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Called to adopt…FIRST

One thing I have overheard in the past year from lots of people as they watched our family adopt say is, “We would love to adopt ONE day, BUT we want to have our ‘own’ kids first.” The funny thing about our family is that Richard and I actually started our marriage wanting to adopt first. For us–it just made sense. And for many other couples throughout the world–it DOES make perfect sense. The time and energy of the paper chase…the extra effort to help an older baby or child adjust to a new family, culture and home…for us it has been twice the work as a newborn as a 1 year old doesn’t quite sleep as much as a newborn. But just after 6 months of marriage, we found out we were going to have a baby…which he falls in the 1% as we were trying to wait to “have our own” just yet (that phrase makes me cringe now!). As I rock our 1 year old who has only been home for 6 weeks, it is such an amazing thing…quite a miracle…as our hearts are bound and truly HE IS OUR OWN. Because adopting first was a desire and dream I have had since a teen and although God had different plans for our family, I continue to just be so encouraged by more and more families who are CHOOSING to ADOPT FIRST.

I wanted to introduce you to one of these families who I had the honor to spend a weekend with back in June…meet Jason and Britney Cannon…

Jason and Britney felt the Lord leading them to adopt FIRST–and they actually started out persuing an adoption to Haiti. HOWEVER…they didn’t fit the criteria because they have only been married for a few years. Now that they have a few years of marriage under their belt, they are ready to grow their family–and their first child will be born of their hearts…straight from Ethiopia. While Jason and Britney knew they would have friends and family probably scratching their heads wondering why they wouldn’t have biological children first, Jason wrote this to explain WHY it just made perfect sense for their family:

We have always talked about adopting, but we just assumed it would be after having biological children. We long greatly to have biological children and Good Lord willing that will happen for our family sometime in the not-so-distant future. For now however, that is not exactly what the Lord has placed on our hearts. It is easy to sit and dream of a day when it will be more convenient to reach out to a child in need and provide a loving forever home for that child. It is another thing all together to actually put the rubber to the road and take steps in the direction of adopting a child. We have simply decided, with a little spiritual prodding, that the time for us to adopt is now. For the logical thinkers out there we have compiled a list below of several factors that have also coaxed us in the direction of seeing this process through at this particular time in our lives.

1. Financing – As some of you may already know, international adoptions cost, on average, somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000. With both of us having steady full time jobs (Thank God!) and not having other children to provide for currently, we feel that now seems like a better time than ever to pursue an international adoption. We can save, fund raise, and run around like the crazy people we will have to be in order to complete the adoption. If we already had children, it would make these things more difficult… definitely NOT impossible, but just a little tougher with time and finances.
2. Traveling – International adoptions can require the adoptive parents to visit the country on a couple of occasions, once for a court date and again to pick up your child. This will be much easier to do while only thinking about our travel arrangements, whereas if we already had children, we would have to make plans for them as well.
3. The World’s Perspective on Adoption – So often, adoption is seen as a last resort or even a burden when instead it should be seen as an amazing opportunity!! God commands us to love and care for Widows AND Orphans, he calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and he commands all of this only AFTER having done just that for all of those who are in Christ!! We have all been orphans outside the mercy of the Lord God Almighty, but He adopted us through the life and death of his Son Jesus Christ. Christ’s adoption of us cost Him greatly, but the reward far outweighed the sacrifice. We see the adoption of a child for our family having a similar reward. We want the world to see how our love for an adopted child, in some small way, mirrors the love that Christ has for each of us every day of our lives. While we can never love as perfectly as Christ, we sure can give it a shot.

We are so excited that God has placed adoption on our hearts as a way of growing our family; and, although we have a long wait ahead of us before we even get a glimpse of our first child’s face, we can already say that we will NEVER regret taking this journey. Our decision to adopt first has not been easy for everyone in our lives to understand, but God doesn’t call us to live lives that are easy, comfortable, or understandable. We just pray that God can use us and our adoption to glorify Him.

