Announcer: Welcome to The Adopting and Fostering Home podcast. Whether your family has been on this journey for years, or you’re just getting started, we’re here to support and encourage you along the way. And now, your hosts, Lynette Ezell and Tera Melber.
Tera Melber: Welcome back to The Adopting and Fostering Home podcast. Well, Lynette, as you know, this calling to open our homes and lives to vulnerable children requires a daily dependence upon Christ. When we, as God’s people, refuse to quit and set our hearts to seek His guidance and endurance on a daily basis, then the Lord truly will use His people to influence the world and the hurting around us in ways we could have never imagined.
Lynette Ezell: Oh, I totally agree. And you know, Paul reminded the church in Corinth of this, in 1 Corinthians 2:9, he writes, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind can conceive the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” And Tera, I love in the message, it says, “what God has arranged” …
Tera Melber: That’s awesome.
Lynette Ezell: Oh, it is. “For those who love them.” It can be a fierce battle though. And there are days, I think most of us would agree, we want to quit the process. But we truly can trust the Lord to champion this from beginning to end, and to reign all through the middle.
Tera, the couple we have joining us today surely had moments when they wanted to quit. You and I have known this sweet couple since they were in high school.
Tera Melber: That’s crazy.
Lynette Ezell: And it’s been a joy to see the Lord build their family.
Tera Melber: That’s so true. Jacob and Tiffany Saltzman have three beautiful children through the miracle of adoption. Jacob ministered alongside Lynette and me in Kentucky and Tiffany even had a few of our children in elementary school, and we could not be more honored to have them with us today. So Jacob and Tiffany, welcome to The Adopting and Fostering Home Podcast.
Jacob Saltzman: Thanks so much for having us.
Tiffany Saltzman: Yeah, so excited to be with y’all today.
Lynette Ezell: Well, we appreciate. We know your nest is full, and we appreciate you taking the time to be with us.
So, I hope you don’t mind us starting at the beginning, but how did the Lord lead you to begin the adoption process?
Jacob Saltzman: Yeah, I would say, it was different for actually each Tiffany and I, but for me, the Lord started stirring in my heart back in high school. I was on a missions trip to the Philippines, and He just started working in my life, and stirring in my heart that maybe one day I would adopt, and actually since I was in the Philippines I kinda had this heart for the Philippines. And then we got married and started trying to have biological children, and it was after a few years of trying to have biological children, we found out we would never be able to have biological children, and so we turned to adoption. And actually meeting with both of you all, and the influence that both of you played in our lives at that point in our life. And the Lord opened our hearts to adoption.
Lynette Ezell: Wow, and so how did that first one begin, Tiffany?
Tiffany Saltzman: With Jace, it was like a month after we found out, and it took me a little more to get on board. I guess the Lord knew I needed a little more to get on board with the adoption, and so He definitely gave us that with the news that we couldn’t physically … I would not physically carry a child. And so we knew at that point, we definitely wanted to pursue adoption. That was the choice for us, and we knew that’s what God had in store.
And so, we found out about Jace … In October we found out we couldn’t have biological children, and then we talked to Jace’s birth mom for the first time on January 8th of 2010. And so, it was very, very quick. You know, some people will say they wait a long time, and so we had just, repeating again what Jacob had said, reached out to you all, you all were definitely a blessing to us to lean on during that time, and then having told everybody that we knew to tell everybody that we were looking to adopt, and so that’s kind of how we got matched with Jace’s birth mom. We’d even put on Facebook, “Hey, we would love to adopt, if anyone knows of anyone that’s looking to make an adoption plan.”
And so, a lady that Jacob had grown up with in elementary school and middle school had worked for a home study agency in the area, and so they knew Jace’s birth mom. It’s a long connection, a long line of people, but she had known about her through one of her mom’s friend’s daughter’s friend who lived in Tennessee and had been her landlord. And so, she actually lived in Utah, Jace’s birth mom, but she had reached out to the landlord she had in Tennessee. Again, it’s a long line of connection, but … So she contacted us, the lady in Louisville that worked at the adoption home study place, contacted us and said, “I saw on Facebook, would you be interested in talking with this birth mom?” And we were like, totally in shock. For one thing, that it happened so fast and two, we’re like, “what do we say to a birth mom? We’ve never done this.”
