So, I haven’t blogged for a while. It’s not because I haven’t had time. It’s not because I didn’t have anything to say. It’s not because there’s been nothing going on. It’s because I’ve had no clue how to put it all into words. But, I believe with all of my heart that God wants me to share what He has been doing in our lives “under the hood” these past few months.
Today marks a significant moment in my mental calendar. It’s the last day in 2014, but mostly it’s the last day we are allowed to be on the adoption waiting list. I have mixed emotions. We started this whole adoption journey back in May and it has been the most grueling time in our marriage and in our lives, hands down (thus far, I should also add, since I’m sure harder things await us). On the surface all it feels like is piles and piles of endless paperwork and research that makes your brain hurt and your whole world feel like it’s dependent upon your printer’s ability to scan in documents and spew more to fill out. The whole time you feel like you’re trying to convince people that you deserve to be a parent and you’re not a creep. And then you have thoughts like…
why does God let some people have kids who neglect them?
why is it so hard to adopt, but so easy to have an abortion?
why can’t I have a baby when 900 are aborted every day at Planned Parenthood alone?
will there be a little person on the other side of this HUGE wall of legalities?
why are we doing this again????
what did we get ourselves into?
will all this be worth it?
But, again, this was mostly surface stuff still, with some of those thoughts beginning to sink down to a deeper level. Every adoption book will tell you about all of these major themes, but what they won’t be able tell you is how God’s is going to specifically and radically change your life.
I finally started to feel like I could hope for a little person when all of the major paperwork was done in September. But, by the time mid-November rolled around, I knew we were almost out of time if we wanted to be able to adopt in time to leave for Asia Pacific in July 2015. My heart started growing a bit cynical. I knew we had hundreds of people praying for us, but I didn’t really know what God was doing and we’d heard nothing from the agency. I felt like He was just toying with us.
Then things started happening. First, my sister told me she was pregnant. Honestly, I kinda melted down in the Hobby Lobby parking lot–not because I wasn’t happy for her, but because I had been wrestling with God, wondering if He would answer our prayers, and this was the first I’d heard from Him. It didn’t compute to me. Did He think this was funny? Did He like torturing me by giving the people closest to me the things I’d always wanted? My sinful response was “Fine, I hope that all of these people realize that you don’t answer prayer!!” Yeah, that actually what I thought. Majorly wrong perspective. Then, God firmly prompted me, “Stop, Grace. Look at Me. Right now. Stop. I am here, and I’ve promised never to leave you. I am right here. Stop looking to the future. Look at Me.” All of these emotions and frustrations that I’d let pile up came face to face with the God of the universe.
Look at Me. Right now. I AM with you.
A very personal God was reminding me of a indispensable truth. He’s promised to with His people. The presence of God is what I needed most at that moment, and what I will always need. I don’t think I can make that moment sound as profound as it really was in my heart, but it was exactly what I needed. I still had questions, I still had a bit of heartache, and I still didn’t know what He would do, but He was there, which changes everything.
But 5 days later, the second thing happened. I started counting. Something was strange. God has a sense of humor and a way of radically changing plans. I was pregnant. Actually, when I was melting down at Hobby Lobby just a few days before, confused and angry, I was already pregnant. We didn’t know what to do! I could count. I was due in July! Obviously, we couldn’t go to Asia Pacific (AP) then. What about adoption??? The day after we found out, we received a HUGE grant–large enough to cover an entire adoption. Talk about mind-blowing!!! Our brains were overwhelmed, but we both still felt a desire to adopt and God seemed to confirm that when we got the grant email that day. Our hearts still had this beautiful undercurrent that I wasn’t expecting. God had successfully woven a thread into our hearts for that orphan–and it was still beating! I was surprised since I’d assumed getting pregnant would somehow override it.
At Thanksgiving we told our families about the new life God had blessed us with. Meanwhile, we didn’t know how God would rearrange our departure to Asia Pacific. They didn’t have a spot for November yet, or we’d need someone to swap with us. And then we managed to convince the adoption agency to let us stay on their list until I was 12 weeks, with the understanding that they’d have to tell expectant mom’s about our pregnancy. That same week, we had a scare and thought we were losing the baby. We spent hours on our knees, praying, being utterly unable to change anything, whether it was the adoption, our pregnancy, or leaving for AP.
Then, more things happened. Yes, more. We had several possible profile showings for adoption, each requiring prayer and consideration. Simultaneously, the field of AP asked us to consider coming in March. We decided to keep all doors open and let God shut which ever ones He decided. Another rush began as we started gathering visa paperwork to scan and mail–physicals, declarations of conduct, every transcript we’d ever received, etc.
So, as of yesterday, God decided to close the “official” door for adoption.
But, we are by no means “done” with adoption. Both of our hearts have been opened to the world of little ones. People’s lives are messy, people’s histories are messy, but this by no means exempts us from opening our hearts and our homes to those in need, especially little ones. Before, I would have probably been hesitant to invite a messy situation into our lives, but I realize now that an environment of love and care can change someone’s life. God invites messy every day as He works with each one of us. I have no clue what’s ahead, but maybe one day God will ask us to care for a kid who just needs some love for a few days or weeks. I’m so much more aware of how important it is pay attention to little ones. Everything around them impacts their world.
We also learned that money is not a problem for God. If He wants to provide for something, He can do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could ever ask or think. I still can’t believe He did that in such a bold and robust way. It was like huge billboards saying that He could do whatever He wanted.
So, you see, God has radically changed us. And not just our lives, but everyone around us too, as so many of you have prayed alongside us and loved us through thick and thin. We’ve wept with some of you, gone a little crazy asking you for wisdom and advice when it was all up in the air, and begged you to pray with us when we had no clue. We still have no clue, but we know if we are His children…
He is the Hero — He is with us — He loves us — He cares for the orphan and the widow — He made us to need Him and each other –We love and grow as we pray together — He always answers prayers (often very different than our original plans) — and He is daily changing our hearts to look more like Jesus.
P.S. If you want to keep up with our current plans and don’t get our monthly emails, sign up on the sidebar. Or, if you want to get our prayer updates–they come out as needs arise–shoot us and email and we’ll add you! We currently have 24 people on our prayer updates and would love to have 100 before we head to AP.