John 14:18

"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. " John 14:18

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jenn -
I didn't even know what a "dossier" was until about a month ago - much less how to spell it. But now I live in a whole new world - a world with a whole new language that includes words like "dossier", "home study", "conspicuous family", "attachment disorder" - I live in adoption world.

Now I look at someone driving a new car and think, "The money it took to pay for that car could totally pay for our adoption." I've revised our household fire safety plan to include grabbing the two adoption binders on the way out of the house (I would lock them in the fire proof safe if I didn't use them almost daily!) I find myself looking forward to a week away during Thanksgiving break because it will give us a chance to catch up on our adoption education credits. I now say crazy things like, "The notary's commission expiration date must be at least 18 months into the future." Who talks like this? Who thinks like this? The answer is simple: a mother who dreams about bringing home her little boy every day. A mother who will do whatever it takes (including TB tests, home studies, criminal background checks, and making sure the notary's commission doesn't expire before the appropriate amount of time) to bring her boy home.

Rod -
I cannot help but be blown away with Jenn's commitment! She even said the other day that she'd gladly trade away the paperwork in exchange for the nausea! But do not be mistaken, she is singular in her focus, and God willing, that boy, whoever he is, WILL be coming home with us one day, come Hell or high water, as they say. Isn't this such a great mirror of the Gospel? That we are lost in sin, dead spiritually, and without hope until God sends His son to die for us to pay the cost of our sin so we can be reconciled to Him! In the same way our little boy is currently clueless - he has no idea that this southern, middle class, white family is spending hours working, praying, crying, laughing, and raising money to come to where he is and bring him home to his forever family. He is not searching for us. He is not calling out to us, begging to come here. He is simply going about his day, whatever that entails. I am sharing the Gospel with others now more than ever because in being an adoptive father, I'm getting a whole new picture of God's great love and sacrifice for us. What we are doing, tough as it is for us some days, is so tiny compared to God's great care. That he planned before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1) to love us while we were yet sinners and send His son for us so we would be reconciled to Him (Romans 5). What a Glorious Father we have!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"If the people in our congregation become other-directed instead of self-directed in the adoption of unwanted children, they are going to be other-directed instead of self-directed in their verbal witness to people in their community....The numbness to earthly adoption is easily translated to numbness to spriritual adoption. But if people in our churches learn not to grumble at the blessing of mini-vans filled with children-some of whom don't look anything alike-they're going to learn not to grumble at the blessing of a congregation filling with new people, some of whom don't look anything alike. If our churches learn to rejoice in newness of life in the church nursery, they'll more easily rejoice at newness of life in the church baptistry, and vice versa." - Russell D. Moore Adopted for Life

"In love he predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ,according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:5-6

If we are believers, then we have every reason to be passionate about adoption! We once were orphans and God adopted us into His family. Now we are heirs together with Christ! Adoption is a beautiful picture of the gospel!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

(Rod) I still remember a lot about the first time I encountered international adoption. I was a youth pastor and Jenn & I were leading a youth retreat between Christmas and New Year's to Gatlinburg, probably for a Good Stuff conference. We had 18 teenagers and a couple of additional chaperones at Ober doing some ice skating during one of the breaks in the conference schedule. It was crazy cold that year, with real snow on the ground and Ober was packed like a sardine can. Just as we were gathering to head back down the mountain on the “Aerial Tramway” it broke down or had some complication and we ended up standing in line for more than an hour just to get off the mountain.

Just as we got into line, a family fell into place behind us. They were young-ish, probably late 20's if my memory serves me well, and had a 3-year-old daughter they had adopted from China. Keep in mind this was 1993, back when I was skinny and still had hair. (Jennifer, of course, still looks exactly the same as she did back then!) I'd never heard of anything like this! God was so gracious to Jenn & I to allow us a couple of hours to spend with this wonderful family who told us all about their desire to spread the Gospel through adoption. (The revisionist part of me is sure they were Reformed.) All the while we talked, this little girl became very curious about my red hair, my red goatee, and my freckles. I ended up holding her for a long time and we all got a kick out of how she seemed mesmerized by the fact that my hair was different from everyone else. We had a really sweet time with the family, and then went our separate ways.

That encounter started a conversation between Jenn & I, and though we would not be married for more than a year, we spoke seriously of our belief that God had awakened in us the desire to intentionally adopt internationally at some point in the future. We even came up with a plan. We would be married a couple of years, have a biological child, a boy, and then we would adopt, probably a little girl from China. As most of you know, very little of our plan has worked out the way we envisioned it. The words of Proverbs 16:9 have proven true: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” There have been twists and turns and at least one big surprise in the 17 years since that first encounter with adoption. But through the whole process, we've continued to talk, pray, plan, and wish that one day God would direct us toward His plan for us to adopt. We couldn't speak to our motivations as eloquently then as we can now – thanks to the education we've received at Grace Fellowship, but as we've grown the past 7 years, we've come to believe that now is the time.

Our main goal of this blog is to let you all come along on the journey with us. We desperately need your prayers, and we want a forum to share all the ways we see God at work in the process. We are absolutely certain that God has prepared the way beforehand; that before the foundation of the world He prepared a little boy and placed him, by His Sovereign will, in Ethiopia and then placed in our hearts the desire to bring him into our family. We don't know all, or even much about what God is up to, but we believe that we are given a clue in Ezekiel 36:26. “Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name...” We are so blessed to part of what God is up to, and we are sure to be blessed by the process and by the little one He is bringing to us, but we want to never lose sight of the fact that this is a work of God that HE started, and HE will finish, according to HIS plan, for HIS Glory!

Monday, October 4, 2010

(Jenn) I probably totalled my car today. Someone came over in my lane and ran me off the road. Did they stop, offer help, or say, "Don't worry, my insurance will cover it!". Nope they just kept on going. However, a very nice woman pulled over and a man came running from his office to check on me. And I wasn't injured. So it could have been a lot worse. The funny thing is before I left the house this morning I prayed that God would order my day. Was this what He had in mind? Evidently it was. Lots of interesting things have happened since we decided to adopt. I made a consultation appointment with an orthodontist to see about getting braces for my daughter. I've had a flare up with TMJ and am getting a new mouth gaurd to the tune of about $900 (nope, insurance doesn't cover that) and now we are probably out of a car that we are still paying for. Now from a human standpoint, this is a big mess. My family is in the middle of trying to finance a $30,000 adoption - it just doesn't seem like a good time to have extra expenses. But "Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him." Psalm 115:3. So did God ordain my car wreck, my TMJ, and my kid's crooked teeth? He sure did. He is sovereign. He is trustworthy. He knows what I need even before I ask Him. I can't wait to see how He works it all out. To God be the glory!