And so, literally, like five minutes later, we get a phone call from her, from Jace’s birth mom. And so, we talked with her, kinda told her we were looking to adopt, and kind of our story, we just found out we can’t have children. And she had placed two other children for adoption already, so she actually was a help to us in knowing how it all worked. So, it seems crazy, but she really was a help to us through how does this all work. That was how we got matched with Jace, and then he was born in June.
Lynette Ezell: So you brought him home straight from the hospital?
Tiffany Saltzman: Yes. We got him … He was born in Utah, and we were in the hospital for like two days, and then we had to stay in Utah for, I think we were there ten extra days, just waiting on the interstate compact, where we aren’t able to leave the state or enter into Kentucky. So we stayed there for several days, and then yes, we were able to come home. But we got him … We left the hospital with him.
Tera Melber: So do you still have contact with birth mom?
Tiffany Saltzman: With Jace’s birth mom, it’s very limited. Just at first we had more contact than we do now, but just as the years have progressed, it’s gotten less. She actually though does keep in contact more so with my mom. My mom was there when Jace was born, she was actually in the delivery room. Jacob’s mom was as well, but Jace’s birth mom really took to my mom, and she lost her mother during her pregnancy with Jace. And so I don’t know if that was part of it too, but they talk, I would say, every couple months. It’s not like, regularly, regularly, but they do talk more than even she and I do. But I know that if I need her, or wanted to contact her for … I’ve had to contact her about a medical issue. But as far as just to have contact, we don’t really keep in touch that much. But I do …[crosstalk 00:07:34] Oh, I’m sorry.
Tera Melber: Oh, no, that’s okay. I was just gonna ask. That’s a big timeframe of being able to have biological children, finding out that you couldn’t, and I’m sure there had to be a grieving process there, and then very soon after to be able to adopt. So can you share with us just a little bit from either of your perspectives, there are a lot of people who are going to be dealing with infertility and trying to determine … They know that the Lord’s called them to be parents, and learning to build their family, so how did you guys work through those emotions?
Jacob Saltzman: Yeah. It’s very difficult for us at times. I actually remember coming home from the doctor’s appointment that day, just sitting on our couch, just holding each other crying, just trying to figure out what the next step was going to be. And I remember talking to my pastor at the time, which was Brother Kevin, and him actually telling me a verse that, at first when he told me I was kind of mad, but he talked about in James, how it talks about when you go through different trials to count it joy. And when he told me that, I really didn’t understand what he meant by it.
And it wasn’t until later on that, now as I look back and look at that verse, I understand what he means by it. Because we’ve now been able to use our story, and how we went through the times, to help other people get through the same thing. And so, thinking back on it, it really was that verse that he shared with me, at least at the time. I really didn’t understand it then, and I would continue to say it to myself, but looking back it was that that got me through it, because I was constantly trying to think, “How is this gonna help me? How, as we’re going through this thing. Tiffany never gonna carry a child—a dream that she’s always had. She’s never gonna be able to do this. How is it gonna be any type of joy come out of this situation?”
And it is only because now I do see back, the people that God has placed in our life that we’ve been able to help walk through their infertility struggles with that. And I think for us, it’s understanding that it’s not Tiffany and I’s story. It’s God’s story that He gave to us, and we do need to be open with our story. And I get it’s a very private thing, and a lot of people don’t want to share their struggles, especially when it comes to infertility. But for Tiffany and I, we just understood that it’s a story that God has given to us, and that we’re going to be able to help people walk through their different stories. Maybe it’s not the same, exact one that we have, but maybe it’s very similar, and we’re going to be able to help them along the way.
And out of that, Tiffany and I do get joy. And we do get to see how other families get through that to the adoption process, and it does bring us joy in our life and we can help them through that.
Tera Melber: So it’s very similar to the passage of Scripture that Lynette shared where it says that “no human mind can conceive the things God has arranged for those who love Him.”
