An internet search of the word adoption revealed “about 1,760,000,000 results” at first glance. The word adopt is a verb defined as “to take by choice into a relationship,” according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
Adoption is a familiar word in our vocabulary, internationally, nationwide, and closer to home – Simpson County, Mississippi. More likely than not, most who live in the county have been touched directly or indirectly by adoption: a family member chooses it, a friend chooses it, a friend was adopted, a family member, adopted.
It may be a result of a choice made or the choice was made for them. That is the story of David and Chanda Davis of Magee. While the couple married later in life they knew they wanted children.
“After three years of marriage, it was apparent that we were not likely to have a biological child, although modern medicine could give us no solid reason why,” Chanda explained. There were three options: in vitro fertilization (IVF), adoption or no children. The couple chose IVF as they did not feel led to adopt at the time. Having a family was not optional.
The cost of IVF the Davis’ planned on was approximately $20,000 regardless of its success, and it was not covered by insurance. However, each financial method they selected fell through. “Every door was closed, and we were very disappointed and unsure what to do for months,” Chanda said.
Not long after, Chanda was handed an article published in the September 5, 2019 edition of The Magee Courier describing a series of classes on foster care and adoption held at Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon, Miss.
“We started attending this class twice a month and met the most wonderful, supportive people – some of whom had adopted, some were in the process, and some were trying to make the same decision we were.”
There followed a season of prayer and conversation. It was an involved process requiring time, effort and hard work on the part of the two. Chanda admits it was not easy nor is adoption to be taken lightly. “We did our homework, talked to those in class; we prayed, we talked, we thought, we listened to God. I highly recommend the listening to God part. The amazing part was, we came to the same conclusion at the same time. We were in,” she said.
The Davises have chosen domestic adoption over international. Many steps are involved in the adoption process and they have only just begun, but they are full of joy thinking about the family they have always wanted becoming a reality.
Isaac Allen Sullivan, who recently celebrated his first birthday, was adopted by Robby and Melissa Sullivan by way of a relatively new law in Mississippi, Safe Haven. According to nationalsafehavenalliance.org, the Mississippi Safe Haven law states, “You can leave your baby, up to three days old, with an employee at any emergency medical provider, hospital emergency room or a licensed adoption agency in Mississippi.”
After prayer and conversation the couple initially planned to become foster parents, specifically to infants waiting for an adoptive home. This was a family decision including daughter Anna Beth (17) and son Sy (15). Little did they know that it was this path the Lord chose to use to bless them with baby Isaac.
According to Melissa Sullivan, Isaac was five days old when he came to their home in early 2019. “There were many court dates and lawyer meetings, some that were customary but many, many that were not.” Because not much was known about the Safe Haven law in Mississippi and the way it works, the adoption process was slowed.
“When a baby is surrendered under the Safe Haven law, the baby immediately becomes custody of the state and is placed into the foster care system where the baby is then placed in a licensed foster home when he/she is able to leave the hospital,” explained Sullivan. She is the Mississippi representative for the National Safe Haven Alliance headquartered in Glendale, Arizona.
At first they planned on being the in-between stop for another adoptive family. Attachment to Isaac took place immediately, however, and the Sullivans soon realized the baby was meant for them. The adoption began as a simple process but soon took on a life of its own with one legal battle after the other, creating a myriad of emotions for the Sullivan family.
According to Melissa, “From March until August (2019) it seemed like a spiritual battle. Looking back I could see that a year before this happened the Lord had prepared me, as I had done an intense Bible study on spiritual warfare. I recognized it immediately, as well as Robby and we battled in prayer.” She also adopted journaling as a New Year’s resolution in 2019. As Sullivan reviewed her journal entries one theme was overriding – trust. “I realized the Lord can be trusted, and I can trust him with my future and my children’s future, even if it’s unknown or uncertain.”
The Sullivans also believe in God’s perfect timing. They began the process of becoming foster parents in April of 2018 and were fully licensed by September that same year. Isaac was born nine months after they began their journey. “We fully believe that Isaac was conceived when the Lord impressed on Robby for us to get involved in the foster system. And because the Lord has a funny sense of humor, it has occurred to us that Isaac in the Bible was given to older parents! That seems to be the case with us as well!” Melissa concluded.