For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mom. I would have loved to have been married with a few kids in my 20s, but that is not how life worked out for me. I spent most of my 20s wondering if I’d ever get married and have the family I dreamt of. When I finally got married at 31, I went through 28 more months of wondering if I’d ever get to be a mom.  

During those times, I always wished God could give me some sort of sign I was going to be a mom one day.

It took me 15 years to figure it out, but I think He did give me signs along the way.

The first sign came when I was a senior in high school. We were at a church picnic, and my mom got some tickets to put into baskets for a raffle. She pointed out a really nice prize basket of kids’ books, games, toys, and art supplies. 

“You should put some tickets in for the kids’ basket. That would be nice for you to have for your future children,” Mom said.

I was a single, senior in high school at the time, but I knew I wanted to be a mom one day, and it sure was a nice assortment of kids’ stuff. So I put a couple of raffle tickets in for that prize . . . and ended up winning it.  

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After graduating college and moving out on my own, still single, it felt kind of silly to move the kid stuff along with my other belongings to my first apartment, and then six years later again when I moved to another apartment. I sometimes wondered if I should give the items to someone who had little kids or donate them to children in need. For some reason though, I held onto them.

As I was wondering if I’d ever get married and have kids, God put a feeling in my heart to start researching adoption.

I wondered if it was possible, if I were to never get married, that I could still be a mom one day through adoption. I did not end up pursuing anything at that time, but learned some helpful information about the process and really fell in love with the idea of adopting a child.  

Then finally at age 29, I started dating my future husband. We got engaged when I was 30. As we went through marriage prep, at one point the deacon working with us talked about infertility and asked if we had thought about what would happen if we found out we couldn’t have kids. My immediate response was adoption.

When we got married and I moved to my husband’s apartment, I didn’t feel silly bringing along the assortment of kids’ items. Five months into marriage and infertility though, when we moved into the house we had just purchased, I wondered if I was being dumb lugging all this kids’ stuff again. This was the fourth time it had been moved! When was I going to get a clue that maybe I would never have children? I tucked the items into a closet in one of the extra bedrooms at our house so I did not have to see them and be reminded of what might never be.

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About a year after we moved into our house, my sister had her first child, a sweet little girl named Charlotte. When my mom’s birthday was coming up after Charlotte was born, I thought it would be nice to get her something related to her new role, even though I had nothing to do with making her a grandma. The gift I found for her that I liked the most was an album that said “Grandkids Fill The Hours with Sunshine and Flowers” on the cover. There was one issue with it though. I kept debating over the fact that my mom currently only had one grandchild, a girl, and this album had a lot of blue in the design, which is typically thought of for boys. I ended up buying the album and told myself even if she never had a grandson, the album was still cute for pictures of grandchildren.  

As my husband and I continued on our wait for a child, one Father’s Day weekend we were at a Saturday morning Mass that is special to us. An older gentleman came up to us and wished my husband a happy Father’s Day. We were confused, as we had never brought children to Mass with us. My husband told him thank you, and he wished he was a father, but we didn’t have children. 

The man assured us it would happen, and the Lord would bless us.

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Months went by after the conversation with that man, who we later found out was a deacon at another church. I felt in my heart he had to have some special connection with God, and God wanted to give us that message. I had expected an instant result after that conversation, but we continued to wait. 

We eventually completed a home study with an adoption agency about two years after we got married. We had two chances nowa pregnancy or an adoption.  

A few months after we completed our home study, my phone rang. We were matched with a baby boy who had already been born. As soon as we found out we were bringing our son home, my mom gave us an angel ornament that said “Gabriel” on it.  Gabriel was our son’s namethe name his birth mom had given him that we loved and kept. I was amazed with how quickly she had gotten an ornament with his name on it.  

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The story she told me shocked me.

She had had this ornament for a while. She explained my sister-in-law had said if she had a boy one day, his name would be Gabriel. She then ended up changing her mind on that name and picked another. Mom had already purchased the Gabriel ornament but held onto it for some reason.

Now we knew the reasonGod knew a Gabriel was joining our family one day, and when it happened, it happened very quickly. Having the ornament on hand was perfect.

When I look back, I can see how everything was pointing to the fact I would be a mom one day. My son now plays with some of the items I won in that raffle many years ago. There’s more tucked away in the closet that will be better for him when he gets older.

The urges I got to research adoption when I was single gave me a foundation for what was ultimately my future way to become a mom. 

That picture album that seemed like it was better for a boy than a girl is now getting filled with pictures of three grandkids, one being our sweet little boy. 

The kind deacon at church who wished my husband a happy Father’s day before he became a dad now gets to watch our little guy grow and blesses him every time he sees him.

And Gabriel’s ornament from his grandma with his name on it hangs in his room, except at Christmas time when it hangs on the tree.

Kimberly Keys

Kimberly is a stay-at-home Mom to her long-awaited precious son who joined our family through the miracle of adoption. She loves watching her toddler discover new things, especially when exploring the parks around her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.