Our hearts have been on a journey to this place for longer than we have known. Once God revealed this to us, we just knew without a doubt that our hearts and our family were created for this.
God has blessed our family beyond measure. Honestly, it would seem that we have it all. We have a wonderful love story, we have 4 healthy children. A beautiful home in a wonderful, safe Midwestern community, A successful business. God has led us as we have have triumphed through our own personal heartbreak and He held the wheel that helped us navigate our children through the stress and adjustment of a blended family. We have laughed and cried and prayed our way to this wonderful place of peace in our lives. It would seem strange perhaps then, that we would each feel this longing for something more. Not in a way of needing something else, not discontentment....but that God might HAVE something else for us? An opportunity to serve, to enrich, to bless, to be blessed? Maybe any of those, maybe all of them, maybe more that we can even imagine.
I have always loved babies. Anyone who has known me for even a nano-second knows this. Adding a little one to our life is something I have dreamed of and at the same time have known would not happen. I have spent the sweet six years of our marriage trying to come to terms with the fact that my baby days are over. There are times I would even try and convince myself that we were actually better off NOT having another child, a 'love child'. After all, our children are all wonderful and healthy and happy and bright and fun and most of all....INDEPENDENT. We are almost freeeee. I must be nuts to want to do this all over again. Steve would certainly be nuts for doing it over again, considering the age he has on me ;-) I convinced myself that what I really had longed for was the chance to experience babies with Steve. I really felt like I had gotten to the bottom of what I thought my heart was longing for. After all, I had , in times of great bravery, mentioned this possibility to Steve and although he never came right out and said NO WAY....He was never really jazzed about the idea. I wouldn't want him to go along with it for my sake, so each time...I dropped it and went to God and asked Him to please take this from me again. I love God. I love the way I can take my every thought to Him and be comforted by knowing He gets me. He made me after all.....no one gets me like Him. I feel such sweet comfort and safety in just sitting in silence with Him. This topic sent me to Him many, many times. So I knew He knew my heart and my longing and my regret at not sharing this dream with my husband. So I prayed that He would help me and give my heart peace with no more babies. Every now and again though, when I was sure this was dealt with......It kept coming up. Maybe from one of the kids mentioning 'It would be fun to have a little brother or sister' and then I would inevitably say...'well, ask dad' and dad would say ' It would be kind of nice to have a little girl around, Ill admit that'. Then my heart would set to dreaming again. I would have to ask, often with tears just near the surface...'Why do you say things like that? Are you maybe a little bit serious?'
What I didn't know, was my husband had been carrying around some of his own thoughts of us sharing this experience together. So a few months back when this topic came up again. He leveled with me and explained that he had been thinking about it a lot more lately and couldn't really put his finger on it, but that life is about more than all he thought it was before. He is done chasing a career and focusing on building his net worth and preparing a nest egg. He doesn't define himself that way anymore. He told me that he knew he was getting older and people would think it crazy, but If I wanted a baby...lets do it. He kind of liked the idea of taking everything he has learned and trying to be an even better father this time around. He feels like his priorities are in a better place. Maybe he had some of his own baby dreams.
I was SHOCKED. I thought for sure he was giving me a few days to let it all sink in and yet secretly hoping I would come to the conclusion that it wasn't really a great idea after all. But he kept bringing it up, even suggesting names. It was kind of starting to scare me. SERIOUSLY?????? COULD IT BE?????
I started to really try and get my mind around, what this change would really bring for us. I quickly discovered that having a baby around doesn't scare me, toddlers, don't scare me, teenagers ( well they do a little) but we are doing it. We have GREAT kids and chances are, we would have another great kid. Doesn't scare me. I prayed and asked God to help me see clearly. He knew my fears....health related really. I'm over 35 and everyone knows the risks. Steve would have to have 'a reversal' and that added another element of un-known to the so many other un-knowns. That was the part I really could not get past. I even mentioned to Steve, if we could be guaranteed a no-problem, safe pregnancy, that would happen quickly and prove 'the reversal' worked....I would so do it. But I couldn't get past the risks. Even though they are not out of this world risks, I couldn't get past them as much as I wanted this. It just didn't feel right. Again and again, things were being shown to me that re-affirmed the things that concerned me. I was really ready to shut this down once and for all. As much as I wanted this, it just wasn't sitting right with me.
I have learned in my life how to seek and watch for God's leading and this was no exception. Something just wasn't right.
Then one night, Steve wanted to read me something from this book he was reading. Now, Steve has never been much of a reader, other than business related things and Stock News, but I knew he had really plugged into this book and it was changing the way he looked at his life and his values and the way he had always done things. This book had stirred him. He wanted to share this with me. It had moved him so much, that he had to collect himself before he could read it to me. It was about an orphan.
Where I have always had a heart for the needy and the poor and down-trodden, I never really considered adoption because A- we were done with having more kids right? And B- if we were to have more kids, why not have one of our own? I always wanted a baby. I didn't realize that you can get a baby through these foreign adoptions, I figured they were all older and hard to actually get. When the Haitian earthquake happened, I saw that maybe there was a possibility, but a slight one. After some quick research I discovered the Haitian option was off the table for us anyway because we haven't been married for 10 years. Different countries have all of their own requirements and this was one of Haitis. That story really caught our attention though, like for so many, and we both talked about how we would take them all in if we could. This was not a surprising thought process for me....I am wired like this, I always have been (right dad? )What did surprise me though, was the spark I saw in Steve.
Was God using this time in our lives; Steve's quest for more meaning in his life and my yearning for a child of our own, and the worldwide plight of orphans now on the world stage to show us that maybe this was for us?
We did some research and a lot of praying and felt incredibly led to Ethiopia. I don't know if I can explain it, but it has clearly been a leading. This is not an easy process, it is not a fast process. The more we read, the more questions we asked, the more need we discovered, the more we realized.....maybe God has a miracle in store for our family on the other side of the world. Maybe it is in the experiences we will encounter, maybe it is in the journey, maybe it is in the witness, maybe it is a love like we have never known we had to give, or receive. Maybe it is getting closer to God than we could have ever imagined in this life. Maybe this is His call and maybe He is using the cry of my heart, to fulfill a need and the cry of another heart, on the other side of the world. My longing for a baby may or may not be in Gods plan. Maybe it will be a young toddler or even older. A little girl to add to our brood of boys, may or may not be in Gods plan. Maybe our boys are going to be used by God to help guide and lead and love a younger brother. We have opened up our hearts to whatever it is God has waiting for us. He knows how He designed our hearts for helping and serving and He knows how to use us where He needs us and He knows where He is leading us. We also know how beautifully He can bring all of these things full circle. He alone can take the cry of my heart and the need of a child and serve a bigger purpose than ever could have been imagined in my baby dreams. So now.....we wait and pray and follow.
The beauty of all of this, is we have been so blessed with our children. We know the experience of having our own children. The fact that they are healthy and happy and know Christ is like cake, dessert at the end of the day. Adding to our already awesome family through the miracle of adoption is just like.... EXTRA FROSTING!!!!!!