Only God could write a story this beautiful. Only God could orchestrate events, move hearts and mountains. ONLY GOD!!
Nearly 2 years ago… (is that even possible???) I saw a beautiful little boy and he stole my heart. I look at waiting kids and pray over them, follow some of them as their moms and dads bring them home; but this little guy, he was different. I could not forget him. I waited and waited for someone to claim him. Day after day, his profile remained listed, waiting for his family. Day after day, it became more clear that I was looking at MY son. I prayed, I agonized over him. We already had 6 kids. We had $0 in savings, no equity in our home and raising the 6 kids we have rarely left anything over. Then there was the “small” fact that my husband was DONE with adding to our family…but God. God drove me to Himself and into His word as I sought Him. He hounded me, everywhere I looked was adoption. I couldn’t talk to my sweet husband about the deepest desires of my heart without alienating him further. He really was done and I understood, but I couldn’t understand why this desire would not go away. It was making me crazy. I pleaded with God to either take the desire away or to change Scott’s heart and then I got quiet and I sought Him with all my heart. I listened to every sermon I could get my hands on when I was in the car and when I got home I committed to digging deep into His word. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. I wanted His will more than anything. I asked Scott to please pray with me over this and to please understand that I did NOT want to pressure him, I just wanted to be able to share what was on my heart. He softened and listened and I did not pressure him, I just shared and prayed for God’s direction. Things got more serious and I could see Scott’s heart changing. We met at Starbucks and talked about Shawn. Earlier that day, Scott said he searched an address in maps and it kept taking him to Shawn’s birth country by mistake. :) He thought that was more than just a coincidence. After 3 months, he came to me with a Valentine’s gift. He had prayed and studied and met with our Pastor. He announced that he was ready to adopt this precious boy and that he had complete peace and was committing to him with nothing but excitement. ONLY GOD!
We both knew our situation going into this adoption and we both knew that God would have to prepare our hearts, orchestrate the timing and provide everything we needed to bring our son home. The first miracle was both of us saying, “Yes” to this boy and the second came in the form of two checks. We needed a certain amount of money to even commit to “Shawn” and almost to the dollar, the Lord provided it! Amazing! Then, our precious cousin, who has had so much heartbreak and loss to endure, gifted her entire adoption fund to us. Love poured out on us. We were blown away by their generosity and sacrifice. Then conflict broke out in our son’s country. I was glued to the tv awaiting any scrap of information, praying that it would resolve quickly and without great loss of life. I’d lie awake at night, feeling the fear creep into my heart and Scott, my once reluctant husband, was now my biggest support. He would remind me of truth and settle me down. He is always just what I need. We decided that we would keep going until the Lord slammed the door firmly shut. So we moved forward until our adoption process came to a hault. Laws regarding international adoption were changing and we were caught in a “gray area”. (Yay for us!!) No one I spoke to would even consider taking on our adoption. They would not do it outside of an adoption agency. We were faced with the prospect of adding nearly $20K to our adoption fees to use an agency. We finally found an agency that would do our home study and we were so relieved! We had a few hiccups and delays and the time lost was so frustrating for me but I knew that God would work it all out in His perfect timing.
Then Murray… Murray was listed on RR at the same time Shawn was listed. Because he was from Shawn’s orphanage, I followed him to see if he would find a family too. When I first spoke to another RR mom about Shawn, she was quick to point me to Murray. She had many wonderful things to say about him, but the thing that stood out was that he loved to take pictures. I’m a photographer and that made me smile. Because we were 100% sure about Shawn, I didn’t even entertain the thought of another little guy, but I watched over Murray and was thrilled when a sweet mama claimed him. I was so happy for him and for her. When that adoption didn’t work out, I was heartbroken for them both. Things changed that summer when I saw a picture of Murray and Shawn together, looking out of the orphanage window. The thought that we could make them brothers came flooding into my mind. I talked with Scott about it. We knew that we could not leave Murray behind and were praying over him when another family claimed him. I was happy for him but it was a little bitter sweet. I felt protective over this little guy! A few weeks passed and I found out that the family could not proceed with his adoption. It was crystal clear, we would commit to Murray too. Our yes was without hesitation and it was a really easy decision to come to. We would add about $5K to our adoption fees with Murray’s adoption, but we knew that God was clearly leading us and He would make a way. Months went by and Murray’s original adoption grant was again available. God was amazing us at every turn! We had successful fundraisers and people loved on us lavishly. We are so grateful to all of you!!
Our homestudy was complete, most of our dossier is in the boys’ country and we are down to waiting on one final paper to complete it. It was looking like we would travel in March and with that thought, I was working overtime to take every photography job and cranking out Etsy orders so that we could make it to our goal. I was so, so tired. I was stressed and overwhelmed and I didn’t like who I was becoming. I knew what was happening, in the craziness of my life, I was not spending time with Him. I was trying to do it in my own strength. I told Scott, “I just want to take out a loan, or pray that God provides this last chunk. I am so tired and it would be such a relief to have that behind us so that we can focus on getting the boys.”. A couple of days ago I cried to my sweet mother-in-law about all of this. She has been such a great support to us throughout this process and always has encouragement and wisdom for me. She told me that she thought I started out the adoption trusting that the Lord would provide it all and now it seemed I was trying to do it on my own. She was right. I cried and told her that it wasn’t that I didn’t trust the Lord; I knew He could do it, it was that I didn’t feel worthy for Him to do that for us. I was a mess. Why would He choose to do that for me?? I knew I needed Him. I had, once again, hit the end of myself and I was worn out. Just days later, Scott called me. The gist of the conversation was that we have an unexpected check coming in January. WHAT??!! “Want to guess how much?”, Scott asked me. I started crying big, fat tears because I already knew. It would be the amount we needed to almost complete the adoption, I just knew it. AND IT WAS!!!
Grace. The thing about grace is this- God doesn’t love us because we are good nor does he love me only when I’m doing all the right things. In fact, nothing I do changes His love for me. He is constant and He is faithful. When I am “good” He loves me. When I am my worst, He loves me. Grace is Him loving me and I’ve done nothing to deserve it. Grace upon grace upon grace He has poured out on us. HE IS SO GOOD ALL THE TIME! He loves me because of who HE IS, not because of who I am. THANKS BE TO GOD!!! I have known Him as long as I can remember and yet I still can’t wrap my head around His great grace. I just know that I am so thankful for His grace in my life and the more I experience it, the more I love Him. THIS IS ALL GOD. HE GETS ALL THE GLORY FOR THIS MIRACLE. He is the author of this beautiful story and I am so thankful, so overwhelmed and so humbled to be part of it. If you feel unworthy, take heart, Jesus loves you. He has made a way for you. We don’t have to be anything, because He is everything. Just cling to Him. To those of you who long to adopt but don’t see a way, remember:
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
We are living, breathing proof of His faithfulness. We are a testimony to His provision and we are not alone. If He calls you, He will equip you.
Hold on boys, we are coming for you!! I miss you both, even though I haven’t yet met you. This Christmas is different. I know you’re coming and I wish you were here now. I wish you weren’t spending another Christmas without a family. I can’t wait to love on both of you and to make sure that every day for the rest of your lives, you know that you are loved, wanted and cherished.