This year our kids’ Easter basket hunt held quite the surprise at the end 😉
Easter has never been as meaningful as it was this year, and Zach and I have never been so excited to celebrate it!
If you haven’t noticed yet there is an extra Easter basket at the end 🙂
This Easter we are thrilled to announce that we are expecting baby #4!! And guess what? It’s a BOY! Two announcements for the price of one 🙂
However . . .
We do not know when he will be born. We do not know if he will take after his father or his mother. In fact, we are not even sure who his father and mother are.
We are adopting.
Whew. That still hits me sometimes. As much as I would prefer to tell each of you our story in person over a cup of hot coffee, it is not possible.
SO . . . how did we get here? Why are we adopting?
First, we wrestled with the question why NOT to adopt?
- It’s expensive.
- It can take a long time.
- The process is complicated.
- There are many uncertainties.
- It’s hard to adopt healthy young kids.
- What if he has health problems.
- It would disrupt our family.
- Many have special needs.
- They may look different than my family.
- My biological kids might not like it.
- My spouse doesn’t want to.
- I don’t want to.
- I don’t feel called to.
To go back to the original question – why ARE we adopting?
I could say that according to UNICEF there are over 153 million orphaned children in the world today (Childinfo ,UNICEF, 2011).
But that wasn’t it.
I could mention that in the United States today there are nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system and over 25% are waiting to be adopted. Of those 100,000 children 32,000 of them will wait for the next 3 years for someone to officially take them home (AFCARS Report, 2012, No. 20).
But that wasn’t it either.
I could quote the Scripture verse from James 1:27 that says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction . . .”
As convicting as that is it didn’t lead us to adopt.
I could humbly point out that within the Evangelical Christian church 38% of Christians reported they had strongly considered adopting, but only 5% actually did (EthicsDaily, 2013).
Devastating but still not the reason.
Do you know why we initially looked into adoption???
Because I didn’t feel like being pregnant again.
I didn’t feel like being pregnant again. That’s the truth of it. That’s where it all started. That sounds like a really bad reason to adopt. I thought so too. Zach and I always knew we wanted 4 children, but ever since having Lillian almost 2 years ago, I have felt done being pregnant. I looked at the baby stuff and would find myself thinking how excited I was to start getting rid of it all. I would pack away maternity clothing and groan at the thought of having to get it out one more time. But we still wanted one more.
For those of you who would give anything to be able to get pregnant or to get pregnant as easily as I did, my mama’s heart aches for you. I will never be able to empathize. I have been incredibly grateful for the ease in which we have been able to get pregnant, and I thank God daily for our 3 beautiful, healthy children. But please don’t stop reading yet.
Despite what sounds like a bad reason to start, knowing Jesus means we never finish where we started. Hallelujah.
For me, it started with not wanting to be pregnant again but still knowing without a doubt we were meant to have 4 children. I just could not come to a peace each time we thought about getting pregnant again. There was nothing more convincing to Zach that we needed to pause and pray than my indecision. Those of you who know me will give a hearty amen, but the term “indecisive” has never, probably not one time by anyone, ever been used to describe my personality. I am a move forward, rarely glance back, 10 steps ahead, own-the-process type of person. I decided on a college without visiting any. I have 2 Masters Degrees in a career that I swore I would never enter for the first 18 years of my life. I chose the 2nd of the two wedding dresses I tried on.
Indecisiveness is not my thing. But more importantly, I am guided in life by a Power, a Spirit that is as real as my decisively genetic disposition. When I accepted Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible, to be my Lord, to be my Hope that extends beyond this world, He gave me His Holy Spirit – a living, supernatural Counselor that dwells within my soul and guides me in accordance with God’s character and His will for my life.
Perhaps the greatest testimony to the Truth and the reality of Jesus Christ in me is the way that I can have my mind set on something and then change it just like that and feel complete peace about it. Like when it means apologizing to Zach because I have been wrong. There is nothing in my genetic makeup that predisposes me to humility, submission, or apologizing. Trust me. Jesus is real. Or switching from an English major to a nursing major a few months before college?? Yup. All Jesus. Sometimes I think it happens simply so that Jesus can have the opportunity to show up and make His presence known.
Adoption was no exception. Zach and I have supported the care of orphans whether it be our work in orphanages in college and after, financially supporting others, or through prayer, but I have always believed that although adoption is a wonderful thing it is not necessarily a wonderful thing everyone should do. So last fall I started to pray. I asked God to show me His will for our family. I asked Him to either give this mama’s heart complete peace about getting pregnant again or to break my heart for adoption.
He broke my heart. This past January I clicked on an Instagram video from @mixandmatchmama of the day a little girl first met her forever family in a Chinese orphanage. I had started reading her mom’s blog, Shay Shull at www.mixandmatchmama.com several months prior, and God decided He would use Ashby Shull’s “Gotcha Day” to bring another orphan home. As I watched the video of this sweet, terrified little girl being put into the arms of her forever family I started sobbing (Also not much of a crier here unless I am watching movies like UP and Tarzan. Seriously kid’s movies are the worst). I was suddenly flooded with the sense that our last baby would not be of my womb, and that God would lead us to him if we were willing. I kept thinking of our child, who had been predestined for our family before he was even in his mother’s womb out there in the world one day, and I felt as though I was jumping out of my skin desperate to find him. And in the midst of the tears I was struck with something else. I realized that if we chose not to adopt, it was actually we who would miss out on the blessing. Well, I started sobbing all over again. I mean I pretty much sobbed on and off for a solid 2 hours. I would collect myself, go back to the kitchen, and start all over again. My kids thought I had lost it.
And the truth is, I had.
I had lost my preconceived idea of what our family would look like. I had lost my own plans for our future. I had lost the feeling of indecision and was filled instead with a glorious peace. A peace that is nothing short of supernatural despite overwhelming uncertainty – the uncertainty of how to raise the funds, how to decide on which child, how to pick an organization, how to determine what medical problems we can handle. There was peace. Oh to know Jesus.
I could tell you about many miraculous ways God has lead us since then, but for now, I will end this post by finishing our announcement.
We are expecting baby #4! We are adopting a precious baby boy from the Pacific Island of Samoa who will be 1 to 3 years old when we bring him home. It will take an estimated 3-4 years until we are matched, so he has probably not even been born yet.
My sweet little boy, there is so much that I do not know about you yet, but one thing I know for sure…
Jesus created your inner most being. He will knit you together in your mother’s womb. I praise Him because you will be fearfully and wonderfully made. The works of the Lord are so wonderful. I know that full well because they will bring me to you. Your body will not be hidden. Although you may feel alone, Jesus sees you. All of your days have been ordained by your Creator and have been written in the Book of Life before you have even drawn breath. How precious and abundant are the thoughts of Jesus. When you wake He will be with you until I can hold you in my arms. (Psalm 139)
And so . . . our adoption journey begins! We hope you join with us as God writes another orphan’s story for His glory. Happy Easter!!