I have written this is my head hundreds of times over the last few weeks. I wanted it to sound exactly right and then I sat back and thought about who I wanted to impress. I wanted to make it look like we had it all together and knew exactly where this was going and that our decisions have been clear.... BUT the truth is we are MESSY and IN PROCESS but... but... we are IN PROCESS with the ONE whose HEART is ADOPTION! We ARE taking steps to bring home two little darlings from Ghana!! This may be no surprise to some. Many people respond with "of course you are, you stayed in an orphanage in Ghana; how could you not bring one back?" And while it is true that is was a very emotional experience for us both; it was also extremely FULL of challenges and brokenness. I found myself cowering away from the "title" of orphan. I wondered why it bothered me so much to call these children "orphans" when I has used that word hundreds of times before... and then it hit me.... I KNEW their NAMES and their FACES and I held their BODIES, and gave them MEDICINE and I heard their PRAYERS to their Creator. The title of "orphan" burned so deeply because these kids were so much more than the circumstances they found themselves in. Halfway through our trip, the Lord whispered to Jeremy... "Move in. You ARE to be an earthly father to one of these children." It was SIMPLE but oh so CLEAR. (Notice the "one" child Jeremy heard.... later as this process goes along and we gain custody of the girls, I will tell you their stories and how that one turned into TWO). As we laid in bed with red dirt stains still on our feet, the Lord confirmed in us both that this beautiful place would FOREVER be a part of us. Jeremy didn't have to do a lot of convincing for me.... that may be an understatement.... I LONG TO BE A MOTHER to a child who has no one to call Mom.
While we were in Ghana, we briefly researched the adoption process to just see what it entailed. The only thing our research led to was questions and discouragement..... minimum of 25 years old.... 21 years older than the child.... Lord, we thought you said MOVE IN?? and HE did but HE also gave us this word the next morning through the Jesus Calling devotion...(January 6)
"I AM ABLE to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine. Come to me with positive expectations, knowing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish. Ask My Spirit to control your mind, so that you can think great thoughts of Me. Do not be discouraged by the fact that many of your prayers are yet unanswered. Time is a trainer, teaching you to wait upon Me, to trust Me in the dark. The more extreme your circumstances, the more likely you are to see My POWER and GLORY at work in the situation. Instead of letting difficulties draw you into worrying, try to view them as setting the scene for My glorious intervention. Keep your eyes and your mind wide open to all that I am doing in your life."
o.k. God! was pretty much our response that morning. An overwhelming peace washed over us. Notice, what He did NOT say.... HE didn't say this would be on our timeline or that this will be easy... In fact, it may be EXTREME! Immediately after returning from Ghana, I was plagued with some terrible nightmares. I went night after night waking up terrified and unable to go back to sleep. After talking to a sweet mentor and fellow adoptive momma of 6, she said let the "spritual warfare" begin, girl, you are following the heart of God. Did you expect Satan to like it?" Well... :) After confiding in my small group of girls, I had warriors praying for my nightmares... and to date... they have not returned. PRAISE Jesus!!
After returning home I had my momma play devil's advocate and tell me all the reasons not to do this... (for those who dont' know, my mom and step-dad have adopted 3 kids from Guatemala and I am one of nine children in a mixed family). These are some of the things she came up with...
1. our age
2. married for only 7 months at this point, need time for US
3. both in school with an intention for Jeremy to go back to school for possibly 4 more years!
4. desire to travel the world and go on more mission trips (the idea that it's harder with children)
5. money (or lack of according to the world's standards)
and at the end of it the overwhelming thought in our head was yes, BUT we can't come up with ONE biblical reason. And that was that.... We jumped in 110% and never looked back.
So....where are we today?? We have completed our application process and we are working on our homestudy paperwork and an online adoption class :) more learning, but this time I can't get enough!!! We are looking for a house in Knoxville and praying for wisdom as we put down offers. It is one thing to consider a home for two people and a whole different thing for 4 :) AHH!!! I can't wait to hear those little feet running down the hall, see their artwork decorate my fridge, and feed those little mouths!!
Jeremy graduates from college on MAY 13th and we will be moving back to Knoxville shortly after. Jeremy will work on the business side with my dad this summer and most likely start the MBA/JD program at UT in August. I will be completing my final clinical hours in Knoxville from May to July and will graduate from nurse practitioner school in August!!
~for the girls :)
~wisdom, clarity, and direction from the ONE who gives us life
~strength to finish school out strong
~that whoever touches our adoption process would be filled with favor from the Lord and that worldly guidelines and policies would not overcome the POWER of our JESUS!
~ a possible future nurse practitioner job for me and that I would be planted wherever I am supposed to be
Please walk this journey with us. We can't do it alone!