Life is rarely simple or straightforward. And for Mira Capps-Hansen it has been more complicated than most. When she prayed with her husband for a baby to adopt, she realized it would take more than just hope. Then one day the phone rang with a familiar voice on the line, and a story unfolded that was all too familiar.
Mira understands the difficulties of adoption only too well. And history was set to repeat itself in the most wonderful way as the young woman longed to add a new member to her burgeoning family.
In Mira’s dream world, there would be no need for adoption. Relationships would endure all the difficulties life throws at them and families could stay together. But we live in an imperfect world and torn relationships can lead to broken homes.
Mira is an HR director from Jacksonville, Florida. She married her husband Josh in February 2014 and they soon started planning their family together. Then, in November that year their first daughter Saylor arrived. But they knew there was more to come.
Although Mira and Josh were busy with their own daughter, their thoughts nevertheless turned to adoption. The former understood the life-changing importance of taking in a child who, for whatever reason, could no longer be cared for by its biological parents. But she and her husband also believed there was a bigger force at play.
Mira and Josh’s religious beliefs are strong, and they felt that adoption was part of the Lord’s plan for them. However, although they felt the idea was a certainty, the reality of the process presented some hurdles.
Mira recalled their difficulties in a blog post on the Love What Matters website. “We didn’t have fancy jobs or a healthy savings account. Truth be told, student loans were sneaking up on us, I [had] just quit my job and Josh was struggling to find a career he enjoyed after separating from active duty. We felt unprepared and discouraged.”
As Mira and Josh struggled, they turned to God. They prayed every night that the Lord would hear their pleas and send them a child in need of the help they were so desperate to give.
“With no reservations or stipulations, we surrendered our hearts and our hands,” Mira wrote. “‘Lord, you know our hearts… Use us as your hands and your feet, use our family to show your love in this broken world. Use us for a child that needs a home. Any child, God. Use us,’ we would pray.” Then something changed.
During a sermon at church one week, the pastor read out a quote. It was from the Book of James and said, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The words had a profound impact on Mira. “That was it. It was then that I felt the gentle conviction of the Lord sitting right there in the sanctuary.”
“I felt like God was whispering, ‘Trust me, Mira. Just trust me,” she wrote. “Josh and I were willing to adopt – at least we said we were willing. But how were we physically acting on it? We needed to put our faith into action. Into works. We needed to walk in the same confidence we prayed every night with.” They knew what to do next.
When Josh and Mira returned home that afternoon, they began preparing for the arrival of their next child. Not only did they apply to become foster parents, but they started to kit out a nursery. They bought all the clothes, diapers and other items a baby might need. And they continued to pray.
Up until that point, Mira and Josh had only told the Lord that they were willing to offer their hearts and home to a child who needed their help. Now they were showing Him. They put their trust in the Lord that he would deliver on their wish. And then, one day, the phone rang.
It was a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 2017; a day that Mira won’t forget in a hurry. Her heart raced as she saw the out-of-state number appear on the screen of her phone. Anxiety swept over her. Then the words came from a familiar voice at the other end of the line, “I heard you were wanting to adopt.”
The voice belonged to Mira’s cousin in Texas. But something sounded awry. Her cousin’s voice trembled as she spoke. She said, “I don’t know if you know this, but I have a two-month-old little girl and her name is Lillie.” Somehow, Mira knew what was coming next.
Mira was lost for words. As she recalled, “How could this be real? I could feel my eyes stinging and hot tears streaming down my face.” Was this what she and Josh had been waiting so patiently for? Was this the plan that she believed the Lord had had for her and her family all along?
Then, as Mira asked her cousin if it was really what she wanted, she got the answer to her prayers. As she recalled in her blog, her cousin said, “Mira, I wanted to call you sooner, but I didn’t know how to say it. I feel like you’re supposed to be her mom.” But it wasn’t a proposition she could accept so easily.
Josh was away with the Navy. But when his wife told him what was happening there were no doubts in his mind. As Mira recalled, “When I explained everything to him, without hesitation he responded, ‘Go get her. You go get our baby.’” So she packed up the car and set off for Texas that same night.
Mira’s 11-hour trip to Port Arthur in Texas wasn’t one she was making alone. The HR director brought her daughter Saylor with her. Her mom went along, too. Indeed, it was a journey she herself had made once before.
For Mira’s mom, it must have felt like history repeating itself. After all, it wasn’t the first time she’d made the journey from Florida to Texas to pick up a baby with piercing blue eyes and dark hair. This time it was to collect her granddaughter. But 27 years earlier it was the soon-to-be-adoptive mother who was herself picked up.
