Today’s post follows yesterday’s post…
“Where is she Lord? Where do you want me to go? Downtown Atlanta–I’ll go there. Across the world–I’ll go there…just show me Lord–I will go.”
There I stood in my shower of all things talking outloud to the Lord. I had been praying for weeks while rocking my new one to open our hearts to any child who He wanted us to love for His sake. And there in all unlikely of places–I felt I had the call to begin praying to find her. I knew in my heart there was a little girl out there who we needed as much as she needed us…and now–a mommy’s heart was being stirred…and there is nothing to distract a mom who is sure of that call—because if she allows distractions of this world to forget…then neither her nor our story is as beautiful as it could be.
We kept our ears open and our hearts ready–and I think Richard was just as intriqued as I was on the timing of God’s call.
“Now Lord, really?!
We received an email during that month of a sweet 3 year old little girl in Uganda who needed a home. We prayed for her…we even fell in love with her. And by golly, we even sent in our home study to say yes to her–but God said No…this is not the one I am calling you for. Although disappointed, I was sure now God had opened our hearts to bring home another…
The next month, we received an email from a birthmom looking for a home for her little one from a friend of a friend. We knew this wasn’t our little one–but our hearts were led to encourage this birthmom and a beautiful, beautiful friendship was born. It would be through this birthmom that God opened our eyes to where He wanted us to go as our relationship grew. And on one of her visits to our home, I was afraid that she might ask us to be THE family…and that is where God taught me most.
You see, this baby is by the world’s view PERFECT…by the world’s standards. And this precious birthmoms inbox was flooded with emails of family’s who would just do anything to have a beautiful, white, healthy baby. I felt in my heart–this was NOT our child…well, because she was going to be a beautiful, white, healthy baby. That is when God spoke to me again…
Adoption is not about going to where the biggest “need” is. You can’t even SEE the biggest needs–only I can. The poor–you people will always have the poor with you. Only I can rescue them. Only I can provide for them. I am ENOUGH. I do not call you to adopt for ANY OTHER REASON than to bring a child to ME. I do not call you to birth more children for ANY OTHER REASON than to bring them to me. You people of mine–you are all asking the WRONG questions. You say, “WHERE is the biggest need–I will stand there!” as if that is where I would stand. How can you ask that if I see needs differently than the world does. You look at outer appearances–outer circumstances–but I…oh I look at the heart! Does not the beautiful white baby in Beverly Hills deserve to hear the gospel as much as the babe born in a hut in Africa?! Stop looking as the world looks. Because that is adoption for all the wrong reasons. Want to help the poor? Go serve them! Want to be a mother? Then bring them home–and bring them to ME. Let me lead you to your child–and do not worry what anyone else thinks. Do let others tell you where they think the needs are–but listen to me alone. This is for MY glory, for MY name to be known, and for YOU to more deeply trust and know me.”
There I sat…jaw dropped. Perspective rebuked. Heart…opened–and even changed.
I asked the same question I asked on that day months earlier where I was sure I was in the Lord’s presence, ““If it is your will for us to bring home another child–Where is this child Lord? Where do you want me to go? Downtown Atlanta–I’ll go there. Across the world–I’ll go there…just show me Lord–I will go.”
But oh–I meant it in a whole new way…I REALLY meant it…with my whole heart.
God ultimately did not call us to adopt that white, beautiful, baby girl–but I was able to sit in my new friend’s presence and tell her I absolutely would if it were God’s will and I would be overjoyed. What we did do–was begin asking God, “What have we NOT prayed about??”
And I heard…SILENCE.
Instead, I felt like the Lord was asking us to just TRUST Him…to just follow. And we took one day at a time one week at a time. Then one night–I was reflecting on my marriage…while praying for God’s guidance for our family. I started thinking of the night we met–and I had this urge to go find a picture of the night we met. No matter how crazy the day was–how many things I needed to be doing other than this–I went to my closet and pulled down boxes and boxes of pictures. I thought I must have lost it. But then–there was one brown kraft shoebox left…it was full of pictures from our honeymoon on top, followed by pictures of us dating and then there at the VERY bottom…the picture of the night we met. And under it–were trinkets I had put away for a child’s hopechest.
When I lived in China (Post 1), I felt in my heart (EXACTLY 10 years ago) that ONE day I would return to China…that one day I would either work at an orphanage or if the Lord led me to marry–bring home a daughter from China. I sat there in my closet floor holding the little hand-painted globe I had bought for her…10 years ago. I had stashed away umbrellas, outfits and books in other places for her…but in this little box were tiny, delicate things that I kept to remind me of what then I felt was on my heart to one day do. And there I sat in my closet–again feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit. For this child I have prayed…and I smiled sitting there–with the craziness of my current reality reminding me to start dinner and tell my husband where I thought the Lord might be leading us.
I took some time to pray before bringing this up to my husband. I was pretty sure we both felt best about waiting awhile before even considering another adoption after we crazily stepped out to be considered for a little one in Uganda. I didn’t want to say a THING to my husband until I felt the Holy Spirit saying NOW is the time. SO…I waited. I called adoption agencies to talk–and I found myself tempted and some times even asking, “SO…what are your needs in China?” AS IF I needed to justify to the world why we were growing our family–the Holy Spirit is enough of a reason. BUT I will say that there are 2,000 beautiful waiting children who are considered special needs…and special needs was something also on my heart. I started researching different special needs and what I felt we could handle well–all the while saying I would trust the Lord in this. Weeks past and then one day I felt that heavy heart–like my heart was beginning to wrap around a child I didn’t even know…so indeed, it was time to talk to Richard.
