Many of you have asked questions like "How did you decide to adopt?", "How did you decide on Ethiopia?", "How did you choose your agency?". I LOVE getting asked these questions because it gives me the chance to brag on my God and what He has chosen to do through us!
If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be adopting, my response probably would have been, "Oh then I guess we won't be able to have kids, huh!?" How shortsighted of us to think that we are only obligated to help those in need as a last resort to fulfill our desires for children! Don't get me wrong, I know many people who have gone the adoption route for the reason that they can't have children, but I'll bet if you ask any of them if they view adoption as "the next best option" now, they would say "No." because now they can see the purpose in it all and they love their adopted children as their own. Adoption is not second-best. It is a God-ordained method of growing our families and showing love to a hurting world.
One of our pastors, David Hardgrave taught a class on Adoption last year. I was pregnant with Josie at the time, and while we have bounced around the idea of adoption it seemed very distant. We read the book Adopted for Life by Russell Moore which is a book comparing our adoption by God into the heavenly family and why that should propell us to think biblically about adopting children into our families. It is an amazing book!!! So after that class we decided that adoption was something we wanted to pursue one day.
Then, our Sunday School teacher began a study in the book of James this past January. I never realized how many passages there are about adoption! Jesus himself was "adopted" by his earthly father Joseph. One verse really stuck out to us. James 1:27 says "Pure and undefiled religion before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and keep oneself unspotted from the world." That's a pretty short summary of the Christian life! While no one does this perfectly, the point is, are we doing it at all? Does your heart move for the 143,000,000 orphans in the world? Or is it something that doesn't concern you because you because it would take too much of your time to really try to do something about it?
I fully recognize that everyone is not supposed to adopt a child into their family. There are so many circumstances that prevent it for some people. But you can pray for the families that are adopting. You can give of your time to help with fundraiser events or make monetary donations to organizations or churches that you trust. You can get involved with the foster system. I've really rabbit trailed, but the point is...why doesn't the church in America realize that this is such a big need and that everyone can at least care and pray?
After Cole's message on James, Darren and I were driving home from church and we both said, "Why not now? We have the room now. We have as much of a financial capacity as we will probably ever have now. We have the time now. Let's do it now!" So we met with our dear friends the Portises and talked over the practical aspects of adoption and began to narrow down the countries.
Narrowing down wasn't very difficult after all. Between lengths of travel and age requirements, Ehtiopia fit our needs best. In everything God has been faithful to handle the details for us. Sometimes I think we expect a flash of light or a talking bush or a vision or something to show us God's will. More often, though, God's will for us is simply obedience and a deisire for His glory to be made manifest through us. These little decisions haven't really been that difficult.
Choosing an agency was much the same way. Most agencies have an Ethiopia program, but not all of their web sites are user-friendly. America World has a great reputation, came recommended by friends that have used them, and I liked how organized they seem to be. So far, everyone from there has been amazing!!! They always keep us informed about what's going on and they are so friendly. Of course, we are not too far along in the process, but it seems like they are a great agency!
So that answers a few questions. For those who go to church with us, we will be giving a short testimony in the evening service on November 21st. We'd love to have you there! We love to talk about adoption and the whole process so if anyone has questions we'd be happy to tell you what we know!