WE ARE ADOPTING!
My heart is almost beating out of my chest and my hands are shaking as I type these words - I am just OVERJOYED and BURSTING with excitement! We are beginning the process of adopting a beautiful little girl from Thailand, and we couldn't wait one more minute to share the news with all of you!
Adoption has been something we have both felt called to since before we got married, and I have actually been saving money for an international adoption since the summer of 2007. I will never forget the night of our engagement, when Rusty was looking at some beautiful baby pictures on our wedding photographer's website and suddenly announced, "I think adoption just became important to me." With tears in his eyes he said, "How can these babies have parents that love them enough to spend thousands of dollars on pictures, when there are babies all over the world who don't have anyone?" And so, the very night we committed to get married, God gave us the same heart for adoption. He is always right on time!
Since then, adoption has been a regular part of conversation in our home. It has never been "if", but always "when we adopt". We both felt called to international adoption because of the work we do, but neither knew which country we would pursue. Then, when we were living in Thailand at the beginning of last year, Rusty told me how much he would love to adopt a little girl from there. I knew how much he genuinely loved Thailand - the people and the culture - but this was more than that. With the sex-industry running rampant throughout the country, he said, "I would love to know that we could rescue one little girl from that... to know that horrific industry would never touch her life." At the time, we were volunteering at Viengping Children's Home, and I found myself loving the children of Thailand just as much as I had loved the children we worked with in India and Swaziland. I prayed and rocked and cuddled as many little boys and girls as my arms could hold when I was with them, and I cried when I left them. Those beautiful babies had found a place in my heart. With my husband's suggestion, and my growing love for the culture and people of Thailand, I considered adoption from there to be a real possibility for "someday".
We have always thought we would try to have biological children first, and then pursue the adoption of one (or more) children internationally. But for some reason, over the past few months our feelings began to change. We joked that we weren't ready for children, and wondered aloud about whether or not we could continue our work with The Sound of Hope if we had a child to care for. But God was changing our hearts.... ready or not.
In October, when Katie Davis came to speak at Brookhills, something incredible happened. After she left the stage, a pastor came up to lead a prayer for adoptive parents and foster parents. He asked that anyone who was in the process of adopting or who had adopted or fostered children to remain standing. Because we were not pursuing adoption yet, I sat down. But it took all my strength to do so. For some reason I felt like I was supposed to stay standing! The thought scared me, but I could not shake it! Later that night, Rusty admitted he had felt the same thing!
During the prayer, there was one question that kept racing through my mind. "What if our child, the child God has for us, is already out there? What if he or she has already been born, and we aren't pursuing adoption yet? What if she is crying in a crib somewhere, without a mommy to hold her?" These difficult questions continued as the pastor prayed, and I sobbed.
When we got home that night, I explained what had happened to Rusty. I told him that I knew we hadn't planned to start a family yet, but that suddenly, I was wondering if our plan and our desires really mattered! We had our own selfish reasons for waiting - the truth is, it is easier for it to be "just the two of us!" There is no one to wake us up in the middle of the night, no one to take care of but each other, no one else to plan around, no one who is dependent on us. We have enjoyed just being newlyweds the past (almost) 3 years. "But those selfish reasons just don't seem like good enough reasons to tell a child, 'I don't want to be your mommy," I explained in tears. I knew that God was moving in my heart, and from Rusty's response, He seemed to be moving in his heart too! We agreed to pray about pursuing adoption for a few months, and discuss it again in January.
What happened next is hard to explain... but I can tell you it is nothing short of a miracle of God. He has confirmed to us - in some truly supernatural ways - that this is His plan for us. (If you ever want to know those details, I'd be glad to explain in person! :) We do not have one doubt in our mind that this is how God is leading us to start our family, with the adoption of a precious baby girl from Thailand!
I would ask that you please begin covering us in prayer as we pursue our daughter. Pray for wisdom as we begin researching agencies, and clear direction. Pray for favor over the process and open doors in both countries. Thailand is not a very common place to adopt from, so we are starting at square one. If you know anyone in America who has adopted from Thailand - please, please put us in touch with them! We have a lot of friends who have, or are adopting from other countries, but the process is very different for each and every country.
Please pray for us as we work and as we wait, but most of all, please pray for our little girl. We don't know if she is alive yet, or if she has even been conceived, but we are already praying for her. We are praying for her health - emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We are praying for protection and for God to place the right people in her path to keep her safe and to love her well until we can get to her. I don't even know this baby girl yet, but I know that I already love her because I find myself in tears when I pray for her. God is already giving me a mother's heart... what a miracle!
I know many of you probably have questions, and we have a lot more explaining to do! So feel free to ask questions in the comment section, and I will follow up this blog with a FAQ post :)