As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Adoption Story, Part 2

*To read about the first part of our journey, see my previous post.

During this time, the thought kept running through my head, "We have so much - why not share it with someone else?" Also, the verse, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" replayed itself over and over in my mind.

One Sunday in early December, I was really thinking about adoption again as we headed to church. I thought to myself, "OK, if someone mentions adoption today, maybe I'll take it more seriously." I listened for the word all day, but no one mentioned it at church. I heard two sermons, however, that really touched my heart. Chris's dad had the first sermon, and spoke about how Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and wondered how he could be born again. As I listened, a thought struck me. There are two ways for a person to come to his father: he can be born biologically, or he can be adopted. In this case, Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he had to become the adopted son of God. In the second service, the minister talked all about how there are times in our lives when we come to the point where we have to make a decision about something. It may seem scary or impossible, but nothing is impossible with God. He will always have our best interests in mind, and He doesn't ask anything of us that is too hard.

Well, no one mentioned the words "adopt" or "adopted" all day in church, so I thought, "Well, that's that!" Then, on the way home from church, Chris was talking about one of our neighbors, and mentioned that he had an adopted son. I thought, "There's my word!" When we got home, I was flipping through the newspaper when I saw an article about adoption. A lady and her husband, Chris, (which really grabbed my attention, because that's my husband's name!) adopted 2 girls from Ethiopia. They talked about how much sweeter their lives were because of the girls. Once again, I felt that God was trying to tell me something.

A few days later, Chris was opening the box of a new puzzle, and I was standing beside him re-reading some adoption materials that Loving Shepherd Ministries had sent to us. I was thinking to myself, "Is this really something we're interested in?" Just then, I looked over and saw a little slip of paper sticking out of the box that Chris was opening. I picked it up and suddenly had chills. It read, "Yes, we are interested." And then underneath, "This product was made by team #12." I showed it to Chris, and we chuckled because it made absolutely no sense whatsoever, until you put it into context with the question I had just asked myself: "Is adoption really something we're interested in?"

It seemed like I was starting to get more signs pointing toward adoption, but Chris wasn't really feeling it like I was. I told him, "We're in this together - I want you to be just as sure as me, so I'm not going to say anything else about it for now. Just keep praying."

The next Sunday in church, the minister talked about how we can ask God for all kinds of signs for something, but at what point do we act in faith? Also, in the back of my mind I had been thinking, "What if we're supposed to have another biological child instead?" At one point the minister said, "We are not supposed to start over - we are supposed to minister to other nations." (He had been talking about the children of Israel. At one point, God was fed up with them and was ready to do away with them all. Moses interceded on their behalf.) However, what he said really touched me. Another minister that day said, "If God is telling you to do something and you don't do it, you don't have enough faith." I kept thinking, "OK. I'm just going to be quiet about this after church, and if Chris tells me he's ready, then I'll know." As we drove home after church, Chris said, "OK. I think I'm ready."

That night I talked to my sister about the adoption process (since she had been through it before) and felt really peaceful about it. She encouraged me to go online and fill out the pre-application form for Loving Shepherd Ministries. They are not an adoption agency, but do a lot of research for you. They can tell you which countries will accept you and which reputable agencies work in those countries.

Chris and I felt that we should adopt internationally. We thought that there was probably a much greater need in some third world country. But we were a little overwhelmed and had no idea which country to choose. Chris had an interest in Haiti since he had been there a couple of times on work teams, so the next morning I filled out the LSM application and said that we were interested in Haiti, but that we were open to any country. The response came back from LSM saying that there were 5 countries that would accept us based on the size of our family, etc: Russia, Ukraine, South Korea, China and Ethiopia. After reading through the restrictions, I felt that Ethiopia was really our only option.

That afternoon, Chris received an early birthday card from my grandparents. On the front, it said, "When you walk...the Lord will guide you. When you run...He will sustain you. And when you fly...yes, when you fly - He will take you places you never dreamed." I asked Chris, "Did you ever dream you'd be flying to Ethiopia?"

That evening, I began to have doubts. I needed some reassurance that we were making the right decision, and I was very emotional. Chris sat down beside me on the sofa, wordlessly reached over and grabbed the Bible that was on the end table, and randomly opened it. He started chuckling, then passed it over to me and pointed to the verse he had opened to. "Let mine outcasts dwell with thee." Isaiah 16:4. Then, my eyes fell on the verses beside it on the opposite page: Isaiah 14:24-27, "The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.....This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?"

About this time, Chris told Shana to go get a Bible story so he could read to the kids before they went to bed. She very happily brought the Bible story book, open to the story of Philip and the Ethiopian. The first line of the story basically said, "God told Philip to go, and he went." There I was, pretty sure that God was telling me to go, and I was stewing and fretting about it instead of just simply following the way that Philip did. While Chris was putting the kids to bed, I decided to write down some of what I had been experiencing. I opened the Bible to find the verses I had just read in Isaiah 14 and 16, but instead the Bible fell open to Isaiah 43. My eyes fell on verses 1-7: "But now thus saith the Lord that created thee...and he that formed thee...Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." At this point, I was laughing and crying at the same time, and thinking, "OK,God, you've made Yourself pretty clear!" I was just so completely overwhelmed and humbled. I thought, "Who am I, that God would reveal this to me?" The night before, we knew we wanted to adopt, but had absolutely no idea which country to choose. In just one day, God had shown us clearly that it was to be Ethiopia.

*To be continued in a later post.

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