Hello Home Vol. 2 - The Lumry Family | Atlanta Adoption Series
This is truly one of the most amazing stories I've ever heard. I first met the Lumry's a few years back through a mutual friend and coincidentally, Worth and Kramer (my hubs) worked at the same company. After attending an event Amy hosted at her house benefitting BeLoved Atlanta, I have been amazed by her heart for others. I remember at the end of the event, Amy whipped out several dozen frozen pasta dishes that she had been baking for weeks and nonchalantly mentioned, "well, I made these and if anyone wants to buy one, all of the money will go to BeLoved." It was at that event that Amy told me her family of 4 was growing. They were in the adoption process and she thought she'd been matched with a birth mom.
What ensued after that point could seriously become the storyline of a book or movie (in fact, it's not far from that of This is Us). Here's how the Lumry's ended up adopting two boys in one day...
Tell me a little about you, Worth, and your family before the adoptions.
Amy: Worth grew up in Seattle, played baseball in a college on the east coast and eventually ended up in Nashville where he and I met. I am from Huntsville Alabama, went to Auburn University and taught high school biology before having kids and staying home.
What led you to adopt and specifically, a domestic adoption?
We have two biological children and attempted to have a third but had issues with infertility even though there was no medical reason. One day I (Amy) felt very strongly that God was asking us to adopt. This was not anything I had ever felt before so it left me very shocked and not quite sure of what to do. Worth and I prayed about it for a few months and then were very sure that this was what we were supposed to do. Honestly, I never even had to think about whether it was supposed to be domestic or international. It just seemed obvious considering how great the need was right here.
How did you get started with the adoption process and what were your most helpful resources? Did you go through an agency, lawyer, state?
Interestingly, Worth and I didn’t know anyone who had adopted nor did we know anything about the process. So we literally googled “how to adopt.” I eventually reached out to an acquaintance who I knew was thinking about adopting to see if she knew anything and it eventually led to us connecting with an adoption consultant. An adoption consultant is just a fancy title for someone who acts as a liaison between us and potential cases with birthmoms/agencies/adoption attorneys she has a network with. She basically got us up to speed with all the ins and outs of adoption and then would direct us to cases that were being sent her way. This is different than signing up with a particular agency where you are limited to just their cases. One of our adoptions was through an adoption attorney in Georgia for a local case and the other was a small “mom and pop” agency in Wichita, KS.
What were the hardest decisions you found yourself making during that application phase?
Its actually a very humbling process; both from the aspect of having to write up a description of you and your family that will be presented to birthmoms as the only information they will use to make their decision, as well as having to complete the checklist of what you “would” and “wouldn’t” be willing to take. It was a tough process working through some of those hard questions and really wrestling with the fear of the unknown, but at the end of the day it came down to the fact that God took me just as I was - not fixed and cleaned up and healthy, but just as I was. Therefore, we knew we had to do the same. We couldn’t have any preferences for what we were and weren’t willing to receive.
Tell me what happened when you got the notification that you were matched? What happened next?
After a few months of waiting, we were matched with Levi’s birth mom. We still had 3 months until her due date, so this allowed us to get to know her, make visits, and be a part of her last few doctor visits. We named him together. She gave him his middle name and we gave him his first name. Levi means “to join”. I still remember the panic when I received the phone call that she was in labor. It definitely was the strangest feeling packing a bag to attend the birth of your new son. After a short stay in the hospital, Levi came home with us into the arms of many family members and friends ready to meet him. He was with us for a week until we received word that his birth mom wanted him back. Each state has it's own revocation laws. In the state of Georgia, there are 10 days for her to “revoke” her signing of her rights. While we knew this was a possibility, we had no indication during the past 3 months that this would happen. We were heartbroken and we were confused. We spent the next couple weeks praying, holding our two little ones close, and trying to create a norm for our family.
Shortly after I received a phone call from our adoption consultant asking us if we were ready to look over new cases, I said I wasn’t ready yet and I still needed some time to heal from the loss of Levi. She understood and we hung up. But, within a few hours called back with a case for a little boy who she just felt so strongly that she was supposed to at least tell me about. I still said no, only to feel the pull a week later to at least hear more. At this point the birth mom had already chosen us and never even looked at any other families (which is very unusual in the adoption world). At this point we knew we wanted to be an option for this mom….to give her hope that there was another way if she just couldn’t do it. So we signed the papers and were “matched”. The NEXT DAY at a surprise birthday dinner my husband had planned for me, I was there sitting with all my friends and I got a phone call. This very birth mom was in labor (at 32 weeks) due to a complication with pneumonia and we were being asked whether we were still on board. We called Delta to get a flight the next day to KS. Little 4.1 lb Lucas was born (on my birthday) early in the morning. We did a quick birthday breakfast with my two kiddos before heading to the airport. While we were at breakfast, Worth got a phone call from the attorney handling our first adoption with Levi. She said his mom has tried her best but knew she couldn’t do it and wanted to see if we would take him back. Absolutely! We didn’t even have to think about it, yet we also felt committed to this mom in KS. So we knew without a doubt that we were to take both boys. That’s how we ended up with two adopted boys in one day! They are six weeks apart.
