“Because Someone Has To” – Adoption Stories with Shar Halvorsen

I’m thrilled to deliver the first of what I hope will be many adoption stories here at the blog. On every Friday in the foreseeable future, guests will post here about their experience with foster care and adoption. It’s a lifestyle I have watched my sister, Sharalee Halvorsen, and her husband Ben dive into feet first. They’ve taken in two children in eight months (in addition to the four children they already had). I hope you’ll enjoy their story and Shar’s perspective on adoption.

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“We have a mama due in 3 weeks with a baby girl. And we were wondering if you could be the family she is looking for?”

Private adoption.
An option that for some reason had never been in our radar. A long year pursuing an international adoption only to have to pull our case when things got a bit messy. Foster training nearly complete but feeling like we still had such a long way to go. We were confused and unsure as to where our baby was,
a baby that already felt like ours, yet never had a face.

24 hours after receiving the first email from a friend we were sitting across from the mother, listening to her story.
Disbelief that someone so young could have been through so much.
She wanted her baby girl’s life to be different.
She wanted it to be filled with love,

24 hours later she was signing the forms that confirmed we were the ones.

3 weeks later we got the call.
Everything felt surreal. Walking into the hospital room is a moment I will never forget.
Mama was yelling. She felt alone and was scared.
Curtains and blankets hung to ensure she made no connection with the little one she had just brought into the world.
All I could hear was sweet baby girl’s cry. She felt alone and scared.
Curtains and blankets hung to ensure no connection with the only mama she had ever known.
And I stood there wondering my part in all of this.
I wanted to run.
She didn’t want me. She didn’t cry for me.
She wanted to be placed on her mama’s chest. She wanted to be close to the only voice that was familiar.
But in that moment I realized that things don’t always work out they way they are intended.
The situation wasn’t ideal.

90 minutes.
An hour and a half.
That’s how long we had to prepare for baby boy.

9 days old. So fragile and small.
The scene in our kitchen was surreal, and it is a moment in my life that I will never forget.
We were strangers yet instantly bound by the common paths we were walking and the treasure they were entrusting us with.
The couple had dreamed of their first baby,
longing to love him and give him all they had,
and now they were here handing him to us because the circumstances had changed.
chances were they weren’t going to be able to keep him
so many things out of their control
birth parents playing tug of war
with the baby right in the middle.

They held him
said their goodbyes,
and walked out.

And we stood in our kitchen, staring at this little baby boy
We knew nothing about him
how often he ate
his schedule
Was he scared?
What were the pieces of his past, his story?
We didn’t know him.
And for a second
I wanted to run.
Deep down I knew that it was impossible not to fall for this baby that had landed in our kitchen.
I knew deep down that it was going to be torture for our four other kids if we had to say goodbye.
And now, four months later,
I know the weight of the loss we would feel if he were to go.
It would be more than I could possibly handle.

It doesn’t make sense. This isn’t the way it was supposed to work out.
When things are in limbo with my babies
are ever present.
We walk each day with a weight on our shoulders
some days the weight is lighter
but it’s still always there.
Last week as we talked through the latest developments with baby boy,
I could feel my chest tightening and anxiety setting in
trying to figure out how this was going to work out.
I looked at my husband,
hardly able to get the words out
and I said “Why would we ever do this again?
It’s just too hard.”

“Someone has to.”
That’s all he said.

It would be so much easier to run.
When things don’t make sense,
when things aren’t working out the way they are supposed to,
when things are less than ideal.
Sometimes I wish we weren’t that “someone”.
Sometimes I wish I could just walk away
and not feel anything
but to be honest
with each baby that has been brought to our home
my feeling couldn’t be more opposite.
Looking at our baby girl and baby boy
there is only one thought that consumes my mind

One more.
We can love on one more.

I wonder how many times in the past I have made a decision based on the thought that if it’s
hard or painful
if it doesn’t make sense
then surely it isn’t right.
I wonder how much I’ve missed out on because of that thought.

Thank God I didn’t miss out on my babies…

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You can check out Sharalee’s blog HERE, as well as her beautiful photography HERE.

If you’d like to submit a post for consideration, please email your 500-word story to shawnsmucker@yahoo.com. I’m looking for stories regarding a poignant moment in your foster or adoption process to post on a Friday.

5 Replies to ““Because Someone Has To” – Adoption Stories with Shar Halvorsen”

  1. Lots of tears. Beautiful writing. Even though I’ve never had children and have never even been close to knowing what the adoption/foster care process looks like, I can minimally relate with this. When I was over seas, surrounded by situations that were so much less than ideal, so broken, so scary… and having a baby child in the mix, all that is brought to my memory is that stomach clenching, heartbreaking feeling. Lots of ‘why, God, why?’ moments …

    Thank you for sharing, Shar, and thank you for fighting this battle.

  2. Shar, we have never met, but if you are anything like your brother, you are a profoundly amazing person.

    And this post, this post confirms that. I commend you for the love you are giving, for the love in spite of the fear. You are truly a gift.

    So often, I think, we turn to fear as our reason not to do something . . . but as Ben said, “Someone has to.” So much of our lives is that way.

    Thank you for this. Thank you.

  3. Shar,

    Yet again, you expose a peek into the inner chambers of your deep and wide heart for those of us wise enough to look. As usual, I am astounded by the view and my looking lingers, for I want the inner chambers of my heart to reflect His like yours does. Thank you. So much.


  4. Shar,

    I am in tears. This is beautiful, passionate and heart wrenchingly honest and real.

    Thank you for sharing this! What a lovely story you are creating with your family. It twists and turns combining pain and unexpected joys throughout. It is a gift that you are sharing your life’s lessons and observations.

    I am blessed and challenged – thanks!

    Claudia (Leah’s sis ;) )

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