Friday, August 17, 2012


Our adoption puzzle at 46.7%
There isn't a good way to give an introduction to this, in part because there was no introduction for us! It was just dumped on our laps, and just as unceremoniously removed from our laps.
The day before we left for our first camp of the summer, I received a call from my cousin in Pennsylvania. In a nutshell, there was a friend of a friend that was going to give birth to a baby boy in September, and she wanted to know if Philip and I wanted the baby? She knew we were waiting to adopt a boy, and this was a crisis pregnancy and they were hoping for a good, solid Christian family in which to place the baby. Uh, right. Wow. How many days do you get a call along the lines of “in 9 weeks you can choose to have your life permanently changed for forever.”? Like, never. But it happened. We were completely floored. There wasn't much I could say except that we'd pray about it.
There were SO MANY emotions rolling through my brain. Actually, so many conflicting emotions that they kinda canceled each other out and I felt a little numb. On one hand, there is nothing that has prepared me for a newborn, white, American baby. Nothing. Everything we'd imagined was an older, un-white, international child. On the other hand, my husband and I have always said that the only way we would adopt an infant (at this point in our lives) is if it was a crisis pregnancy, and we were specifically asked to have the baby placed with us. Well, here it was: a crisis pregnancy where we were asked to parent this baby.
Both Philip and I were confident that this was not a substitute for our Ethiopian adoption. We would not go back on something that we had previously committed to and been called to, but was there a chance that this could be an “in the meantime” thing?
Prayer. Much prayer. Thought, council, and more prayer. We have always been of the persuasion that God directs when we are moving in a direction, not just sitting on our hands. God has the power to close doors and open them. We asked for His obvious leading. We felt as if we should at least move forward with the idea, trusting that if this was God's plan for us, He would put every piece into place for us. If it was not God's plan, He would completely shut the door so clearly that it was unmistakable.
In the time of uncertainty, I went about my day evaluating every aspect: could I do this activity with a newborn in tow? What would I need to change? Nap times, play mats, jogging strollers, car seats, babysitters, diapers, formula, etc.  My girlfriend in New York got bombarded by tons of "newborn" questions.  I'm thankful for her patience!
Sometimes I felt rather excited about the impending adventure. Other times I felt overwhelmed. It was a decision that felt VERY out of my league, and I certainly did not want to push for something that Philip wasn't on board with. A huge part of my prayer had been that God would lead through my husband. I trust God, and I trust my husband's judgment.
Baby. Infant. Domestic adoption. Not my first choice to start a family. I struggled a fair amount and held it before the Throne constantly. In a prayer to God, I tried to tell Him that I honestly didn't want the baby. But.... He wouldn't let me even voice that. Truth came crashing down on my shoulders: this baby was precious in God's sight. Unplanned and unwanted by his birth family, this baby was still a gift from his Maker. He was beloved and valuable. I cannot say that I don't want something that God has deemed so precious. I just can't. Seeing that child through God's eyes completely changed my perspective. This baby was a gift. No, not my first choice for a family, however, all of a sudden, I did want that baby. I would care for, love, and raise that child, and take joy in the fact that he was a good gift from God.
Philip and I began to make calls to our Ethiopian adoption agency. They said “yes”. They offered to write a domestic homestudy for us at a low price. We got a referral for a local adoption lawyer and spoke with him. It was a positive conversation. The costs were relatively low compared to the adoption we're currently pursuing. We asked for council from several trusted friends. They were unanimously in favor. All the pieces were falling into place. All of them. It was so uncanny it was scary.
Hadson and Philip in Brazil, 2008
And then, just as unprecedented as this baby fell into our laps, the entire decision was taken out of our hands and our control. The baby's birthmom decided to parent her son after all. Wow, talk about an emotional let-down! All this emotional upheaval for, well, nothing. The very thing that consumed our thoughts and emotions for 2 weeks was taken out of our hands just as quickly as it had been placed in our laps.We pray it was for the best.
As many times as I have heard sermons and talks on the preciousness of a child, I never thought about it in such a relevant context before. I doubt we'll ever get a chance to meet that little boy, but he certainly is not far from my thoughts, and those thoughts touch a tender place in me. It was also a realization about how much my husband wants a family. I was let down and disappointed and kinda sad, but Philip was much more so than I was. He so looks forward to having kiddos of his own!
This is the second time God has placed an almost-within-reach child in our lives that has changed the way we think. In 2008, God led us to pursue Hadson's adoption in Brazil, and then closed the door in a similar fashion to this baby.

The 50 puzzle pieces sponsored by the camp kids!
Changing gears a little, I did want to share a blessing from this most recent week at camp (third camp for the summer!) Unbeknownst to us, the camp had arranged an Italian soda fundraiser for the week and the proceeds went towards our Ethiopian adoption! Wow. We were instantaneously stunned and completely humbled. After a huge business loss the week before, this gift from the Father conveyed love and care like little else. Through the junior high and hi-school campers, God blessed us and affirmed His provision and involvement in our lives. “Blessing” barely conveys the thought.

Me with some of the girls in my cabin
And, changing gears again, I previously mentioned that our agency signed a contract with another orphanage. They have recently received 4 referrals from this new orphanage (just referrals, the kids aren't home yet), and have stopped working with their previous orphanages. This is a brand new development, and I am not sure yet of the ramifications of this, but will keep y'all posted as I find out more info. :)