Friday, January 4, 2013

For Asher.

This is a hard post.  I wish I wasn't writing it.  I hate what it means.

But I love who it's for.

My friend Karen.  Her husband Aaron.  And their amazing son Asher.

They brought him home from the hospital right after he was born.  His amazing birth mom picked Karen and Aaron to be his mommy and daddy.....because she her infinite wisdom that her son deserved a mom and a dad who loved each other like crazy, were ready to be parents, who could make the sacrifices necessary to fulfill that role, and had prayed and yearned for him for so many years.

He'd grown in their hearts.  He was meant to be theirs.

Karen, Aaron, and Asher have an incredible relationship with Asher's birth-mom.  It's perfect.  It's a beautiful picture of domestic adoption and how it can work and be amazing for everyone involved.  It's what I have with my own daughter's birth mom.  It's what I so desperately hope for others I know walking the road of domestic adoption.

Is it always this way for everyone?  No.
Is it always best for it to be this way in all domestic adoptions? No.

But in this is.....and it's so refreshing.
It builds up the name of adoption.
And Asher, and his parents, and his birth mom are thriving because of it.  Asher's birth mom is another example of an incredibly strong, selfless woman who was able to hold her baby, look deep into his eyes and know that parenting a baby is about more than how it makes YOU's about what is best for the baby; both immediately and in the distant future.  She was able to see beyond her own pain, her own sacrifice, her own discomfort...........and see so clearly what her baby needed.

He needed Karen and Aaron.


Last week, Karen posted this on her Facebook wall:

This is a difficult post to write…but something about it feels like the right thing to do. So many of you have reached out with such heartfelt notes and prayers - even though many of you do not know what you are praying for. We are blessed to call you all friends…and with that, ask you to join us on a prayer journey as we continue our “12 days of Awesomeness” with Asher.

On February 2nd, 2012 our world was shaken upside down. Asher’s birth father began taking steps to put a stop to our adoption. Over the course of many months of confusion and answerless questions…it was confirmed that his intention was to take physical custody of Asher.
While we believe that we have a strong case - and that God created US to be Asher’s parents…we cannot overlook the reality that birth parents are HIGHLY favored in the eyes of the courts. And so, with that…we humbly request your prayers over our family.
On January 9th, our case will go before the courts for them to decide the fate of our son’s future. We are not welcome in the court room and so we will be represented by a team of three lawyers, Susan and her father (who is also a lawyer).
Until then - we’ve decided that enough tears have been shed, enough time has been wasted. In our house - we will spend the next 12 days celebrating life, celebrating joy, celebrating our time with Asher. It may or may not be coming to an end…but we will have NO REGRETS. This little life saved our hearts…and we are blessed just by having known and loved him. We firmly believe that the Lord’s hand has been in this since day one…and He will finish it in such a way that His name will be glorified by all who are touched by our story. We are confident that He love us, loves Asher and knows what is best for all of us.

There are so many fragile emotions and our extended family certainly also bears a significant burden. Would you please pray for our family? Would you please remember Susan, as she champions our case for us? She is our special gift throughout this story - and we fall more in love with her every moment. Would you lift up our team of lawyers and they form strategy and present our family to the judge? Would you pray for Asher’s birth father? That his heart would be changed…and yet that somehow, in the end of this, an opportunity for Asher to know him and love him would remain? Would you pray for all of these things?

We love you, friends. We thank you for remembering us and for reaching out to us so kindly. In everything, we have no fear. To God be the glory.

Karen (on behalf of Aaron, too)

Since I learned about this last February nothing, NOTHING has consumed more of my thoughts and prayers and tears than Karen and her family and their son.

He's just over a year old now.  To him, mommy and daddy are Karen and Aaron.  Always have been.  

The thought that someone who has never met Asher or his parents can now step in and ask for full physical custody is gut-wrenching and so very sad.

I don't write this to scare people away from domestic adoption.  Clearly, from what I write here on a regular basis, I believe it is amazing--I celebrate it regularly.  I've experienced that.  Karen has experienced it too, in the relationship she has with Asher's birth mom.

I write it because I believe that the name of adoption needs to be protected when something threatens to tarnish it.  I believe that when we see social injustice we should work to make it better.  By telling Asher's story, by asking you to share this post over and over so that everyone you can think of knows about it and in turn defends adoption and stands up for the best interest of children even when it's really hard, by asking you to pray without ceasing for this little boy and his family........I am working the best way that I know how.

