To hear the judge declare him ours took all the waiting and the months of having him with us and solidified it all. He was home.
In April 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began changing the world as we knew it, Rachel and Matt Hagler started the process to adopt domestically. A year later, the pandemic had begun in earnest, and its impact was being felt by waiting families across the country, including the Haglers.
“The pandemic really put a fast halt on our fundraising efforts,” Rachel said. “We had to let go and trust the Lord would provide.”
In the midst of their wait, Rachel and Matt applied for a Show Hope Adoption Aid grant.
“It is hard to put into words what it meant to get the call [that we had been awarded a grant] just two days after our son, Harrison, came home,” Rachel said. “Matt heard me scream in the office all the way upstairs when I got the call! We were elated. The grant completely covered our remaining balance. It was such a weight lifted off our shoulders.”
Harrison came home in the fall of 2020, and Rachel, Matt, and their 4-year-old son, Jasper, relished the extra time spent together with the newest member of their family before the world slowly began to open up again.
“It gave us so much time together to connect and bond,” they said. “It did not come without struggle, but it really was a sweet time. Our whole family could not love Harrison any more … we feel like he has been with us forever.”
And then, in April 2021, came the day all adoptive families long for.
“Due to the pandemic, we finalized our adoption sitting on our living room floor with a phone propped up and our right hands raised,” Rachel said. “While it was not how we pictured it, that moment will forever be etched in our minds. To hear the judge declare him ours took all the waiting and the months of having him with us and solidified it all. He was home.”
Today, the Haglers continue to adjust to life as a family of four and reflect on the unique perspective their adoption journey has brought them.
“The thing that surprised us most is the emotional toll it takes in the way of both joy and grief,” Rachel said. “To feel so much deep love for Harrison also brings with it grief for him and his birth mom. The gravity of it all is something that is so hard to explain until you are on the other side of adoption. The best way I’ve seen it described is living in the ‘and’ space—joy and grief simultaneously.”
Amidst the joy and grief, the Haglers also feel immense gratitude toward those who helped make their Adoption Aid grant possible.
“To be able to see God’s hand all over our family’s story—the love, provision, peace, and kindness—is amazing,” Rachel said. “A huge thank you [to those who] trust your finances to Show Hope allowing them to bless families like ours. I wish I could hug everyone! It made a huge difference in our lives.”