November is National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. In honor of Orphan Sunday and Adoption Awareness, I’m thrilled to share some amazing adoption stories from bloggers and posts to inspire you to open your hearts to adoption and orphan care. This month, you can WIN a mission trip to visit orphans here. Every single purchase of a Missions Giveaway tee will touch the life of an orphan in 13 countries all over the world. You can be a part of changing the life of a child and the winner- together!
I hope you find encouragement as you read “Who Picks Who” one of my favorite and most difficult posts to write. We are grateful to celebrate adoption and the miracle God gave us- our precious daughter Zoie Senait.
Have you ever asked yourself these questions:
- Do I pick adoption or does adoption pick me?
- How do I know if I’m really called to adopt?
- Is adoption right for me?
- Will I have an “Ah Ha” moment?
Well, how do you know if you should adopt? You might be feeling in your heart to adopt, but your head is thinking, “God, adoption? Do you know how many details I would have to work on?” I have been asked many times how does this big ‘”Ah-ha” happen… the exact moment when you knew adoption was the right thing for you to do? Every adoption story is different and personal and unique. We all have expectations for how we think life will play out, and we all hope those plans will become realities. But, what happens when God calls us to do something crazy out of the ordinary? What do we do when the “ah ha” is too big and too scary and too risky?
Adoption is not for everyone, I understand that we all have different callings, gifts, talents and passions. James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” We are all called to do something, to take care of orphans…whether it’s sponsoring a child, missions, foster care, financial, or adoption. This is my adoption story, the one God wrote for Roger and I… a story we had no idea how it would play out or end.
It’s difficult for me to look back in time at my own personal journey to adopt Zoie, but if my story can help encourage or point you in the right direction, it’s worth it to me. In 1999, my heart was finally healing over the loss of our son and the craziness of having a 26 week old micro-preemie, who was now a healthy three year old. I loved being a mommy and desired to expand our family through adoption. My biggest hurdle was convincing Roger that we should adopt. It seemed like such an easy question, but it had taken me a long time to find the courage to ask. I had no idea how he would respond. I will never forget the day I asked my hubby, “Do you want to adopt?” In 0.2 seconds, Roger said, “Nope.” Okay, perhaps he did not hear understand what I was referring to, so I asked the same question in a different way. This time I knew he heard, because his reply was even more accelerated this time, “No, I’m sorry, but adoption is just not for me!” I asked if he would pray about it and he said he would, but I think he said that just to put an end to the conversation. I never spoke to him about adoption again. A simple question, turned into a dangerous surrender of my heart.
Three years later, my hubby out of the blue asked me a question that totally caught me off guard, “Do you still want to adopt?” My mouth dropped, I was speechless. I remember stuttering and laughing and choking out the words- “are you serious?” I couldn’t believe that God had answered my prayers in such an extraordinary way, but it was three years later and so much had changed in my life. My children were older and life was feeling easier and calmer and quieter- they were both in school. I wasn’t so sure anymore if adoption was “our thing” so I told him lets give it some time and think about it. How could it be possible that my heart wasn’t willing, and my reasons were so shallow. I struggled constantly asking, “God, why are you bothering me with this?” I had shared my desire to adopt several times during my “hiatus” with my mom, my best friend and others – they all said the same thing… are you crazy?! Fear had settled into my heart. Fear to not do something radical and unfamiliar. I did not know a single person in my community that had adopted a child… I was clueless about the adoption process. I believed that without the blessing from my hubby, family and friends I would never have the courage to adopt. It was a case closed in fear.
It’s crazy I know, but God cracked opened the case files. He urgently prompted Roger and I to move forward with adoption. I know that sounds really strange, but I can only explain how it happened for us. Our “Ah ha” moment came six years later after my original request. Our breakthrough was an adorable, spunky nine year old who became our family ambassador. She begged and prayed and pleaded and nagged and insisted we adopt a baby. We came up with brilliant excuses, but our daughter, Hannah was relentless. We loved being a mom and dad, wanted to expand our family, but how in the world were we going to know if we heard His voice and make the right decision for our family? We started praying for clarification, neon signs flashing, anything to help us know what to do. Our son pretty much thought we’d lost our marbles- even told us we were “whacked,” but we committed to prayer. We prayed and prayed for two years, but still fear was our worst enemy. We were scared to death and it made us feel paralyzed to make the final decision to adopt. We finally had several friends who had adopted or were in the process of adopting, but we just couldn’t move forward.
What do you do when you are afraid? Anxiety means, A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties. Fear was flat out keeping us from doing the work God had planned in our lives. We started hanging up verses all over the house. Our favorite was Philippians 4:6-7 and we claimed that verse and spoke it out loud every chance we had. There are too many crazy stories to tell you, but when we finally wrote out a check to an adoption agency, AWAA (awaa.org) and filled out the application to start our adoption to China, we were overcome with thrills, chills and slight nausea. This was it… we knew there was no turning back. We were surrendering our inconveniences, expectations, dreams, hopes and family to jump in faith and obey God’s voice. We had to trust He had a plan for our lives that would lead us to a place of peace.
Do you get it? Adoption picked us. It picked us and it wrecked our lives for the better. We are a part of something so much bigger and its not about us. We are crazy in love with our children, advocating for adoption, orphan ministry and encouraging other families to step into the world of adoption or foster care. At first, we avoided God’s call and then surrendered to His plans. He never let go of us and He will guide you, too. John 14:18 “No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.” He can and will provide for you-and for what He has called you to do. He never leads us where he will not sustain us- The manna will come!
In an upcoming post, Adoption 101: Joy Opportunity Lost, my hubby and I discuss what happens when you are called to adopt and you miss the opportunity. This is for the doubters, the stumblers, the procrastinators, the “I’m still think’n about it”, the excuse makers, the runners and the “God, are you talking to me?” Roger and I tried them all out for many years and I want to help eliminate the danger of you missing out on God-breathed adoption miracles.
I’d love to hear your “Ah Ha” moments when adoption picked you. Please share your breakthroughs in the comments with me.
Great story of a mom who struggled with the term “just adopt“