After we adopted our 7th child (making 10 total children that carry our name!), we both strongly felt this would not be our last adoption.
We sought God's plan, asking HIM more than once the path we should take to the next child. We knew large families were not typical, but for us, it worked. The state system would no longer allow us to adopt within their system, because they have a number requirement that we had already reached. It forced us to pursue an international adoption.
So we began, in the later part of the fall, 2008. My heart has always hurt for the African people, due to the wars, poverty and illness that was rampant in that country. I prayed, specifically, for Liberia, feeling a deep connection to their people. I researched, felt the tug to begin, and we discussed it with our oldest children that holiday season. By January 2009 Mike and I had a plan to begin the process, and officially made our first moves.
Liberia had closed their adoption program.
Was this a closed door? Should we walk toward another path?
Our options were limited. We had 10 children (although just 7 at home) and we were nearing "old age" in many adoption circles. Who would allow us to bring another child into our family?
We started with a homestudy for international adoption, hitting a brick wall in the summer of '09. Many months of paperwork was for naught, and we were sadly forced to start over, losing the first half of that year. In the adoption world, rules do not always seem fair. And time stretches out in front of yearning hearts, compounding the ache for a child.
I wanted to give up several times. It was so hard to stay focused, especially when many around us couldn't understand our desire for another child. Were we being selfish? We searched our hearts and continued on our journey.
In January, 2010, the birth family of one of our adopted children notified us that another sibling was coming to a birthmom who was incapable of parenting, so we switched our plan to include the adoption of this half sibling. Nursery ready, papers waiting to be signed, lawyers hired for us and the birth mom, everything in place! We were excited, ready to welcome a new little girl, when the out of town judge allowed the birthmom to take the baby home. (She has since lost her parental rights and the baby girl will be placed through the state system after all.) We were devastated at our loss, fearful for the terrible life we felt this baby was destined for, and took time to lick our wounds. I was shaken in my faith, hurt beyond my understanding. Just what was God leading us toward?
As painful as it was to dissect a nursery and bury our adoption dreams, we still felt someone was missing from our lives. Who? How? When? Impossible to know. We stepped through the open door again, making vulnerable our aching hearts. We hid our tears, fought through the pain, and continued on with the international plan.
One of the hardest times of my life...but God comforted me through a beautiful friend who also knew deep loss, and helped me refocus our plan. Ethiopia would allow us to adopt, and as we committed to MORE paperwork, we studied and pictured the child/children who would be coming home to us. It soothed my heart, and I pursued the plan with determination renewed.
Fast forward (although it felt extremely slow and discouraging during this time)to November 2010. God had been working in our hearts to be a part of an orphans life. We had been lead to support a child in Uganda, Africa, and a teacher in that area, also. Although small to us, it felt good to be able to begin making a difference in a country so close to our hearts. We prepared health care packets for Haiti refugees, and found items that would benefit struggling orphanages. It felt good, but still left us thinking there was something more in Africa waiting for us.
We sought an ophan to support through the holidays, but God lead us to the boy who had been waiting for us all along.
Gborlee was born in November 2008. Exactly the time that we first sought God's plan for our lives in regards to adoption. We just didn't know it until he was 2 years old. Coincidence? I don't think so.
He has already become a part of our lives as we reach forward to bring him home. We asked about another child in January, Mohammed, that had just come into care, but he had a family already seeking him. I continued to pray, preparing for Gborlee to come home.
Last week, we got word that Mo was now available too, so we quickly knew it was an answer to our prayers!
We are to be blessed with two!
Maybe all of this history is boring to my readers. It has been a wild ride for us! I know until I have these boys in my arms, I will be fearful about it all actually coming to pass! We have suffered loss and are a bit shy to shout it out from the top of the mountain like we want to! And now, our Ethiopian angel will be coming to us as a grandchild! Scott and Britt are walking their adoption path towards a child waiting for them in Ethiopia, so God, in HIS infinite wisdom, is blessing us in a different way. God is good! HIS timing is perfect!
God, in HIS plan, is blessing us again, with angels from Africa. We couldn't be happier! This will go down as the longest "pregnancy" for our family, but the results are simply amazing.
I wonder just what God has in store for our family in the days ahead?
What are you asking HIM for today?