Friday, August 24, 2012

Big Update!

We have a lot of crazy updates. First, sorry we have been so distant! We have been so busy this year and a lot of crazy things have happened and we have been trying to figure out God’s plan for it all before we moved forward. Long story short, we are no longer adopting from Ethiopia, big shocker I know. But don’t worry, God has some BIG plans for our family and we are still on the path to adopt, the path is just a little different than before. “The change” started in mid-February when, due to financial issues with the family business, I lost my job. We never made a big announcement about it because it was supposed to be temporary and we really didn’t know what God’s plan was. We aren’t going to lie, we were mad. It threw a HUGE wrench in the plans, especially financially. After about a month of being unemployed, I finally acknowledged that God had been asking me to quit my job and become a stay at home mom for a long time, I just refused to listen (yeah I do that a lot). Even though we struggled financially for about two months, we were blessed with Chris getting a raise and more hours. Around this time I started to get the small whisper that maybe we should look into foster care. Whoa! That is the OPPOSITE of what I wanted to do! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the idea of fostering and it has been something that Chris and I have been talking about since before we were dating! But NOT NOW! My view is (was) that fostering is something you do once you feel like your family is complete (enough) and you are ok if you never permanently add another member to your family. Foster-care is unpredictable and you never know when and if you will have to say goodbye. Did I mention that I want a HUGE family?? (yeah yeah I’m crazy; we will get to that later) To me our family is nowhere near “complete” right now. I LOVE Jacob to death and I am not saying that he is not “enough”, but like most moms, my heart desires for more children. Back to the idea of foster-care, while I have been terrified of fostering, my husband has been excited for the day that we get to foster. He loves the idea of adopting internationally, but he is PASSIONATE about foster-care! If you know my husband, you know it takes a lot to get him really worked up about something, good or bad; he is just that easy going. When I usually ask him if he wants to do this or that, he usually says “I’m fine with whatever”. With the idea of fostering, he is completely different! (My poor husband has had to watch all my craziness while he “got it” the whole time, this is why I love him) Ok we will talk more about that later, back to this spring. After we got back to being financially stable, we realized there was no way we could fund the adoption alone. We still had about $8000 to raise just to get on the waiting list! We prayed and prayed that God would provide if it was what He wanted and we continually heard “wait”. So we waited and waited and even had a pretty profitable garage sale. At the end of June I really started to feel a tug about domestic adoption and foster care. I again tried to ignore it, more because I figured it was just my impatience tugging me that direction. We started having major doubts about Ethiopia, not because we thought it was “wrong”, we just didn’t see how we could ever afford it. We knew it would take a miracle for us to ever move forward but we (I) was too stubborn to admit it. We gave it to God and tried to just do what we could to move forward.  The week of July 2nd changed everything for us. We received an email from a friend at church about an 11yr old boy that needed a temporary place to stay while his mother recovered in the hospital. Instantly I said yes, I mean why not? We had a spare room that is just waiting for a child to fill it. I think I surprised Chris a little because he thought I would be too scared! A crazy and sad set of events happened in that week and on July 6th we were asked to consider adopting the boy and his 9yr old sister! Uh what?!? That night there was a crazy war going on in our hearts. I’m not going to lie, I fell asleep crying. I’m a dreamer and I dream BIG! I “plan” things to the detail and I fall in love with that plan. When plans change I have to mourn them before I can begin with new plans (this is why this whole journey has kinda taken a toll on me emotionally). I mourned over the idea that there was NO way we could continue with Ethiopia, I mourned the idea that Jacob might be jealous of his new older siblings, I mourned the idea that I wouldn’t have cute cuddly babies/toddlers and I mourned about the fact that these kids might hate me and never see me as “mom”. As I was falling asleep that night I just prayed that God would give me overwhelming peace when I woke up if this is the path He wanted us to choose. The next morning we woke up with amazing peace and a decision made, we said yes. We said “yes” and God said “NO”. What?!? Yean I agree. Without going into a lot of personal details for the kids and their family, God had different plans for both families and used this situation to soften hearts and redirect attentions.  After we mourned yet another change of plans, it became very clear that God wanted us to change our direction and hearts toward domestic adoption and foster care. So I’m sure many of you will ask (as we asked too) “why God would really ask you to take in kids and then say No after you say yes?” The only way that I can explain it is to think of Abraham and Isaac. Ok not quite as dramatic of course, but God didn’t want Abraham to actually burn his child, He wanted his obedience. I think He wanted the same from us.  When I look on the last two and a half years I can see how I have ignored Him numerous times because it didn’t fit in with my plans or how I saw our family life.  I think I can even see where God started leading us in the direction of foster care and I said a stern NO because I was just too scared. I have to laugh too at God using the story of Abraham to get my attention. A man with many sons who thought he could have none. I pray that we can be obedient and that God can use our story to bless others.
So, what now? Well we have found a great foster care/adoption agency that a few friends from church are using and we love them already! On August 7th we went to the orientation and already learned a lot of the foster care system. We have A LOT of training to do before we can be licensed but I am strangely patient right now. We are still unsure what we will “request”, either all cases (emergency, legal risk, etc) or just legal risk. We have no idea the timeline and I’m strangely ok with it all.

I know this can’t come easy to everyone, I understand, it was NOT easy for us! I know there are some people that have financially supported us and you may be mad that basically we have “wasted” money on the parts of the Ethiopian adoption we have paid for. The only thing that I can say is that we have gained more in the last year emotionally and spiritually then money could ever pay for and YOU have helped us grow spiritually. Also I promise you we are “out” more financially then anyone who gave and at the end of the day, money is just money (ouch that still hurts saying that). The experiences we have had in the last year far outweigh any of the money that was spent. And even after I say that and you are still upset, feel free to email me and we can talk about it. (just please don’t start drama in the comments, and PLEASE don’t say “yay, you are finally taking care of “our own”, this will force me to get mad and I don’t feel like getting mad!)

One of the best things that I can take away from our journey to try to adopt from Ethiopia is our love for Africa. I have always felt a tug toward Africa; I just never knew what it meant. I think I had to look at Africa with a momma’s heart before I could truly love it. Though we may not be adopting from Africa right now, God still has big plans for us in Africa. We just have to wait to see them unfold!

P.S. One more thing, we want to thank everyone for their support in this journey. We truly could not do this without all the support and prayers. You guys mean more to us then you could ever imagine!