Adoption FAQ #5: Boy or Girl?

We really struggled with this decision. I mean REALLY struggled.

We originally said we were open to either gender. How could we choose? It felt like if we were to pick a gender, we were taking control of things instead of letting God work…and as we’ve already established, God is in charge of building this family regardless of our input.

Then we found out that I was pregnant with a little boy…and we started to revisit the gender decision.

Can I just be real for a moment? In some ways, a little boy would be “easier”. We’ve already got all the boy clothes we could ever need for hand-me-downs. We’ve got all the boy toys. And for very lazy reasons, I could buzz his Ethiopian hair with minimal effort or know-how on my part. But let’s face it, those are all superficial reasons to pick a boy.

And since I’m still being real…I have a strong desire to dress someone in pink, ruffles, and hairbows at some point in my life.

Through our interactions with The Mercy House, we started thinking about what life is like for a girl in a third world country. It isn’t pretty. The facts are downright depressing and make me ask God hard questions in the middle of the night. Rape. Prostitution for food. Back-alley Abortions. Yuck. Yuck. Sigh…

I knew what we had to choose.

All hair care tips welcome for African girl hair. :)

Adoption FAQ #4: Now that you’re pregnant, why are you STILL adopting?

There is no doubt in my mind. God told us to adopt. We listened and answered this calling. Then, and only then, did we get pregnant.

Yes, I feel like God waited for us to follow His calling before He blessed us with another pregnancy. Sorta like when He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and at the last second he provided a replacement. Only different. Clear as mud, right? Trust me, it makes sense in my head.

I don’t boast to know the thoughts or ways of God. Far from it. Most days the more I think I learn, the less I understand. But I know this…

His calling for us to adopt did not change just because I got pregnant. No, we’re still called.

And let’s get hypothetical for a moment, shall we….

If I had been able to get pregnant easily, I probably would have kept having babies one after another. Our “someday we’d like to adopt” attitude would still probably be in the “someday” category. Who knows if we’d ever actually get around to adopting if we could pop out babies easily. Our struggles with fertility brought adoption to the forefront. I believe God used our struggle with fertility to bring us to the point where we were ready to say “YES” to adoption.

Because He lavished His grace on us, He blessed us with a pregnancy after we said “Yes.” Now, does that mean everyone should say “yes” to adoption in hopes of getting pregnant…NO! Does that mean everyone who says “yes” to adoption will get pregnant…NO! Remember, His ways are not our ways and I totally don’t get it.

We also believe that this pregnancy is all part of God’s timing to get us to the exact place on the list to be matched up with the Ethiopian child He has already chosen for us. Who knows…our Ethiopian baby may not even be conceived yet! How’s that for some blow your mind thoughts?

We may sound crazy to some to be adopting and pregnant, but I don’t care. I’m crazy in love with Jesus and I’ll follow him to Africa and back with a baby in tow because he told me to.

Adoption FAQ #3: Why Don’t You Just Foster Adopt?

When we talk about adopting, the conversation usually goes like this…

“There are soooo many children that need families in America. Have you thought about Fostering-to-Adopt?”

Then I have to decide which answer to give…Usually I go with the long answer, but wish I was brave enough to say the short.

________________________________________________________

Short Answer: There ARE so many children that need families in America. Have YOU thought about Fostering-to-Adopt?

Long Answer: We agree, there are too many children in foster care in America. Our heart is broken for all orphans, no matter where they live.  Although fostering-to-adopt would probably be cheaper for us, the emotional stakes are higher. Call it selfish, but we don’t think we could handle the unknowns that go along with fostering. It would absolutely devastate our family to get attached to a child and have it not work out for one reason or another. We want a baby, and know the majority of waiting children are older. It is very important for us to keep the correct birth order of our children. Since Jonah is only 3 years old, we feel a baby would be best.

Don’t get me wrong—We have the utmost respect for those that choose fostering-to-adopt and have friends in the process. We just don’t think it is the right thing for our family at this time.

Does choosing to go internationally instead of fostering in our own country make us bad people? No. We fully believe God has led us to Ethiopia. We also believe that God has families picked out for all orphans. Maybe you might be one of them?

Adoption FAQ #2: Why Ethiopia?

Ah, this is a fun story….

When we submitted ourselves to God’s call to adopt, our next question was “Where, Lord? There are so many orphans. How can we possibly pick a country?” We asked Him to show us–close every door, except the one we’re supposed to go through. He did.

If I’ve ever had a “flashing billboard sign” experience, this was it. Ethiopia was everywhere I looked–conversations with friends, random blog posts I would stumble upon, the news….EVERYWHERE!  The night before we had a meeting at Bethany Christian Services, I told Ray I had a feeling it was Ethiopia.

When we first sat down to talk to the adoption coordinator she used Ethiopia as an example…I got goosebumps and nudged Ray.  She even showed us a picture of a little boy that had just come home from Ethiopia. My heart melted.

Through the course of our meeting, we looked over every inch of a spreadsheet with adoption requirements for countries. I made notes by each country and even marked a few that we didn’t qualify for completely off the list…Some countries were closed to new applicants. A few required very long travel (2 months long!) and just wouldn’t work for us. Others only had very severe special needs that we just aren’t ready for at this time.

