There's always a beginning to every story, and thankfully ours began with prayer.
In 2005 Lance and I both began to pray for God to send someone into our individual lives. Someone special, someone to love, someone to call our spouse. Of course, at this time neither of us knew we were praying for each other, but we were. He was on a tow boat- working his way up "the ladder". I was a sophomore in college; who was at a loss as to where I was going in life, and as my Papaw likes to say "needed my head screwed on straight." To this day I am ever so thankful that I met Lance Huff on March 17, 2006.
October 27, 2007 Lance and I said "we do" for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, til death do we part. About 3 months before we said the "I dos", we discussed the future, and of course having a family was of topic. We discussed the option of adoption, and both agreed we would agree to adopting if that is where God lead us.
November 2009, we decided we wanted to start a family. And we waited, and waited, and waited. I was having health problems so after 6 months we went to the doctor. After 6 months of seeing her, she admitted she did not know what else to do and suggested we see a specialist. We chose to see a doctor in Jackson, MS. Another 4 months with him, and he admitted he did not know what to do. I was in the middle of student teaching and getting ready to graduate (don't hate, yes, I was a 6 year student). So, we decided to give it a rest. That summer we decided to pursue another specialist in Baton Rouge. He suggested we try IUIs. We did-twice. Neither one of them worked. He said the next step would be IVF, and I didn't know if I was ready for all that it entailed. So, we took another break. At this point we started seriously discussing adoption.
We knew we did not meet all the requirements for international adoption at the time. So, we pursued being certified to foster/adopt. At this time the state was working with the Louisiana Baptist Children's home to help certify families. This helped us, because with Lance's work schedule he was never home long enough to finish the MAPP classes. From February 2012 to May 2012 we completed our classes and our home study. The end of May 2012 we received the call that we were certified and added to "the call list". The first of June we received our first call and our first placement. (You can read some about her in my other posts.) Then, in August 2012 we received our second placement- twins (boy/girl). By December our home was empty again. At this point we decided to try IVF. We started seeing the specialist in Baton Rouge again.
From January 2013 to about March 2013 we did the first round of shots, etc. for IVF. This did not work. We didn't make it past the injections. We had poured our hearts, souls, and money into something that wasn't working and we were done- emotionally, spiritually, financially. This was a dark time in my life, because there was a "Why?" without an answer. We sold our house, moved into a camper trailer, and thought we were going to build.
By December 2013 we had not began anything in the building process and Lance found a house for sale by owner (our current home). Everything worked out like it needed to and we moved in to our new home in February 2014. We re-opened our home to children in foster care. By April 2014 our home once again had children! Then, begins our story with Kayla....
May 18th, 2014 (a Sunday evening) I received a phone call from a friend of a friend- Ms. N. She had called two times before about possible adoptions. This time she called to tell us about Kayla. She did not have a whole lot of information, but she gave me the contact information for Kayla's aunt (who she was living with at the time). On May 20th I spoke with her aunt and uncle for the first time. We spent at least an hour on the phone discussing all the details of the situation. When we ended the phone call we both agreed to pray about it, and Lance and I would contact them if we wanted to go any further. On May 22nd, I sent her aunt a text message about possibly meeting Kayla. By May 24th I still had not heard back from her so I sent a second text message. Sunday, May 25th Bro. Craig preached a sermon on "God's waiting room". God spoke to me, because we were in a waiting period of our life. We were waiting to see if God would give us our forever child. Kim replied that afternoon agreeing to meet with us. (Something had happened to her phone, and that's why she had not replied.)
So, we prayed... and prayed... and prayed.
On June 6, 2014 we met our daughter for the first time at the zoo. Throughout that month and part of July we would travel to her aunt and uncle's house to spend time with them and her. Over the visits she started to warm up to us. We received news towards the end of July, that there was some confusion over parental rights, etc. So, we didn't really see Kayla for a few weeks. Around mid-August we received news again, this time a little more promising that things may go in our favor.
In September we went to court with Kayla and her family. During this court hearing it was determined that Kayla would be placed back in foster care in order to transition into our home. On September 26, 2014 Kayla made her first visit to our home with her aunt. They stayed the weekend to see how she reacted.
In October we started weekend visits. It became clear to us and her family that she was ready to make the move, much sooner than what we thought would happen. So, November 20, 2014 Kayla moved into our home. Sometime in January, her biological father signed over his rights to the state. On April 1st, 2015 we went to court and her biological mother's rights were terminated. We were then told that their office where the case originated had a month to move it to our nearest adoption office-Monroe.
Then, things began to move much much quicker than we ever expected. From the beginning we were told that once rights were terminated it would take 6-9 months for the adoption to be finalized.
On May 14th we heard from the adoptions worker in Monroe. She let me know all of the information she needed from me. I contacted the lawyer we were going to use-which was also a last minute decision. On May 18th I heard from the lawyer. Thankfully Lance was home during this time, because he had some paperwork to sign before returning to work. On May 19th we sign the paperwork with the lawyer. On May 20th we signed the intent to adopt and other paperwork with DCFS in Monroe. On May 26th Lance called the lawyer to see if a date had been chosen for the adoption. On May 27th he called me and let me know that the adoption was set for June 8, 2015.
(Side note- In Louisiana, you have to foster a child at least 6 months before you can adopt the child. We had originally planned for Kayla to not move in with us until the end of May 2015. God had different plans, because He knew the events to come.)
On June 8th, 2015 she became Kayla Arin Huff. I chose the name Arin after Lance (Aaron Lance). I spelled with with an "a", because he is Aaron and I am LeAnne. (I did research it and it is the English spelling of the name, you all know I couldn't just do it, if it wasn't legit.)
Almost 6 years ago God started us on a journey that we never knew would take us this way. However, God gives us the promise that He has plans for us-Jeremiah 29:11. It hasn't been peaches and cream the past 6 years, but the good news is that God has been right there with us.
Every story has an ending, but our ending is just the beginning!
* We could not have trekked through this journey without the love and support from our family and close friends. To all of you we owe a HUGE thank you!