Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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National Adoption Month

Welcome to November! It is a month in which we celebrate our veterans and all that we are thankful for, but a lesser-known fact about the month of November is that it is also National Adoption Month. National Adoption Day is November 22, 2014, but throughout the entire month, agencies and families all over the world bring attention to this great gift of adoption.

baby banks

Imagine that you are a twenty year old mother who has not yet finished college, working as the front desk girl at the Holiday Inn as well as a waitress/cashier at McAlister’s Deli, and the father is not a part of the child’s life. What do you do? Well, I was that girl. I chose to fight for my child and do the very best job I could. I had two choices: 1.) Allow this to defeat me and become a product of the government-supported lifestyle or 2.) Take responsibility and fight! Yes, it included nights without sleep, going to school all week, working on nights and weekends, using my car adapter and pumping my breast milk in the parking lot of school or my manager’s office at work, using nearly every penny I earned to pay for daycare and babysitters, BUT this child changed my life, and I knew that somehow it would all work out. Thanks to my parents for allowing us to live with them until I finished school and got a job and for loving me, despite the intense disappointment and maybe even some shame that I may have caused them. It is quite humorous how when we have nothing and no one, we call on God. I do not know that I would have ever come to have a relationship with God, had I not had Banks and been in the situation I was.


Galatians chapter 4 and Ephesians chapter 1 both show us how, when we come to know Christ, we are adopted into the family of God, and we can cry, “Daddy,” and He will answer and will always be there for us as our heavenly Father. I always wondered why God made me wait so long for my husband. It was an incredibly long eight years raising Banks on my own and always trying to answer his questions about his birth father honestly yet still giving him hope at the same time. I now know that I had to wait so long for two main reasons. Most importantly, I was not ready to be a wife yet, and I believe that I truly needed to know and understand the importance of being adopted into God’s family before I could appreciate the beautiful gift that would be given to Banks.


Before Adam and I even got married, he had already spoken with Banks about adopting him, and Banks was ready. He began signing all of his papers at school as “Banks Nichols,” and when I was pregnant with Weston, he would ask why Weston would have the last name of Nichols but he did not. From the day that Adam and I returned from our honeymoon, Banks ran right past me and yelled, “Dad you’re back!” So Adam has always been Banks’ father, but Banks wanted it to be official as well as Adam and myself. In December of 2013, we received the greatest Christmas gift that any family could receive. Adam’s parents offered to pay for Banks’ adoption. It is not cheap to adopt a child.  Ours was only a step-parent adoption, but when you are newly married and trying to save enough money for a down-payment on a house, one of you has just lost their job, and you are trying to pay all the bills and provide for two boys, adoption is put on the back burner. We can never repay his parents for this gift, because it is worth so much more to us as a family than could ever be measured monetarily.


On May 19, 2014, Mathis Banks Nichols finally had a father! God truly went before us. Our lawyer had adopted his wife’s son, and our Probate judge was adopted by his aunt and uncle as a teenager. Later that night, Banks graduated from the sixth grade, and his certificate of completion read, ” Mathis Banks Nichols.” I am so incredibly thankful for a God that loved me enough to send me a husband that would love me and my child so completely, and I am so thankful that both my family and Adam’s family were there to witness this beautiful display of love called adoption.


So to those mothers and fathers that are raising their children alone, praying everyday for God to send that person that is going to love their child as their own, do not lose hope. He knows what you need and the exact time in which you need it. To those who are contemplating adoption, please know that it is not something to be entered into lightly. Adoption is forever. This is a child, a life that you are choosing to take responsibility for, so do what it right. Lastly, to the child that prays every night for God to give them a mommy or a daddy, just as my Banks did, keep praying, but in the meantime, know and rest assured that God fathers the fatherless.