despite what we've been through with Caleb, I stand here to say that it is worth it."

Thank you Joel and Lori for sharing your story!  What a beautiful reminder it is that love is never wasted!  

No comments

Back to Top