AMAZING! And what amazing love they already have for their soon-to-be child. Sit back…and watch with me as the Lord receives the glory as they follow Him in adopting first at: While you are there, check out their family’s new fundraiser t-shirt. Consider helping them bring home their first child by buying one!!!

ANOTHER family that I have connected with that is in the midst of waiting are Richard and Brantley. They ALSO feel called to adopt first–and they are adopting domestically and waiting on a referral. You can follow their journey at

If you know other families called to adopt first…maybe YOU are one of those–please feel free to leave the blog address in the comment section so other readers can be encouraged by their/your journey!!! Maybe you are newly married—and you know you’ve always WANTED to adopt…ONE day; maybe you have struggled with infertility…and you feel God opening Your heart to a different plan through adoption…OR maybe for SOME reason you just haven’t felt ready to try to have children biologically YET…and you have wondered way. OR maybe there are even some of you out there that consider yourself DONE having babies as you have a house full of teenagers!!! (Maybe my NEXT post should introduce you to some families that chose to START OVER as soon as they only had teens or kids in college in the house…and grew their family all over again through adoption!!!) Be encouraged by families like these—who are following the Lord by growing their family FIRST through adoption and being BLESSED as they follow in so many ways.

I can’t wait to sit back, watch and cheer them on! And it’ll be like waiting for our referral all over again as I wait to see pictures of their first child’s faces!!!

Leigh - August 12, 2010 - 2:35 pm

Love this post! We are becoming parents by adopting FIRST! I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

Jenny - August 12, 2010 - 2:41 pm

it’s always encouraging to me to see other families adopting first as well! we’re one of those families 🙂

Christi - August 12, 2010 - 3:14 pm

Andrea – thank you so much for sharing and for encouraging others! My hubby and I are also on this road of adopting first and couldn’t be more excited! We also thought we’d adopt ‘one day’ but the Lord had different plans for our lives! That’s what I love about God – His ways are higher than our own and are PERFECT!

It’s incredible to be able to tell people that this is God’s plan A for our family! Follow our journey at

julie@Flitterbugs - August 12, 2010 - 3:33 pm

Love this post Andrea…I also cringe when people say “our own”! We origionally were going to adopt first…but were too young (by 5 years:) to be homestudy approved in our state. So thankful for the 3 bio kiddos the Lord has blessed us with thus far, and so, so thankful for the little one He is leading us to!

Rebekah - August 12, 2010 - 3:42 pm

My husband and I have been married just a year and a half, and we are thankfully on the waitlist for our adoption from Ethiopia! We agree with the points this couple made- adopting first has many great practical reasons!

Follow along on our journey,

April - August 12, 2010 - 3:47 pm

That’s US!! We came home with our first from Taiwan last Fall and we’re headed to Ethiopia for siblings this time! Maybe one day we’ll really put our efforts into getting pregnant, but for now, the Lord’s calling on our family and the way we should build it is perfectly clear!

Nina - August 12, 2010 - 4:08 pm

We are adopting first! We needed a little nudge by fertility struggles, but now that we are here, I feel so amazingly lucky, I can’t even express it! It is like striking gold! It is like winning the lottery! Adoption is like a direct line to God’s heart, and you won’t regret it! We don’t have our baby/babies yet, but we already know that we are forever changed, and LOVE adoption! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!

Brantley Freeman - August 12, 2010 - 4:30 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! So beautiful! We are first time adopting parent’s and feel so incredibly blessed to be on this journey. God is teaching and showing us some beautiful things!

Joy - August 12, 2010 - 4:44 pm

Enjoyed this post! I always knew I wanted to adopt – and like others, “assumed” we would choose to have bio kids first…then felt less and less like going the bio route, and ended up realizing there wasn’t really a good reason NOT to adopt first…so that’s what we’re doing!

Kindra - August 12, 2010 - 5:29 pm

Thanks for sharing this story! Brandon and I are also called to adopt FIRST. When people ask us if we had trouble getting pregnant, we just smile and say “Don’t know!” They always look a little perplexed! Just part of our story. Africa is where our children are!