At the end of our meeting, the only country that didn’t have a note or line through it was Ethiopia. We knew and our hearts fell in love with Ethiopia.

Since then, God has been confirming it over and over to us. Ethiopia is still everywhere I look!

I also found this video and I couldn’t pretend I didn’t know….

Proverbs 24:12

If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

Adoption FAQ #1: Why Adopt?

A Little Background…

Ray and I have always known that we would adopt at some point in our life together. It was a personal desire for both of us, before we even knew each other. When we talked about adopting, it was always in the “someday” category. We had our plan—have a couple kids naturally and then adopt. Easy enough, right?

Only it wasn’t so easy. After giving birth to Jonah, my body has been weird and unpredictable. We’ve tried to get pregnant for over 2 years. According to the doctor, there isn’t really anything wrong. It just hasn’t happened. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster the past two years as I’ve prayed, hoped, and cried out to God just like Hannah for a second pregnancy. Once Jonah started asking for a baby brother or sister, I felt even more pressure .

I’ve stood on the sidelines and watched as friends have become pregnant and given birth to their blessings. I’ve rejoiced with them! How could I not rejoice with my friends for their growing families? But in the quiet, my heart yearned. At times, I’ve struggled with  jealousy for their growing belly—followed by guilt over not being thankful for being able to conceive and carry Jonah when so many friends and family have struggled to have one child.

And while this was going on, God was whispering to our hearts about adoption. Walking along side friends and church members that have gone through the process. Watching in amazement as God matched orphans with the perfect family. Being speechless as God poured out blessing after blessing to make adoption possible for our friends. It was almost like watching a preview and getting a glimpse of what could be.

The Real Answer…

Adoption is close to God’s heart. No, we don’t claim to have access to God’s thoughts, but He has modeled it for us. Whenever the Bible speaks about adoption, it always presents this gracious act in a favorable light.

Consider Moses. He was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:1-10). This was part of God’s plan to save the life of Moses and deliver His people.

And what about Esther? The Bible reminds us that she was adopted by her cousin, Mordecai (Esther 2:15). Who can forget the amazing way that God used Esther to save His children?

In a way, wasn’t Jesus also adopted? Joseph was not His biological father. Joseph, an unselfish man of God, was willing to rearrange his entire life in obedience to God in order to be an adoptive father!

The Greatest Adoption Story…

The greatest adoption story in the Bible is the story of our “adoption” into the family of God. Through the precious blood of His son, God is willing to receive us as His adopted sons and daughters.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. ~Ephesians 1:4-6

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  ~Romans 8:14-15

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  ~John 14:18

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  ~James 1:27

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  ~Psalm 68:5

Go Ahead And Ask…

question mark ?Since we announced our adoption, we’ve been asked a LOT of questions. Some of them have been asked out of honest curiosity. Other questions have been out of concern…almost like someone placing their hand on our forehead to check to see if we have a fever.

Whatever the circumstance, we knew they would come. It’s only natural. We were ready. We had peace. We had already prayed over the answers…and the people asking the questions.

That God would speak, not us.
That our answer would be full of grace–His grace. The grace He extended when He adopted us.

If you’ve got a question for us about our adoption, feel free to leave it in the comments. I’ m not going to promise that I’ll answer all of them, but I’ll be tackling some Adoption FAQ’s in future posts. So, what questions do you have for us? Go ahead and ask…

How YOU can change OUR world…

Early last week I asked the question, “How are YOU changing the world?” And really, there wasn’t a correct answer. The answers you gave were beautiful. And you are—-changing the world that is. Even those of you that thought “Hmm, the only thing I’ve done today is wipe bottoms and put food in front of a hungry child.” Yep, that definitely counts as world-changing.

And then, I announced that we are adopting.

Today, I’m here to tell how YOU can change OUR world so that we can bring one of the 147 million orphans home to our family.

To love.  

To snuggle.

 To wipe bottoms and put food in front of another hungry child.

Would you consider buying something from my Etsy Shop? I know you’ve made your Christmas gift list and are gearing up for shopping. Why not buy presents that are two-fold in giving? A gift for your loved-one, that in turn helps bring an orphan home to our open arms. All proceeds from my shop go into our adoption fund. I have worked hard over the weekend to get some new things loaded in the shop. Go take a look!

There are other ways to help…

  1. Pray.
  2. Tell others.
  3. Did I mention pray for us?

We aren’t the only ones raising funds this Christmas. There are plenty of causes–many of them dear to our hearts. I believe that if we’re going to buy gifts, we should make them count.

So, I’m asking again: How are YOU changing the world?

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, would you consider spreading the news and linking to my shop?

 If you have a blog of your own, would you consider blogging about us and linking to my shop? Or, what about putting an advertising button in your sidebar? I can’t pay you for advertising, but I’ll love you forever ;)

Thank you for all of the kind words and encouragement about our adoption announcement! I truly have the best readers around! If you want to keep up with our adoption adventure (and everything else we’re up to), sign up to have posts delivered straight to your email inbox or to your favorite blog reader. (It’s FREE!)

linked to: Christmas Frenzy