Now that we are smack in the middle of home study paperwork, this whole adoption business seems to come up more and more in conversation, with the bank notary, the police department receptionist, the friends and neighbors we've pestered to write recommendations, you name it. And inevitably, people ask us what made us want to adopt (we have such beautiful children, after all;). Generally, I take a deep breath and let them know it is a very long story. I'll say something like, because God wants us to, or because it's the right thing for our family to do, or that it's our family's way of living out what the Bible says about loving our neighbor and caring for the least. This is all well and good. And true. But just like most anything else big-ish (or small-ish for that matter) that requires obedience, even when you are scared spitless to proceed, it is really the weaving together of God's greater story. This is why it takes so, so long to explain. Which is why I have a blog :).
So, here goes, the first of several installments of why the heck we're crazy enough to do this:
Sometime in November 2005, friends of ours invited us to a benefit dinner for a local adoption agency. They had two extra seats at their table and figured we wouldn't turn down a free meal for a good cause. We had just found out we were pregnant but weren't telling anyone. So even though all I wanted to do was stay at home in sweats, I squeezed into something half-way decent and went. (Coincidentally, this dinner was located in the very ballroom our wedding reception took place almost five years prior. It wasn't until recently that I really considered that connection to be pretty cool. Same place. Same Paul and Lisa. Same life-changing kind of stuff. And, likely the same chicken dish which the second time around made me want to barf, given my newly pregnant self.)
We sat and ate (sort of) and listened (sort of) to the many testimonials so beautifully shared. The evening was filled with the heart-wrenching stories of forty-somethings who tried for years to become pregnant to no avail, only to feel God's leading toward adoption. I felt so glad that this had happened for these people, but honestly, I couldn't relate. I was twenty-six, pregnant with our first child, and had NEVER considered adoption. NEVER. That is, however, until the final couple came to share. Paul and I both tuned back in when they walked up to the mic. They looked just like us, for real. They were probably in their late twenties, she was a fifth-grade teacher (I had spent most of my teaching years in sixth-grade), he was some business guy, like Paul. Really, it was pretty weird. Also weird, some might call it crazy, was the story they shared of their lives, their adoption, and most of all the way they did what God told them to.
To abbriviate, they adopted one of the wife's students and the girl's sister(s?) the summer they got married, as in, the girls were in their wedding, her parents watched them while they were on their honeymoon, and they arrived home from their honeymoon with tween daughters. YIKES. Everyone warned them not to, especially church people. Guard their marriage, they said. Wait at least a year. But, when it was time to make the choice, they felt so overwhelmingly like God had this for them. They couldn't say no.
Oh, then, they had a surprise pregnancy shortly thereafter. DOUBLE YIKES. As she sat rocking her crying newborn back to sleep one night, mourning the quite most moms of newborns can on occasion claim, she felt like God whispered to her that he never promised it would be easy or fun or restful. But he would sustain her, and her offering was obedience.
After hearing their story and then being sucker-punched by the slide show of foster children waiting to be adopted in Oregon, we knew God was leading us down a new path of obedience. The timing was unexpected, for sure. Poor, I think, was the term we used. But that night, in that hotel lobby, we agreed (still shaking our disbelieving heads) that we would walk down this path, hoping we'd trust enough to obey.