Blessings to others on this journey, whether first, second, or even third choices- you are right where God wants you!

Marcy - August 12, 2010 - 5:55 pm

As you know, Andrea, this is the route Aaron and I took even though our plan was to “make” kids first and then adopt. It never felt right to us though. Adopting first, I believe, truly was God’s calling for our family–I’d love to say that we jumped right in, but it honestly took us so long to listen and obey. Even after we started our adoption, God worked on our hearts soooo much! THANK YOU for posting about this; it’s so exciting to see this happening with couples…I feel like I’m hearing it all of the time lately! 🙂 There is no PLAN B is God’s leading.

Pix - August 12, 2010 - 6:03 pm

Thanks so much for this post! I wanted to adopt since I was in middle school, and am so thrilled to be able to realize this dream. There are so many ways to create a family, and I hope that soon, our choice of adoption FIRST will not be such a novel thing or a surprise. Feel free to stop by and share our story at:

Makenzie - August 12, 2010 - 6:24 pm

Hi Andrea! I love your blog and I really enjoyed this post because we have decided to be one of those families as well! My husband and I are adopting our first from Ethiopia. It took us a year of trying to get pregnant to realize that God had a better plan for us! Please feel free to check out our new blog!!

Kim - August 12, 2010 - 6:35 pm

What a great post and how encouraging to read all the comments from young couples choosing adoption FIRST!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,

Carrie - August 12, 2010 - 7:14 pm

What an encouraging post! My husband and I have also chosen adoption as the first way to build our family, and to many of our friends and family it doesn’t make sense. Although Satan has tried to fill my mind with doubts about our less than “normal” method of building our family, I know without a doubt that God placed the desire in both of our hearts. I have not had contact with very many other families who have chose adoption first, so your bog and all of the comments are so exciting to read!

Kimberly - August 12, 2010 - 7:28 pm

We too are adopting FIRST- ah, how nice to hear of other called to the same as us. We believe that God wants us to build a family and our first will be a sweet babe from Ethiopia! We’re so blessed by where God has placed us in life right now with the resources, time, energy and heart to do this.

Tara Neal - August 12, 2010 - 10:53 pm

Oh, you have no idea what this post means to me!! We are adopting first and at 24 years old, we find it hard to find other families that are also doing the same and around the same age. This is so sweet of you to post this, and I can see/read other stories similar to ours! You’re the best!

Jessie - August 13, 2010 - 12:31 am

Thank you for this post! We were called to adopt first and a year after bringing our son home from Vietnam, we felt God calling us to adopt from Ethiopia. Now, we’re waiting to bring our daughter home some time this fall! It is such an encouragement to me to read the stories of other families doing the same.

Lindsay - August 13, 2010 - 2:36 am

Yes, please do your next post on older families starting again by adopting! I have been trying to convince my parents to adopt, or atleast look into it and see what God has planned. Even though I am 19 and my brother 15, I just have always longed for more siblings to fill my house! Thanks for all your wonderful blog posts! God bless your family.

Courtney - August 13, 2010 - 10:16 am

We are adopting first as well! What an encouragement it is to read about all these other couples doing the same. I believe it shows a clear picture to the world the spiritual aspect of adoption. My husband and I have received many strange looks, but we couldn’t be more excited about adopting first!

April Diaz - August 13, 2010 - 11:01 am

We are an adopt first family!! We wanted to adopt first before we wanted to try for bio kids. After a few years of infertility, we decided to start the adoption process from Ethiopia. We are waiting for our referral for 2 little ones. Any day!!!

Our blog is

Much love!

Megan - August 13, 2010 - 1:51 pm

I am so encouraged to see more and more families feeling God’s prompting and following His will for their lives.

