When Chris and I talk to other couples who have adopted or are considering adoption, it is so fun to see how the Lord brings us all into this path in such unique ways. Just as no life story is identical, so too no adoption story is identical. Some choose to adopt because it is not a viable option to have biological children and adoption is their only means of knowing the joys of parenting. Some adopt because of an inexplicable heartfelt calling they have had since a child themselves. Some want to adopt because they feel the Bible mandates it. For us, we would say our adoption story is built on all three of these experiences.
Chris and I know that we have both individually had the heart to adopt since a young age. The Lord has always stirred in us a heart for children! When I was a young girl, my childhood hero was Gladys Aylward, a missionary to China who inspired me with her story of adopting and caring for many orphans. My dream was to someday run an orphanage myself. My sister and I would spend hours discussing the ins and outs of what our orphanage would look like. As I grew, my dream became a little more realistic, but my heart for children never changed.
Some of the more poignant memories I have of ministering to children include mission’s trips to China, Egypt, Belize and Honduras, working with local orphanages. These special visits led me to believe the only children who needed adopting were overseas. Over the past few years, working as an ER nurse, I have encountered many stories, often tragic, of hurting, parent-less children here in the United States. Each time I see a child with no mother or father, my heart is broken and I want to adopt every single one then and there, but of course that isn’t feasible. Instead, the Lord reminds me of his promise that he would someday use me to mother children whose biological mothers could not.
While Chris’ experiences with adoption have been different from my own, he would say he is no less eager to adopt than myself. He, too, knows that God has put adoption on his heart ever since he was a child. He has always been drawn to kids. Chris has been involved in Kid’s ministry at our local church for almost ten years now, and he is such a phenomenal teacher! He can make the shy kids open up, the energetic ones calm down and listen, and the sad ones happy. He has such a special way with children. Chris was also blessed with an opportunity to work overseas at an orphanage in Ethiopia, and, like me, it confirmed in his heart the calling to be an extension of the Lord’s hand of blessing in some little one’s life.
When we married over four years ago, we knew that adoption would become a part of our family story. We just did not know when or how. During these years, we see God’s hand quietly in our lives, molding and shaping us to prepare for adoption. He has reminded us day after day, year after year, that he is our Heavenly Father and he first adopted us. He called us out of a spirit of slavery and fear and gave us new life in the spirit as children of God (Romans 8:15). All this time, as God has been impressing on our hearts the miraculous story of our own adoption, he has been subtly reminding us that he gave us the calling to adopt someone else.
Two years ago, we were in a special season in our marriage when we knew the Lord was telling us it was time to start preparing to grow our family. We uncertainly started “trying” for a biological child, as it seemed to be the natural course of things. Concurrently, we began to put the pieces in place for adoption as well. As each month passed, having a biological child seems less plausible and adoption seems more certain. And in this we are happy! We always knew God had called us to adopt and the gradual process of it becoming a reality has been a beautiful way for the Lord to further prepare our hearts for this ministry.
I think Chris and I both assumed that when adoption became a reality, that we would be adopting internationally. But as we have delved into this process the Lord has really opened our minds and hearts to the opportunity to adopt from the United States. In particular, he has given us deep compassion for the birth mother of our child, who courageously chose adoption for her baby in the hopes of giving her little one a stable, healthy family to join. We are so privileged to be that eager family.