Tiffany Saltzman: Absolutely.
Tera Melber: We don’t always understand the journey, but we can trust His character, which is what I’m hearing you say. That I didn’t understand the James passage, but I’m learning to trust His character.
So, I’m assuming because you’ve had two other children since Jace was born, that after that you kind of learned the ropes and everything was a piece of cake. Is that correct?
Jacob Saltzman: Yeah, you would like to think that.
Lynette Ezell: Yeah, you would, wouldn’t you?
Jacob Saltzman: Yeah, that’s right.
Tera Melber: So, can you share with families listening any difficult season that you encountered even through the consecutive adoptions that you’ve had?
Jacob Saltzman: So, after Jace, he was I guess about 18 months, and we were like, “We would love to have another child.” And so, we thought, well, kind of start where we did last time and just let everybody know that we would like to adopt again, and so we did get matched with a birth mother. She was in the same city that we were in at the time, and so I actually got to go with her to all of her doctor’s appointments and I was just really enjoying that process that I would never be able to do that. And so, going to the doctor, we found out it was a boy, and we’re excited about that, came up with a name, and started thinking, “Oh, Jace is gonna have a brother.”
Then we went to her doctor’s appointment at 19 weeks, and found out that she had miscarried the baby boy, and so that was really, really heart-wrenching. I mean, honestly, when people say you feel like time just kind of freezes, that’s really how I’d describe that. We’re in the ultrasound room and she runs out of the room, and is going through the hallways, and I can’t even process everything that’s happening. You know, I’m seeing my world kind of crash, and then I’m like, “Oh, no. I’m responsible for her. She’s with me.” So I go after her.
I wasn’t experiencing the miscarriage physically, but emotionally, spiritually, mentally, every other way possible. It was a really, really hard time for us, and I felt like I just uncontrollably cried, just doing dishes, I would cry. And looking at Jace, I would cry because I was thinking about the boy that we would never get to hold.
Even just walking with her continually though, because she had to deliver the baby. So we went to the hospital with her to go through that process as well. I would just say, it was a really hard, probably like two weeks, specifically two week timeframe, just finding out and then again, just kind of walking through that process with her. It lingered, obviously, and still today in my mind, it’s never going to be something that I forget. So we experienced that with that birth mother.
And then actually right after that, it was like a month later, we got matched. We decided to go through an agency because we just really want a child, and I was thinking like, “Well, maybe it’ll be quicker if we go through an agency.” So, we found out about this baby that they were having a really hard time matching and we were like, “We will take it. We’ll take any child. We want this baby.” And so, again, it was a boy, and she was due like two months later. And so we got the nursery ready, we got our bags packed, and we were talking with her. She would call at all hours of the night, and she’d go to the emergency room, and all of this, and so it’s very emotionally draining. Again, I wasn’t physically experiencing, but getting calls at one in the morning and you think something’s wrong.
Then all of a sudden, it was just nothing. She didn’t call me, she wouldn’t respond to texts. I called the agency and they hadn’t heard from her. And so we’re just waiting with our bags packed by the door, literally at the door, and we’re getting no response from her. And so at that point, after this went on for several days, we realized in talking with the agency that she was not going to follow through with the adoption process. And so again, feeling like we just experienced heartbreak and then here we are two months down the road, two and a half months down the road, and we’re experiencing this again.
So personally, I just felt very discouraged, and I just thought, “Lord, do You even want us to have another child? Are we pursuing this but it’s not really … Should we just be content with the child that You’ve given us?” Because we’re so thankful to have Jace, and so I’m like, are we being selfish or whatever to want another child? So just kinda processing those emotions as well. Like, “Okay, Lord, we feel like You’re calling us to this, and we desire other children, but what do we do here? Where do we go from here?”
