EDITOR’S NOTE — November is National Adoption Awareness month.
Aaron Jaillet still remembers the awkward conversation he had many years ago with his future wife, Abby, when he asked if she’d be willing to move up their plans and get married before she graduated from college.
“It didn’t go well,” recalled Aaron in an episode of the TAB Media podcast Amplify. Their plan involved finishing college, getting jobs, getting married, buying their first home, then having children.
Grief of infertility
“We kind of had this plan from the beginning, of what this would look like,” said Jaillet, who married Abby in 2015. They are now members of Iron City Church in Birmingham. “We’ll wait three to five years and we’ll have a kid and wait a couple years and have another kid. We’ve always talked about having three kids. That was kind of our plan.”
But after getting settled in their home and married life, the timeline began to take an unexpected route. The initial talk of “give it time” and “it will happen when the time is right” eventually turned into doubt, doctor visits, failed fertility treatments, frustration and heartache.
Now six years into their marriage, the Jaillets are seeking adoption. And while both are excited about the future and what God has in store, getting to that point has involved a lot of prayer and time to process the grief involved with infertility.
Part of it for Jaillet was realizing how he and his wife process grief differently.
“I did have that wall up because I was trying to deal with my pain without showing it to her,” he said. “I was afraid it would cause even more pain for her, when in actuality putting that wall up caused more pain than it otherwise would have.”
For Jaillet, finding other believers he and his wife could share their infertility struggles with helped them through the grief and moving forward with adoption.
“It is a very heavy burden to carry,” he said, “and the more we can share [with other believers], the more we can learn about each other and be in real community with one another.
“It’s been this strange moment of understanding that we are still grieving, but also understanding that we will have children of our own through adoption someday.”
With more than 6,000 children in foster care in Alabama, Alabama Baptist families like the Jaillets can make a lasting impact in the lives of hurting children and families in the name of Jesus Christ, says Rod Marshall, president and CEO of Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries. In this year’s issue of Fruitful, TAB Media’s annual publication produced for the Alabama Baptist State Convention, Marshall shares the story of Javontez, who was adopted this year after spending two years in foster care.
“As a preemie, Javontez came to [ABCH care] straight from the hospital after spending a long time in the NICU,” Marshall writes. “Born at only 27 weeks and weighing only two pounds, two ounces, he was facing very serious health issues.
“After a two-month stay in the hospital, Alan and Katie Bond, one of our incredible foster families, took over his daily care. Shortly after coming into their care, he had some other serious health setbacks.”
Marshall said the support given to ABCH made sure the Bond family was able to provide the necessary care Javontez so desperately needed to overcome the medical hurdles he faced.
“Two years later, Javontez is a different child,” Marshall said. “He runs, plays and engages in typical 2-year-old behaviors. It is truly a miracle that Javontez is alive today.” The Bonds officially adopted Javontez in June, and they give credit to the Lord, he added.
Despite the sometimes heavy nature of caring for children from hard places, Marshall said there are also “many bright spots we are blessed to be a part. Every day in our ministry, lives are being influenced and impacted for the Kingdom.”
Click here to read more about coping with infertility and to find a list of resources. Click here to view a digital edition of this year’s Fruitful magazine, featuring the story of the Javontez and the Bond family.
3 practical ways to engage your church
Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries offers several free resources for pastors, church leaders and others interested in making a difference in the lives of children and families like Javontez and the Bonds.
The challenge is often in knowing what gospel-centered orphan and foster care ministry looks like and where to begin, ABCH President Rod Marshall said. Begin with these three ideas and resources:
1. Pray. Prayer support — ABCH online or call to request free bookmarks or magnets with daily prayer requests. You can also sign up to become a monthly Prayer Partner via email. Visit alabama-child.org/pray to learn more.
2. Serve. Foster care — Multiple ways to serve abound, and ABCH is on track to see more than 1,000 volunteers engaging with its ministry this year. Download a free foster care resource to help guide your next steps to understanding and helping children at www.alabamachild.org/support.
3. Give. Financial support — When you share financially, you provide children with food, clothing, a safe and Christ-centered foster home and more, Marshall said.
Find out more more at www.alabamachild.org.
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