I sit here with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes as I write my first blog entry about adoption because for many years I have read other peoples’ adoption blogs and dreamed of someday writing my own. It is hard to believe our family has finally completed the process to be approved to adopt, and now we are in the process of WAITING. Hopefully someday soon I will be able to introduce you to the child or children God gives our family through adoption, but for now I just want to share a little of the background that brought us to this place.
Since I was a little girl, the Lord has been working in my heart, giving me a burden for orphans. I had a loving family of my own, and I couldn’t imagine growing up feeling unloved or unwanted. I watched a news segment every week called Wednesday’s Child, and I begged my parents to adopt almost every child shown. When Phil and I began dating we often talked about having children, and adoption was something Phil was open to from the beginning. However, during the first sixteen years of our marriage, for various reasons, we just didn’t sense God’s direction to pursue adoption at that time. The Lord made it clear in our minds after the birth of our sixth child that the rest of our children would come through adoption.
It was our original plan to begin the process when Makenna turned one. The week before we were planning to submit our first requirement to the social services, Kayla broke her arm quite severely, and I ended up taking her to the States for surgery and therapy. We were finally able to begin the process the end of April 2013. We submitted lots of paperwork, had psychiatric evaluations, a home study, and attended monthly preparation classes for three months. We had anticipated the process to take about a year, but surprisingly we were approved within six months! And now we are waiting. Waiting has been difficult at times, but the waiting has allowed us to grow in our relationship with the Lord as we trust Him with the timing. We know He already knows WHO is going to join our family and WHEN, and we need to be patient and trust His perfect will.
It is neat to think back to so many things throughout our nineteen years of marriage that God has used to help prepare us for our child/children. While we do not feel totally prepared by any means, we believe these years of waiting have helped equip us with some necessary tools. God has given us parental experience by allowing us the privilege of raising six amazing kids. Also, our oldest daughter suffered severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the age of ten, and we saw first-hand what trauma can do to a child’s brain. We learned so much about parenting a suffering child, and about relying on the Lord for wisdom and direction. During this time, we couldn’t understand why God was allowing our family to go through this ordeal. Now, years later, I can’t help but wonder if God was preparing us to parent another child who may have similar symptoms of trauma.
I am thankful for all the blogs I have been able to read over the past several years that have given such valuable insight into what our journey might look like. I realize no two adoption stories are the same, but I do think it is wise to gain as much knowledge as possible about issues our adopted children might face, issues like attachment and trauma disorders, which are quite common in many of the children available for adoption. There is no way we can fully prepare ourselves for this adventure, but we are confident God will provide the strength and resources when we need them.
We are thankful for the support we have had from so many family and friends as we have begun this journey. Many people may THINK we are crazy, but only a few have actually said it. 🙂 Our family has enjoyed reading verses from God’s Word that show His heart for the orphan. I heard THIS SONG a few months ago, and the lyrics have echoed through my mind many times each day as I pray for and think about the children who have been through so much in their young lives. Children who need a family to let them know they are beautiful and loved by God. Children who may have had a rough start in life need an opportunity to be all that God created them to be.
It is my prayer that many Christian families will answer God’s call to care for the orphan in whatever way they can—whether it is through foster care, adoption, or supporting Christian orphanages around the world who are sharing God’s love with hurting children. When God makes it clear in our lives He is asking us to do something, sometimes it is easy to question Him when the task seems too great. How will this decision affect me financially? How much time will I need to sacrifice? What will others think of my decision? What will I do when the difficult times come? How will it affect my family and my ministry? Sometimes we want to take the easy road, even though we know in our hearts that it’s the twisting, turning, bumpy, winding road that leads to spiritual maturity. God desires us to live a life that reflects His glory in the hard times, and shows His faithfulness when He calls us to do the hard things. As our family steps out in faith to obey God’s command to care for the orphan, we realize that it is only through the power of Christ in us that we can make a difference in the life of a child.
“And I will live to carry your compassion, to love a world that’s broken, to be your hands and feet. And I will live with the life that I’ve been given, and go beyond religion to see the world be changed by THE POWER OF YOUR NAME.”
( special thanks to Vania Hall for sharing pictures from Abrigo O Coraçao do Pai )