A Chinese legend says that when a child is born there is an invisible red thread that connects him or her to the people who are destined to be part of his or her life. While we cannot see the thread, over time its effects are seen as people become connected and their lives are interwoven.
We don't believe in legends, but we most certainly believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is calling us to the ministry of adoption, whereby our lives will be interwoven forever with a little girl from China. This is the story of our family's journey to our new daughter, known only by God at this point in time, but known in our hearts as one we will call our own, for we believe that "God sets the lonely in families" (Psalm 68:6).
The journey to our daughter in China started even before we knew it in our finite minds, for God had adoption planned for our family long before we made the decision to adopt. Yet I will say that it took Jason and I several years to listen and obey the Lord in this calling. At one point Jason would be ready to adopt and I wouldn't, and the next season I'd be ready to adopt and Jason wouldn't be...and so the story went. Then towards the end of 2011, I began doing a lot more research on international adoption, agencies, and countries. Jason and I talked and prayed A LOT about whether or not God was leading us to adopt a daughter. Then on a night I'll never forget, January 19, 2012, Jason sat me down at the dining room table and told me point blank that he was not ready for another child for a variety of reasons. I was stunned...sad...disappointed...angry. Yet I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could not force my desires on my husband...if we were going to embrace another child into our family, it would need to be a joint decision that we were both 110% committed to. So despite my feelings, I "closed the book" on adoption and didn't speak another word to Jason about it, though all the while voicing my heartfelt desires and feelings unto the Lord.
Fast forward to June 22, 2012. I was preparing to leave the next morning for the 10+ hour drive with the three kiddos to go see my family in Ohio, including my very sick mom who was presently spending the night in an inpatient hospice unit because she was not stable at home due to the ravages of advanced metastatic salivary gland cancer. Jason told me we needed to talk and the tone of his voice made me concerned...had he lost his job? Did we have to move? Did someone die? I had no idea what he wanted to talk about! So we sat down on the sofa, and he told me that he'd been fighting God on something and yet he knew it was something God wanted us to do. And then he said six of the most beautiful words to my ears: "I'm ready for kid number four!" I WAS SPEECHLESS! I honestly had no idea that this is what he wanted to tell me because I'd put adoption out of my mind, though still heavy on my heart. We hugged, we cried, we prayed...it was a beautiful moment as we surrendered to the Lord our hearts, our fears, our plans, our desires, our family, our future.
It is now the end of October, and so much has happened in the last 3+ months. We have been blessed to work with a WONDERFUL social worker from Lifeline Children's Services (based in our beloved Birmingham, Alabama!) to complete our homestudy...a series of interviews together as a couple, as a family, and as individuals, to help determine our readiness to adopt internationally. We were fingerprinted numerous times. We completed countless hours of training--online seminars and reading books and articles on topics ranging from how to deal with prejudice to the attachment and bonding process with an adopted child. We recently submitted our paperwork for immigration purposes...and will soon be fingerprinted yet again. And we've paid portions of the overall fees that go towards adoption, which will be nearly $30,000 when all is said and done. The reason I share this staggering figure on the cost of adoption is three-fold: God is bigger than any amount of money and while this figure seems overwhelming to us at times, we know that our God is greater and what He has called us to do, He will accomplish regardless of the dollar figure attached to it! Second, our daughter, wherever she is in the vast land of China right now, is worth way more than any amount of money. God loves her, has a plan for her, and we feel blessed that one day--hopefully soon--we will be united with her and become her forever family! Third, we are in the process of developing a fundraiser for people that may be interested in partnering financially with us in our adoption journey. More to come on this in the coming months!!!
We know that the journey ahead with be full of ups-and-downs...that's just how life is! But we are also confident that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). We covet your prayers: for our marriage to grow even stronger through this process; for our three precious biological children, Nathan (8), Shelby (6), and Andrew (4) as they prepare to welcome another sibling into our family; for our patience and wisdom as we walk through the coming months of paperwork and waiting for a referral; and for our daughter in China...God knows who and where she is, so we entrust her to Him to nurture her and provide for her.