Earlier this week I posted a story on my blog of how my husband and I made the decision to adopt another child.
As my day to post here approached I was planning on creating a totally new post for this site. But then I realized I had the perfect post already. I decided I would repost our story to Bella.
Not because I am too lazy or too tired to create a brand spankin’ new post.
But because all of the issues we dealt with in making our decision to adopt again appear to be central to most everyone’s stories (based on the emails I received and comments on my blog).
- Timing (Is this the right time we are supposed to do this? Didn’t we have other
- Special Needs (Is this special need something we can handle?)
-Faith (I WANT to step out but…will God actually MEET ME when I do.)
-Biblical commands (James 1:27 for starters)
-Understanding the magnitude of the Orphan Crisis (If WE don’t step out then WHO will?)
-A reluctant husband (anyone else hearin' me on this???)
-Real or Perceived Obstacles (AKA Logical thinking vs. Keeping your eyes on God )
- Negative reactions to our decisions to adopt (don’t even get me going on the “just take care of the ones you have/tend your flock” thing again)
Finding Bella was all GOD.
Really. Because we…well more like I…really wasn’t looking. Adopting another child right now wasn’t even on my radar really.
The funny thing is that just a short time ago Brandon and I had an adoption conversation over some hot wings at a local restaurant and we had unanimously agreed that OUR PREFERENCE would be that we should wait 2 years before adopting again. Note I said PREFERENCE. I always hesitate to use the P word…you know……PLAN. I TRY not to use that word much anymore because I have learned over the last 12 years that we don’t actually MAKE the plans…even when we THINK that we do.
I even remember saying to Brandon that our “preference” sounded good…as long as God didn’t have other plans for us.
Oh boy. I said it. That one is even backed up by Scripture:
LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Jeremiah 10:23
Our main goal was to become debt free and we were both pretty psyched about it. So we moved forward toward our goal and we were making great progress.
Until that evening. The evening when all those well thought-out “preferences” and goals blew up in smoke.
I hadn’t blog hopped in over a week and I wanted to catch up with all my bloggy friends…even if they don’t actually KNOW I’m visiting since I am an AWFUL commenter. I am more likely to open a new email message and send an email then to comment. I’m trying to fix that flaw.
I was bouncing from one blog to another as I normally do and I landed on my friend Tammy’s
The date: 9/29.
Tammy and I met over a year ago when we were waiting to bring Ava home. She found her son Luke and we were using the same agency. I didn’t know she had started advocating for kiddos on her blog. I was just stopping on by to check out how Luke was doing. (BTW…LOVE her son’s name!!!!)
That day Tammy had just posted pictures and information of 2 kiddos that were Special Focus children at our agency. The first one was a cute little boy.
And then I saw her pictures.
I immediately thought she was cute. She was smiling and she had 3 pony tails. Her face was scrunched up and she was just about jumping out of her little chair. I didn’t even focus on finding out her exact special need. It said something about a limb difference. I called my husband over to the computer and said “Look at how cute this little girl is.” He came over to take a look and lingered for a moment and agreed….Yes, she was cute and then he walked away. I said something along the lines of “maybe we should find out more about her”. I’m not sure if he actually responded to my comment because I had already opened a new mail message and shot off a quick email to find out about her.
I had butterflies in my stomach.
Our coordinator emailed a short time later to let me know that her file was being reviewed and she would let us know if the other family chose to move forward.
The next morning I received an email saying the family decided not to proceed. Our coordinator sent her file and some additional pictures. She was sooooo cute, her age was perfect for our family and her SN was not an issue.
I printed out her pictures and her development report and tried to show it to my husband. He was…..not very interested. At this point it was Thursday. We went to lunch together and I casually told him information about her from her file. Again, he was not very interested.
See, we had set a goal and he wanted to stick with it. And so did I…originally. In fact I was the driving force that got him on board with our debt-free goal…until the day before when I saw her face.
Since she was an agency special focus child we had some time to make a decision. The weekend passed and he was still not moved. I didn’t want to keep her paperwork on hold so on Monday, 10/4 I emailed our coordinator and sadly told her that we were not going to pursue her.
For some reason….my.heart.hurt.
