“Now, after being on the journey that I’ve been through, I see myself stronger than I was before. There were things about myself that I learned along the way: how strong I was, and independent; and how to rely more on God through the hardest times. It grew my marriage with my husband of 14 years. We have seen God truly work miracles,” said Sarah Beth, a cancer survivor and adoptive mother.
Sarah grew up in a loving family and knew from an early age that she wanted to be surrounded by children. She applied her education in psychology and sociology from Dallas Baptist University to her work with Early Childhood Intervention, and with the children’s ministry at her church.
Suddenly, only three years into her marriage, their family plans were derailed. She describes that time, “Eleven years ago, in April of 2011, I was diagnosed with AML leukemia, and had a bone marrow transplant. l had another form of leukemia as a child, and had been in remission for 23 years, and randomly got another form of leukemia. We got diagnosed on Good Friday, and started chemo Easter Day. The day that it happened, we were in complete shock, denial, all the feelings you could have. The night before we went to have chemo, I was lying in the hospital bed praying, asking God to give me a peace like no other. God distinctly told me we were going to be in one of the worst categories you could be in, but it was going to be ok. I never heard God speak to me like that before. Little did I know that my husband, who was sitting on the hospital bench, was praying the same prayer, and he told me, ‘God told me the same thing.’ My mom was home praying, and the next morning when she walked into the hospital room, she said God told her the same thing as well.”
“When you need a bone marrow transplant, you need someone to be a match. They check your siblings first. My sister was not a match at all, and we were devastated. My brother was a half match. If we couldn’t find a match, we would have been on chemo for longer than we were. Then they put my name in the registry. Most people typically get 2-3 matches, but when they put my name in the registry, we got 1300 possible matches. My doctors were shocked. They had never seen anything like this. I looked at them and told them, ‘It’s because I serve a big God. Only He can do that!’ There were 10 other categories that had to match,” Sarah said. There was a woman in Houston, who had the same name, and she was a perfect match. “I got to meet my donor on Thanksgiving weekend the following year,” she recalled.
“After the long journey, with many side effects and many struggles along the way, came infertility. Of course, we were devastated. But after much prayer, God laid it on our hearts to start the adoption process. We went to different adoption agencies for meetings, but never had a peace about any of them. Randomly, one day at work, my husband was talking to someone about it, and they mentioned Aggieland Outreach Pregnancy Center. We contacted them, went to a meeting, and immediately knew that’s where we were supposed to be. We started the process. It was a long process, a lot of home studies, stacks of paperwork, and a long time of waiting. After 2 years, in January 2020, our agency finally called us about a birth mother. We met, we talked for a couple of months, and then all of the sudden, she decided she didn’t feel comfortable placing her baby with us. We were devastated. The next day our agency called us with another birth mother. On the spot she told us she wanted us to be the parents of the baby. We thought we would not get picked because of the cancer in the past. The reason she told us she picked us was because I had had cancer and her mom passed away from cancer the previous year, and she wanted to help us start a family. In May, her daughter was born,” Sarah said.
“Because of Covid, we weren’t sure if we were going to be in the hospital with our daughter, but miraculously, God worked it out, and we got to be there and hold her soon after she was born. And we got to see the parents when they came to sign the papers. It was great to see them hold her and love on her before we went home. We took pictures of all of us together so I could show her, ‘These are all the people who have loved you from Day 1, and will continue to love you.’ Her birth mother was her first mother, but she’s ours now. We’re doing this together. We want our daughter to know that her birth mother loved her so much, and we love her so much,” Sarah said. “It was a ‘God thing’. We brought our daughter home on Mother’s Day of 2020, and she has been with us ever since.”
The open adoption was a challenge at first, but God continued to show Sarah and her husband that it was the right thing. “Our relationship with the birth mother has turned into a huge ministry for us. You grow to have a heart of compassion for the birth mother who is helping you grow your family. She still has lots of struggles in life, and it breaks my heart that she has been holding on to her guilt and grief after all this time. We keep assuring her that she is the strongest, most amazing person for doing what she did. I could never imagine doing what she did for us. The day after she gave birth, she was going home empty-handed; we were going home with a baby in our arms. It broke our hearts for her, with more grief than I could imagine. But it was a joyous time too. I was just so excited to finally be a mother, after all these years. All these mixed emotions in one moment!” Sarah said. “Open adoption is truly the best thing for the birth mother, the adoptive family, and the adopted child. It helps the birth mother heal because she can see how her child is happy, safe and thriving. It helps us to be able to minister to her. And it will help our daughter in the long run when she is older and she does have questions. She knows her birth mother, and can go to her and talk to her openly about it, have a relationship with her, and with her siblings that are still with the birth mother.”
“I always knew I would be a mom. And I always had a heart for adoption. Did it turn out the way I thought? No, it turned out better. It has been a true joy to get to stay home with her everyday, to see her milestones. It’s been the most joyful thing in my life,” Sarah said. “Now we are in round two, waiting for another birth mother to pick us.
“Shout out to the amazing people at Aggieland Adoption!” Sarah said. “If you are pregnant and unsure what to do, I would strongly encourage you to reach out to them. They will counsel you, encourage you, pray with you, help you with anything you need. And we are praying for you as well, even though we don’t know you. It’s a huge ministry, not just adoption; they minister to birth mothers, whether they choose to parent or place for adoption. They help with so many resources. If you are pregnant and unsure what to do, reach out to them or an agency close by. I know it will be the hardest thing you could do, but God will give you strength and help you do what you need to do. You will help another family grow, and you will gain another family through it, like we have. If you are struggling to have a family, pray about adoption. It can change your world and your child’s world. You will give them a better life than maybe they were going to have. Foster care is an amazing thing too, and so desperately needed. If you are in Texas, I would encourage you to check out Aggieland Adoption.”
“I have a ton of family that has supported us, encouraged us, and most importantly prayed for us through cancer, adoption, all of it. There were lots of prayers being said because we didn’t know if there was a tomorrow for me. We are doing well today, we have a beautiful daughter,” Sarah said. “I just want people to know that God is always with you, even in the hardest, darkest days, when you think ‘There’s no way we’re getting out of this!’ and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re having a hard time with whatever it is, God is always there. He is the #1 Great Provider, and the most amazing Great Physician, even in the hardest of times, even if you’ve hit rock bottom. I know because I’ve been there. He will lift you up and give you strength like no other. God has shown us that He is truly much bigger than anything we could want or need.”