After the several not-so-coincidental prompts to pursue a relationship with All God's Children and Ethiopia, the next big question for us was, when? Originally we figured we'd just have our baby and then adopt. It seemed to make such sense at the time. Then came the reality of new parenthood...parenthood involving a baby who cried a lot, and who slept only during the day (or so it seemed), and who wouldn't take a bottle (or a binkie). Did I mention she cried a lot? I can remember sitting at a booth at Rose's drinking coffee and having breakfast when Ella was probably five weeks old. Paul just shook his head and told me he didn't think we could have any more kids. I pretty much agreed. There went adoption.
We eventually (like after two years) stopped feeling like we would die from lack of sleep and raw nerves. However, adding more children to our family still didn't sound like a super great idea. God works things out, though, in his way. And when our really challenging babe had turned into a beautiful, vibrant, articulate, and creative three year old, he gave us Emilie. She melded seamlessly into our family, so we figured by the time she turned two we'd apply to adopt. However, we never really considered that our easy breezy newborn would turn into a fiery, daring, clever, and hysterical two year old. Kinda a handful.
Was it really wise to attempt a third child? Most days mothering two was quite enough, thank you.
And yet, just when we were wondering if this really was something we should do, at least while our kids were little, God provided another set of not-so-coincidental events to get us moving.
First of all, international adoption is not cheap, and even though we had been saving for a while, we didn't have the $30,000 needed to cover the costs. Not to mention that we still were living life and had expenses along the way. One of these was a computer. Our computer was our first major purchase as a married couple (over TEN years ago). Clearly it was past its prime. We needed a new one.
One Wednesday in May, as we were talking again about when and how we would ever adopt, a friend from Paul's work told him he had dropped his MacBook Pro and it wouldn't close anymore. So, he got a new one. And, would we want his old, perfectly fine, just won't close all the way computer? Ummm, yes. This may sound crazy, but I honestly believe God gave us that computer. It was as if he was saying, "Watch how I will remove the obstacles you think are in the way of your action."
Friday of that week, God used a couple of other circumstances to make the timing abundantly clear. Paul had been looking for a new job for over a year. He had interviewed a few different places, but nothing ended up working. That afternoon, I was sitting on the couch with my friend Joy. Paul called to let me know that Kaiser had called him to interview for a job. A job he had not even applied for. A job that was not even posted. WHAT? It was crazy and wonderful and just the encouragement he needed at a challenging time professionally. We didn't know at the time that he would be hired for the very job after a few weeks of interviewing. Regardless, it was such a reminder of how not-in-control we are.
That same afternoon between Paul's phone call and his arrival at home, my phone bleeped with an incoming email from AGCI. In honor of Mother's Day, they were reducing their initial fees by $1500. Again, WHAT? I laughed out loud and screamed and performed a nice freak-out show for my girls. I didn't say a word to Paul when he walked in the door. I just showed him the email. He said, "I guess we should do it." This was from the guy who one month prior had sat through an adoption seminar and announced that we would definitely NOT be applying to adopt this summer. We didn't have the money.
Now, as we await our home visits and submission of our dossier, I am so very thankful I can look back and consider what God has already done. I know that this is our next little step in obedience. When I get frustrated because the wait time for a referral is over two years, and because the paperwork and bureaucracy involved in international adoption is obscene, I know that our baby step was made just when it was supposed to be. The rest is not my deal. It is my Savior's. He is the one who died for me, the one who knows our sweet baby's name, the one who holds this very planet in the palm of his hand. I'm shaking my head in disbelief that he would invite me to be a part of his work.