I told him to sit down and to please let me talk for an hour without saying a word. I knew he’d tell me I was crazy–so I just needed to be obedient and do my part–and get everything off my heart that I felt like the Lord was putting there. I needed to start back at the stories he did know–God speaking to me in December–all the way to that day in early March. My voice quivered as I shared as my heart was already falling in love with a child I didn’t yet know…but I knew I could give this all to my husband and trust the Lord to lead him with it. THIS MEANT…just like in Post 1–on my wedding day as the counselor told me–to leave China at the cross (not again Lord!) and to trust God to lead my husband. Oh I felt this was all the sudden 10 years of a story–yet I had to hand it to the man who leads our family, gulp and be okay with however this man is led by God.
I finished talking–and by the end I was in tears. I didn’t expect to be…and I realized how much I loved her–but more than anything I loved my God and I didn’t want to do ANYTHING out of God’s will. Richard’s face turned a lighter shade–and I was certain we were on different pages…but we weren’t. He looked at me and told me that this is a rare thing in our marriage, but that we were on EXACTLY the SAME page and the LORD had given Him a peace about this–and he felt he was being led to this for our family. Surely, I couldn’t be hearing what I’m hearing–but I was. And I felt like the God I cried out to 10 years ago when I was a scared bride leaving China at the cross had been faithful to me…and my prayers had been answered…He was not only leading us back to China–but He was leading us back to bring a beautiful, perfect, deeply longed for and desired special needs princess home from China.
In March, our family began the persuit to bring home our daughter. While there are 2,000 waiting–we are going to allow our agency to place us (but I will of course still look at the waiting list and have the freedom if led to ask about a child). We are not looking at the lists until we are paper ready and our dossier is in China as we do not want to ask a child to wait longer by choosing beforehand. Because of what the Lord spoke to me, we are being approved for a 0-3 years (up to 4 years old) little girl. Our Laney has been praying for years for a sister–and her prayers are also being answered. Parker is excited and wants to study Mandarin this year–so we are! And Frank and Isaac? Gosh–they are two peas in a pod and they will be pure entertainment for any sweetheart in our home.
Waiting for their sweet sister to come home…
Wanna hear something funny? Richard bought me a 20×20 frame to put our first child’s picture in for our FIRST CHRISTMAS AS PARENTS. Wanna here the quote painted on the frame??? It’s been on our wall since the first year of parenthood–and it’s now in my header on my blog. It’s a line from a poem by W.H. Auden: “I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street.” For SOME reason–I was so DRAWN to that quote and asked Rich for this rediculous picture frame that was completely out of our budget. He got it for me…and now I smile every time I pass it on the wall with Parker’s baby picture in it. This was WAY before we’d ever stepped foot in Africa–and WAY before adoption was EVER on our hearts. Don’t you know how God was smiling when he saw me wipe away tears as I read that quote that Christmas. I just loved that quote so much because it means “I’ll NEVER stop loving you”…this was my mommy heart–but God knew the details of where He’d take our hearts in parenting.
While everything has been so sweet thus far, we were a bit sad not to be able to use the same agency we used for Ethiopia (this momma does not like change!)–but they have a strict birth order policy–and we have a strict follow the Lord policy…so we are using Lifeline in Birmingham. We realize our little one may not even be 3 years old, and God may have just used this to redirect our steps to another agency. We LOVE our old agency dearly–and of course we called them to see if they would allow us to break birth order maintaining girl birth order–but things are what they are to lead us to where we are supposed to go to bring home our sweet girl…and we are so thankful the Lord has provided another amazing Christian agency to work with to grow our family.
We just have a few more things to do for our home study to be updated, and then we will begin our work on our dossier. Truthfully, we could probably have everything turned in within a few weeks but Lifeline does ask that you wait to submit EVERYTHING to China until you have offiically been home 1 year with any previous adoptions. SO, we will probably be officially waiting July 2nd. With our perimeters we are guessing we will have a short wait–they told us possibly an instant referral…but we’ll wait on the Lord for that one. I’d guess we’d probably have a referral this Fall and travel some time in early 2012 (just after the Created for Care retreat;).
Everyone in our family is so excited about another child. Rico Suave reminds everyone who asks “This is IT! We are done after this!” Which leads them to look at me, where I follow up Rico’s comment with, “However the Lord leads–we’ll follow.”
My how this mommy’s heart has LONGED for you. I started dreaming of you over 10 years ago–and when I followed the Lord in walking down the aisle to marry your daddy–I left my dreams of your birth country at the cross trusting the Lord to lead us there if it were His will. We are going back–this time together…and this time–to bring home our daughter…YOU. How the Lord must love you. Oh the ways He has protected you. I feel, already, like I have missed so much–but HE has not. He has been with you–and I can’t wait to have you in our arms. Oh sweet girl–your big sister has prayed for you since the day she could make complete sentences. We can’t wait to have you home…and we already love you to pieces.
A few thoughts from our children…
SOOO…we invite you on yet another journey in our lives as we follow the Lord’s plans for our crazy family…