God is doing some big things. So big that we feel a tad bit overwhelmed to have a front row seat to all His power. In some ways I feel like I have had blinders on until this very moment in time when God decided to use his Holy Spirit to reveal a little more of his plan for my life.
I sat in church weeping before the service even began. You see, My Love and I had talked about possibly visiting a different church today. We had been to this one twice before and had been praying whether or not this was the church home that God wanted us to settle in to. We decided to come back for a third time this morning when God met us right there in the fourth row after the first worship song.
Let me back up. Last week at the same church, a couple shared some of their story in honor of Orphan Sunday. They had mentioned that in the coming weeks other families in the church would be sharing too so it wasn't just talked about one day out of the year and then forgotten. They were passionate about God's call on their lives and that of the Christian church to care for orphans.
I sat there and listened and for the first time I thought that this might actually be an option for our family.
It was like a light switch was flipped on and the blindfold was removed. The Holy Spirit was alive in that moment and my mind and heart were flipping through experiences like a Rolodex of how God had been planting seeds along the way. Suddenly I looked around at a pile of puzzle pieces I didn't even know went together. My heart tugged.
On the car ride home I mentioned my enlightenment to My Love. He was surprised that I had never considered it before because he had. You see, we have been praying for three families closely who are pursuing adoption for multiple reasons. It has been a miracle to be a part of the prayer support just to watch God do amazing things. Two families we know are still waiting on their children while one is expecting a third addition soon. No where in that process of praying had I even thought about adoption for us. It was fine for them but we were happy with our little two-child-predictable-easy-to-manage family.
If you know me then you know that My Love and I have been announcing for a few years now that we only want two kids. Two kids. We have seen lots of people have a third and all chaos breaks loose. Two seems good. Two seems doable. We could better afford two. We could better parent two. Two was enough and we were thankful to have our two beautiful healthy children.
But then something happened that I wasn't expecting. God told me to surrender that to Him as my Shepherd too. By me telling him what I could handle I wasn't trusting him with everything. My heart changed. Suddenly I wanted what God wanted for our family. He started growing a desire in my heart for more children. Maybe one, maybe two more. I would look in the back seat of the car and think there are faces missing. I was ready to try again. My Love was not as interested. Two was still good for him. I stepped back and told him that I was content with our Bundles and that God would have to change My Love's heart toward wanting more before I pressured him into the idea.
Last Sunday, I started thinking that maybe the desire God had been growing in my heart the past few months was not for me to birth more children but that we would adopt more. The need was not to be pregnant again. It was just to have a bigger family.
I tried to let this new idea sink in. We have been exposed to the idea of adoption by many angles for years now. A family at our old church adopted 6 of their 8 children. A guy My Love works with has been a foster parent and pursued unsuccessful adoption many times. My brother-in-law is a Child Advocate and spent some of his childhood in the System. We have prayed and prayed for A and M all the way in Ethiopia and were blessed to watch them get off the plane here and step into their new forever family. We have seen them grow and thrive in the care of their loving Christian home. A college girlfriend adopted two kids and fostered two more while in the process of adopting them as well. We have been surrounded by it and yet the Spirit never let it in to my heart until now.
Last Monday we were on a two hour road trip to attend a retirement ceremony for a friend (who adopted teenagers and fostered many) when I brought up the topic with My Love again. Somehow through that discussion we decided that perhaps foster care might be a good place to start. We had some fears and thought maybe we would foster a child and realize this wasn't for us. It was a good way to get our feet wet. It seemed like the plans were being made for us though. Since we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into neither one of us wanted to commit to it 100% but knew we had to pursue it.
My heart started racing. My friend's words were ringing in my ear. She told me not to be surprised if God started moving boldly and quickly once we began praying. Having been a part of her journey with adoption I kind of knew what she meant but not completely until now. The very thought of just possibly fostering children with the intention of adoption made my heart heavy. I am talking like a sense of urgency that I have never felt. Just the idea of any hypothetical children in our family being alive and on this earth at this moment just brings me to my knees in prayer for them. I am not kidding when I say this whole idea has just snowballed so quickly and yet has been perfectly orchestrated in His timing.
I hopped online later in the week and did a little research about fostering in our county. It got me thinking. What if God moved us to this house for a child who is out there and needs a home?
Maybe the "person with a need" that we have been praying for that God would use our house to bless is another child. Or lots of children.
I am overwhelmed. My heart is literally heavy.
I have made plans to talk to my old college friend who I have lost complete contact with (even though we are Facebook friends) but I have watched God grow her family through adoption. I am excited to hear her perspective on the foster care system.
The guy My Love works with who has fostered and pursued adoption is supposed to come over for dinner with his family in the coming weeks. You can bet we will be picking his brain.
This morning we both woke up after a night of poor rest for both of us for no apparent reason. My Love asked me if I had an opinion about where we would go to church today. Maybe we chose to return again out of laziness but like I said we came back for the third Sunday. While praying together this AM we asked God to make it clear to us if this Body is where he wants us to be. We sang the first song and then there were a few announcements before a couple took to the stage.
The topic of their talk today? Foster care.
I should have known God would show up and confirm what he was clearly calling us to do through his Holy Spirit. I guess I just didn't expect it to come so quickly and loudly. The tears came with every word that was written and read specifically by God with us in mind. His power overwhelms me.
We had an amazing conversation after church with the couple who shared their story of foster parenting and international adoption. A HUGE blessing. They have nine children.
There are some life decisions you think about and ponder and weigh the pros and cons. And then there are other choices you make that make you feel like if you don't do it right now you will be disobeying God.
How can I wait? My child might be out there. Maybe today he is being born.
A couple weeks ago, Bundle Brother put a pair of little boy shoes in our shopping cart and said, "These are for my baby brother." I laughed and said something like, "You are going to have to talk to God about that one Buddy!" Perhaps he knew something I didn't back then.
So we pray. We pray and we pray and we pray. I have thought about my two pregnancies and how each baby has been safely protected inside my womb until God chose to add them to our family. We prayed for their development and birth and future. This feels all together different. There is so much to pray over. We are praying for God's timing in all things. Bring them quickly Lord. Fill this big house with your children.
There is another side to all of this. Some children that we foster will be returned to their birth families. The couple we talked to today said they have fostered some for a weekend and others for up to one year before they were taken away, The road will be hard and painful and full of heartache but we are eager to walk down it. For before we told God what we could handle (two is good Lord), and now we are trusting him with it all. Our hearts and all he has given us to bless the lives of as many children as he wants.
I worry that I will want to adopt them all. My heart will need lots of prayer. We wont be able to, but I can tell you right now whoever God places in our care will have two loving "parents" who will pray for them for the rest of their lives. We will be his hands and feet for as long as they are in our home. I don't feel strong enough Lord.
During our reunion with Germany friends, someone shared the story of how her mother prayed for the future spouse of her daughter throughout her whole life. The man my friend went on to marry grew up in a home with permissive parents who had no rules and pretty much didn't care where they were or what they were doing. By God's grace, he came to know the Lord and is an amazing guy. He later said he felt prayed for growing up. That God was protecting him through out his life.
If we end up not being able to adopt any of the children we foster in the future, we will pray for them for the rest of their lives and that might have to be enough for me.
Okay. Still processing. Pray for us as we start this journey. We have a lot to be thankful for but the road ahead will not be easy.