Adoption has been something that has made my heart leap for a really long time. I can't exactly say how long, but when Zoe was very little, I ran into a girl named Julie Hedden as I was working in my booth at One of a Kind. And on her body, she wore a beautiful little 8 month old baby in a front carrier - named Emma Grace...whom she had just brought home from China. And my heart leapt. And I said to her.. "I really want to adopt one day" And as that lump welled up in my throat, with tears in my eyes, I knew that thing was in my heart. I don't know when it was birthed exactly. But it lay there.. deep down...
There have been plenty and I mean plenty of people around me who have shared a very similar passion.. Looking back I can see the people in my life that God has positioned me near who have adopted, fostered, and shared my heart for the orphan. But timing is everything. Sean and I will have been married ten years this June and if I can say anything to encourage someone's heart who is in the midst of wondering if God really plans to make sense out of all this chaos they are living in, let me say this.. O brave one.. HE DOES.. and HIS. TIMING. IS. PERFECT.
3 years ago, I was working in children's ministry at Riverstone Church and this adorable lady who had just moved to Kennesaw from Florida busted up the stairs with a China girl by her side and another on her hip and said, "I'm Tracie" and in an instant I loved her and in an instant I knew.. the Lord had brought her into my path to encourage my heart and once again, but maybe with a little more boldness I said.." I really want to adopt one day"
Now, of course I've read so many precious blogs on other's journeys to adopt, and my spirit said, "yes!" and that knot has welled up in my throat and the tears have flowed freely as the Lord has broken my heart for the orphan and the knowledge that there are at least 147 million of them out there and many aren't even available to be adopted and.. well it is all so much for one heart to bear. But the fact that we are being called is UNMISTAKEABLE. Like one friend of mine said a couple of weeks ago.. "I know you are going to adopt one day..because you have wanted to do this for a long time and the desire just isn't going away." Exactly. And that desire has been growing stronger.
So 1 year ago this month I started approaching Sean with the idea more often. And for the first time, really, he seemed more open. We attended a night called "Speak up for ONE" at Riverstone church where 3 women shared their stories of adoption.. Tracie Canter shared about International. Aimee Powell shared about Domestic, and and Leslie Allison - Foster to adopt. I share this because I can look back and see how the Lord uses different situations and moments to spur you on in your journey.. and that this is all a process. What is amazing is that the Lord sees the end result. (thankful.) Sean would say he was ok with it.. He even said, "I know you really want to do this, and I'm not going to say that we can't" But you know, that was not the answer I was really really looking for. God also identified some road blocks. We were behind in our taxes. When my eyes were opened to this, I knew that I could not really expect blessing on this process if I was not faithful to have my finances in order.
Fast forward to January. Sean is preparing to travel to Uganda with www.sixtyfeet.org to love on orphans. I was writing a check for the final balance due on the taxes. (By the grace of God.) I ask Sean what he thinks about us starting the Home Study again (oh i've started twice before :) And he is in agreement. Complete agreement. So much so that before he got on the plane, he went to have his fingerprints made at the Court house.
Now here is a cool story.. I love how dates and happenings coincide in a way that is clearly God. The day I dropped Sean and Scott Harty off at the airport I was talking with Joy. It was Jan. 15th. I told her we were stepping out in faith and wanted to adopt from Uganda. She said I needed to join the Ugandan adoption Facebook group. Well, apparently I already had requested an invite and didn't know it. When I got home from the airport that day, there was a message in my inbox from one of the arbitrators of the group. Her name was Sara Ribbens. She was asking about us to be sure we were legit to be added to the group. I wrote her back and told her that we had started our Home Study and that my husband was on a plane to Uganda with Sixty Feet. SHE writes back and tells me that she has been living in Uganda for 10 months working to finalize her adoption of a tiny girl named Nya. Not only that, but it turns out that in that very same week that followed, Sean ended up at dinner with she and her husband in Uganda. Now their story is unique, but due to some complications, it took a little bit of patience to receive legal guardianship of sweet Nya. Like 11 months worth of patience. And yesterday, on 2/9/12 exactly one month from the day that we started OUR journey, theirs culminated in unanimous favor from the Ugandan Judges. It's a beautiful story. And you can read about it here.
Yes, we have 3 beautiful, healthy children. Yes, we are busy. Yes, our hands are full. Yes, sometimes we feel overwhelmed. But then there are questions like, "What are we doing all this for?" and "If the Lord has blessed us with such extravagant love, what better way to partner with him than to open our family to someone who may NEVER know that love if we are not obedient to this calling?" And of course we know that we as a family would be the blessed ones to have the honor of being loved and called family by a Child of God that can only make their way to our doorstep through an absolute MIRACLE of God.
Just the other day our case worker called. We are more than half way through our paperwork and it is time to have our first meeting with her. We go back and forth about what day next week to meet. Sean can't do wednesday.. "How about tuesday afternoon?" I ask? " Great," she says, "I'll put you down for Tuesday, February 14th." I could not believe my ears. Valentine's day. The day that symbolizes love would be the day we have our initial meeting with our case worker to truly put this thing into action.
These days there is a new sort of lump in my throat. It is a lump of thankfulness that my precious, loving, and wise husband is on board with where we are headed. It is a lump of excitement that somewhere out there there is a child that will one day call Zoe, Henry, and Finn HER sister and brothers. And it is a lump of hope that one more orphan out there praying for a momma and a daddy will be coming home. (and Yes, we are hoping for a GIRL!)
Let the journey begin.
Zoe and I holding up mine and Sean's fingerprints on 1/31/12