As it happened, Mira herself had been adopted. Her biological mother had made the heartbreaking decision to give her away when she was just a baby. And in an incredible twist of fate, Mira’s adoption story is almost identical to that of her mom’s.
It was 1991 and a heartbreaking chain of events would lead Mira’s birth mom, Rachel, to give up her baby. She’d had a traumatic upbringing, and consequently grew up fast. In an unhealthy relationship at the age of 17, she was married and had her first child before her 20th birthday.
In a fog of alcoholism, betrayal, affairs and physical abuse, two years later Rachel and her husband separated. It was around this time that Rachel met Mira’s biological father, Joey. After a very brief relationship, he split with no idea that in nine months he would become a father.
Rachel then got back together with her husband. He knew Mira wasn’t his, but nevertheless had agreed to take her on as his own. She was even named to match with the rest of the family. Mira Miller arrived on November 12, 1990, and everything seemed fine.
But the peace didn’t last for long, and before the end of the year the abuse returned to Rachel’s relationship. Her husband ran off with a new woman, leaving her with two young girls and no means to take care of them. Rachel then turned to the person who always welcomed her with open arms: her aunt.
It was a tight squeeze, but Rachel’s aunt did her best to make a home for everyone. And Rachel had a plan. Working as a waitress during the day, she would study to become a nursing assistant at night school. She believed a better job was all she needed to stand on her own two feet.
But Rachel was working multiple jobs. And between that and her nursing training, she barely had time to ready her daughters for bed before leaving the house again. The mental, physical and financial strain became too much. And yet when the idea of adoption was entertained, she couldn’t face it.
With no hope of giving her daughter Mira the life she thought she deserved, however, Rachel made a call to another aunt in Florida, called Verda. She wasn’t able to have kids, and yet the one thing she wanted most in the world was to be a mom. And the struggling mom had a big request.
Rachel wanted Verda to take Mira. On her Love What Matters post, the latter wrote, “It has to be before she can talk if we’re going to do this. If she says ‘Momma’ I just won’t be able to go through with it.” Mira was nine months old when her adoptive mom made her first drive from Florida to Port Arthur.
Nine months later Mira’s intrafamily adoption was complete. Rachel would eventually remarry a friend who had been a support to her through her decision to have Mira adopted. Indeed, they even gave the latter a little sister shortly before she turned four.
Mira said her childhood was “pretty normal”. She wrote, “My mom stayed home with me until I was old enough to go to school and my dad was a merchant seaman, until he retired and later opened a construction company.”
“Every summer, my mom would take me to Texas so I would have the opportunity to spend time and make memories with my sisters,” Mira added. But for the HR director, it was the only family she had ever known. And her adoption was by no means a source of secrecy.
“My parents never hid the fact I was adopted,” Mira explained. “There were no lies or glorified stories. They were honest about my story from the very beginning and gave me age-appropriate answers to questions when I had them.” And with adoptees for cousins, Mira never felt alone.
And with a relationship forming with her biological mom, Rachel, over the years, Mira always got honest answers to any burning questions she had. Indeed, one such conversation is seared into her memory regarding a question she has been asked a lot. Why was she adopted while her sister remained with their mom?
“Her answer was honest and straight from her heart,” Mira recalled. “[She said,] ‘You were still so little. You were still so new and so untouched by any wrong in this world. Your sister had a father – while maybe not much of one – but I felt you deserved as much. You deserved a chance’.”
Mira’s biological father, Joey, resembles her in some ways, but she is sure he still has no idea she exists. The HR director harbors no ill feelings toward Rachel – in fact she describes her biological mom as having a level of courage she could never fathom, and thanks her for choosing such wonderful adoptive parents.
It was from her own unique childhood that Mira and her husband made the decision to adopt. And with a special relationship with her birth mom, Rachel was the first person she called. She wanted to give a child the same thing her biological mom had offered her: a chance.
As it happened, Rachel had played an even bigger role when Mira decided to adopt little Lillie. It’s unclear why Mira’s cousin realized that she could no longer offer her daughter the life she felt she deserved. But there was one person she could turn to who had been through a similar experience: Rachel.
And if for Mira the addition of a new baby to the family was a sudden if welcome one, there was soon to be another mouth to feed. As she drove to Texas to collect Lillie, she was in fact one month pregnant with her second biological child. Remy Jane Hansen joined the family in March 2018.
“I will never be able to grasp the magnitude of the sacrifice [Lillie’s] biological mother made.” Mira said. “I’ll never know how hard that was and my heart breaks at the series of events that led her there. I’ll never be able to repay her, and my heart still aches for her when I watch our tiny… daughter smile and crinkle her nose. Make no mistake… Our Lillie is not broken. She has been redeemed.”