Inside Out, Upside Down: An Interview with Nicole Cole
The following interview is a part of the Inside Out, Upside Down series, in which we will hear the stories of Christ-following families who have taken part in orphan care. To read more about the series, start here.
Today, I'm thrilled for you to meet Nicole, a Christ-following wife, mom to two "almost twins," and small business owner in north Mississippi. You can follow her family's journey on Instagram @nicolevcole, and you can read her blog and check out their photography/videography business here.
Tell us about yourself! Do you prefer coffee or tea? What do you enjoy doing when you have a kid-free moment?
Hey, I’m Nicole! I’m a wife, mama to “almost twins”, and I am able to stay home with these sweet babies while also keeping up with our photography and videography business! We live in a little town in North Mississippi, but we’re only minutes away from downtown Memphis, TN. If you popped into my house in the early morning hours you’d see me with a giant cup of coffee. If you popped over in the afternoon... you could very likely see the same! Ha! I do really love tea though - the Celestial Caramel Apple Dream is SO GOOD!
My very favorite kid-free moments are my mornings when I can have a cup of coffee and open my Bible in the quiet, dark of the day. Honestly, these moments aren’t kid-free for very long these days. We’re having an early riser baby problem over here! My other favorite kid-free moment? Reading the latest Magnolia Journal in the bath!
Introduce your family.
I’ve been married to my college sweetheart, Tyler, for going on five years. We have two sweet kiddies! Our little boy Campbell is 15-months old and our little girl Crawford just turned 1!
How did God first make you aware of the orphan crisis? What was it specifically that grabbed your attention?
From a young age adoption was always something I thought about, and even as we got married, we talked about it “some day.” In the summer of 2015 our pastor preached a sermon on abortion and stated that we cannot be pro-life if we are not also pro-adoption. We cannot only fight for unborn life, we also must fight for the lives of children already born. It was the fall of 2015 when I truly felt the Lord calling us to adoption NOW, but Tyler just wasn’t ready. We prayed through it, and in January of 2016 the Lord used another sermon of our pastor’s (we love him if you can’t tell! ha!) to call us into obedience NOW. So on February 16, 2016 we sent the very first email to what would be our adoption consultant!
Tell us about your adoption journey with Campbell. What were your fears throughout the process and the greatest challenges to overcome?
The adoption process isn’t easy. You have home study meetings that dig into your own personal past, how you plan to parent, how YOU were parented, the health of your marriage, etc. There’s no hiding or pretending. Someone knows how much is in your bank account, and they decide how fit you are to be an adoptive parent. It’s easy to question, “Am I good enough?” and I think that’s a question Satan can easily use to deter us from the path. At the end of the day, we constantly had to rest in the fact that on our own, we will never be enough to parent our children well. BUT, when we rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit and rest in the grace of God, we can enter into parenthood confidently and joyfully.
Our biggest fear was, “What if our birth mom changes her mind? How would we ever get through that?” Labor Day weekend 2016 we were matched! A week later we found out that sweet Latino baby was a BOY, due September 19, 2016. My 26th birthday. We named him Crosby Ellis, a name we’d been saving since shortly after we got married. The night of September 18th, we got the call that he was born! We jumped on a plane to south Florida the next morning, and within hours we learned we would not be going home with a tiny boy, as his Mama decided to parent.
We were completely devastated. But I can say in full confidence that the Lord carried us through some of our most grief stricken days. He strengthened our marriage, strengthened our relationship with Him, and brought us to a place of surrender and trust. Just a week after our match failed, we got another call. We almost said "no" out of fear. But we said "yes," and that yes was our Campbell Elias. Putting that “yes” on the table when we were scared and vulnerable was one of the greatest challenges we walked through. But that “yes” has brought us incredible joy.
While working to adopt Campbell, you became pregnant! Share the timeline with us of when you found out you were expecting and where you were in the adoption process. What made you decide to continue pursuing adoption?
The week after our first home study in the middle of May, a pregnancy test said “positive.” My first reaction was to say “NO! This can’t be true!” and Tyler’s first reaction was laughter. Literally, he laughed! After trying to conceive for quite some time, we had laid down those desires and pursued adoption wholeheartedly. I never in my wildest dreams thought we would be adopting AND pregnant.
To be honest, nothing made us decide to continue pursuing adoption because there was never a question about it. We were adopting. We now just happened to be pregnant, too. We prayed we would still be able to continue with our agency, and they rejoiced with us and continued to walk through this new season with us!
In what ways has adopting Campbell turned your world inside out and upside down? Even in all the difficulties, would you do it again?
I knew that I would love him, but I didn’t know how overwhelmed I would be with love for him the second I saw him. They wheeled this little bassinet into a small family room at a hospital in Texas, and the second I saw him... he was mine. Loving Campbell, having him as my son, has shown me that I can 100% love children who aren’t biologically mine. It means we could be foster parents and love kids who enter our home for a time, or stay for forever. It means I can advocate for children across the world because they are just like mine. I can never not know again. I can never turn a blind eye to the need. I can never be too afraid to do something. In all the struggles, in all the pain, in all the unknowns...I can’t imagine not having our “yes” on the table for our sweet Campbell. I would do it again. And again and again and again.
How has God deepened your understanding of the Gospel through adopting Campbell into your family?
Through adopting Campbell the Lord has continually reminded me the Gospel is not just about me. It’s bigger, so much bigger, than I could ever comprehend. The Gospel truly is for all peoples, of all nations, and all are worthy of hearing the good news of Jesus!
What would you tell someone who has been thinking of pursuing domestic adoption but hasn’t taken that first step? Are there any resources that were especially helpful to your family throughout the adoption process?
Don’t be afraid to put your “yes” on the table. Loving a child will always, always be worth it. One of my favorite books is Adopted for Life by Russell Moore. It would be an incredible read for someone considering (or not considering!) adoption.
What is one piece of wisdom you would tell a family as they go throughout the adoption journey?
The adoption journey is not easy, but it IS worth it. Continually seek Christ, continually put your “yes” on the table, and lay your plans and desires at the Father’s feet. He is good!