What have been your greatest challenges & greatest joys in this chapter?
While we were overjoyed in the thrill of God choosing us to parent these sweet little boys, we knew it would come with many challenges. We basically didn’t sleep for a whole year, and our lifestyle has changed dramatically with the doubling of children and responsibilities, but we have learned so much about love and family and the joys that come from giving your life for these little ones. One of our little guys has special needs and navigating that journey has been difficult, but this little dude brings so much laughter to our family that my heart bursts with love when I think about him.
How did you navigate bringing adopted children into a family that already has biological children?
I really spent a lot of time thinking about this prior to our adoptions - trying to make sure I “said” the right thing to them as we prepared for an adopted child, etc. But honestly, my two oldest have been incredible. We talk openly about the adoption and they occasionally ask a question and my daughter loves to tell the story of how they came to be with us, but you would never think there was anything different about their relationship with those boys than if they were biological. They are simply their brothers and it's beautiful.
As a family, how have you chosen to talk about adoption within your family and home? What led you to this?
We are very open about it with our big kids. Obviously, the boys are still very young (22 months) and are not old enough to understand. We have an open adoption with Levi’s birth mom; I have regular contact with her and she comes to visit several times a year. This has allowed it to be a continual discussion and reality for my bigger kids; to see her, love her and welcome her and some of Levi’s siblings into our home.
How did your family respond to your decision to adopt and how did you navigate any challenges here?
I think both families were a bit shocked and took some time to digest the idea. There were a lot of questions…..because there were a lot of unknowns. But at the end of the day it was something I knew God was calling us to, therefore I knew they would eventually come around. My mom literally boo-hooed when Levi left us, she was heartbroken too. But I’ll never forget how overjoyed she was when she found out Levi was coming back…...AND that there was another little boy coming too!
Tell us a little bit about what life is like now! I can’t imagine how many things you squeeze into one day!
I read an article the other day titled “What it’s like to have 4 kids” and it said the mom’s brain operates like a computer that has 942 windows open at any given time. I laughed out loud because it’s so true. We do have a lot going on, from keeping up with two different school schedules and carpools, to literally keeping these 1 year old boys alive to driving around to all of the therapies for my special needs son. Don’t even get me started on grocery shopping with four and trying to get dinner on the table with two little guys strapped to each leg. I just keep telling myself that it’s a season and that one day I’m going to have the multi-tasking skills needed to president..;)
What other advice do you have for families interested in adoption?
I think adoption truly is a calling. It's a call to give your life to someone who didn’t come from you. Adoption is full of so many unknowns that its almost impossible to calculate whether you would be able to handle any of the curveballs that the process or future might present. It's just simply a decision to love no matter what - to love a birth mom regardless of her previous or future choices. To love a child...period! I never want to sugar coat adoption into being this super easy, perfect with a bow on top process. Often it's not. Do your research, ask lots of questions and trust that you are capable of far more than you think. It's really been one of the greatest honors of my life to love these sweet boys...and their first moms.
ABOUT THE SERIES
"Hello Home" is a photojournalistic blog series about the ins and outs of the adoption process and a celebration of adoptive families in Atlanta. Parents who have volunteered to give a child a family that wouldn't otherwise have one are heroes in my book. So, over the course of this year, we will meet about 8-10 families who have done just that. We'll meet families that have adopted internationally, domestically, fostered, adoptive families with biological kids, multiracial families, children with special needs, you name it. I'm so excited to learn more about some of the untold truths around the adoption process and to celebrate those doing this amazing work. In exchange for these families sharing their stories and answering some tough questions, I'm giving them a free lifestyle photography session.
Note: these families have been asked to share as much or as little about their story as they feel comfortable. All sensitive information has been freely and graciously volunteered in the hope that it may shed light on the process for others.
Stay in the loop by following along on Instagram: @hayleyjophotography.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hayley Johnson is the owner of Hayley Jo Photo - an Atlanta based newborn and portrait photography business.
Hayley was named one of Atlanta's Best Newborn Photographers by expertise.com in 2016, 2017, and 2018. She was also named a Top Family Photographer by atlantaparent.com and one of Midtown's Rising Stars by ATLVoyage.com.
Hayley is a member of the National Association of Professional Child Photographers and Clickin Moms, and her work has been featured in Beauty & Lifestyle Mommy Magazine and TheBump.