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An Adoption Story: The Road to Eli

by Sarah Sampson

Every adoption is a beautiful miracle, and just like childbirth, no two stories are the same. Our story is not your typical adoption story, for us, it began in December 2005…

I was attending a Christmas concert with friends, and two weeks away from delivering my 4th child. During the concert, they showed a spotlight video that highlighted a ministry called Shaohannah’s Hope, an organization that raises money to help families adopt internationally. I was so moved by the video, it left me with a compelling feeling that I would adopt someday. I shared my experience with my husband. He chalked it up to pregnancy hormones and pretty much told me I was crazy. We were on the verge of having four children under the age of five which included a set of twins. 

Life got busier after the birth of my fourth child. Fast forward to 2011, my baby started kindergarten, and with my youngest in school the desire to adopt came back to me, I didn’t have long to entertain it before my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – a life changing event for our family so again, I put adoption on the back burner. 

In 2013, I had gone back to school to get my teaching certification. I was driving across Houston several times a week, so I had time to explore my thoughts which always included the possibility of adopting a child. It was everywhere – from church to the kid’s school — I would see or hear something that related to adoption. I knew God was speaking to me loud and clear. 

I approached my husband again about the idea, and he still wasn’t entirely on board. He believed if God wanted us to adopt, He would put a baby on our doorstep. I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Again, I became consumed with the idea of adoption, so I began to research adoption agencies and options. I started to share my desire with my friends and family. Through a series of events, a family friend’s daughter learned she was expecting and at that point in her life, keeping the baby was not an option for her. The family knew we were interested in adoption and asked if we would meet with them. Knowing this is not how adoptions typically happen, we didn’t think it would lead anywhere but we knew this invitation was one we weren’t willing to decline. This was our baby on the doorstep. 

After seeking legal counsel, we proceeded with the process. A birth mother cannot finalize her decision until after the baby’s birth, but no matter the outcome, our family was committed to walking the journey with her.  On June 27, 2014, Eli Thomas came into the world. His birth mother requested our presence at his birth. My husband and I were the first to hold Eli. It was one of the most amazing experiences. From the moment we held him, we knew he would be part of our family. 

Eli wasn’t legally a member of our family until April 17, 2015 when our family stood before a judge in a Galveston County Courthouse as we committed ourselves to him and he was officially given our name.  Eli’s adoption was a private adoption, but we still had to go through the legal process including interviews and home studies for everything to be finalized. Eli’s birth mother is an amazing woman, and she is a part of Eli’s life. I want him to know how much she loved him and how that love affected her decision. 

When I think of adoption my heart is torn. It is a difficult choice for a birth mother, one that requires love and bravery. Adoption isn’t always easy. It can be complicated and challenging at times, but when you look into the eyes of your child, it’s worth all that is difficult. People often ask us about our decision to adopt. Some say we were crazy since Eli makes five children for us. We often hear how blessed Eli is, but it is US who is blessed by our fifth child. Every time I look at him I see a miracle born from a desire in my heart nine years before he was placed on our doorstep.  

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