Author and speaker Dave Hollis shared a touching story this week on Instagram about the time period before he and now ex-wife Rachel Hollis adopted their daughter, Noah.
Hollis wrote candidly about the heartbreaking failed adoptions he and Rachel endured in his book, "Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic's Guide to Growth and Fulfillment." He told TODAY Parents that he and his ex-wife started their adoption journey on a track to adopt from Ethiopia before the program closed down. After trying to adopt from the U.S. foster care system in 2016, the couple brought home newborn twins, only to learn a few months later that they were not adoptable.
"After what seemed like too much heartache led to a devastating piece of news, we were done," Hollis wrote in his Instagram post. "Rachel was done, and in the moment, I was with her."
The couple was having an emotional conversation about ending their adoption journey over a meal at a restaurant when they were interrupted by a man at the table next to them.
"My parents had failed adoptions before they adopted me and my brother and they sat in the place that you're sitting now and had to make a choice to give up or keep going. They kept going," the man told them. "If they hadn't kept going, I wouldn't be here ... I think I’m sitting here right now because I'm supposed to tell you that you can’t give up."
Hollis said the man then told them his name: Noah.
"Of course, his name was Noah. Of course, in the flood we were experiencing, we were sent a Noah to help us appreciate that we needed to go on and that, in a sea of doubt that truly tested our faith, God had been with us the entire time," Hollis wrote.
After the encounter, Hollis says he and Rachel decided to transition into private adoption, where they met their daughter's birth mother.
The couple brought their newborn daughter, named Noah after the man in the restaurant, home in March 2017.
Today, Noah-from-the-restaurant has become a close family friend. And, Hollis is grateful for the encouragement he was given to go forward with adoption, as welcoming Noah, who is now 3, made their family feel complete.
"Yes, it takes work to finalize an adoption — plenty of patience and faith and paperwork — but in the end, I’ve never one time looked at Noah and thought, 'Oh, there's my adopted daughter,'" Hollis told TODAY Parents. "She's just my daughter, and an amazing one at that. That adoption was able to complete our family and the way that it all happened was nothing short of a miracle."
So what advice does Hollis have for families who are looking to adopt?
"Find other people who have first-hand experience of what the process was like for them to help manage the expectations of what can at times be a road of less certainty, longer timelines and occasional heartbreak," said Hollis, who shares with Rachel three sons: Jackson, 13, Sawyer, 12, and Ford, 8. "You have to go in believing that you will complete your family in this process and that you’re willing to do it in a way that releases some of the control in how it happens."
"As long as you stay connected to the reality that it will happen, then it will."