Adoption wasn’t our second choice. Adoption wasn’t even the plan. Adoption was a dream.
I remember the exact day we talked about adoption. I mean seriously talked about it. There was no discussion, no hesitation, no question. We knew that “someday” we wanted to adopt.
Fast forward to “someday”. This someday caught us off guard. We thought that once our biological children were a little older. Once we were more financially stable or in the house we wanted…once we knew the time was right. You, once everything made sense. Once we had control of our life. Once we had a plan…
Well, our life didn’t exactly go as planned. We lost our firstborn son when he was just five-years-old. We had all kinds of “now what” moments that followed the sudden loss of a child. That question just kept leading us back to the Lord. His steadfast, redeeming love and his peace and guidance, his plan. In general, the Lord wants us to glorify Him with our whole lives. Specifically, He was asking us to take one step of obedience at a time.
Each step eventually led us to international adoption.
We planned to adopt one. We planned to adopt domestically. We planned a lot of things. And God kept revealing to us His plan which was quite different than ours.
We began our adoption in 2012 by taking foster care classes. We soon realized that foster care was not for that season of our lives. We had just lost our son months before. Our living children had tender hearts. It was our job to shepherd them. We were also experiencing such raw grief. The thought of welcoming a child into our homes was easy and exciting. The thought of having to say goodbye to a child, even for a beautiful reunificaiton, seemed excrutiating at that time. So we chose to pursue domestic adoption of an infant.
But God had other plans of course. And our hearts were unsettled. We didn’t have a longing for an infant necessarily. We just had a longing to love a child who needed a family. We prayed more. Asked God for open doors…and closed ones. We just prayed for clear direction.
Around that time I had discovered Reece’s Rainbow, an adoption grant foundation helping to connect families with the children who need them. We fell in love with a precious baby boy. He was blonde and three months younger than Liam. He also has Down Syndrome. Special needs adoption was something we were open to. We began praying for this precious baby. We began asking questions. One week after beginning to pray about this sweet boy, the door for us to adopt him was slammed closed. The country he is in shut their doors to international adoption. As sad as we are about him not having the hope of a family, we are thankful for the clarity for our family. We still pray for that boy, who is now six years old. I pray he knows love.
With that country closed, we began to research other options. Because of our age, family size or income, we were limited. One country that stood out to us though was the Democratic Republic of Congo. As soon as I saw these little faces and read their stories, I knew. God made it abundantly clear that this was it. He lead us here, not a straight path by any means, but this was our child’s birth country.
Once we chose our (amazing) agency, we were matched with a waiting child. (THAT is the long story short version, BTW.) She was about four months older than Liam. Gorgeous little girl with big brown eyes that told stories, sassy ones. We fell in love, but again, our hearts were unsettled.
We had been advised to try to get approval for one more child than you intend to adopt. Sometimes siblings are found. Sometimes God has other plans.
Well, God had some things going on that we were unaware of at the time. Such as, I felt God telling me we weren’t done yet. There was another child for us. But then again, I would bring every child in need home so I tread lightly with this feeling. Jeff, though. He woke up one morning thinking it was going to be a typical day. And he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t deny that maybe, possibly, our God had bigger plans for us. One more child was easy-ish. We could do that in our own strength. But, two? Two children seemed a little crazy.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, we are a little crazy. And soon I was making a call to find out if there were any children in our daughter’s foster home who still were unmatched. And no, there were not. Case closed. We tried. We stepped forward and another door was closed.
But it wasn’t. Because just a few hours later, a hungry little boy across the world stepped into the home of our daughter and her foster family. A little boy who had been given almost no hope came in.
And you see, Jeff and I had been there, we still were. We were grieving. We were lost. We were hungy for redemption. So we began to pray…