One of the big questions we are being asked these days is why we have chosen to adopt. Since we have 3 biological or “homegrown” daughters peoples reaction when they find out we are adopting is a little confused. In today’s culture I think they are confused about a few things:
1. Why do we want more than 3 children?
2. If we do, why don’t we just HAVE another child?
3. Why Ethiopia as opposed to domestic?
So when they ask “what made you decide to adopt?” it is really a loaded question with a lot of underlying possibilities. This is not a five minute answer and it is hard to know exactly how much they want to know. Let’s see if I can explain how God brought us to this place.
Some people say they have know all their lives that they wanted to adopt. That wasn’t me. I wanted to have 2 babies. The reason I wanted to have 2 babies is because that seemed “normal” to me and I just wanted to be normal until 11 years ago when the Lord burst onto the scene of my ordinary life!
See, I knew God the way I knew Elvis. I had heard of him, heard about him, seen photographs/artwork of him, heard of some of his music, even read a little bit about him. But I had never MET him or had a real conversation with him. I believed Elvis existed even though I had never seen him but he wasn’t having any effect on my life. Same with the Lord.
I didn’t know the Lord until I began reading His word--straight from the source and He began to turn my world upside down. He changed the way I thought about everything including my marriage and my future family. He continues to do this as we speak. And this is where this story starts.
When we brought our first daughter home from the hospital, I thought having a baby was hard. Not the pregnancy and delivery--I loved that!--but HAVING our first baby at home was a BIG transition. I was working and I know that contributed to my view of the challenge, but the change that occurs when you go from a couple to a family is profound in my opinion. I had to stop being selfish and self-centered and put someone else’s needs first.
So when my second daughter came along I thought the transition was much easier. Plus, by this time, God was doing great things in our lives. I had quit my job, we had downsized our home, and I was beginning to understand God’s purposes for me as a HOMEMAKER. I wanted another child and it surprised me. But I did.
In 2006 our third daughter was born and really and truly I told my girlfriends, “I think I’m finally getting my groove on with this motherhood thing!” For whatever reason, three felt like things were really starting to get good! So again, I was surprised--but I immediately wanted more! My motto became “the more the merrier!” Morgan and Paige knew what to do and were getting more and more self-sufficient and helpful. I had the time to train them and work with them now that I was home and we were a great team! Now I see Carley following right in their footsteps as she prepares to become a big sister too!
God showed me scriptures like:
3Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
And I began to think “why would I turn down a blessing from God?” And we were (and are) experiencing them as a blessing as we seek His guidance in parenting them. But in my mind, the only option for us was to BIRTH another child.
So one day in August of 2008 we walked in to church oblivious to the fact that God would open up our eyes to another option and start us on our journey to adopt on that very day.
God isn’t in a box, He works in creative ways, ways you and I don’t “naturally” think of or consider.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We saw in the bulletin these facts:
There are around 100 million orphans in the world today.
And 2.1 billion professing Christians,
Would Jesus have us ignore their cries?
Why are we not RESCUING these children?
And that word “RESCUE” was so powerful to me and rang over and over in my mind. NEVER had I thought of it as a RESCUE mission, NEVER had I pondered adoption as a Christian responsibility, NEVER had I seen those numbers and thought about how reasonable it was to literally WIPE OUT the orphan crisis just by Jesus followers obeying His command in
27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
God appointed adoption as a means of rescuing orphans. He used it to rescue me and bring me into His family forever and ever. Because He adopted me and did not leave me as an orphan I have a hope, a future and an inheritance in Heaven! If you are a follower of Christ it is because God chose to adopt you! And He has been clear to me
8b Freely you have received, freely give.
And so this was the beginning. Rusty and I talked after the service and asked “what is God asking us to do?” We agreed to pray about it more.
Was this the way God wanted to grow our family?
When God wants to speak to me about something He comes at me from every angle and this was no exception. We began to see ADOPTION everywhere we looked.
We got an email from a ministry offering a book about adoption, so we ordered it and began to learn more and gain an understanding of the differences between domestic vs. international adoption.
Our pastor asked us to attend a conference called Together 4 Adoption and he had no idea we were considering adoption.
We attended a discussion group on adoption featuring 2 families who had adopted more than one child internationally and they spoke in depth of their experiences. At the close of the lecture the one father looked into the audience and encouraged us “Just do it. It isn’t as difficult or as expensive as people say. Just do it.”
