It's official! We are moving forward on adopting a baby (toddler?) boy from Ethiopia. Our application was approved by All God's Children last Friday.
The kids are so excited - they are already asking if we can adopt another baby after this one. I'm thinking we need to get through this first. It's crazy how nervous I am about gathering all of the paperwork that is involved in this. It's going to be at least a year before we can bring our son home, but so far I'm not too anxious about the wait.
I'm just amazed to see where God has taken us to get here.
About three years ago, I picked up a book called Shaoey and Dot by Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman. I like them and thought it looked like a cute book. I brought it home and started reading it to my kids. I couldn't finish it. I started crying. Not crying, like I got a little choked up and a few tears rolled from the corner of my eye - it was the ugly, I can't talk, I have to go curl up on the couch and let it all out cry. My kids were wondering what was wrong with me. I tried to compose myself for their sake.
Then, I noticed it came with a DVD at the back of the book. Of course, I have to know what is on that. This time I was prepared. I sat on the couch with the kids and we all watched it. Again - ugly crying.
My heart was broken for the orphans that I had never thought about before. I had seen the pictures of the rows of cribs and neglected babies and accepted it as something sad that I could not do anything about. I had never cared about these kids.
What's funny is that the book is a story of a little girl (Shaoey) that was found abandoned, taken care of in an orphanage, and then adopted into a forever family. There was nothing in the book or on the DVD that tried to break people's hearts with really sad stories of how awful these kids have it. It simply told us that these kids would like a family to love them.
I went to Tony with news of my newly broken heart. His response in short was, "uhhh - no." Through the wisdom of a good friend, I knew I couldn't make him want this and would continue to pray. He did soften and eventually said he would be willing to look into it.
Then, I went through a time of wanting to be able to have another biological baby. Tony had surgery to prevent that after our fourth child, but we both felt convicted that we should not have taken that decision away from God. Through much prayer, Tony reversed the surgery. Though at that point, we both knew we would not try to get pregnant. (I know the doctor, and all of our friends, probably thought we were crazy!) Even though we wouldn't try to get pregnant, I was sure that one day I would. Why else would God have us go through all of that if I were not going to have another baby? *this question is important*
At that point, I am sure we are through with having to think about it. Done. Period. The End.
Suddenly, our church starts talking about an orphan from Liberia named Moses. We start praying for Moses, our kids are talking about Moses, we see pictures all over church and flyers coming home with us about Moses. Moses comes to America and becomes a big part of our lives.
Tony asked me to pray about adopting.
I go back to that important question above and wonder why God is doing this to me. As I was praying one day, I asked God why He would lay it on our hearts to adopt, then have the reversal, then back to adoption? He told me -
Because it's not about having a baby.
My heart is broken again for the orphans. I was able to push it away before, but this time I don't want to. This time it's not about having a baby. It's about giving one orphan a family, but not stopping there. We want to get involved in ways to help many orphans and the poor. As we are going through this process, God has opened our eyes to His love for the orphans and poor. And, our role is not voluntary. We are called to help them.
I am looking forward to this journey. It won't end when we fly home from Ethiopia with our son. Now, this is a lifelong change for us personally and I hope it can challenge others to serve our Lord by serving those He loves so much - the poor, the orphan, and the widow.