This seems a very strange time to start a blog on an international adoption…
3 days before their government has scheduled the final vote to put a moratorium on international adoptions.
The view from this place is different than it will be in 3 days, regardless of how the vote goes, and it is important that we remember how it felt to be in this place, so we are starting here.
Many times throughout the Bible God told his children to Remember what He had done for them. They were to tell the story and often were instructed to build an altar so their children, and their children, and many generations to follow, would know and remember what the Lord had done for them and those who had gone before them. We are recording this story for our waiting children. We want them to know what the Lord has done for each of them and for our family.
If we had started writing 16 months ago, this would read much differently but 16 months is a long time…and alot changes…or may change…many things are still uncertain. We have learned in these 16+ months that this is God’s story. It is not our story, it is not about us, we are only characters in His story. We’ve also learned that He only gives out scripts about an hour at a time. That keeps us walking close to Him and keeps it His story.
Before we begin, a couple of explanations. First, we would love to share photos with you. The story is lacking without them. However, it is our first responsibility to protect the children, especially these vulnerable children with no family to protect them. Secondly, the government of their country does not allow photos or identifying descriptions of orphans to be put in any public domain. So, for now, the story is all we can share. It will be a bit vague but we will share all we can and covet your prayers in this journey.
“Let’s start at the very beginning, it is a very good place to start” the wonderful song from my favorite movie encourages so we will start there…
In late summer of 2009, a young teen girl was being adopted from this country half-way around the world by a family we knew. They had emailed photos often during the 6+ weeks they had been there. I had seen photos of dozens of orphaned children and while we felt sympathy it only reinforced that we felt called to adopt from the US in a few years ~ when we had more things in order.
On Wednesday, August 26, a photo arrived and my gaze fixed on one teen girl. Who was she? Was she an orphan? Surely not… I gazed at that photo and saw deep into that girl’s eyes. This photo was different…I revisited it often that afternoon and each time I felt more drawn. I printed it off the computer and that evening we looked at it together and I saw it happen. It washed over him from head to toe…and from that moment on we knew God was calling. We were to go, to give her an opportunity to know Jesus, to grow our family.
We learned that she asked their facilitator every day if she had heard of a family. She desperately wanted to go to America.
We asked questions…”does she have siblings?” Yes, a younger sister and brother.
Good! A sibling group was perfect.
But…another family has their paperwork done to adopt the brother.
Oh, that gripped us and was so hard…these children have lost so much, they should not lose each other if possible. We would love to have a son too. It was out of our control. We gave that precious boy to God…whatever His will was for these children, we would be at peace.
We still questioned the call. We were serious when we gave our lives to Christ and told Him we would go anywhere and do anything He called us to but we wanted to be sure it was from Him. The timing looked beyond impossible from our perspective. We prayed fervently and questioned God over the next few days…
“Now? You know what all we are committed to…”
“o.k…we are in. You lead…”
Over the weekend we decided that we could offer the girls English lessons in an attempt to help them while we learned more about the possibility of adopting them. Our friend could set them up before he left. He talked with them and one of the girls was hesitant. She did not want to be adopted.
“I’ve heard why people adopt.”
He talked on and she warmed some to the idea, especially the English lessons, but was still uncertain about the adoption idea.
The rumors are legendary and vary by region, even by orphanage, in this country that foreigners adopt children to harvest their organs…unbelievable stories told to these children to scare them and persuade them to refuse adoption.
That really struck us deep…that a child would fear having a family…a family that offers the opportunity to know Jesus, be loved and cared for, protected, encouraged and given hope.
The next morning he shared of awaking in the middle of the night with tears streaming down his face and the verse from Jeremiah 29:11, ” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That verse had come from the Lord and became our theme for this journey, to introduce the children to the One who offers hope and never harm.
Her hesitancy spoke to us stronger than enthusiasm could ever have. That was our confirmation that this clearly was God’s call and we were to do our best to adopt these children, show them the love of Jesus and be the family they had never known.
