Friday, March 1, 2013

the beginning of our adoption journey

It has been so long that I don't even know where to start.  We have been blessed to be in a season where we are hearing clearly from the Lord and also seeking His face daily together.  There is a reason he keeps us in the waiting, people.  It is in the waiting that faith can grow.

So I guess I'll just start from the beginning.  Or what I believe to be where it all started.  God prepares us each long in advance for what he foresees.  It is only when we look back that our eyes are opened to the possible reasons behind some of the experiences of life.  If only I would have chosen to be thankful in each moment rather than trying to figure out what God was going to do at the time.  He brought us here.  And we are thankful that he didn't reveal his whole plan--of which we are cerain we still haven't seen a glimpse of--but rather led us slowly by the hand to this point.  Had he shared the news long ago, we would have laughed and doubted.  And I guess in some ways I did do that even back then when the idea was casually brought up from time to time.  The idea of growing our family through international adoption.

You see it was three years ago that we started praying for our dear friends as they walked the journey. We helped F and M welcome two precious gifts from God to their forever home and we continue to witness them thrive in a family full of God's love and grace.  We prayed again when they jumped back on the adoption train and brought home their third miracle several months ago.  Oh the gift of watching followers of Christ walk in obedience even when it is hard!  It is so powerful.  So I guess it was really a couple of years ago that the seed was planted.  In My Love.  I remember stating clearly that adopting internationally was good for them but not for us when he brought up the idea.  We were supporting them through prayer.  No matter how much they wanted us to catch the 'bug', I kept my heart at a distance.  Two kids.  That is what we always said we wanted.  And we had two kids.  

In the spring of 2012, I started seeing Haiti everywhere.  Has that ever happened to you?  You aren't seeking out a particular word or idea or object but suddenly every time you turn around there it is.  I didn't think much of it at first.  I just remember noticing the repetition.  In the meantime, we were waiting by the phone to receive our first foster care placement.  We prayed for the little children who God knew he would bring into our home.  That wherever they were in that moment that the Holy Spirit would be bringing them comfort.  That he would bring them peace about the fact that he was preparing a place for them to live in safety and love.  Perhaps that is when my heart really started opening to the idea that there may be someone out there on this earth already who will one day call me Mommy.  The sense of urgency seemed physical.  

Then my dear friend KB went on a short term missions trip to Haiti during the summer.  She called me one day during naptime here and we talked for 2 1/2 hours.  It was one of those days that God kept the children sleeping the whole time.  My friend needed to share her heart in the overwhelming visions and experiences that surrounded her.  So I listened.  At one point she made reference to the 107 (or so) orphans that live at the ministry she was serving in.  For a brief moment, a rush came over me and I thought, "What if my children are in Haiti?"  Honestly it never crossed my mind before then.  "Can you adopt from the orphanage there?" I asked.  "No,"  she said.  I settled back into listening and yet something was slowly being awakened inside me.  Once again, an example of someone in our lives walking in obedience even when it is hard.  KB, I love you.

A few months went by and we didn't feel like God was leading us to knock down doors in regards to foster care.  We stayed in touch with the social worker but really started feeling peace in the season God had us in.  I started to wonder if he had us waiting during this time because he wanted to direct us somewhere else.  On October 1st, I reached out to my friend M (who has adopted three older children from Ethiopia in two years) and asked her a question that really opened up the concept of adoption to someone beyond the two of us.  I told her not to freak out (but of course she did), but I wanted to know how God revealed to them where they would adopt from.  If he spoke it to both of them or if one just jumped on board when God confirmed the country.  I felt like God was pointing my direction toward Haiti but I didn't want to just drag My Love along with me.  I wanted to feel like God was revealing his will to us both.

From there we started praying more regularly about God's timing for adoption and that possibly being from Haiti. 

When I contacted M, I made no mention of our prayers.  I told her I wasn't ready to share details.  She respected that.  18 days later I got a text from her.  "So?  How is everything going?  Is it Haiti?"  I stopped right in my tracks.  My heart was pounding as I stared at my screen.  We had shared this information with NOBODY.  Not wanting to give anything away and choosing to play a little dumb I started my response with "Is what Haiti?"  She replied that she was reading on a blog about a friend's trip to Haiti (which I had been following) and that my family had come to mind. might be thinking that this was no big deal but I am telling you that in that moment I think I lost my breath.  It felt like God reached out of heaven and spoke directly to my heart through my friend's text.  I think she was a little surprised too when I confirmed her suspicions.  The more I thought about it, the more I adored a God who can literally pick a country out of a hat and put that on the heart of a close friend.  I am sure that happens in our lives more than we think.  We shake it off as a random thought when really it is God wanting to use us to bless someone else.  I can't tell you how many times I have gotten a random correspondence where the person isn't exactly sure why they are sharing something with me but it ends up being perfectly timed.  Those who choose to be obedient even when it doesn't make sense.  God is amazing.  

