Homeschool graduate Darcy Rowl never expected to be an adoptive parent. But as she and her husband, Jason, watched God’s plan for their family unfold, they embarked on a journey to adoption. On June 19th, 2010, their newborn son, Brennan Lee Rowl, was placed in their arms. The journey has only just begun.
I was raised with the philosophy that the most important and effective way for Christians to impact the world is to have children and raise them to be Godly influences in society. Growing up I was surrounded by large families who exemplified the belief that “sons are a heritage from the Lord and children a reward from Him.” I had a strong, natural maternal instinct from a young age, and like most little girls, imagined the day when I would be married and have babies of my own.
I never considered the possibility of adoption for myself, mainly because I thought of it only as a last resort for couples that couldn’t have children of their own. I had no idea that God would lovingly but emphatically force me to change my vision of what the family of my dreams would look like.
Q. How did you and Jason decide to adopt?
I was blessed to marry a man who shared my desire to raise children for God. Our path toward adoption was laid out for us through a three-year struggle with infertility. It was a time of frustration, fear, and devastation as God systematically closed the door on what we desired and considered “best” for our lives.
Looking back, there were many occurrences during that time of waiting that pointed our hearts toward adoption, as though God was gently and subtly preparing us for His “best.” Though the pain was extreme and the doubt persistent, we wanted above all to submit to God’s plan for our lives. As soon as His will became evident, we made the decision to take the first step in pursuing adoption. Our son was placed in our arms eight months later.
Q. What would you say has been the most trying part of the adoption process? What motivated you through the difficulties?
The most trying part of the process was the waiting. Waiting to be matched with a birthmother and then waiting for our baby to arrive. We had no control over what happened and at times very little information about what was going on with our birthmother and the pregnancy.
We definitely struggled with feeling anxious and constantly had to remind ourselves that God was in control of the situation and whatever happened, it would be right. We also found that it helped to focus on the opportunity and blessing we could give the child, and less on the fulfillment of our own desires.
Q. Are there any resources you would recommend to potential adoptive parents?
Early in our process a friend loaned me a book called Successful Adoption: A Guide for Christian Families by Natalie Nichols Gillespie. It encouraged me to view adoption as a God ordained Christian obligation, rather than a second choice or last resort.
It also helped me to see that I was truly privileged to be a part of a beautiful plan, rather than seeing myself as someone who had been cheated out of God’s blessing. In addition to these priceless benefits it also contained valuable, practical information about both international and domestic adoption, as well as touching personal stories from well-known Christians who had been blessed through adoption.
Q. As you faced the ups and downs of the adoption process, how did you find your relationship with Jason strengthening?
I believe there is nothing that brings two people together more than hurting together and overcoming obstacles together. This experience included a great deal of heartache and we both learned to appreciate each other more as we comforted and encouraged one another through the low points. I also grew to trust Jason more as he guided us and made decisions for our family based on God’s leading. The closeness we have gained is a reward in itself.
Q. Do you feel that this experience brought you closer to God as you were forced to rely on Him more completely?
This experience caused me to turn what I knew mentally about God’s love and provision into a deeper belief of the heart. Growing up as a Christian, I’ve always known that God faithfully takes care of His people and desires to bless them, but I also knew that didn’t mean He would give me exactly what I wanted or that His plan would align with mine.
This is what I struggled with most. It took time for me to surrender to His infinite wisdom. Now standing on the other side I can see how perfect His plan truly was all along, and I feel very blessed to have such tangible proof of His love and majesty. This is something that I will always be able to look back on when future trials arise.
Q. You received the call that you and Jason had been matched with a birthmother one night when you least expected it. What was your reaction?
When we were told by our social worker that a birthmother was willing to work with us, we experienced a mixture of emotions. We were, of course, thrilled and relieved, but we felt a sense of caution as well as we held our breaths and prayed it wouldn’t fall through.
We were making a huge financial commitment and entering into a contract with a birthmother is a risk as there is no guarantee she won’t change her mind about giving her child up along the way. It was one of many moments when we had to take a leap of faith, knowing it was in God’s hands and we would be okay no matter what.
Q. You hoped that through the adoption process, you would be able to impact the birthmother’s life. What are some ways in which you and Jason strove to show Christ to her?
Our birthmother initially stipulated that there would be no direct contact between us. Therefore, our only means of communicating Christ to her was through our letter and picture profile. In them we spoke of our love for God and commitment to raising the children He gave us to follow Him.
