For Cornerstone first grade teacher, Brooke Calabrese, motherhood has always been a great desire. However, the idea of adoption arose during her first mission trip to Haiti in 2013. We recently caught up with Brooke and she shared her motherhood journey and how God-ordained conversations pulled her family in an unexpected direction.
During my trip to Haiti, I fell in love with a little girl named Jonese and desired to take her home. The trip changed me in many ways, and I would return for many more trips. Jonese’s life was far from comfortable, but she did have a mother, and it would not be possible to take her home. There were just so very many orphans in desperation, and at the moment I flew home from Haiti, I felt God’s call to adopt. I came home spouting off about my trip and how we as Christians needed to do more for the poor and the orphans and was really depressed.
My husband responded, “You want to adopt, don’t you?”
“Yes,” I replied. “I certainly do.”
Together, we decided to try for a biological child first, which became a two-year journey in and of itself.
After much prayer and medications, we had our first child, Bella Virginia, in 2015. Blissful motherhood had arrived, but I knew my next baby would not come from my womb and had no desire for pregnancy and the infertility journey again.
In 2017, we began the journey to adoption. We connected with Christian Adoption Consultants (CAC) in an effort to speed up the process. CAC encouraged us to apply to three to five agencies. Seven months later, we MATCHED with a birth mama in Florida, and we were ecstatic. We went to see her Thanksgiving week and had the BEST visit with both mom and dad.
Many, many months passed, with her due date coming and going much later than the date that had been shared with us. Finally, she was in labor and wanted us to drive down to Florida to be there for the delivery. However, when we arrived, she refused to see us and essentially hid from everyone. We would never see her or the sweet baby boy we had been longing for.
For months, we grieved the baby. It was never to be with that agency. A whole year and a half went by, and still no match. We were exasperated by the emotional pull, cumbersome paperwork, constant check-ups, and financial burden. We began feeling pulled in a new direction.
Perhaps God wanted us to become foster parents, and we would have to surrender our desires of a private newborn adoption. Through God-ordained conversations and scripture, I had finally decided to surrender my perfect plan and signed us up for a foster care meeting on September 3.
We never made the meeting because our agency in Arizona called on September 1. Premier Agency shared news of a safe haven baby, left at a fire station, who was in the hospital and needed a home.
Our agent said, “She is healthy and needs a home, but you’ll need to fly to Phoenix tomorrow to get her. Otherwise, she’ll be put into the system.”
We were just shocked!
The only caveat is that the birth mom did not share any contact information or sign any release documents, and thus she has six months to change her mind. If that happens, she can regain custody. Six months is a VERY long time to bond with a baby, and the thought of losing her is just plain scary.
However, God had been preparing our hearts for foster care, and that’s just what this is.
“YES,” we said. “The answer is yes, we will see you tomorrow!”
So we booked a flight, and Vienna June was in our arms by midnight!
Now here we are wrapping up November, Adoption Awareness Month, celebrating the first smiles and giggles of our sweet baby girl. What a joy it is to see Bella fill the long-awaited role of big sister, to snuggle with Vienna, and to celebrate with our family and friends the sweet gift of answered prayers with the expansion of our family, the Cala Clan!