Are there situations where birth parents change their mind right before a baby is born or shortly there- after and decide to parent their children and it's okay and works out, although it is extremely painful for the adoptive parents involved?  Of course.  This post is not about bashing reasonable birth-parent rights.   They must have them. It's about preserving what is best for a child in one particular situation.  And to reiterate what Karen and Aaron believe about this.........

It may or may not be coming to an end…but we will have NO REGRETS. This little life saved our hearts…and we are blessed just by having known and loved him. We firmly believe that the Lord’s hand has been in this since day one…and He will finish it in such a way that His name will be glorified by all who are touched by our story. We are confident that He love us, loves Asher and knows what is best for all of us.

As an adoptive mom--as a mom--I believe it's right and necessary to speak up when you feel an injustice is present.  Especially one that effects those who can't speak for themselves; our children.  Won't you please spread Asher's story, pray for this family, and become a valiant defender of adoption when it is right for kids?

Adoption needs this victory on January 9th.
Karen and Aaron need this victory on January 9th.

Asher needs this victory FOREVER.  


  1. sooo many tears! have not been able to stop thinking about them! This was so almost our story and it is terrifying! Please know I'm praying and hoping for a wonderful miracle of God!

  2. I just said a huge prayer for them and will continue to do so!

  3. Chills all over - you put their need perfectly into words. Praying for Asher and for everyone involved.

  4. Praying for this family! I'm sure it'll work out in favor of the parents that the child knows and loves and feels safest with, especially if the birth Mother is on their side, and they are providing for him well. It sounds like birth father didn't want anything to do with him until now. I know that every person in that court room who has helped raise a baby will be able to imagine the pain and anguish his adoptive parents would go through, as well as the confusion and loss that Asher will feel. I am praying that our court system doesn't fail the good-side.

  5. I have a daughter who is 3 ( finalized her adoptionin July of 2010) and a son who is 1 ( finalized his adoption in May of 2012) and yet I still fera every single day this kind of thing this battle this heart ache....Prayers for this sweet family, for Asher, for the birth mom for lawyers for everyone invloved to know and do what is best for this child who has no voice....If I may ask what are more specifics ? On what grounds is he fighting? Did he sign originally and changing his mind? Was just curious because majority of the time they have absolutely no case ( specially after a year!) so was just curious...anywho prayers and love

  6. I feel sick over reading this. My prayers will continue to come their way over the next week and beyond.

  7. I started reading this, realized where it was heading and stopped.

    But then I came back and read it through.

    I recently read a book on adoption that slammed domestic adoption because of the fear of "running into their biological mothers at Meijer" and the chance of getting "burned" by a birthmom changing her mind. I have been arguing with the author in my head since I read that.

    (on a side note, the book went on to describe a terrible series of events that the author encountered on their journey to adopt from a foriegn country)

    It is stories like this that propogate that stereotype of domestic adoption. This is horrible. It is an injustice. It is wrong.

    But this story will attach itself to people's understanding of domestic adoption and taint the reality of the beauty of adopting within our own country.

    We need to tell positive stories of adopting from Detroit, from Chicago, from Lansing, from Los Angeles. Stories of great relationships between adopting parents and birth parents. Stories of kids growing up knowing the full story of their life and how God orchestrated every detail to put them into the family they are in.

    We have been blessed beyond words through our adoption of Simeon. We love his Birthmom and look forward all of our visits with her. We are currently in the process of adopting again from the Detroit area. We pray that we will be able to have the same type of relationship with our new birthmom.

    Pray for Asher. Pray for his parents. Pray for his Birthmom and for his Birthdad and for the judge and the lawyers. But also pray that the hearts of those who hear this story will not turn against domestic adoption itself, only against the injustice of the situation.

    And tell good stories.

    Thanks for writing this Maggie!


    1. Perfect thoughts Jeremy. It's exactly why I can't be quiet about stories like this. It is wrong. On EVERY LEVEL. I want domestic adoption to be celebrated and individuals who want to derail the beautiful thing that it can be need to be stopped.