We learned a great deal about her life through a detailed report given us by the adoption agency. We were incredibly grateful to her for the gift she was giving us and that she had chosen to give her baby life instead of death. We prayed for her constantly, hoping that she would be drawn to Christ through this experience and that we would be given opportunity to aid in that, if only in a small way.
Two months into the process, her circumstances changed and she was in need of a place to live. Since she had previously been homeless, she didn’t own any furnishings or household items. We asked our social worker if we could donate some things to her and were given permission to do so. At that point our birthmother had a change of heart and agreed to meet us just once. We were then able to take a trailer full of things, donated by our family and friends, to the house she was renting.
We had enough to completely furnish her home and make her comfortable. It was an incredible witness to us, and to her, of Christian love and community. We were overwhelmed with joy that day as we met her and saw our baby for the first time. We continue to hope and pray that, as she continues on with her life, she has been impacted for God through us.
Q. Was there a specific moment during the adoption process when it hit you that you were a mother?
I think the moment it hit me the hardest was when I held him for the first time, minutes after he was born. The nurse had finished weighing and wrapping him and she handed him to me. Not to the other nurse, not to the social worker, not even to Jason, but to me because I was his mother. It was probably one of the most surreal and satisfying moments of my life! …I looked down at his precious face and kept saying to myself, “He’s mine, and he’s beautiful.” I was so thankful to God for fashioning this little life just for us.
Q. Tell about the day of Brennan’s birth.
The day of Brennan’s birth began with a surprising phone call informing us that our birthmother’s water broke and that she was being taken to the hospital to be checked. An hour later it was confirmed that we would be having a baby that day!
This came as a complete shock as she had been seen by a doctor two days earlier, and he had not indicated that he suspected delivery to be imminent. Our social worker offered to keep us posted as labor progressed. Fortunately, I had just finished packing Brennan’s hospital bag the day before, so all we had to do was pack an overnight bag for ourselves and install the car seat. It was such a joyful, long-awaited task.
We decided to head to town so we would be closer and available at a moment’s notice. We ran some errands, had lunch and settled at my grandma’s house to wait. Then we got a call telling us to meet our social worker at the hospital in an hour. Less than five minutes later we got another call telling us that…we needed to be there immediately!
We headed to the hospital, navigated the massive compound as fast as we could and arrived where we needed to be. As we stepped off the elevator and started down the hall, we could hear Brennan crying. He had just entered the world!
Our birthmother had made the decision not to see or hold the baby after he was born. She wanted him to be ours from the beginning and felt it would be easier for her this way. They immediately moved Brennan across the hall where we could be with him.
From that moment we were treated just like biological parents. We were later moved to our own room
where we were initiated into parenthood with a night of feedings and diaper changes. We also spent a great amount of time watching him sleep! We didn’t even notice we weren’t getting any sleep ourselves.
Though he wouldn’t legally become ours until the next day when the official papers were signed, he had stolen our hearts the moment we laid eyes on him. He had come into an amazing family, who was there to welcome him as well, and there was much rejoicing!
Q. Do you see God at work even though your family hasn’t started the way you originally expected?
In a way, I feel that I’m able to see God at work even more than if our family had started in a traditional way. Through this particular experience, we found that, with our own power and ability completely removed, we were able to truly see God deliberately orchestrate circumstances in a very clear and magnificent way. It has given us a humble gratitude that we might not have achieved otherwise.
Q. How do you think our culture in general views adoption?
Through my personal experience it seems that, in general, the culture is fairly ignorant about adoption. Everyone has heard the occasional heartwarming adoption story through television or inspirational publications, but it’s not something that is given much thought by those who have not been personally affected by it.
Ignorance in this case can be deadly as, quite often, mothers in crisis are not made aware of the alternative to abortion that adoption presents. I definitely believe there is a need for more education and networking among adoptive families to increase awareness of and appreciation for adoption in the culture.
Q. You’ve always been pro-life. But have you found that Brennan has strengthened your standpoint on the issue?
I have always strongly believed that human life is valued highly by God and should, therefore, be protected by Christians. Now, as I hold in my arms a precious life, full of promise and potential, one that so easily could have been terminated prematurely, I realize how extremely important it is to protect unborn children through adoption, thus, bringing glory to God, filling many homes with blessing and joy, and raising up a generation of impact.
On July 8th-10th, 2010, Vision Form Ministries will host The Baby Conference. Celebrating the choice of life amid a culture of death, it will feature speakers such as R. C. Sproul, Jr., Kevin Swanson, Geoffrey Botkin, Paul Pennington, and more. Christian adoption will be a prominent theme. Learn more about Vision Forum’s The Baby Conference