I mean…my heart ALWAYS hurts for the waiting children. The thought of a child not getting a family just tears me up. But this was different. This REALLY hurt. Looking at her file and pictures lying around was making me very sad so I piled everything up and carefully placed it in the trash.
And I tried to move forward.
But I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. She was on my heart. Honestly I really thought she would get swiped up by a family at any moment. She was so young and a girl and I considered her special need to be very mild. But I tried to put it out of my mind. My heart was burdened for her.
Around day 5 I was exhausted and sad. I spoke to God and I told Him that if she wasn’t our daughter I was begging Him to remove this burden from my heart. And I waited. And waited. And by day 9 it felt like it grew. I began to think that I was supposed to DO something. But I wasn’t sure what.
So on 10/12 I emailed our agency coordinator. I was just so sure this little girl had already been swiped up. I mean if I wanted her then there had to be many other families lining up for her. My email was very simple….I asked if she was still available and if so to please let us know.
Our coordinator emailed back to say that she was available but that a family had her paperwork and had been reviewing it for over a week and that they were set to give their answer by 4pm. So I waited and I wondered and I clock-watched. At around 4:05pm EST I started checking my email. And I checked and checked and checked right up until 7pm. I went upstairs to give our little people their showers and put them to bed. When I came back downstairs I saw that THE email had arrived. Guess I should have asked what time zone we were talking about! Our agency is located in California! I held my breath as I opened it. The family had decided NOT to pursue her and our coordinator wanted to know if we wanted to reconsider! I SAID YES!
And there I was. I had her profile back…and a very reluctant husband...now what? OH GOD…I need you to work in AMAZING ways because this just wasn’t going to be easy. It wasn’t. And I knew it.
I spoke with Brandon. I told him that she was still available and that I had a strong feeling that she was ours. His jaw dropped. And he was silent. And I remember him slowly taking his hands and rubbing his forehead as he is prone to do when he is extremely tired and unable to concentrate. And I was sitting there holding her referral picture in my hand…no… I was GRASPING it in my hand. All I asked him to do was to think about it and to earnestly pray about it. None of this “Dear God, is this my kid?” then silently waiting for 5 seconds and saying….”Babe, God didn’t answer. I think it’s no”.
I wanted him to just start with earnest prayer. And we would see where that would take us.
And over the days he was willing to talk about it. We talked about it a lot really. Like all the time. And believe me when I tell you we weren’t on the same page….at all. No….we weren’t even in the same SOLAR SYSTEM.
I was very calmly able to state the FACTS: THIS CHILD was an orphan. This child needed a family, a home, medical, dental, an education …..a future. And I believed that WE were her family. For me it was that simple.
For him….not so much.
Brandon was worried about a lot of things. Basic things… logical things. Things that men tend to focus and worry about..A LOT:
We don’t have any available seats in the car, how much is this going to cost in medical care, we don’t have the time or the energy, we don’t have any room at the little kids table, she is missing her hand and foot and HELLO can’t you see we currently have our hands full!
I let him list them all out one by one. A long list of things. Things that years ago I would have totally and completely agreed with him about too. And I understood his worries. I did. And I told him I understood.
But for every logical worry….there was one thing that Brandon at that time wasn’t looking at….GOD. I knew that if God was pressing this girl on my heart then I KNEW HE MUST have a plan.
Seats in the car? So we buy a 4th row seat for the Yukon.
Medical care? We have double medical and dental insurance.
Time and energy? God will provide exactly what we need for the tasks before us. Like He does every day.
No room at the kids table? Actually…the little people table is 4 sided….we currently have 3 little people at home. There is a space!
She doesn’t have a foot? We can buy her a foot. Yes…I said this. Children’s Hospital has a great orthopedics clinic and they can make her a prosthetic!
Hands full? We thought our hands were full with two kids…back in 2003…when Jake came home...remember?
But he wasn’t moved by any of MY words. I knew that the only thing that would turn his heart towards her was God. So I asked him to pray some more and I would pray too.
A week passed. And I was surer than ever that she was our daughter. And I told Brandon this and he was listening but he was still apprehensive. He said he was praying and I believed him.
