Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our Adoption Story

It's a long story but when you finish reading it, you'll know why. When God is up to something amazing you simply can't leave anything out!

In Feb. 2003 my husband and I received the news that I was pregnant and that our family of four would soon be a family of five. In the early years of our marriage we had always talked of having three children. But when it took seven years to conceive our second child Emily, we felt that she was a miracle and would likely be our last. We assumed a third child was not in God's plan for us. But secretly I still dreamed of a third child, the way we had hoped for in the beginning. Now with Emily starting kindergarten the following year, I was preparing to leave the world of preschool and go back into the world of grownups. You can imagine how surprised we were to learn that I was expecting another baby. My attempts to give up the dream of three children had, in a peculiar way, left me a little disappointed to learn I was pregnant.

Unfortunately, my doctor was very concerned from the beginning. My hormone levels were not where they should be and the pregnancy soon ended in a miscarriage. I was left with a gut wrenching longing for the baby that I was not even initially excited about. It was heartbreaking to say the least. I still yearn to hold the baby that I had begun to want so badly. I had hoped she would be a girl we could name Abby. I know I will hold her someday but until then, she is in the most blessed arms of all.

Two weeks later life got darker than I ever knew possible. My doctor’s office called and said there was an abnormality with one of the tests they had done while I was miscarrying. One week later, I discovered what it feels like to have the world fall out from under you. My doctor told me I had cancer. As he described surgery and possible radiation treatments, every desire I had for another child was completely and instantly removed. I prayed “Lord, please let me raise the children you have given to me.”

To describe all that God taught me as we faced cancer together would require a story all its own. So let me simply say that He is now my comforter, my strength, and my Jehovah Rapha like never before. While I trust and pray that I never have to face cancer again, I can honestly say that I am thankful for my diagnosis. It drew me closer to God than anything I could have ever imagined. It is something I am strangely but deeply grateful for.

As I began to heal and life settled into a new kind of normal, I began to wonder what God’s plans for our family were. Emily was now in school and Ryan, our oldest, was very active in high school. Between the two of them and various church activities I kept extremely busy. Still there was an emptiness that I attributed to being a stay at home mom with no one to mother during the day. So I waited for guidance.

I remember very clearly thinking “Wow, God must have an exciting new direction for my life that doesn't involve children.” Did He want me to go back to school and finally have a grown up job? Or did He have a ministry that He wanted me to begin? Only He knew, so I began to pray for His direction. I had no idea that He would answer those prayers with one of the strongest desires of my heart. The only “occupation” I have ever wished to have is that of being a mom and God was about to give me a new job title – “Adoptive Mom.”

When He began to call us to adoption I'm sorry to say, I questioned Him. “Us Lord? We are not those super sweet couples you see raising fifteen foster children. And you know exactly what our savings account looks like. Don’t only wealthy people adopt children?” His answer was simple “IF NOT YOU THEN WHO?”

In a huge act of faith and obedience we dove into the world of adoption. Very quickly we learned that there is a lot to learn! Terms like "foster adopt", "trans-racial adoption"," private domestic adoption" and "international adoption" all became part of our everyday speech. We prayed all new prayers for direction. We asked that God would patiently lead us to the child He had already chosen for our family. After weeks of searching and praying there was such peace when we asked “China Lord?” and He answered “OH YES!”

We went through all the paperwork and home study “interrogations”, as my husband calls them. Then we were the ones being asked to be patient as we began to wait. And wait and wait and wait. Technically we were waiting for the Chinese government to match us with our daughter. Ultimately we knew that we were (and are) waiting on the Lord.

God has taught us so much through "The waiting phase" of our adoption. More than anything though, He has taught us to trust Him. Now He is teaching us to trust Him even more by asking us to begin the process of a special needs adoption. There's that amazing peace again! It truly does "pass all understanding!" Only one thing can explain why there would be such peace in the midst of it this entire process and it's God. I can't tell you how much I love Him!

There is a Chinese proverb about a red thread that is popular in the adoption world. It says “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but it will never break.” I don’t believe in fables or folklore but there is a red thread I believe in. It’s the blood of Christ. It’s woven through every book of the Bible both the old and new testaments. It’s woven through the books of history and law, through the Psalms and the Proverbs, the Major and Minor Prophets. It’s woven through the gospels and Acts, through the epistles and the glorious revelations. I am so humbled to say that God will give me the opportunity again to teach a precious little girl about His son, The Red Thread. The thought that I will tell her of the amazing love Christ has for her is beyond overwhelming. But I’m reminded of what God asked us when we first searched His heart, “If not you, then who?”

By traveling through the darkness of cancer and then navigating the confusing terrain of adoption God has taught me that there is so much to praise Him for. Praise Him that no matter how dark your world is, you can trust that His plans are “not to harm you but to give you a hope and a future.” (Jer.29”11) Praise Him that He knows the name of every child around the world that will never have parents to call Mom and Dad and a place to call home. Praise Him that He empowers people through his Spirit to love these beautiful children who may otherwise never hear of the saving love of Christ. Praise Him for the redeeming power that enables me to long for another child when I thought I would have no more. And praise Him that in his infinite wisdom there are many others that He may someday ask “If not you, then who?”


Traci said...

Absolutely beautiful! You are such a inspiration to me!

Tara Anderson said...

Such an amazing story!!! I love getting to know the details leading up to other people's adoptions...and I especially love being able to see God's hand in it all!