There’s a popular saying in the South that is thrown around quite a bit. We love to use the word, “blessed.” Seriously, we can’t seem to live without it. If you really pay attention to conversations, you’ll often hear, “You’re blessed!” or “I’m so blessed!” and the ever popular, “Bless your heart!” You never know the meaning of that last one. It can express genuine concern or a sweet and salty insult. All joking aside, have you ever stopped to think about what it really means to be blessed?
There are material blessings that we enjoy from day to day. However, Elizabeth Bordeaux will tell you that while she is thankful for those things, the spiritual blessings that we inherit from God are the most important. On the contrary, there was a time in her life when she felt that God had given to other people in a way He had not given to her. She felt left out and confused when, after years of praying and asking, Elizabeth and her husband Chip, could not have children of their own.
Chip and Elizabeth Bordeaux live in Liberty, a friendly town in Upstate South Carolina. Small towns…where everyone knows everyone and neighbors become friends. However, Chip and Elizabeth watched all of their friends and family in their town expand their households with ease. Elizabeth couldn’t help but wonder why God ignored her prayers month after month. While her friends looked forward to their prenatal visits, Chip and Elizabeth spent time in cold procedure rooms for lab work and testing. It was hard to feel like the only childless couple facing this painful struggle, receiving unsolicited advice from well-meaning people, while longing for a baby that seem to be unobtainable.
Unfortunately, in November of 2013, the doctors officially diagnosed the couple as infertile and told them that it would be a miracle to be able to conceive a child. Grieving is a real part of infertility. Chip and Elizabeth struggled through the holidays grieving the child they would never have. Elizabeth said, “Chip immediately knew this was God’s way of telling them that adoption was an option for us. But it took me a while. I had to grieve the child I would never carry. I had to grieve my desires to have a child that looked like me and Chip. I was going to miss feeling what the kicks felt like and everything about pregnancy. I wasn’t going to get to experience any of it.” Attempting to talk about it at holiday gatherings was too overwhelming. It was difficult to find words to explain the degree of heartache they were facing.
In January of 2014, Chip and Elizabeth attended an adoption fair in Greenville. The Families Forever Fair offered them information on the adoption process. They talked to attorneys, agencies, and other vendors in children’s services. Elizabeth admitted, “We left feeling extremely overwhelmed. We had no idea what the cost would be for a private domestic adoption of an infant. We were quoted anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000.” The insanely high cost of the adoption disappointed Chip and Elizabeth but they did not want to stop moving forward.
At that time, Elizabeth was a media buyer for a large marketing company in Greenville. She said, “I knew a thing or two about media placement, especially placing media online. Chip and I decided to share our story about adopting and wanted to try to connect with an expectant mother that way.” They created a website, designed an adoption profile book, and a blog. On February 17, 2014, Chip and Elizabeth launched their new website, where visitors could read their story and learn more about them. Elizabeth also shared her story on Facebook and Instagram. In addition, she created online ads and used Google Retargeting, a form of online advertising that showed the ads to users who previously visited their website. Chip and Elizabeth also created pass-along cards with their contact information, purpose, and a link to their website.
Fortunately, Chip and Elizabeth began to reap the benefits of stepping out on faith and sharing their story. They met and signed with an attorney out of Greenville that practiced family law as a ministry. In addition, Elizabeth formed friendships with people in similar situations who reached out to her. One special person, Casey Brown, was in the adoption process as well. She became a fast friend and a great source of support.
Surprisingly, just six months after launching their adoption efforts, Chip and Elizabeth were contacted by an expectant mother who had been given one of their cards. The mother was visiting a counselor with her children. During conversation, she revealed that she had purposely missed her appointment to have an abortion earlier that day because it was something she decided she no longer wanted to do. It was a valuable opportunity for the counselor to mention Chip and Elizabeth and she encouraged her to take their pass-along card.
Elizabeth began communicating with the expectant mother and they developed a positive relationship over time. She wanted her to feel cared about just as much as the baby she was carrying. Elizabeth explained, “I went to appointments with her. We had coffee often. I even got to see the ultrasounds and hear the heart beat.” Because of that bond, Elizabeth and Chip were involved with the labor and delivery. Elizabeth added, “Nine months to the week of us announcing our plans to adopt, our baby was born.”
While she was laboring, the expectant mother allowed Chip and Elizabeth to stay with her. Fortunately, she allowed Elizabeth to stay for the delivery. Elizabeth recalled, “She asked me to stay because she wanted me to be able to bond with him. When he was born, he came straight to me. I even cut the umbilical cord. I got to experience skin to skin and all of the first moments.” Those moments were surreal. She stressed, “I just couldn’t believe it.” God had finally blessed them with a sweet, baby boy named Grant.
