This blog, for instance, has been a random assortment of our activities -seeming to change focus every few months from wedding planning, to Sunday school crafts, to paper flowers and the start of my Etsy shop, and also our travel adventures. This time it's going to take a different turn and that's to tell the story of our journey to adopt from Africa.
Yup. How cool, right?! We think so. I know right, everyone is bummed to see the posts on paper flowers go, worry not my friends - they will continue to exist and with a vengence as we hope my Etsy store will be a great fundraising source for our mission.
Let's rewind back to our first wedding anniversary. I think the Lord has a funny thing with timing as I honestly think at the exact hour and minute of our anniversary I was utterly overwhelmed with the feeling that I wanted a baby. For those of you that know me, you know I love babies and children, but this time was different. This time it hurt. I can't exactly put into words how it "hurt" but it was so overwhelming that it made me step back and really take some time in prayer to figure out why I was so overcome with this, and in such an unfamiliar way. I started saying things to Andrew, when we were off galavanting in Colonial Williamsburg looking at sheep and horses, etc. you know, all the usual things, about how this would be such a fun place to raise a kid. He agreed, but noted that the timing really wasn't that optimal as he was only a few weeks into Law School - ok, yes, obviously not that optimal. So I tried to squish those feelings away by looking at all of my friends' kids on Facebook, kidding - no I'm not kidding, especially our two year old neice taking Ballerina lessons - I mean COME ON! However, again, for those of you that know me you'll know it's really hard for me to let something go and not get obsessed! I did an OK job, but even when I would bring up the idea of having a kid to Andrew something about it wouldn't feel quite right inside and he would point out, again, that he just spent the last 14 straight hours reading about torts, (whatever they are, some fancy dessert or something.) And I would always agree that the timing wasn't optimal - but I'd be so confused about why my heart really just said "do it" but my mind really said no to having a biological child.
A week later I talked to him again and asked why he thought this was so overwhelming for me, I'd get really emotional about it without warning. Again - for those of you that know me, I didn't even cry on my wedding day, no tears here. But all of the sudden, WHAM. All the time. I'd pray about "letting things go" and being patient. One morning, I honestly can't remember what morning or what caused it, but I woke up and I was 100% positive that I wanted to adopt a baby from Africa. And, I didn't feel that just I was called to do this, I felt called that Andrew and I as a team were specifically designed to do this. We've spent a lot of time loving on others' little ones through Sunday School and coaching and we've watched eachother and really gotten to know eachother in our first year of marriage through teaching and coaching the little ones.
I thought for sure over the next few weeks that I would start to question this decision, however I became more convicted as everything around us seemed to fall into place. To watch Andrew pray about this and consider this during the most stressful time in his life was awesome. He would take whatever few minutes of the day he had that wasn't consumed with highlighting to think and to pray. I didn't expect this to happen quickly. Trust me, I wanted this to happen quickly, but I did NOT expect this to happen quickly. I thought we honestly wouldn't submit any pre-application or info packet materials until after finals first semester, if we ever did. Well on 9/29/2013 we were in Target and I was doing my usual "Oh, you know I don't really need anything else just need to go check for, you know,...the CLEARANCE AISLES that always have amazing things for .98 cents or something." And he looked at me and was like "listen Jacqueline if you want to fill out an application for this baby you better get OUT of the clearance aisles." I just looked at him and pretended it wasn't a big deal. But my mind was like "woah, he just casually joked about this - he's IN!"
We got into the car after checking out and I starting eating my 10lb bucket of peanut-butter filled pretzels when Andrew all of the sudden said "I'm ready to fill out the application, we are supposed to do this, we are meant to do this." And I THREW all of my peanut butter pretzels in the air, yelled CONFETTI! and we were both so excited! This is actually not a joke, I did this. We went to vaccuum out my car the next day at the gas station. I asked "are you sure" about 1,000 times. But it's such a great thing to know that he prayed about it, found his answer and to know that we didn't make the decision to do this independently- we each made the decision to listen to the Lord, and pretty quickly I'd say.
So, now here we are and we've applied and were accepted to an Ethiopia Program. We've already received 9 forms to fill out, and since Andrew's a month into law school we totally understand the binding legal contracts ;). We also are very aware of the finances involved with adoption, but we recognize that the harder it is to let go of a worry the harder you lean on the Lord - and that's a fair tradeoff, right? ;) The Lord takes all of our worries and stress and also provide for us, how awesome. Something from last week's message at our service spoke to me, Luke 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If someone looked at our credit card bill or our recent transactions in our checking account, would they be able to tell what we cared about? Netflix, clothes, eating fancy dinners? It put our finances into perspective. We know adoption is expensive, but we know that in stepping out in faith on this, things will proceed exactly as their supposed to.
We are normally really private people, so know that this is huge for us to put out there in the blog-o-sphere and more generally, the world, so early. This process will probably take about 36-40 months, which is a lifetime away (and hopefully after law school), but we feel that this is something worth sharing and updating as we go through the process. I've read so many amazing blogs that have really helped us understand the process and what to expect (if you can really even be prepared.) Also, Andrew and I feel that this is a really great way for people to witness God's role in this process. We aren't really vocal Christians who go out on missions, stand on the street corner, pass out Bibles or information to strangers - and sometimes not even to our friends when we really should, but our faith is a huge part of who we are and we feel that this adoption process is God's vehicle to help us share our faith with those we know, and those we don't know.
We're excited for what he has in store, and yes - even if that means this doesn't work out, because that's always a chance as well. Adoption is a completely new thing for many of our friends and families so please be kind and realize we've already started this, no changing our minds now.
Thanks for your love and prayers we'll keep you updated!
Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27