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Couple describe open adoption as learning, loving experience

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BURLESON, Texas (BP)–Emily Tailor Rollins may never hear her parents say how much they love her. And when her daddy tells the congregation at Marystown Baptist Church in rural Texas that God loves them and Jesus died for their sins, Emily may not be listening.

Emily is hearing-impaired. But whether she hears those things or not, Emily still will know about love. Already, though she is only a few months old, Emily is teaching other people about love.

“Sometimes you wonder, ‘How can God love me?'” said Sara Rollins, Emily’s mother. “But now that we have Emily, we understand.”

Dean and Sara Rollins adopted Emily through Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services in Texas. That same day they learned she was hearing- impaired.

“I know that I am God’s child, and I know how weak and helpless I am,” Rollins reflected. “And then I see Emily, this hearing-impaired little baby, and she is a picture, a taste of what it must be for God dealing with me.

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“You know, I have all these impairments and I am so helpless. But he feeds me and cleans me and takes care of me,” continued Rollins, pastor of the church near Burleson, Texas. “It reassures me a lot. It reminds me that life is such a wonderful gift God gives to each of us.”

Emily’s birth was the culmination of years of prayer and months of preparation for the Rollinses.

Emily went there through an open adoption process. Unlike adoptions of the past, Emily’s birth mother knew the Rollinses and regularly spends time with them and Emily.

In Emily’s adoption process, the Rollinses even attended birthing classes with the birth mother, and Sara Rollins was in the room when Emily was born.

Rollins admitted the thought of an open adoption didn’t impress him at first.

“I didn’t say anything, but inside I was thinking, ‘I don’t think so.’ That’s because I just didn’t understand it. It was all new to me and it just didn’t make any sense to me. But we prayed about it and thought well, we’ll see.”

When the Rollinses first met the birth mother, it was “a riot,” the pastor recounted. “One of the first things she said was, ‘I’ve been praying so hard that God would send the right people.’ She was so open. We talked for a couple of hours.”

Since Emily’s birth, the birth mother has visited the Rollinses several times.

“We told her to call us anytime if there’s ever anything we can do,” Rollins said. “She’s our friend.

“When she comes over, we talk about Emily,” he added. “But mostly we talk about the Lord, or something that is happening in our lives or about Scripture she has read. She’s growing in the Lord, and we’re growing, too. That’s our main conversation, about how good God is and how he’s with us and how he helps us to grow and see things.”

Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services caseworker Bobbie Hale said the Rollinses’ excitement about Emily drew the birth mother close to the couple.

“She just felt a real closeness to them,” Hale said. “It was wonderful for her to see other people in the world who were excited about the baby.”

The experience of Emily’s adoption also was a time of spiritual growth for everyone involved, Hale said.

“We cried together and laughed together, and we praised God together,” she said.

The high point of the adoption was a placement ceremony held in the hospital room, Hale said. She described it as a time of “preaching and praise to God for this wonderful event.”

When it came time to select a name, the Rollinses talked over ideas with the birth mother and agreed they liked Emily.

“We were going to the childbirth classes with her, and they had a book there with the names. She had gone through and picked out eight different names, and Emily was one of them,” said Sara Rollins, who is a court reporter.

“That week, I had been doing a (court) transcript that had the name Emily in it and I had been thinking, ‘What a pretty name.’ I went and asked her what she thought about the name Emily, and she said she liked that name.

“When she was born, we just looked at her and started calling her Emily.”

But for the Rollinses, Emily’s middle name, Tailor, is more significant.

“Everybody spells it with a ‘y,’ but we got it from the dictionary with an ‘i’ because we liked the fourth definition which is ‘made for a special purpose,'” Sara said.

Like most new parents, the Rollinses are not completely sure what that purpose is.

But they said Emily already has had a dramatic impact on their lives and on the lives of the members at the Marystown Baptist Church.

“I prayed to God to give us the child he wanted for us, and we asked him to give us a child who could love him,” Sara said. “Anything else, we knew God would take care of and that any child he wanted us to have would be just fine. That is the main thing, for her to love God, and everything else will be just fine.”
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