I’m Anne Troutman and this is how I’ve been living deeply.
“Being a single mom, on purpose, was never on my radar. I would get married and have kids, just like everyone else seemed to. As years passed, however, and I hit my 40s still single, I did feel an overwhelming desire to have a child. Eventually, I began the journey of adoption. It is a long process, none of it is fun, and there are periods of time when nothing seems to be happening at all. I remember getting to the point when I realized I have zero control and have to trust the Lord a zillion times more than I had ever had to before. Throughout this time, I was reading through the psalms over and over again. They helped me feel comfort and peace, to be open-handed in all of it. I was attending weekly classes at the adoption agency, learning a lot about birthmothers, open vs. closed adoptions, etc. I soon realized that my adoption profile was being looked at. And in February of 2013, I got matched to an 18-year-old mother who was expecting. That was very exciting, of course. I got to speak with her on the phone- she lived in Jackson, Tennessee. She was 8 months pregnant. This was it- what I had been waiting for. I was in a Bible study with folks from our church every Sunday night. They were so supportive and prayed over me. That was huge for me. And I was literally at Bible study on a Sunday night when my case manager called me. He said, ‘She’s five centimeters dilated.’ There was an OBGYN in my Bible study and he said, ‘You need to head to Jackson.’ So I drove to Jackson. My friend Cathy Chesney [from Cedar Springs] went with me. We picked up my mom on the way, got there at 2 in the morning. There was an employee of the adoption agency there with the birth mother. The baby had been born. What followed was kind of this crazy 24 hours where I met the birth mother, met her mom, and held the baby. But I didn’t have the baby much in my room, and that made me a little bit nervous. We went to a hotel, slept a couple hours and came back to the hospital. Eventually, by mid-afternoon, we learned the birth mother had decided to keep the baby. What a surreal experience. My mom was sitting there with me and so was Cathy, and by this time Cathy’s husband Steve had arrived. Suddenly I hear weeping, and it wasn’t me. It was Cathy and my mom weeping on my behalf. I will never forget that.
The adoption agency worker asked if I would like to go back and see the birth mom. I was very iffy on that. Steve instantly said, ‘I think there are three things you need to say to her. She needs to know that while you are sad, you’re not angry. She needs to know that this baby has been prayed for by your church family and will continue to be prayed for. And number three, she should know that the door is still open.’ Well, I ended up not going in to see her. But the worker from the agency said, ‘I will tell her those three things.’ We had to go back to the hotel to pack up our stuff, and I made a few calls. So I come back down and I’m trying to pay for the hotel and I’m kind of a mess. What I didn’t know was that basically Steve had let everyone there know what had happened, and the lady behind the counter just waived the hotel room fee. So I’m trying to pay and they’re like, ‘It’s okay.’ Finally, I think Steve just kind of led me away- I was probably a little bit in shock. Some other friends, Emily and Grace, had driven from Knoxville to see the baby, and ended up just driving me home. There were so many things my Cedar Springs friends just handled during this time, and I didn’t even know. I had been getting texts saying congratulations, which was just so hard. But Cathy on the way home was in the back of my car texting people to not reach out like that, letting them know things had fallen through. I knew riding that awful six hours home, with that empty car seat, that I was being prayed for. In the days that followed, God was so close. I felt like I was bulletproof, and totally protected from bitterness and anger. I didn’t feel any of that- wasn’t angry at God, wasn’t angry at the 18-year-old girl. I was sad certainly, but I knew I was loved and prayed for. Through this devastating event, I felt more loved than I ever had and knew God’s goodness more than I ever had. That was a gift from God.
I got matched again in March 2014, when my case manager called with a possibility involving a 25-year-old birth mom. And in this case, DCS said the birth mom did not have a choice [to keep the baby]. Her whole story was tough. But she and I clicked instantly. I had a picture in my profile of myself at Max Patch, which is one of my favorite places, and she had taken notice. She said, ‘I chose you because you look like you have adventures. And I think you’ll take her [the baby] on adventures.’ So I got the call on a Friday afternoon that she was possibly going into labor. My parents drove up, three friends from church drove up. Once we got there, we learned the delivery would be Saturday morning. My parents went home for the night, so my friends and I all stayed in one hospital room. I slept in a chair, another slept in a chair, and the other two doubled up in the twin bed. They did a late-night Walmart run and bought us all matching pajamas; bought the birth mom some things as well. That was really fun and so sweet to have them right there with me. The baby was delivered the next morning. I was in the room. The doctor handed her to me after the birth, and they let me carry her to the nursery. It was exciting and I felt a peace about it all. I had other friends and family there by that point, including the Chesneys, of course. My daughter Marion is named after their daughter. They’ve been my friends for 30-plus years, and their Marion, who’s now an adult, is adopted also. I see God at work all the time in my daughter, who’s now seven and in first grade. She is so much fun. She is constant motion, so thankfully sleeps well! She’s been the biggest blessing to my parents- she adores my mom and dad. My goal, for the people in my small group and my friends who were so incredibly supportive of me, is that I want her to know them. And that’s happening. Not only that, but she LOVES them. She hugs them all, and I loved when that really started happening- that she knew my friends. These people have been my core group- a source of tremendous support, encouragement, and prayer all this time. And that was absolutely vital in God leading me to the gift of Marion.”