We are the Atchleys from Lebanon, TN and have been married for twelve years. Looking back, it is obvious to both my husband and I that it was God’s perfect plan all along for us to adopt. He planted the seed in both of our lives long ago. It is my earnest prayer that our story will inspire you on your journey whether you are paper-chasing, waiting, or home with your child.
Geoff and I got married after college and we both knew that we wanted to have children. We began trying to have a child and soon realized it was going to be a very difficult road. We went through fertility treatments and procedures, but neither of us ever felt truly comfortable with that route. We suffered two miscarriages and were so heartbroken. It was during this time that we felt God calling us to adopt. We both knew several people that had adopted children or had been adopted themselves, and had also followed Steven Curtis Chapman’s adoption story. Geoff and I began praying about adopting. We both felt such a sense of peace for the first time. We began talking about what direction we felt that God was leading us and one day we were amazed to hear from each other that every time we pictured our child he or she was Asian. We decided to go through America World and adopt a precious baby from China. We began our adoption journey on October 15, 2005. The wait was twelve to fourteen months at that time. We were so excited!
As everyone now knows, China’s adoption program slowed down and we waited for fifty seven months from the time of our application with AWAA until we got our sweet baby girl. I have to be completely honest; the wait was one of the hardest times that I have ever been through in my life. My husband and I experienced every emotion: happiness, fear, anger, sadness, anticipation, doubt, exasperation. I worried about our baby all the time. The only way we were able to endure the wait was by God’s grace. We constantly prayed. I would tell myself over and over again that God was in control and that His timing was perfect. I knew that and I clung to it. That is the best advice that I can give anyone during the long and difficult wait. Just hold onto the promises of God. He will be with you every step of the way. It will be so worth it in the end! God is always good and He is always faithful to us.
Our referral arrived on June 7, 2010. We were so overwhelmed and happy! When we looked at our baby girl’s face for the first time, we cried with joy! She was the most beautiful baby that we had ever seen. We named our baby Charley after my father Charles. Our trip to China was amazing! It was truly the most wonderful time of our lives. Nothing can prepare you for the moment when you hold your baby for the first time. When I saw Charley and they placed her in my arms, I was overcome with emotion. Instantly, I felt such a deep love for my baby girl. It is hard to put what it was like into words. I felt complete. I was finally holding our daughter and I was a mother. I just kept thanking God for her. She was just perfect. It was as if all the pain from the months of waiting just disappeared when I held Charley. We spent the rest of our trip getting to know Charley and bonding as a family. We also grew very close to our travel group. We made lifelong friendships and truly loved our time in China.
Above all else, we just want to give all the glory, honor, and praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for bringing us together as a forever family just like He planned it so long ago. We are so grateful that He chose us to be Charley’s parents and to share her life with her. She was so worth every single minute of the wait. I would do it all again tomorrow just to be her mother. Every time I look at her I am reminded of God’s goodness and faithfulness. I am humbled knowing that if our wait had not taken as long as it did then we would not have our Charley. We cannot begin to imagine our life without her in it. We are so in love with her! God in His sovereignty knew best and He called us to wait for the perfect child for us and I am so thankful that we heard His call and obeyed. We have always had a heart for adoption and never wondered why He chose us. I am so honored that He did choose us. Geoff and I grew closer to one another and to God during our wait. Our prayer life increased and we grew in our Christian walk. It is during the trials of life that your faith is strengthened and you learn to lean on God. There were so many times that all we had was our faith in Him but we realized that was all that we needed. There is not one thing I would change about our journey because it all led us to our precious baby girl Charley Kaylian. Enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
Because of Him,
Alyson, Geoff, and Charley Atchley