‘I’m sorry. The adoption is over.’ He was being placed in foster care. I had this feeling, this wasn’t the end.’: Couple hikes the globe with kids after nearly failed adoption of ‘beautiful little boy’

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“It had been 7 years of waiting, paperwork, home study reviews and jumping through hoops to where I was beginning to think that maybe we just weren’t meant to adopt. I didn’t understand why I had felt called at such a young age and extremely passionate about adoption and that my husband had felt that very same call, when for 7 years the phone stayed so silent. For 7 years we had people ask us, ‘how is the adoption going’ and had to give the same answer that nothing had happened yet. With each year that passed the desire to adopt only grew stronger in me, yet continually kept me questioning myself.

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

On Friday, August 10, a case came a crossed our email and I immediately felt connected to the situation. I remember reading the case to my husband and sharing my thoughts with him. At the end of the conversation we both felt compelled to say ‘YES’ to this birth mom and a very difficult situation. We had said YES to so many other birth moms before, but there was something different about this situation. It was becoming very difficult for my husband and I to talk about each case after giving our YES, so we just went about life and waited for the reply that the birth mom had connected with someone else. On Wednesday, August 15 my husband came home early from work, walked right up to me and said, ‘We have been chosen!’ He had just received a call from our caseworker and she told him we were matched! I was honestly in disbelief and began crying and laughing all at the same time asking, ‘Are you for real?’ I knew there was something different about this case and I told my husband it all made sense and I finally understood why we had waited 7 years.

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

Both my husband and I were ecstatic! We called our caseworker right back to get a little more information about the birth mom and baby. We knew that the birth mom had wanted a closed adoption and that her baby boy was due in November, so after getting off the phone we began to try to wrap our heads around everything that was happening and begin to navigate a closed adoption. We were told that she was scheduled to have an ultrasound appointment the next day and they would see if they could get us an ultrasound photo after her appointment.

The weekend had passed and we hadn’t heard anything from the agency, so on Monday morning my husband called to check in and see how the birth mom’s doctor’s appointment went. He left a voicemail and we waited to hear back. Later on that day we received a call from the agency.‘A lot has happened over the weekend. The birth mom had her baby on Friday night,’ we were told.

He was born at 28 weeks and only 3 lbs. 4 oz. Our caseworker stated that they weren’t notified until Saturday night and they were still waiting for birth mom to sign over rights.

‘Do you still want to go through with the adoption since he was born premature?,’ they asked.

That question absolutely baffled me, but the answer was ‘of course.’ A couple days had passed and the waiting was becoming extremely difficult as we imagined our baby boy waiting for us in the NICU. Our caseworker called on Wednesday, August 22.

‘I don’t think the adoption is going to happen. I am sorry, but things are out of our hands now. At this point, the adoption is over,’ she said.

I was broken in every possible way and in complete disbelief because I had truly felt connected to this situation. At that moment my husband and I just began to pray as this baby boy was being placed in the foster care system. We asked God to move mountains and to intervene on this little boy’s behalf. People all around the world were praying and intervening too and I just had this feeling – this wasn’t the end.

Several hours later, we got a call from our caseworker saying she had just gotten done meeting with the birth mom and she signed the papers for us to adopt her baby boy. Joy overtook our household and we woke our kids up to tell them that they were going to have a baby brother! I have never seen our kids so happy! The next morning, I flew to Florida to meet our son!

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

After landing in Florida, I rushed to the hospital! When I got there I waited in the courtyard for our caseworker for what felt like hours. I was so nervous, shaking and extremely anxious to meet our son. When she arrived, we started walking down the halls of the hospital and I could not wait to get to our son’s room. When we finally reached his room they began to open his crib and the tears started flowing. He was a so tiny and perfect in every way. Through my tears I started to say, ‘Hi baby boy,’ and I reached out to touch his hand. At that moment he woke up and started to move to the sound of my voice. I honestly didn’t know what to expect and I had so many questions running through my mind, but after seeing him, everything made sense and it was love at first sight.

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

My husband and I had a chance to talk a little bit before I left and after hearing everything our son had and will have to go through, it seemed fitting to name him Ezekiel (Zeke) which means ‘God will strengthen’ Zachariah ‘The Lord has remembered.’ God himself was strengthening our son and he had not forgotten him. During the next month and a half I stayed in Florida caring for him. This was a very difficult season as my heart was split in 2 different directions. I longed to be there with Zeke every second of the day, but also missed my husband and kids back home. Each day I would talk to my family over FaceTime I could see the pain in their eyes although they tried to put on a brave face. They missed me and they longed to have Zeke home. My middle son wouldn’t even talk to me for a couple weeks, but we pushed through because we all loved Zeke with every part of ourselves.

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

My husband and kids came out halfway through to visit and meet Zeke. They had been longing for this moment and it was good to finally be together. When they got to the hospital and walked into Zeke’s room, they were so happy. Our kids had never once questioned that Zeke was their brother and they couldn’t stop smiling and touching him. I remember taking our whole family minus Zeke to the park one night and listening to our kids say that they wished Zeke could be with us! It was so hard because I think they felt that something was missing and wouldn’t be complete until their little brother could be a part of our family adventures.

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

After they went back home I watched as Zeke defied all the odds of a 28-week preemie and on October 3, I got to fly him home to Colorado. To say that our son Ezekiel is anything less than amazing is an understatement.

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

When we got home our kids embraced Zeke excited and in disbelief that he was finally home. For the next 2 weeks our sons and daughter would continually exclaim, ‘He’s home!’ I don’t think I have ever witnessed something so beautiful than their unconditional love for Zeke. Since being home with Zeke he has dealt with some serious respiratory issues and almost died twice, but each time he has come out stronger than before. He is a fighter and his joy is contagious! This beautiful little boy has taught our entire family so much about life, love and faith in just the 9 months that he has come into our lives!

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

I know we have some hard conversations ahead of us. And even though his story began in brokenness and sorrow – it is not the end. I truly believe the joy and love I see in him everyday is the start of something extremely beautiful. God is going to use him in big ways, I know because I have already seen them, and I feel so lucky to a part of his amazing journey and to call him my son! I know his birth mom is out there somewhere thinking and dreaming of him. I truly hope that one day we will be able to meet her and that she can be a part of Zeke’s life. I cannot even begin to express our love and gratitude for her, for in her pain she chose love and she gave the greatest gift a person can give. And for that, we are extremely grateful. The world is a better place because of Ezekiel Zachariah.

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

The past few years have been hard, but it has opened our eyes to what is truly important in life. We made a huge decision a few years ago to downsize and put a priority on our family by hiking around the globe with our kids! Doing this has allowed us to put aside the distractions and busyness of life and spend uninterrupted time together on these adventures. We have traveled and hiked to some incredible places the past few years and we have seen our kids grow in amazing ways. They have become braver, confident kids who appreciate and love different people and places around the world!

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

We love that getting outdoors and traveling around the globe has given us the opportunity to shape our kids’ childhood and create family time! These are the moments we will treasure for a lifetime!”

Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids
Cory and Andrea Rasmussen/@hikingtheglobewithkids

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Andrea Rasmussen of Denver, Colorado. You can follow their journey hiking the globe with their kids on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more inspiring adoption stories:

‘Why do my kids not want to talk to me?’ My mom replied, ‘You don’t have anything to do with them, why would they?’ 18-year-old adopted by uncle’s best friend, the ‘most selfless’ man she knows

‘It’s really bad this time,’ she whispered. ‘My sister kicked me out. The cops are involved. I’m so scared.’ Paralyzed husband and his wife adopt 19-year-old, only 6 years younger than them

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