I think that conversation was the beginning of the heart process for me.  God was leading us to adopt from Haiti.  And yet the waiting continues.  Obviously during that time last summer and fall, our family was going through a lot of changes.  My Love left active duty service after ten years.  He was able to stay home with us on leave for his last 80 days.  Then there was the stress of getting hired on as a government employee and trusting that God would provide even though My Love was taking a pay cut.  It really wasn't the right time to add something on top of that from our worldly perspective.  I eventually told My Love that I would not begin researching the adoption process until he felt like God was telling him it was time.  That was a huge thing for us.  For me to give up the control I mean.  Meanwhile, God kept repeating himself.  He put people in our lives at our church to encourage us.  People who have adopted and confirmed that everything we were sharing was exactly what they also walked through. 

By early 2013, I felt like I had received a promise from God.  Or at least a clear vision that our family would one day include adopted children from Haiti.  Even though my heart throbbed for the someday, I started finding contentment in the waiting.  I finally got around to looking up the qualifications that their government has for adoptive familiesIt was momentarily discouraging but I wasn't shaken.  I clung to his promise.  Just because it might be hard or take a long time, it really didn't make me think like we should pursue somewhere else.  Haiti was planted deeply in my heart by this time and there really was no denying that God was repeating himself.

And than Baby H was born into this world in late January.  A little girl long awaited and prayed over and who didn't join her forever family a day too early or too late.  God is always on time, people.  We rejoiced with them and the prayers continue for their precious growing family.  And then something happened.  That very next week in my women's Bible study, we started learning about El Roi, the name of God that means "The God Who Sees".  It was then that I had this realization that just like God knew when our dear friends would bring home their baby girl, he also knows the exact children who will one day be in our family in the future.  It overwhelms me at the timing of it all.  Baby H's life has been a testimony of God's faithfulness.  But she is also evidence of who El Roi is.  I pray that she always knows the love of her heavenly father. 

So the waiting officially began.  To be honest, I kind of started forming an attitude of "when is God going to wake My Love up so we can get this thing going already".  My heart was weighing heavy and I started inadvertantly putting pressure on My Love to get the memo.  That is what controlling people do when they try to convince themselves that they are submitting, you know.  Not good.  And God called me on it.

The Lord started talking and made me realize that I wasn't waiting on My Love at all.  It didn't really matter if My Love was exuding the same amount of passion as me or not.  The fact was God was literally telling us to wait.

From my God Calling devotional...  

February 7-
"Only a few steps more and then My Power shall be seen and known.  You are, yourselves, now walking in the tunnel-darkness.  Soon, you yourselves shall be lights to guide feet that are afraid." 
(note: I read this passage the same morning I heard Audio Adrenaline's song King and Queens)

February 8-
"Possess your souls in patience and rejoice.  You must wait until I show the way.  Heaven itself cannot contain more joy than that soul knows, when, after the waiting-test, I crown it Victor, but no disciple of Mine can be victor, who does not wait until I give the order to start.  You cannot be anxious if you know I am your supply."  

February 11-
"Your path is difficult, difficult for you both.  There is no work in life so hard as waiting, and yet I say wait.  Wait until I show you My Will...  Again, I say wait.  All motion is more easy than calm waiting.  So many of My followers have marred their work and hindered the progress of My Kingdom by activity.  Wait.  I will not overtry your spiritual strength....all your activity could no have accomplished the journey so soon.  Oh, wait and trust.  Wait, and be not afraid.

So yes.  God has been crystal clear.  We are in a waiting period.  Our desire to be obedient even when it is hard is stronger than ever.  And really God is giving me a peace about this season that I white knuckled just a few months ago.  He is working.  And we are letting him work in and through our lives while we are waiting.  God is doing big things in My Love, in me, and in our marriage that perhaps would not be given priority had we plowed ahead at the first thought of adoption.

A few of the qualifications that we would need to seek waivers on if we moved forward at this point?
*One person in the couple must be at least 35.
(My Love turns 35 this summer)
*The couple must be married 10 years.
(Our decade milestone will be celebrated in just a few months)

God knows what he is doing.  We could wake up tomorrow (or years from now) with a huge sign telling us to start the paper chase and then it could still be a years more until we actually bring our children home.  But he is sovereign and he sees what we do not so we are choosing to trust him in the waiting.      

We would be thankful for your prayers.
There is surprisingly more still to share. 
Stay tuned...  


Chanel said...

I am so encouraged. I am so excited. We are thankful to be a part of your journey through prayer. And happy to pray for the nieces/nephews we will someday meet! Love you.

amanda said...

Thank you for sharing your journey! So encouraging. Praying for you.