My husband and I started dating 9 years ago and one of the first things we talked about was our desire to adopt. We couldn’t pinpoint how and when this would happen, but we knew that’s what we wanted and what God wanted for our family. After the birth of our son, we found out some of our best friends were adopting their first child from Ethiopia. We were so excited to know that we were going to have other families like ours and begin researching more on how to make it happen. A short few months later God just smacked me over the head with the desire to start the journey NOW. Although it took some convincing in the financial area with my husband (fixer-upper house + debt + new baby = not a lot of money)…God changed his heart to see HIS plan for our lives. NEVER have for a MOMENT regretted this decision and are EAGERLY and (not so) patiently waiting to be matched with our Lil Miss.

Jennifer - August 13, 2010 - 2:07 pm

My husband and I are also adopting first. This is our first choice because of God’s plan. It is amazing to look back during our process and see God’s hand opening doors for us and guiding us through this time. He has used this time as we are waiting to grow our faith and love for Him. He is showing us how to be better parents. We are hopeful to be bringing our son home soon. He is a year old and we are longing for him.

Rachel N - August 13, 2010 - 4:30 pm

After nearly 10 years of marriage, and thinking we would have bio kids first and then adopt, we now know that it was God’s plan all along to enlarge our family through the miracle of adoption. We are one month old now as a family of Four and we are madly in love with OUR kids.

Amy - August 13, 2010 - 7:59 pm

Thanks for bringing this to the forefront. So often, I think our culture views adoption as God’s Plan B and unnatural. However, I believe in the life of a believer, adopted as God’s child, it is a very natural lifestyle and God’s Plan A, just as growing a family through biological children is God’s Plan A. We are so thankful God saw fit to bless us with twins through adoption and we are excited to watch how He continues to grow our family! Blessings as you transition!

JonesEthiopia - August 13, 2010 - 8:42 pm

Well, I wouldn’t say we adopted “first,” as we have no plans to have bio children. 🙂 However, the day we decided to adopt was the most peaceful day of my life, and now I have two beautiful Ethiopian princesses I am so thankful to be able to call my daughters. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

candra sexton - August 16, 2010 - 1:06 pm

THANKYOU so much for sharing this! I have had so many conversations with people lately about wanting “their own” first (cringe!) and have been able to ask why. I posted this link on my website as you have explained it so well and hope & pray that they will consider it! WE just brought home our son from South Africa and have LOVED every moment with him!!

AbiQ - August 16, 2010 - 2:12 pm

Me and my hubby are adopting first too. We went to Uganda last summer and fell in love and couldn’t think of NOT adopting first. We were just matched with a baby last week and are still waiting on a picture of our little guy but we couldn’t be more thrilled!!

Andrew & Esther - August 16, 2010 - 9:03 pm

That is us!!! ( We chose to adopt years ago, and to say YES to the first referral. We were on the path to adopt a sibling group in Ethiopia (dossier almost sent) when our agency called to say 2 1/2 year old twins needed a home in 24 hours (in March). It was God Who led us down the path so we would trust Him and say YES. Like someone else said, if someone asks if we’ve had trouble getting pregnant – we just say, “We don’t know!” 🙂 God does. And He led us to the perfect little ones for us. Round 2 adoption may be another sibling group, or a single child, or back to Ethiopia where our heart is or domestic again, but we want to adopt again! What a privilege.

Ashley - August 20, 2010 - 2:33 pm

I am SO VERY PROUD of my big sister Britney Cannon and her husband Jason Cannon for their incredible relationship with Christ. I long for the kind of faith, dependence and love they have for God. They have opened their hearts to hear His cry for them…they are taking a gigantic leap of faith and saying, “Yes, God, I hear you! I am following Your lead. Take my dreams, my hopes, my fears…take my life Lord, a living sacrifice.” How awesome is that?!? Y’all are my hereos. And I know that with the amazing faith and trust you have….God is going to see you and your baby through everything. I am SO stinkin’ excited to meet my new baby nephew/neice!!! And I promise, I won’t call him Bookie, haha. Besides, that’s Landen’s nickname. lol. LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Don’t forget to buy an adoption tee from them if you can!!!