  8. Sending some prayers their way..

    Stories like this make me sick. They come in after a year and decide they want to be a part of the child's life? Where were they before this? I wonder if someone in hisfamily is pushing for this. either way, its extremely selfish as far as I'm concerned.

    1. But, the birthfather did NOT "come in after a year and decide" he wanted to be part of his son's life. It says that he came in the picture ELEVEN months ago. It is only now, in January of 2013, that Asher is over a year old. He was only a few months old at the time his biological father started taking steps to gain custody.

  9. I stand behind you and them now and on January 9th. I was in small group with Karen and Aaron ages ago, know how amazing they are, and how much they wanted a child, Asher. I have seen and felt the joy over the last year that Asher has brought them. Now, does it need to be said, my heart is broken. My heart aches with them and for them. I really wish there was more I could do to help them. But praying for them is a given, I surrender my prayers to God in their honor. Asher and his amazing mommies know what's best for him, I pray that someone else realizes too what they already know. Thanks for telling their story.

  10. I am an adoptive mom and I was in court the day our daughter's bio mom relinquished her - he cried and hugged and I promised her I would care for our daughter. This breaks my heart because Asher only knows one set of parents. To remove him from them at this point is awful, most awful for him. I am grateful to know my daughter's bio parents (we see them regularly). I hope this works out for the best for Asher.

  11. I will definitely pray for them. How unfair for Asher and his parents. Babies develop their sense of trust so young, and to take that away from him is deplorable. I pray that the judge can look beyond the fact that he's the bio dad, and keep Asher in the family that he deserves. How did this process take so long anyway? I thought there were time limits to prevent this sort of thing (I'm sorry, I'm not knowledgeable at all on the laws) for the benefit of the children. Please keep us updated. <3

  12. This is such a sad, scary story. I will be praying for this family and trust that God will work out all things for good. Please keep us posted.

  13. Praying for all of you, especially little Asher.

  14. Pleeaaasseeeee tell me his signed in the beginning???

  15. I can't even re-read this to get the facts... you have captured it and said it beautifully. I will be on my knees for this family until January 9th. I can't imagine their feeling. Praying praying praying.

  16. My heart is breaking for this family. Praying for all involved, especially this sweet boy.

  17. I don't often read links from FB friends, but for some reason I clicked one that lead me to this. This situation is so heartbreaking for the biological parents, the adoptive parents, and most importantly, the sweet little boy. At this point, there are simply no good answers. None of us can know what the just decision is or in the best interest of this child without knowing the details of this case, but it is all terribly hard to imagine. I do pray that justice will be done and I pray for the hearts of whoever ends up on the side of heartbreak.

    I am a biological mother of a child who I gave up for adoption and am blessed with a wonderful open adoption. It's striking to me that you write about this story not wanting to be a reflection on the culture of adoption. I agree with you on that, but disagree with you on so many of the other ways you are presenting adoption here. A child is not a "selfless gift" to be given to belong to parents who want a baby in their home. They are individuals with a biological heritage and are so often hurt by the loss experienced in losing their "first family," even with domestic infant adoptions. Wanting to parent your own biological child, whether you intended to conceive a child or not, does not make a person automatically selfish or unwise. I understand that you have deep concern for this particular family, but it seems there are many ways to ask for prayer for them in this broken circumstance without also perpetuating unfortunate adoption stereotypes.

    1. I appreciate this comment because it's very hard to judge this situation without knowing the facts. how do we know the father was unfit? what knowledge did he have about his son? I'm sure the adoptive parents are amazing but it is not that simple. I hate the suffering that all are experiencing here and overall I hope that justice prevails.

  18. I agree with biological mom. You are clearly worried for your friends and that is understandable, as it is a heart wrenching situation. But what exactly are you wanting prayer for? That the adoptive parents prevail or that the child's best interest prevail? As a father, it is hard to pre judge this father on his intentions without knowing the details. As she said- someone will be heart broken and they are the ones who need prayer and comfort.

  19. Praying that the absolute best thing happens for this little man. As a foster care social worker I see so many dads who are failures and don't want a blessed thing to do with their kids, so it always wrenches my heart a bit when I see a bio-dad being denied his child for whatever reason. No one is perfect, but thankfully we serve a God who is. May His will be done here and regardless of outcome, may hearts be healed.

