Monday, May 9, 2011

How We Came to Adopt...

Grab a snack because this could take awhile...

This is the story of how we got where we are today, totally in love with a little Ethiopian baby we've never seen.

The Way Back Background:
I remember now looking through my mom's catalogs when I was little and pretending that I was picking out babies to adopt. I never thought twice about skin color, though I didn't know anyone who didn't look like me. I remember always wanting to be a photographer so I would have an excuse to go to Africa and adopt a baby. And I remember telling my mom, even after I was married that if I ever had a little brown baby I knew exactly how I wanted to do her hair. Who knows where I thought I'd get one;adoption was nowhere in our radar at the time, and since I married a very pale, although handsomely so, man, it probably wasn't going to happen naturally...

The More Recent Background:
For a few weeks last spring, prior to the beginning of this story, I had started having this unsettling feeling that someone was missing. The kids would be playing near me, and I could see them all, count them all, but still, it felt like someone was not there that should be. It was a feeling I couldn't shake, but I didn't say anything about it because it was just so weird. I couldn't explain it.

Exactly one year ago this weekend, May 16 2010, we decided to pray together for God to let us know what to do about our family. We had at the time 3 kiddos, our oldest was 4 and our youngest was 9 months old.
2 boys and a girl.
Practically perfect in every way.
It seems that about the time the youngest of the brood is about to turn 1, I always get that desire for another one. But this year, I just wasn't feeling it.
No baby fever. Not even lukewarm about it. Just didn't wanna.
We talked about it casually for awhile,
"Do you think we should have another baby?"
"I don't know, what do you think"
"Well, I don't know, what do YOU think?"
I didn't want to have a baby just because it was what we always had done, and I just wasn't feeling a peace about it either.
And finally we decided to ask the Lord about it, since He's kinda the boss of that stuff.
So we prayed earnestly, and for the next few days, I occasionally wondered how God was going to tell us what to do. I figured sooner or later (like 9 months or so) we'd get our answer.
Which didn't happen.
Instead, I got sick.
About the time I thought I would die if I didn't get some medicine, I went to the doctor and found out I had Pneumonia. So besides sleeping and staring blankly at the walls, there really wasn't much to do besides blog-hop. (Jeremiah and his mom took over with the kids so I could rest and recoup.)
Somehow, I really have no idea how, but I got onto this blog and specifically this post, where they announced that they were expecting a baby- from Ethiopia.
And honestly, I was like "Whaaat?"
Sad to say.
I was skeptical. I had never met anyone that had adopted transracially.
And then I pulled a Serpent-in-the-Garden.
"Would God reeeeally tell someone to do that? That's crazy..."

And then "somehow" I visited for 3 days had something to do with adoption. No kidding. Either they had adopted or were adopting or they were talking about it. I couldn't get away from it.
And very slowly it started not to seem so crazy.

I fought it, I really did.

"This is not something you could have us do, God," I said. "That's so not us. It's not who we are. We have 3 whole kids already!"
And "somehow" that "just happened" to be talking about adoption were of families that had as many, or more kids than us.

And I fought it again.

"But God, look at us- we are pretty white, Lord-remember, You did make us this way. I'm just sayin' , what would people think when they saw our Christmas cards?"

And He so graciously reminded me that I have never sent out Christmas cards.
Problem solved.

Honestly, it really wasn't the difference in skin tones that bothered me. The whole idea was just completely different than anything I had ever really considered. We had said a few times that we would like to the future...later on...when we had the money. And certainly Africa had never entered the conversation. But deep down, I don't know if we really meant it. I don't know that we ever would have found the right time on our own.

So my tactics for convincing the Lord He was wrong were not working so well.
But He was patient and gentle in unfolding His plan.

"This is not crazy, this is what I have planned for you," He began to whisper.

"But Looo-ooord! We only have 1 bathroom! We don't know anyone else who has adopted from Africa! I don't know anything about hair! We don't have the money! What will our families think? What will Jeremiah think?"

I really let Him have it.

( In the 5 days that this had all happened, I hadn't told Jeremiah a word of it. I was scared he would think I was nuts.)

Exactly one week after our prayer, I was a little less near death and Jeremiah had taken Ethan and Charlotte to his parent's so I could rest. Caden was home with me. And I was once again on the computer.

I found the blog We Love Our Lucy...and it was all downhill from there.
At the time, this song was playing on her blog.

The blog post I read that day was about all the excuses people make to keep themselves from adopting.
And they were all the same ones I was trying to point out to God.

And then I watched their adoption video.
The same one that has inspired over a hundred families to adopt.

I am going to get really real here for a minute.
I think there are some times when God speaks to us.
Maybe not in an audible did-anyone-else-hear-that? sort of way, but to our heart. To the very spot that He has nestled inside us that only He can take hold of.
I'm not used to this, it doesn't happen alot. The only other time was just before I was saved. So don't think that I am a pro at this or anything.
But that day, I believe He spoke to me.

I couldn't take it anymore. A whole week of God unveiling His plan for our family-just like we asked Him to do- and it wasn't anything like I thought it would be. I was nervous and scared and worried and I didn't think that Jeremiah would say yes. I didn't think we would have any real support. I thought everyone would think we were so off our rockers that they wouldn't want their kids to play with our kids.
(And we have an awesome family and wonderful friends. It's just that, again, it was so weird.)

But our God is in the business of being weird.
(In a Sovereign, Almighty sort of way.)

And as I watched that video, I just couldn't hold it all in anymore.
I fell to the floor. I was a mess.
"How will you do this?!" I said (outloud-after all it was just me and Caden.)

And Caden crawled over to me as I was on my knees, head on the floor, and gently put his little hand on my head.

"Mama!" He said

And the Lord said, " How have I given you any of your children? By my mighty will!"

And that was how I knew it would really happen.
The end.

Just kidding.
Then I told Jeremiah.
He was pretty cool about it. At least, he didn't say no.

" Um , babe," I said casually, " I think I know the answer to our prayer"
"What prayer?"
"The one about kids..."
"Oh yeah, what about it?"
"I think that God is telling us to adopt...(this is where I held my breath and ducked around the corner)
"Really?" Followed by a weird, indecipherable look.
"From Ethiopia..."
"Really? Why do you think that?"
"Weeeeeelll..." and then it all came out.

The money issue was the biggest issue for him.It took a lot of prayer and guidance from others. I know for him, he couldn't decide if we were to go ahead and start then or wait until we had some money saved up ( at the time, we had no money saved for this, and were trying to get out of debt). One night a week or so after we talked, he said he was listening to the radio in the car and some kind of commercial came on and at the end, the person on the radio said "Adopt Immediately" and he said he knew that was his answer.

Our family has been crazy supportive and they are totally in love with a girl they've never met.
And our church family has been overwhelming in their support and love for us and Zoey. God is moving big time right now for adoption in our church.

We are getting ready to submit our Dossier to Ethiopia and get on the waiting list for a healthy or special needs little girl. What should have been a 4-6 month timeframe for paperchasing has turned into an 8 month long paperchase.
But we are resting in the sovereignty of our God. His timeframes are better anyway.

1 comment:

  1. We're struggling with the timeframe in our adoption too because so far it's been almost twice as long as we thought it would be. But I'm trying to hold faithful to God's promises to us and our sons, even though it's hard.

    It's funny though because I, like you, doubted that God would really call someone to travel across the world for a child they'd never met. And yet here we are, adopting three little boys from two different countries simultaneously. Now I truly understand that God doesn't call the prepared, He prepares the called!