Is that not the best picture ever?!! It just fills me with joy to see it!!
How did we come to this decision to adopt from Ethiopia?
Travel back in time with me to about a year ago, because this is truly when it all began. The Lord began to give me a sense that there was something more...that He had something different planned for our lives. I began to have a "holy discontentment"...I just wasn't content to live a life of complacency anymore.
Now fastforward to November 2009...Jody and I were in the car for 3 hours on the way to my parents house, by ourselves, because the kids were already there. And ya'll, I think I cried the whole 3 hours...no joke. I was overcome by this sense that the Lord was about to call us to do something BIG...but I had no idea what it was. I was scared, excited, unsure, and filled with anticipation all at the same time. The last time I had felt this way was right before the Lord called us into full-time ministry...so I knew we were, once again, in for something life-changing.
That day we did talk a little about it maybe being adoption. You see, Jody and I had always talked about adopting before we had kids...we had talked of adopting a little girl from China, like a family from my hometown. But then life happened, and three precious kids came in three quick years, and then my thyroid went crazy and had to be removed...oh yeah, in the midst of this, we were called to full-time ministry and helped start a satellite church in our city. And then when people asked us if we were having anymore kids, we were quick to reply, "We're done!" But...we never asked God that...we tried to jump ahead of His plan and just tell Him what we were doing. Hmmm...that's not really how it's supposed to work in the lives of believers.
So in the car that day, I told Jody that I felt I had closed a door (adoption), that maybe God never meant for me to close. But still, I was unsure. Well, even though I have just started my own blog, I have loved reading other people's blogs for years. Well, about this same time, God led me to Kristi's blog, her story, her video, her family...and especially her new baby Lucy Lane. I thought how precious they were, but that we could never do that.
But God began to speak to me...and He asked, "Why not? What if I asked you to? Do you trust Me? Do you trust MY plan for your family?" And I would just sit at my computer and weep. He was breaking my heart for these Ethiopian orphans, and I knew His calling was beginning to unfold. He had already chosen our fourth child...and she would have beautiful brown eyes, brown hair, and brown skin. Were we willing to trust Him, step out of our "comfort zone", and trust that His plan for our life was perfect?
Now fastforward again to March 17, 2010...I really felt the Lord was calling us to adopt an Ethiopian baby...but would my husband, Jody, feel the same way? That night I asked him to watch the video of Lucy Lane's "gotcha day" with me, and I asked him to pray. His first response was that he really didn't think this was it...there would be so many difficulties and expenses involved...especially with an African baby, in an all white family, in Mississippi. But he agreed to pray about it everyday, and through my tears, I told him I would be praying that the Lord would show us His will...together.
God began to blow. us. away. The next month was truly one of the most amazing times in my life. God's confirmations began to pour in, one right after the other. He used His Word, circumstances, prayer, other people...it was crazy. We decided just to keep this between us and the Lord because we needed to make this decision without anyone else's opinions. The cool thing was, the Lord was using other people in our lives to affirm His will, and they did not even know it!
We began to pray this prayer..."Lord, break our hearts for what breaks Yours." And He did. Our hearts became broken for these precious babies in this devastatingly poor, broken country. It was undeniable. God's heart breaks for orphans, and ours were breaking too. We knew what our response would be. We would follow Him in obedience to bring our sweet baby girl home.
The Lord gave Jody the word "rescue"...and it brought on so many meanings for us. We had a picture of us rescuing this little girl from a life of hunger, poverty, prostitution, disease...but we also had a picture of the way God had rescued us from these same things, when He sacrificed His Son, so that we could become His adopted sons and daughters. And then we also felt that God was using this baby girl to rescue us from a life of complacency. Nothing will ever be the same. This changes everything. And we wouldn't want it any other way.
Jody and I have never been so bonded, so united, so passionate about anything like we have been in God's plan for us to adopt. It has truly changed our marriage. We made the decision to not tell anyone until our application to All God's Children, our adoption agency, was in the mail. We mailed our application last Monday, and we were approved to adopt a baby girl from 0 to 14 months old last Thursday! Yay!!! Our kids are so excited...they have been talking about their baby sister everyday!
We are just beginning the process, so it could take up to a year or more. But we are hoping sooner! Our next step will be an orientation call with our agency on Thursday, and then home studies, and then lots and lots of paperwork! :) Then we will be on a waiting list to get a referral for our little girl!!!
We are so blessed and so thankful that the Lord has called us on this journey to bring our daughter home from Ethiopia!! And we are so excited to see other couples around us, that God is also beginning to break their hearts for orphans. You see, we don't believe our journey ends once our daughter is home. We know God is calling us to encourage others to seek God's calling on their lives, specifically in adoption. We have a heart for other couples seeking God's will and praying about adopting...we pray that God would begin to move Christian families toward bringing orphans, from all around the world...home.
"I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you." John 14:18