Our Journey to Becoming a Forever Family

I met my husband Derek on a college ministry Spring break trip. We dated for five months, got engaged and then got married on our 14 month anniversary. After being married for just under a year, we decided that it was time to start a family. We tried getting pregnant for about eight or nine months, but it stressed me out to live my life on such a schedule. We started asking the “what if we can’t get pregnant” question. Both of us knew right away that the answer for us was not going to be spending money on fertility treatments, so we decided that we would start researching adoption.

A long, long, VERY long story made short – we were about to sign on with a domestic adoption agency when we felt a tug telling us not to do it. We were both confused as we thought we were making the right decision, but it felt wrong to us. So we started thinking about other ways to start our family. About three weeks later we were at our church service when Derek and I opened our bulletin and saw the title of the service was “God Adopts us into His Family.” We took this as a sign to revisit this whole adoption thing.

becoming a forever family viola 1 yearWe began researching adoption agencies. When we started searching for an adoption agency, we knew we wanted to go through an agency that had a master waiting list that we could get on for all the countries they worked with. We wanted to feel as though God was selecting the country we worked with, instead of us choosing. We also wanted to find an agency that was local, and didn’t cost a fortune to work with. I had heard of the big name agencies, such as Holt, Bethany, and Lutheran Child Services, but wanted to keep searching. After literally doing a google search, we found About A Child. They are located in California but have a local office in Des Moines. They offered us everything we were looking for, PLUS they offered to eat the cost if any referrals fell through. This is huge because once you lose a referral (which often happens) you usually would need to start the fundraising and penny pinching all over again. So we signed on with AAC and 18 hours later got our first two referrals. You will definitely not sit on waiting lists as long if you aren’t picky about the country you work with!

Fast forward about seven months and in that time we had signed on with an adoption agency pursuing children in Uganda, been through three different referrals, lost my husband’s 22 year-old sister and my 57 year-old aunt and were now on our 4th referral for little miss Viola. It was a whirlwind to say the least! We learned that Viola lived with her 87 year old grandmother. At such an old age, her grandmother was full of fear for what would happen to Viola and was being proactive in finding a new family for her. We were excited when we found out that WE would get to be the ones to bring her home! The next few months were full of showers, room decorating, and enjoying our last few months as a childless family.

becoming a forever family gideon 1 yearThen we got a call that has changed our lives forever. The call happened just three short weeks before we were to leave to get our Viola. It was from our adoption agency and this is how it went, “Hey Kristen, Joseph (our Ugandan caseworker) has just found another orphan. I am sending pictures of HIM to you right now, would you please think about adding him on to your case?” We got the pictures and medical information on our little man, Gideon, fell in love, and responded, “Sure, why not?”

After spending 73 days in Uganda going through the emotional rollercoaster of working to get our children cleared to come home with us, we landed in Cedar Rapids on November 2, 2012 with Viola Ann Kimball (age 4) AND Gideon George Kimball (age 2). I will never forget the feeling of riding down the escalator and seeing our families holding signs and balloons and sporting the biggest grins and happiest tears. I am not a crier, but boy did the tears flow that day. I know now that the feelings I felt introducing my two sweet babies to our families are similar the feeling women have when introducing their newborns for the first time.

Fast forward another year and a half and Derek and I were in no way, shape, or form thinking of adding to our family. Wrong again. It seems God had another plan for us. We were approached by a family friend who knew of a single mom, working at Burger King, who was looking for someone to adopt her baby. So after a LOT of consideration and even after initially saying no a couple times, we have now said yes and will be welcoming baby girl Kimball into our home in July, barring any complications.

becoming a forever familyToday, our family of four (almost 5) consists of myself, my husband Derek, who is a Math teacher, our almost 6 year old Viola, and our 4 year old Gideon. As for me, I stay home and have also had the privilege to join on with an amazing company called Noonday Collection that advocates for men and women all over the world by providing them a live-able income and an opportunity to become artisans. Noonday Collection offers trendy, handmade accessories and donates a portion of proceeds to help place orphans in their Forever Families. I would love to talk to you about how we can help fundraise for an adoption or get your friends together for a much needed girls’ night out!

As our family is constantly changing, I am beginning to understand that Derek and I do everything at warp speed, take stress head on, and enjoy the results of working hard for something we believe in.

I love that adoption is the way I became a mother.

*If you are considering international adoption, here are some resources I found to be very helpful:

Financing your adoption: We were able to get a no-interest loan through Pathways for Little Feet.

Adoption Agency: We loved working with Carla Tripp at About A Child.

Support: A couple of moms started the Modern Moses foundation as a resource for families in Iowa looking to adopt.

**Special thanks to Kristen Kimball for sharing her story with us! This post is part of our “How I Became a Mother” series.  To see the rest of the posts in the series, click on the graphic!

How I Became a Mother...



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