Lynette Ezell: You know, I think from our deepest pain can come greatest joys in life. And I think the adoption process, infertility, miscarriages, failed adoptions. I think that’s just such an example of that in our lives, that through our deepest pain can come some of the greatest joys. When I get your Christmas card every year, we just tear up and we tape it up and we talk about you guys and we just see how the Lord has worked in your family and how faithful you’ve been and how the Lord started you at such a young age to trust Him and to be faithful in how He was going to build your family. And that is a testimony to the body of Christ.
Tera Melber: So Jacob, I want to know, I ask husbands this often when we’re having conversations with couples, but when you’re going through those deep, dark times as a couple, for you, because you’re also experiencing all of that pain, how did you lead Tiffany through that difficult time in determining what God’s plan was for your family?
Jacob Saltzman: That’s a great question. I think the most difficult thing is, one, you are experiencing everything that she is, so the emotional part of it. You know, I wasn’t going to doctor’s appointments, but I was with … especially with the birth mom in Louisville, we had taken her to dinner, so we had met with her several times, and you do somewhat get kind of attached to somebody. And then when things don’t go as planned, as the husband, you’re supposed to be the strong one. And so, even though you still are dealing with everything, you’re going through the same thing. I think for Tiffany and I it was honestly just kind of going back to square one and me just trying to bring our family back together, saying “Okay, Lord, what is it that You would have for us now? We’ve walked through doors that you’ve opened, and they’ve been shut, and we’re okay with that. It takes a while to become okay with that, but we are okay with that. We will just continue to trust You.”
And I think it was the body of Christ, the people that God had put in our life, and surrounded us with, and if it wasn’t for those people in our life, we would have never been able to get through the different things. I just realized in listening to Tiffany talk just a minute ago, it was different people that came along our side from our church, or from our small group, or both of you and your family that came along and just continued to encourage us and say, “The Lord does have a plan for you.”
And so, just for us, it was kind of getting back to the very beginning of it and saying, “Lord, as You do provide for our family and as You continue to open doors, then we will continue to walk.” Because it’s very easy at that point just to say, “You know what? We can’t go through this again.” And as a husband, I don’t want to see my wife struggle the way she’s struggling and walk in the house and see her be emotional because of what we’ve been through. And so we have to continue to go back and trust that the Lord does have a plan for our family and He will provide and sometimes it’s not in our timing, and we just have to understand that. I think that was the hardest thing. But for me, I felt like I needed to be the strong one, I needed Tiffany see that I was going to support her and that we did just need to trust in the Lord and in His timing.
Tiffany Saltzman: I think one of the things that he would say a lot, that God knows the child that’s meant to be ours, or the children that’s meant to be ours, and so for whatever reason, if we’re experiencing this heartbreak, as much as we wanted that child, God knows the children that He has for our family. And so that was an encouraging thing that he would, a lot of times, point out was that that child … God knew that child was not gonna be in our family.
Tera Melber: And you just trust in Him in the process. The sanctification process is so hard and so painful sometimes, most of the time. But I think about the things that you all have had to overcome as a couple which made you stronger, which led you to your next child and then your next child. And so the Lord … We don’t often understand, rarely do we understand, why the Lord chooses to take us through different paths, but we just always have to come back to knowing that He is sovereign and He is in control and His character does not change.
Lynette Ezell: Right, and the character of God will always stand because the name of God will always stand. And nothing can come against that. But it is hard in those difficult times, because we live in flesh, right? And so it can be very difficult in those times, but you guys have been such an example of staying the course and trusting the Lord through the process.
Jacob Saltzman: Yeah, it is … The process that we have … You don’t understand it during the time, but even with Lily, so our second child … We had two failed adoptions, we didn’t understand why, and I couldn’t imagine our life without Lily. If one of those adoptions would not have failed, then we probably wouldn’t have Lily today, and that’s something … Our little blond-haired, blue-eyed girl who has a little spunky attitude, I don’t know what our house would be like without her.
Lynette Ezell: You’ve been listening to The Adopting and Fostering Home Podcast. We’re so glad you have taken time to listen today. Keep in mind, we are a ministry of the North American Mission Board and funded through the Annie Armstrong Offering and your giving to the cooperative program. We look forward to talking more about adoption, fostering, and orphan care and how you can be more involved.