We spoke frequently about Biblical truths. We both knew that God’s heart was for the orphan. Brandon wasn’t disputing that fact. It is in black and white in the Bible. He knew this child needed a home. He knew we were commanded to care for orphans. So as the days wore on for me this became a question of Prayer vs. Action.
For me…I knew that God placed her on my heart and I didn’t need any additional “reasons”. Her picture spoke to me. There was a connection to her. That’s all I needed. I wasn’t waiting or praying for some huge sign to drop in my lap. I felt that God has already given us the go-ahead when He told us in the Bible to care for orphans and widows and then burdened my heart for her. I didn’t ask Him for a billboard or an email or even a piece of Scripture.
I think Brandon was leaning towards the billboard sign or email from God. Because a billboard or an email….those are very TANGIBLE. And humans….we like stuff we can see. We like things that are material and substantial. And I do too. I do. But sometimes God communicates in other ways. Maybe sometimes God wants you to look OUTSIDE the box. Not for the email or the billboard or the blinkey sign or the whole closing your eyes, flipping the pages of the Bible, stopping on a page and pointing at a passage to see what God has to say. (By the way…that has never worked for me. I always get some crazy passage that ends up being a tad bit scary.)
So my question was….were we going to continue to pray about this…and pray and pray even though we both logically KNEW the action that needed to be taken?
Or were we going to move forward KNOWING that God favors adoption, KNOWING that God wants to place the lonely in families, KNOWING that God’s commands are to care for orphans?
And Brandon got this concept. He did. But he still wasn’t ready to commit.
By the 2nd week of praying and talking, after every conversation about moving forward with this adoption we ended up at the same place. The same 2 questions rang out every.single.time. And those two questions weren’t even really about Bella.
His question: How is it that you trust God implicitly?
My response: How is it that you don’t trust God implicitly?
im•plic•it - adjective - unquestioning or unreserved; absolute
My answer…because I do. Because of everything God has shown me. Because He has shown up time and time again. Because His word tells us that He is faithful, that He is trustworthy, that He is not indifferent, that He is our Father, our Provider, our Confidant, that He is not a liar and that every word written in the Bible is true.
I just firmly and unequivocally believe that God will provide everything we need for this journey. Because of who He is and what He says in His Word….but also because He’s done it 5 times before. Repetitively. Not missing a beat. He’s shown up each time. He’s provided each time. He’s walked with us each time.
So I can’t believe that this ONE time He’s going to mysteriously say “Folks! Looks like your handling this one fine on your own. I’m outta here.”
No. He doesn’t do that. He is all about the Work. He’s all about walking with His children. He’s all about helping, aiding and guiding us to be the people He wants us to be. He’s the vine, we are the grapes. He’s the potter, we are the clay. And each faith journey we go on with Him molds us more into the person He wants us to be.
And over the course of the next several days….God changed this man’s heart.
Just like He has done 6 times before. (Gotta count committing to Hunny Bunny)
This is not about Brandon being hard-hearted, unloving or unaffected by the orphan crisis in this world. It is actually the total opposite. He has a very soft heart and he is a very loving and protective husband and father. His first thought is for the family. And the orphan crisis….he’s seen it first hand in Russia and China.
But sometimes it is hard to see things clearly when you only see the potential obstacles in front of you: time, energy, money, etc. When you think things are “good enough” or “just fine” as they are. When you intentionally or unintentionally listen to the words that the world is telling you. When people repeatedly say that we are crazy for adopting so many kids and by the way we are now upgraded to PSYCHO for thinking about adopting this new child. That we need to just take care of the ones we have. To "tend our flock". (OH HOW I HATE that one. I can't stand when someone uses a Biblical reference to support turning from one of God's commands.) That we’ve done “our job” so we should let ourselves “off the hook” and "move on".
This trash talk...it can cloud your mind. It can sink deep into you. It can pollute you to where you just aren't able to see or hear God clearly.
God is fully able to clear that pollution. To make His will for us clear.
So Bella’s story is really two-fold:
This is about God turning a man’s heart. ALL glory to GOD!
And about God allowing US to be a part of an amazing journey that will redeem a little girl’s life.
There is nothing more special than being intricately woven by God into the story of a child’s life.
THIS CHILD was chosen by God for our family. And we can't wait to bring her home!