Moment 2 Moment Masterpiece Parenting Blog

Adoption. A story of desire, patience and timing.

by: Elizabeth Thorndike

Adoption has been on my heart for as long as I can remember, so having it as one of our topics to discuss as a couple before marriage just made sense. Luckily, Dan was as interested in adoption as I was. This is not the norm, as most couples rarely align on this topic at the same time. In fact, our adoption counselor told us that most couples are almost never on the same page at the beginning stages of adoption.

The Beginning

We started our homegrown family in 2008 with the birth of our first daughter, Savannah. Three years later our second daughter, Shelby, was born with an unexpected birth diagnosis of Down Syndrome. The learning curve of our new journey filled our lives for a few years. When Shelby was two, we started to feel the pull of adoption on our hearts. We initiated the very beginnings of the process but turn after turn the doors closed. I felt a bit angry and a bit disappointed, but soon found out I was pregnant with our third child. My heart settled a bit because the birth of our first son, Shayland, was such a huge celebration. He was the perfect addition and so deeply loved by us all.

xmas kids

Oh how this sweet boy is loved!

However, my heart still pulled me towards adoption, and both Dan and I still had hope that God would show us the way.

Desire to Adopt Returns

When our sweet boy Shayland turned two, the conversation of adoption was once again opened. After deep conversation and prayer, Dan and I both agreed that we were content in our current situation. If adoption was in our future, we trusted God to make it clear and open the doors. We felt that pursuing adoption was not the answer, but rather living our best life with our three precious kiddos was! Our hearts were open for whatever God asked us to do.

Well, it did not take long. Six months later, God did lay it in our laps! It all started when a friend from church who worked in international adoptions asked us to pray for some kiddos who needed forever families. These sweet children also had Down Syndrome, or other special needs, and her hope was that couples would not shy away from this, but rather see the blessing these kiddos could bring to their lives. Easy enough.

We were totally in love with our daughter Shelby and embraced all the things her extra chromosome brought to our life journey. To pray for families to see this as well was easy. Now, what I did not expect was to open a file months later to pray for these kiddos and find myself drawn to a little girl from China. I pushed “play” on her video and my heart leapt. I heard God whisper, “that is your daughter” and, deep in my soul, I just knew He was right. I could barely breathe.

When Dan got home that evening, I told him that we needed to talk after kid bedtime. I found it hard to contain my thoughts and feelings until then. After the final bedtime story, final tuck-in, and 15th kiss, we finally snuck out of kid rooms and into adult time.

Opportunity Knocks

We sat at our family desk, me snuggled on Dan’s lap. I took a deep breath and I opened Yuqiao’s (Shiloh’s) video. I sat in silence, my heart pumping wildly in my chest, as I allowed the video to finish. I then looked at Dan and said, “God whispered to me today that this little girl is our daughter”. He simply and quietly replied, “I think you’re right.”

(Shiloh’s first video…the one I saw)

I quietly sat in awe at the amazing ways God sets plans in motion. We hugged for a long time in our awe, like giddy school kids. It was a sweet beginning to a brand-new journey…

about us

Meet the Thorndikes - Moment to Moment Family

Hi there! We are the crazy cool parents to 5 amazing and crazy cool kiddos. But, first, we are Dan and Elizabeth Thorndike – married 15 years and living this life one moment at a time. We have a full and blessed life, but we are clumsily tackling a journey we never foresaw ourselves living.

Read our story of how this journey all started in our blog post titled:
“The Beginning. Our Special Needs Journey”


Elizabeth Thorndike

Introverted extrovert – that’s how I describe myself. I absolutely love being a mama but never knew how hard it would be, nor how deeply I could love.



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