Greg and I have begun the journey to adoption, a journey that I had been hoping to embark on for many years, since before I can remember!
When I was young, many of my favorite books centered around orphans: almost all the books by L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables), one book I read numerous times about a girl who lost her mother to cancer, and even the original 101 Dalmatians, a story about orphaned puppies. In high school I repeatedly sang the songs from the musical Annie, especially the song full of longing, “Maybe.” I fell in love with the novel Les Miserables and sang the songs from the opera inspired by it, especially loving the songs by Cosette–an orphaned child and Fantine–her dying mother longing for her child. I loved the book and opera Phantom of the Opera, a story about a lonely orphaned young woman bewitched by an even lonelier twisted orphaned young man. I believe God stirred the heart of this bookworm from that young age, using the tools He knew would reach me.
As I grew older, I was moved by the fact that God adopted me into His family, as it says in Ephesians 1:3-6: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” I love taking part in God’s nature, imitating Him in who He is. I do this when I create something as a decoration for a birthday party, when I teach preschoolers, and when I mother my children. I feel such joy mimicking my Father in these small ways, and as I do, I find that I understand who He is and how He relates to me a little bit more. As I thought about how He adopted me, I wanted to do the same.
I’ve also visited several orphanages and read stories about foster children. I think a lot about children who are not part of a loving family, children who long to be deeply loved and belong, children who need to learn about God’s love–children I want my own children to see and understand. I know my family is not overly rich–Greg is a professor at a community college, and I’m a stay-at-home mom, but compared to many in the world, we have much, enough to share with a child. More importantly, we have God’s love to share.
However, it seemed for many years that God was not going to allow me to do so, even though it seemed like such a good and needed act–after all, there are an estimated 153 million orphans in the world. I prayed countless times over many years that He would change my heart towards adoption if it weren’t right for my family, but the desire did not fade. Two years ago, I wrote some of the very same words I’m writing now, but from a different perspective. At that time, I was in the process of surrendering my desire to adopt. I sold or gave away my baby gear and clothes as an act of surrender to God over this issue. I didn’t want to hold it too tightly.
One Wednesday night at the grocery store, I met an old acquaintance who happily told me he was about to adopt two girls. Normally, I’ve been excited for people who are in the process of adopting or who have already adopted, and this time was no exception, but when I climbed back in my car, the longing I had for adoption welled up in me like it hadn’t in a long time. I cried out to God, asking Him what He was doing and why He hadn’t taken my desire away yet if He wasn’t going to allow me to do it. I told Him once again how much I wanted it.
The following Sunday, a woman was talking in my community group at church about infertility and how she had to surrender her desires for a child to God and really wrestle it out with Him. I thought, Ok, God. I thought I’d surrendered this desire to You, but I’ll do it again. I’ll go home and wrestle it out with You. I never did get that chance to really wrestle it out with Him. That night, God let me know in a way I understood very well that He was finally allowing us to adopt. It was finally time!
We don’t know yet how we’re going to do it–we considered embryo adoption at first (as there are more than an estimated 600,000 frozen embryos in the U.S. alone, around 60,000 of which could be adopted), but as we believe that God would take to Heaven any of those lives that are ended prematurely (I hate the term used, “discarded”), we decided it was better to adopt a child already born who would be subjected to more suffering if not adopted. We don’t know if we’ll adopt a newborn, older baby, or toddler, but we do know we want to adopt a child younger than our youngest (who is almost 3 years old). We also still don’t know if we’ll adopt domestically through the foster system or privately, or even if we’ll adopt internationally, but we are researching, praying, and waiting for God to guide us.
And I’m praising God over and over for the green light He gave me!