God blows my mind. He orchestrates events and moves hearts in ways I will never fully understand. This summer we witnessed God do such a work in our lives. He is calling us to adopt! In hindsight, I now see how He’s planted seeds and lead us to this very moment.
Two years ago, we read “Radical” and “Crazy Love”. I was bothered and awakened. I prayed “Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.” The scripture that came to mind was “Religion 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.” I thought “Oh! Both our neighbors are widows, I can do that!”
The next seed the Lord planted was a desire to go on a mission trip ministering to widows and orphans in Africa. While on the team and preparing to go, Matt and my hearts were united to begin trying for another child. We trusted that I would become pregnant in His perfect timing. And I did. When I then miscarried, I was bewildered at why the Lord had given me a love for the people of Africa only to remove me from the team and then to miscarry. If felt pointless. However, I believe the Lord planted a seed and allowed it to live dormant until His appointed time.
The next major swing of events was going to Grace Bible Fellowship. We attended Salem Alliance for ten years, but were confident we were now to attend GBF. We valued Pastor Roland’s deep teaching and became friends with their family. We heard the painful and joyous journey of them adopting their sweet girls. We were amazed at how the Lord knit their family together.
Then the Lord moved us to oneTreasure church. I did not want to be a church hopper, but we both fell in love with the deep teaching and intimate community of believers who are living their faith. (Not to mention the Pastor and his wife aren’t too shabby – they are Matt’s parents!). We “just happened” to join the church at just the right time to make new, dear friends and walk with them through the adoption process. The Stutzman’s blog shared their story and had others’ “Gottcha Day” videos. One of the first videos I watched, a lady voiced my same prayer and scripture! It hit me that when I heard the verse a couple of years ago, orphans didn’t even cross my mind. This time it was as if the word jumped off the page. Having met families and their adopted kids, there was a new closeness and reality. I saw faces and knew that each little one is a precious child of God. I began praying that if the Lord wanted us to adopt that He would move Matt’s heart and that He would lead us through him. From then on it seemed like everywhere I went, every way I turned, I heard, saw or touched adoption!
My mother-in-law, Susan, and I went to coffee and after hanging out she said “You guys are going to love coming to church tonight! Marilyn is going to give her report back from China and speak about–“ I interrupted her and said, “let me guess, adoption.” “Why, yes!” she exclaimed. I told her of my last couple months and she told me, “Sometimes God wants us just to have willing hearts.” I replied without hesitation, “Yes, and sometimes He wants us to be obedient to His call.”
During Marilyn’s report, she shared of a couple who were 53 years old and adopting their sixth child. When people asked them “why”, they responded “if we can, why wouldn’t we.” It was a powerful statement. On the drive home, I thought “okay, if the Lord is moving my heart, I better help Him and start planting seeds for Him to move Matt’s heart”. Well, surprise, surprise, the Lord didn’t need my help! When I reiterated the powerful statement to Matt he shocked me by exclaiming, “I know! Why wouldn’t we?!” Whoa. Wait a minute. This was not what I was expecting. I didn’t know that Matt had longed to adopt for years and that it was me who had to be moved at just the right time.
Honestly, I stopped the conversation at this point. I had to spend more time praying. I had to process and lay each of my fears before the Lord. He gently began leading me to a place of simply trusting Him. Matt and I continued praying and discussing the very real possibility that the Lord was calling us to adopt. The hard realities of adoption began to sink in… attachment disorders, malnutrition, mental and physical illnesses, the deep sorrow of loss and abandonment, the lifelong journey of… the “what ifs” are endless. I had to really wrestle with my thoughts and emotions. There were moments when I really didn’t like myself. My pride, selfishness and sin were so blatantly standing in the way of what I knew God had for us. What was crazy is that I knew He was giving us a gift; a gift of growing closer to Him and an amazing gift of a little one. I began to realize that I needed to die to myself and trust Him.
In the past, I have somewhat naively jumped with both feet into big life changing events and when unforeseen obstacles came crashing I would just keep going. I feel like the Lord is saying, “this time, I am going to help strip some of the naïve blinders off and let you know ahead of time there are going to be tough moments on this journey, but when the waves come crashing, they will not destroy you and I will be there.” I accidentally read August 18th “Jesus Calling” on the 16th and the message was exactly what I needed. As I realized how hard this journey may be, I asked Matt “Are you willing to do hard with me?” He jokingly replied “Nah, that’s why I’ve said let’s adopt!” I told him that we need to be sure of the calling, so that when the trials come we can look back and be reassured to confidently move forward. I prayed, “Lord, could you please once again confirm that this is YOUR calling and maybe even provide the deposit?!?” That afternoon when Matt went to get the mail he came back and handed me an unexpected check just a bit over the deposit amount and said “here’s our deposit!” We were both blown away and praised God!
My father-in-law, Pastor Craig, recently taught from Ephesians and explained that all of us who have faith in Jesus Christ are adopted by our heavenly Father and we have been taken from a place of hopelessness to a place of being lavishly loved on and have been raised up with Christ and seated at the right hand of God. We are in awe at how the Lord is orchestrating events in our lives and the life of our future child(ren) in such a way that He would bring us together. We are intimately seeing the depths of God’s love for each and every child and His heart for adoption. He is their Hope and Redeemer. To say I am excited to meet our new little one and discover their likes, dislikes, interests, hopes, hear their voice, learn their personality traits, to kiss their little head(s) is a bit of an understatement!
Please pray the Lord would protect our child(ren) and bless him or her. Please pray for our family as we journey each step!