Now that you’ve heard we’re adding another to our gaggle of children, you might find yourself wondering why. Let me be clear. Adoption was our first choice for our fourth child. There are so many factors that influence a family’s decision to adopt. Our reason is because God put it on our hearts. There are no underlying secrets that we’re not telling you. We don’t have fertility issues. As far as we know, we could lead a very Duggar-esque lifestyle, churning out little Gordon-Phillips clones all the live long day. We don’t think that we have “aged out” of having babies. Many of our friends are just now starting families at the age of 40-ish. I don’t hate pregnancy so much that I would prefer to adopt. I certainly did not love many, many aspects of pregnancy, but that is not our reason for adopting. The reason I want to dispel any of these ideas is because I think many, many people see adoption as a last resort, when, in fact, that is just not the case with so many dear families that I have come to know via the magic of the internet.
God started planting the desire in me to adopt very early in life. I knew a few families in our small town who adopted or fostered children. I wasn’t particularly close to them, but I was still very intrigued by the idea of adoption. I was so intrigued, in fact, that I did a middle school research paper on foster care and then went on to do my senior project for my Accelerated English class on juvenile delinquents who had been removed from their homes. Part of the project was to take the class on a field trip, and I scheduled mine to go to a home for juvenile delinquents in the area. I remember the guide telling us how the houses were run and how foster parents lived on campus to care for the kids, and I thought, “I want to be a part of this some day.” Fast forward a few years. I met this cute guy named Kevin, and we became inseparable. As young college students, we volunteered time with The Palmer Home for Children, a Christian residential care campus for orphans in Columbus, Mississippi. We “adopted” kids there for Christmas and delivered gifts to them. We have continued this tradition with our biological kids each year through various organizations, “adopting” a foster child or family for the holidays.
For a while, the warm fuzzy feeling of helping out a family in need for the holidays was enough, although foster care and adoption still lingered in the back of my mind. These were subjects brought up from time to time with the conclusion of, “Maybe. Some day.” Not long after our third child was born, though, God started speaking louder. It was subtle at first…maybe a road side billboard or a little blip on the radio when I was changing stations. Adoption. Foster care. Orphans. Need. By spring of 2012, I was a complete mess over orphans. God had broken my heart in every way possible for them. I read book after book on orphan care, memoirs, and blogs, and I cried almost daily. I was probably not a very fun person there for a while. God continued pushing me, “Finally, you’re getting it,” he’d say, “but I need you to do more than just see it.” It seemed that everything around me pointed to adoption. Sermons in church or songs on the radio all told me it was my family that was meant to make a difference. One particular Sunday, a couple returned to our church from China to share their mission. This couple (they were not young by any means!) had rented an apartment and partnered with an orphanage to foster babies. Babies, plural. Several babies. As we left church, I was crying (again, surprise!) and telling Kevin, “These people are OLD, and they’re taking care of 6 babies. We can handle one more!” We were both in agreement that we should do something, but the question was timing. We had a 2 ½ year old, and 8 year old, and a 10 year old, and life was certainly not slowing down or getting easier, especially with news that Kevin’s office was being relocated to downtown Chicago. This meant a much longer commute and far less flexibility for him, and for me it meant Mommy had better start setting up some kickin’ carpools to make all the kid transportation magic happen. As it goes with life, things got worse before they got better. I continued my research of foster care and adoption through that fall, and Kevin’s work schedule and commute grew to what we now refer to as simply “horrendous.” Between my crazy color coded calendar and the increasing demands of Kevin’s job, it looked like the possibility of adoption was a very distant dream.
That God. He never shut up. I tried having a rational “thought conversation” with him about how this would never work and asked him to please take it off my heart. Remember the subtle hints…billboards, radio excerpts? Ok, coincidence, right? So then, God got a little more personal. He brought it into our church with the old people in China. When I asked him to stop, did he stop? No. He brought it right into my home. In an episode of Bubble Guppies. Not even kidding. It’s called Bubble Puppy, and it’s about adopting a puppy. They said the word adoption no less than 6,000 times. Adoption and orphans also kept coming up in my Facebook feed from friends’ posts or likes. People on Facebook would rave about a book they’d read and loved…adoption related. Got it, God. I got it.
Even though the timing wasn’t right according to us, God pushed and said it was. In May of 2013, we sent in our application to an adoption agency.
Luke 12:48 “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
I will never forget the peace that came over me when I submitted that application.
(More on our adoption journey coming soon!)