So the question that we get most of all is why adopt internationally? Why Ethiopia? I really wish there was a quick straight-forward answer to those questions but there is not one. The short of it if you don't have time to read the detailed post below is that we whole-heartedly believe that God has chosen this for us. It's part of the reason why we were created and part of why the two of us were joined together in marriage. It's to also show the power of God in all situations. If you'd like to and have the time to hear the details of God's hand in moving our hearts to this, take the journey with us below...
Since the time that Tony and I married in 1998, we've always talked about the possibility of adopting. Part of it started with me because I was adopted by my family. Although the family I was adopted into was my birth father's brother, I've always appreciated that I had somewhere to go and didn't get caught up in the foster care system. Because of this, adoption has always been special to us and a consideration for our own family. Even after both of our boys were born, we still wanted to adopt; however, our thoughts were always centered around local adoption. International was never a consideration and frankly it never even crossed my mind. Add to that the fact that I hated traveling even on family vacations. I despised being in one place just riding. I just wanted to get there. I sometimes wished I were like the lady from the old show 'I Dream of Genie' because with a quick nod of my head, I'd be at my destination. Furthermore, I've never had an awareness or should I say honestly, an interest in international mission trips. As time progressed and the years flew away, our oldest son, Anthony had a baby girl and after having her at the house for a couple of nights, we were CLEAR that we didn't want to adopt anymore. She's a sweetheart but having a baby full-time was not what we wanted anymore. We didn't want to change diapers, pay for expensive childcare, get up for late night feedings, sterilize bottles, teach someone to use the potty and I think for me, as the only lady in the house, I selfishly began to enjoy all the attention of being my husband's 'little girl' so to speak. I enjoyed laying my head on his chest and cuddling with him. In my head, a little girl would take my place in his arms and on his chest. Selfish I know but that's where I was.
And then it happened, on September 1st at 10:04am. I tweeted these words on my Twitter page which I can't seem to fully explain:
"Today, I am learning that my world is so much larger than what I see, touch, and feel everyday. God what are U doing? What are U saying?"
It was Tuesday morning and I was surfing the net for grocery coupons and getting my grocery shopping list together. I had also been watching 'Gotcha Day' videos from a mom blogger but still being wrapped in my little world, I thought...."Oh that's nice" and moved on. For a while, I could feel a softening of my heart of some sort. It wasn't a physical softening where I was having trouble with my heart. It was more like a compassion for something was opening up but I had no idea what was going on. It was beautiful what I felt inside my heart yet it's so difficult to explain. Then at 12:04pm, I added these words to my 'maybe' list of Things I'd Like to Do on my regular blog: "Maybe adopt a little girl from a foreign nation."
I couldn't believe what I just wrote. Not me. But even still, in writing this I was amazingly okay with it. The only apprehension I had was wondering what others would think. First, what would Tony think? We were resolved about this whole adoption thing. The second biggest thing I worried about was that we were just getting to a place financially where we were changing how we looked at money. We were focusing on rolling back the debt and certainly adopting from a foreign nation doesn't roll back the debt...it has the potential to roll up the debt. But even still, it wasn't the apprehension of being able to afford the adoption that concerned me. It was the worry of how a few people closest to me who knew about our past finances and the progress we were making would react. In my heart I was okay because it wasn't even a definite yet. I kept it on my 'maybe' because I wanted to be sure that this was a God thing and not just some whim.
I ended up talking to Tony about it and he thought it was a great idea! WHAT??? My husband thought it was now a GREAT idea. I mean he was actually onboard with it? At that point, we were both at so much peace about the adoption. I also shared with him this unexplainable heart for Ethiopia that I felt was God's leading. I showed him the statistics about Ethiopia, some of the adoption stories, and how much I had cried since being drawn to Ethiopia. He agreed that we would pursue a baby girl from Ethiopia. In praying about it, asking God for repeated confirmations, and talking to one of our Pastors about it, we were confident that this was God's vision and not one of our own. We were also certain and at peace that because this is God's vision, He'll provide the resources. It doesn't mean that the road will be easy. We know we'll have to sow much and are prayerful that our friends and family will partner with us in small and large ways.
What's so amazing (and funny) about what God has done in our hearts is everything that we said we weren't going to do, God has turned our hearts to do that exact thing. When you look back at the paragraph explaining why we didn't want to adopt or have any more children, every single reason was because of something selfish that we didn't want to sacrifice. When we made the decision not to adopt, we never one time asked God to show us if that was His will for us. We just wanted what we wanted...a comfortable life where now our kids were self-sufficient and we could continue to pursue our wants and we just really thought that raising another child just didn't fit into that equation. So guess what, the traveling I despised so much, we're going to have to travel approximately 2 1/2 days just one way (air and ground travel) to pick-up our little girl. We'll stay for 7 days in a land that is not gifted with lots of luxury hotels for our accommodations. We'll be at a guest house and in some seasons depending upon when we go, we may not have electricity every day and will very seldom have warm, not to mention hot water. We'll have to travel back another 2 days to bring our sweet baby home. The funny thing in all of that is I am okay and actually excited about that day....the day that I get to meet her face-to-face and hold her in my arms. In short, yes, we could have chose to adopt a child from the United States but if I did that would I be obedient to this call on my life. I wholeheartedly believe that this adoption is just the beginning to where God will take our family as it relates to a nation that has over 4 million orphans. I believe adopting our daughter will forever bind us to this nation. Every time I look in her face, it will be impossible for me not to remember all of the other children who are left behind. It will make it impossible for me to forget about all of the mothers and fathers who battle with the thought of relinquishing their child(ren) because they don't have the basic necessities to provide like clean drinking water, bread, and four walls and a roof to protect their child. It is for them that I will have to fight. The difference now is that we have exchanged our will for God's Will. Thank you Lord for helping me to learn to give up what I think in my life is good, for what you know in my life is BEST.
Peace and blessings to you as you discover all that God has for your life,