With each of these experiences we were more and more convinced that this was the leading of the Lord for us. Now, rather than asking “should we do this?” we began to ask “why wouldn’t we do this?” Our daughter said it well, “we have a house, we have clothes, we have extra food, we should do it!”
And so we began to request free information from adoption agencies. We watched each agencies promotional DVD and cried with each one as we saw the faces of so many children without mothers and fathers. Then one day in December of 2008 Rusty came home and announced “enough research, enough discussion, tonight we are going to choose an agency and fill out an application!” And so we did. We sat down with all the info and made a list of a few things that were important to us, compared our list with each agency and made a decision. This was also the night we officially chose Ethiopia. Rus had been leaning toward Ethiopia the whole time mainly because this was the country with the greatest need. But it also met some of our other practical needs as well (length of stay in country, a finalized adoption prior to travel…etc.). We filled out an online application that night. And so the journey began.
One of the other special things God did during this time was to connect me with a friend who does Bible Study with me on Wednesday mornings. Someone put us together because we were both home school moms and she told me her family was adopting from Ethiopia. At that time, this was not even on our radar, so my thought was “how neat for them!” Well the next year when we returned for a new year of Bible Study and I saw Karen; God reminded me of that conversation and I immediately ran to her to share that we TOO were going to adopt from Ethiopia! This was the year we were studying the life of Moses. During that first lecture our teaching leader talked about how Moses was “adopted” into the pharaohs family and that it was all part of God’s plan for his life. This family would offer him education and experiences that he would need for the purposes God had for his future. I had never thought of Moses as “adopted” before? I am constantly amazed at how God can and does speak directly to me through His word even when it would seem impossible! And how God is working ahead of time, preparing the way for us. He knew we were going to adopt long before we did and he purposed Karen and I’s friendship in full knowledge of what was to come.
And that’s not all! (infomercial voice) I later discovered that God had sovereignly placed me in a discussion group with 4 other adoptive moms! Two had adopted domestic, one had adopted international, and one had done a snowflake adoption! Unbelievable!
What a mighty God we serve!
But before God could lead our family into adoption He had to change our hearts about family in general. Leading me to quit my job in pharmaceutical sales, sell our dream home and scale down, and lead my husband on a path to start his own business! This was no small thing! It was a lot of change! Our ways of thinking and attitudes had to change. I had to learn to find value and purpose in my home, in being a wife and mother rather than bringing home a paycheck, dressing up, and having intelligent conversations with doctors. (At least their end was intelligent J)
But this is one of the greatest things about walking with God. He never twists our arm or drags us kicking and screaming to places we don’t want to go. Did you know that? If you are just beginning to walk with God or maybe even investigating Christianity for the first time I think it is natural to wonder “will God make me ____” (fill in the blank)? I remember thinking that if I gave me life to the Lord He might make me go to Africa and be a missionary and that didn’t sound good at all to me at that time. That was only one of my many fears of what He might require of me. Now that I have walked with him for 11 years I am pleased to report that He doesn’t work like that at all. He doesn’t force us to obey Him any more after our new birth than He did before. What I mean is, God doesn’t FORCE people to be saved. If He did, everyone would be a born-again Christian because the Bible says clearly “He doesn’t want any to perish”. We have free choice. So God is always good to change our hearts and minds, to bring us into agreement with Him, into His way of thinking about a matter until we WANT to do it as much as He wants us to do it!
I have said before how I thought home schooling was crazy when I first heard about it! But this was what God wanted for our family so He was patient and continued to teach me more about it, introduce me to HS families I could relate to, and show me the benefits. Then I came to a point where I said “ok, I’ll do it for YOU and for the kids”. But God doesn’t want His children moping around in obedience like a child told to clean their room “OOOOKKKKKK”. No! He wants us rejoicing in obedience!! Now, I can honestly say that I praise God each and every day for the PRIVELEGE to home school my children! He took what I thought was nuts and moved me to a place where it is one of my greatest gifts!
What an awesome God we serve!
This is how He handled adoption for us too. Though I have to say, I am much less resistant now that I have seen and experienced what obedience is like. It didn’t take nearly as long to change our hearts for adoption as it did to home school.
But we all have fears about the unknown. Whatever it is that God is leading you into today, don’t hesitate to pour out all of your questions, fears, and misgivings to Him. He is the one with the answers. And though He may not give them all to you, He will offer you the courage and faith to trust His plan. And you will receive the blessings that follow obedience! I can say that with certainty!
So if you think that God is trying to take away all your fun and turn you into a weirdo like me---you’d be surprised how much fun it is!!