Grace and Second Chances
*First published in her Magazine, a Ledger-Enquirer publication. Christine Hull is a striking woman. Part French, part Japanese, and wholly southern, her bohemian style matches her inviting personality. Her cheery, no-nonsense attitude makes it easy to see why she feels so comfortable in the classroom. Formerly a teacher and then assistant principal at Northside High School, Christine now finds herself at St. Elmo School in a completely new administrative role, still in the honeymoon-phase of her precious marriage, and the mother of a beautiful baby boy. But it wasn’t an easy journey to her current dreamy life.
Born and raised in Columbus, Christine married at the age of 22 and immediately began trying to start a family. 8 years, cancer, countless fertility treatments and thousands of dollars later, her marriage ended and Christine found herself starting over. “God knew what He was doing, but I had my share of doubt,” Christine says. “I can look back and see how I have grown and I wouldn’t change what I have now for anything.”
Christine met her now husband, Thad, in 2013. It was love at first sight and a whirl-wind romance. They married in May of 2014 and immediately started praying about having a family. After a short period of time, the Hulls knew that adoption was the path they were supposed to follow. Thad was adopted and has always known he wanted to adopt a child and love them, sharing the experience he had benefited from. Both Christine and Thad come from strong, loving families and knew that it was important to create that for their own little family, no matter how that family came to be.
Adoption can come at a cost, both financial and emotional. Christine and Thad worked hard to put away money on a teacher’s salary and while owning their own business. Their friends and family participated in raising money to support them. They filled out enough paperwork to last a lifetime and signed their names more times than they could count. And then they waited. And waited some more. They prayed a lot. And then the call came. The Hulls had matched with a woman in another state who was carrying a little boy. Excited and overjoyed, Christine and Thad began to prepare for the arrival of their son. And friends and family joined in the excitement, throwing showers and buying diapers. And then they got another call. Their son had come into this world. All the details of that night are not known, but the Hull’s lost their baby.
Devastated, Christine and Thad turned to their faith, got out-of-town, and prayed some more. Several weeks later, Christine was sitting at her desk when her phone rang. It was her case worker. “Christine, I have no idea if y’all are ready yet. I know it is so soon. But I have a baby boy...” Christine could barely let her finish. “Yes, yes, yes. We’ll take him. Yes. I should probably call my husband, but yes.” Christine called Thad, but he couldn’t let her finish either. “Yes.”
And so Baby Hull Watch began.
The phone rang late that night last December. Mama was in labor and Baby Hull was coming. Hours of confusion later, not knowing whether to go to the hospital or not, failures in communication that could have been avoided, and some agonizing moments of watching others come and go, the Hulls were introduced to their son, Jake. “From the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew he was mine,” Christine said, tearing up. “And now, 7 months later, I can’t imagine life any other way.”
The Hulls are still moving towards finalizing their adoption, which makes it difficult to share too many details of their story. Working with their adoption agency and their case worker, the Hulls have graciously, patiently, and faithfully waded through the obstacles that have come their way. The financial obstacles have been vast and there are days when the uncertainties of tomorrow have been overwhelming, but Christine’s surety that Jake is her son, meant for her, has never wavered.
No, Christine didn’t carry her son for nine months and give birth to him herself. They don’t share DNA, or even the same cultural backgrounds. But her desires for her child are no different from any other mother. Her love for her son knows no boundaries, is beyond comprehension, and drips from every word as she describes his perfect features. Christine Hull didn’t find motherhood the way she thought she would at 22. But motherhood found her in a story filled with grace and second chances. And isn’t that what motherhood is all about?