    As an adoptive mom, I really appreciate bio mom and bio father's posts above. Thanks for joining the conversation. So often their voices are "moderated" out.

  20. Maggie,

    Thank you for being brave enough to share your feelings and start a discussion where others can share theirs, even if not all exactly aligned.

    As you know, I am a waiting adoptive mother who experienced a loss recently. The birthparents changed their minds after two days of all of us caring for the sweet baby girl together. It was heart wrenching, but, you could say, the system worked. They had that time to finalize their decision.

    After feeling the pain of what my family and I experienced, I cannot even fathom the pain that Karen and Aaron are feeling.

    Most of us don’t know the details of Asher’s story. I wonder about those first days and if the birthfather was involved at all. Somehow the system, in this story, must have failed. It’s not perfect, I suppose.

    Regardless of the circumstances, I will pray for all involved. Specifically, I will pray that God’s will be done, and that the pain of those involved is eased by the knowledge of God’s love.


    1. Thanks Beth, You've been so heavy on my heart amidst all of this too. Your perspective and grace and vulnerability have taught me so much these past few months. I'm honored to know you. Your prayers are coveted and so appreciated. I hope you've been able to experience the peace you need too. If only all of this wasn't so hard and so multi-dimensional. You're an amazing lady.

  21. This is truly heart wrenching. Praying for this precious boy and his sweet parents. This is just unimaginable for everyone involved. Praying for the judge making the decision, that he will be led by God to make the right one.

  22. I can offer a unique perspective. My husband & I were in Aaron & Karen's shoes almost exactly one year before them. (Our court date was Jan 11, 2012.) Our son was nearly the same age Asher is, and we were in a custody situation with the birth father for most of the time we had him. Our adoption had been finalized 4 days after his birth. A short time later another man came forward claiming to be the birth father, and a DNA test proved he was. We hoped & prayed he would be willing to have an open adoption, but he wanted to raise his son. There were a handful of court hearings and we lost them all. At 15 months old we had to say good bye to our son.

    This is a hard place to be. We wanted to keep our son. We loved him dearly (and still do), and oh, how attached he and our daughter were! Yet how could I deny a father his child? He really wanted to raise his son, and we know he has lots of support from family and friends to do so.

    I don't know the reasons why the birth father of Karen's son is fighting the adoption. The birth father's desires of what happens to their child are just as important as the birth mother's. If he wasn't given the chance to consent to the adoption at the beginning it's so unfortunate that they all have to go through this now. There is heart break on all sides.

    My prayer throughout our ordeal was that God would be glorified. That how my husband & I handled the situation would glorify God. We live in a depraved, fallen world where lots of bad things happen. God doesn't cause them to happen but He can bring beauty from the ashes. That is my prayer for all involved in this situation. That God is glorified in all that happens.

    There was something God really pressed into my heart shortly after losing our son. It is arrogant of me to think that the best place for our son was with us. Yes, his life will be drastically different with his birth father than with us but how can I say it would be better. The best place for our son is where God wants him to be. God has a plan for him, and I pray for that plan to be fulfilled.

    Our experience did not tarnish the name of adoption. We still absolutely love adoption in all it's forms, and we are pursing it again. And we encourage everyone who asks us. God commands us to look after orphans, and we will do that however we can.

    Maggie - feel free to pass my email on the Aaron & Karen if they would like to talk with someone who's been there.

    1. Thanks for such a well-thought out and insightful comment Theresa. I will definitely see if my friend would like your e-mail in the coming days and weeks no matter what happens. I wish you amazing things as you pursue adoption again.

  23. Maggie,

    I have been quietly following your blog for some time now. I just love your posts and your insight into the world of open adoption. It's a blessing to me; truly it is.

    When I read this post, my heart broke for this family. I didn't want to close the browser because I didn't want to forget to pray for them. I can't imagine what they must be going through and the fear that they probably feel.

    Yesterday at church, my preacher quoted Proverbs 18:10: The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

    I wonder if He allowed that verse to stick to my heart just so I could share with you and with Aaron and Karen. God is so good and He has perfect plan for this situation.

    I will be praying for this family and for the biological father. I will pray for the judge and attorneys. Mostly, I will pray for Asher.


  24. Please update us on Asher Ling. Think of the Ling family daily. Thanks!

    1. Check out this link! It's a good one!


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