New book from local author can help start adoption discussion with children
“We Were Always Meant to Be,” a new children’s book by Lindsey Spangler, was written and created for a readership of one — the Spanglers’ adopted daughter, Naomi Louise, now age 2 years and 7 months.
“I wanted a book for when she gets a little bit older to get the conversation started on adoption,” says Lindsey, a member of St. Philomena Parish in Peoria. She and her husband, Kevin, are both nurse practitioners with OSF HealthCare.
But as the book came together — including colorful illustrations by Lindsey’s mother, Ellen Louise, and even a sample of Naomi’s art on the back cover — the first-time author realized that others who have adopted children could benefit from its themes of love, patience, gratitude, hope, and faith.
“Adoption is special in so many ways, but it can be hard to discuss this topic with children,” Lindsey acknowledges on the back cover.
A COMPELLING UNTOLD STORY
The 25-page, 170-word hardcover book opens with the sentence, “Everyone has a story, and your story is the best.”
“We Were Always Meant to Be” remains general as it goes on to discuss some main points of adoption, including prayer. “We prayed every day for a baby to come along the way,” Lindsey writes. But the full, untold story of Naomi Louise’s adoption is a compelling one filled with unexpected twists leading to a very happy ending.
Lindsey shared that story during a “Catholic Author Meet and Greet” hosted by St. Philomena Parish this summer.
In 2019, the Spanglers began working with the agency American Adoptions. Their profile was subsequently chosen by a birth mother from Georgia. Lindsey recalled how she and Kevin drove through the night to Georgia upon hearing the baby girl was born.
“An hour away from the hospital, at 7 a.m., we learned that the birth mom had changed her mind,” said Lindsey. “We had heard that could happen, but when you’re in that process it’s your baby and that’s all you’re thinking of.”
Soon after, the Spanglers were chosen by expectant birth parents in Pennsylvania. For three months prior to the baby’s arrival, they regularly communicated with the couple and were present for the birth of the baby boy. In the ensuing week, however, this birth mom also struggled with the decision, eventually opting to keep the baby.
“That was really hard,” acknowledged Lindsey, the memory welling up tears as she spoke in the parish hall.
“GOD’S HANDS COORDINATED ALL”
However, driving home from the Pennsylvania experience, the Spanglers received another call from the adoption agency. A baby girl had been born in Mississippi, and the mother had selected the Spanglers when they had already been matched with the Pennsylvania birth parents.
Arriving in Peoria, Lindsey and Kevin dropped off the “baby boy stuff” from their car, reloaded it with “baby girl stuff,” and headed to Mississippi. The COVID-19 outbreak was just beginning, and they were not allowed in the hospital. The baby was presented to them on a hospital sidewalk with only a nurse and a lawyer present.
The Spanglers had already chosen the name Naomi from the biblical Book of Ruth should they receive a girl. Coincidentally, the name of the nurse who handed them Naomi was Ruth.
“We truly believe God’s hands were coordinating everything the entire time,” Lindsey told The Catholic Post. She hopes that others struggling with fertility and/or adoption may gain a seed of faith from their experience and the book, which includes the line “God knew my heart needed you, and I would love you through and through.”
Lindsey called the adoption process “emotionally trying,” but added prayer and faith “kept us from breaking down and losing hope.”
“We entrusted this process to the Lord,” she said. Lindsey also admits her prayers included a hope for “a red-headed, blue-eyed baby girl,” and Naomi Louise fits that description beautifully.
GRATITUDE TO BIRTH MOMS
The book’s title reflects how adoptive parents often feel when they first hold the new member of their family.
“That is how I felt the first time I held Naomi in my arms,” said Lindsey. “She was always meant to be ours and I would go through the process again and again if it led us to her.”
The dedication page of the book includes gratitude to all birth moms. “Thank you is not enough,” Lindsey writes. “Your courage is extraordinary.”
November is National Adoption Month.
“We Were Always Meant to Be” is available from Amazon. Copies may also be purchased at The Nook gift shop in Peoria Heights.