Elizabeth, along with her friend Casey, felt that using the media marketing strategies to self-match with an expectant mother worked extremely well. Their match took six months compared to the two-year national average wait time. In addition, Chip and Elizabeth paid $12,000 in adoption fees, which was considerably lower than most agencies. The two friends decided to use the same strategies to help a few other women in the adoption process. Their success was remarkable. Elizabeth said, “We helped five of our friends self-match. All five of those friends had their babies home with them in less than six months and all of their adoptions cost less than $10,000. That’s when adoption professionals started reaching out to us to ask what we were doing.” Many of them were interested in Elizabeth and Casey’s help. The friends were even asked to speak at the Families Forever Fair in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston. Ironically, this was the same informational fair that Chip and Elizabeth attended when they began the adoption process. Elizabeth explained, “We spoke at all three of those fairs on self-matching to show people that it is possible to adopt debt-free.”
In January of 2015, Elizabeth and Casey decided to come up with a name and a brand for their partnership. Quiver Full Adoptions, a consulting firm, was born. Elizabeth remembered, “When I was struggling with infertility, I used to always read Psalm 127, verses 3-5. It explains how blessed is the man whose quiver is full. How is it that the Lord can bless someone whose household is already full of children? Why can we not be blessed? I know that He’s a good God.” Ultimately, all children belong to God. He has a purpose for every single one. So, the real blessing here is not just in the ability to bear children. The blessing comes from being entrusted with one of God’s precious gifts, biological or adopted. Elizabeth emphasized, “The ultimate reason we used Quiver Full Adoptions as our name is we wanted to show that the Lord brings redemption on that verse. He can expand our household anyway He wants to. Grant is just as much my son as if I were to have a biological son. The moment I saw him, he was mine. The Lord created him to be our child.”
In the first two years, Quiver Full Adoptions consulted forty families. As consultants, Elizabeth and Casey only assisted the adoptive couples on how to self-match. Elizabeth explained, “We couldn’t facilitate. But when an expectant mother reached out, we assisted couples in figuring out what to say and what not to say. We were there for every step of the process. When there was a successful match, we would bring in an attorney so the adoptive couple could hire him to take care of the legal process to finalize the adoption.”
Just recently, Elizabeth and Casey decided to transition Quiver Full Adoptions from a consulting firm to an agency. Their vision for Quiver Full had grown. Not only did they want to support adoptive couples but they had a burden for expectant mothers and wished to offer more support, counseling, and social services. Elizabeth pointed out, “These women make this decision out of love because they are in a crisis situation. I would not be a mom today if it weren’t for Grant’s first mom. I am so thankful. Many expectant mothers have a fear of someone just wanting their baby and then closing the door in their face.” With these things in mind, Elizabeth and Casey decided that Quiver Full would be a nonprofit licensed adoption agency, one where a true relationship is formed with the expectant mother, as well as the adoptive family.
Quiver Full has been fully operating since receiving their license in January of 2017. Since 2015, there have been 65 adoptions. The cost, around $12,000, continues to be well below the national average. Furthermore, their current wait time is only 121 days for an adoption match. They serve expectant mothers and couples from all over the nation. Elizabeth has a vision to do even more. Her future goals are to develop more ways to support expectant mothers, foster children, and children in crisis situations. She acknowledged, “We need people who are just as excited about our vision as we are. We need volunteers and as always, we need financial support to keep adoptions affordable.” Elizabeth is confident about the future of Quiver Full. She stated, “In 10 years, I hope this first round of Quiver Full babies see the impact they’ve had on people’s lives. And in 20 years, I hope some of them are stepping up and running it.”
Elizabeth concluded, “I just sometimes cannot believe that this is what I get to call my work. It is so rewarding, so fulfilling.” If you ask Elizabeth about her greatest blessing through her journey, she will confidently tell you, “I get to look at my son every day and think that it is because of his story that we started all of this.” For Chip and Elizabeth, trusting God with the challenges of infertility opened their lives to hidden blessings they never imagined.
Heather Reeves, Challenges Column Contributor
Heather Reeves, a 5th grade language arts teacher, lives & works in her hometown of Liberty, SC. She is a graduate of Clemson University & her family enjoys cheering for the Clemson Tigers. Heather also enjoys gardening, crafting, traveling, & spending time with her husband and daughter.