Our hearts were in but it was far from happening. During the wait we attempted to build a relationship by keeping in contact with the children and sending small gifts and notes when we could. The delays were endless. The days became weeks…then months…finally a year. We prayed for them constantly and struggled with guilt that they were waiting and we could not make this happen. We came to realize that this was God’s call and only He could make it happen in His time, it was beyond our control. It was our job to do all we could but to rest knowing that He was at work, even in the delays.
We got our first confirmation that the delays were of purpose when we learned 4 months later, at Christmas 2009, that the family seeking to adopt the brother had decided not to pursue their adoption. We were overjoyed!! He desperately wants to be adopted and have a family. We soon received a precious note from him that he would like to be adopted by us and be in our family. What a wonderful Christmas gift! And God’s most gracious way of confirming His sovereign timing and giving us peace in the delays.
It became our passion to learn all we could from others who had walked this path. We talked to anyone who was willing to share their story. We read a stack of books. We worked at meeting families through the internet and other blogs. We walked their journeys in real time reading their day by day posts and communicating with them personally.
Along that path we made a wonderful friend in another state who had adopted a 14 year old boy that summer. She shared a photo of one of his friends who prays every day for a family. She asked if we would pray and share his photo with others who might adopt him. We did that for several months and then gently, in a still small voice, so different than the first “burning bush” experience for the siblings, God nudged us…we are a family…we would have only one boy in that bedroom and could easily have two. He would be a blessing. We could be the family this boy prays for, there was no need to seek and pray for a family for him, it was us. God had added him to the fold and the number joyfully grew from 3 to 4.
Two proven reasons for the wait…we’re beginning to get this…
In late September 2010, we both felt the push from the Lord that the time was NOW to begin our home study and formally enter the adoption process. We were still far from having it all together but after a few days of prayer and both of us convicted in the same way we contacted our social worker and set up our first appointment.
Within a couple of weeks we learned that the first vote by this country’s political leaders to stop international adoptions was scheduled. We nearly stopped in our tracks…after so long and now this? We prayed for guidance and the answer was to keep moving and not tarry so we proceeded with the home study and immigration process, requesting expediting.
November 3rd, in the middle of our home study process, that first vote passed…one more vote was required and then the President had to sign it into law…time was short. And the country closes to dossier (paperwork for adoption) submissions in December and January. This was quickly becoming an adventure story…with more suspense than we could have imagined.
The second vote was scheduled for a day in early December…they did not discuss it that day.
It was placed on the schedule again 2 weeks later…that day they postponed it to January 11th.
In early November we also learned that the girls are likely not interested in adoption. We have begun to see that God may have called us through that original photo but not necessarily to that photo. Having cared and planned for them for so long it was hard to accept that potential loss but we are at peace. He has placed another waiting teen on our hearts and we pray for her and for God’s leading to the children He has for our family.
Our most fervent prayer in the many delays was that God was using that time to work in the hearts of the children to draw them to Him as well as to prepare them for a family. We prayed equally that He would work in our hearts and lives to prepare us for the children He has for us. There is nothing certain in this journey except the Lord. That is enough…our hope and trust is in Him. He leads, we will follow.
So…that is where we are. On the journey of a lifetime. The most incredible faith walk we could have ever imagined. It is the most amazing place to be. Those of you who know us well know that almost 9 years ago we felt God calling us to leave all that was dear and familiar to move to a new city to be apart of our church. We are amazed looking back at how this was a part of that call, perhaps the real reason for that call. God was orchestrating and planting seeds for this one step at a time.
Our most earnest prayer is God’s will be done…in the hearts of the government leaders who will determine the future of thousands of fatherless children…in the hearts of our children who wait…and in our hearts as we seek to follow His call. We pray for a clearly marked path ~ lined with 10′ high walls with no options ~ to the children He has for our family, and that every step of that path will bring honor and glory to Him.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18