In 1998, my husband, Rick, and I were married. We talked about adoption as a part of our “Grand Plan” while excitedly heading off into our new life ready to tackle the world together. I am a planner at heart, which really is a nice way of saying I like to control things. Thankfully, God’s mercy, grace and love cover me as He continues refining me and building our family in His way, for His kingdom purposes.
As a planner, I tend to set my mind and heart on a goal and then automatically expect through hard work and prayer that goal will be achieved. So when we began the process to adopt from China, I set my goal to get the paperwork done in an exacting, but efficient way and get our child home! I look back at our first home study and laugh now realizing that our social worker really was not interested in the fact that I had bleached the north side of our home’s exterior walls to make sure there was no mold, but I was sure that was a necessary step in getting things approved. We did, however, need to talk with our parents and have them write letters letting our social worker know how they felt about our adoption. After talking with my parents, my mother began tearing up. I was quite concerned until she smiled and said, “Do you remember telling me when you were about 12 years old that you would not have children the “regular” way, but that your children would be from Asia?” All those years I thought I had just imagined that, but God’s plan was unfolding.
O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and pure. Isaiah 25:1
After 18 months of paperwork and waiting, on the day of our 5th wedding anniversary, we received a call from our adoption agency, the China program had been suspended indefinitely due to SARS, a viral respiratory disease. I was a wreck, crushed and disheartened. But God was not surprised by this. This too was used in His plan. Two months later, our agency called again, this time to ask us if we would be willing to accept the referral of TWIN girls! If the SARS shutdown had not occured, our daughters’ paperwork would not have been ready. Oh the sweet plans of the Lord. They are so much richer than what we can even fathom!
A few years later, we began the adoption process again, this time feeling God was leading us to look at medical special needs. We read through the pages of medical conditions discussing which ones we felt we could handle and which ones we did not feel equipped to tackle. We talked with friends who had traveled this road and even visited friends in the hospital while they cared for their son who had open heart surgery. I cried the whole way home from the hospital telling God I could never handle that. Thankfully, His plan, once again, refined my heart and led us to the son He had for us. In October of 2007, we got a call from our agency asking us if we would like to see the file of a little boy. His medical need, a heart condition. We had not checked heart conditions on our medical checklist, but God had them call us anyway. After calling Rick at work, without even seeing the file or his picture, he said, “Call them back and tell them that is our son.” And in January of 2008, we brought home our first son from China.
We returned to China again in 2012, this time bringing home our almost three year old son. Rick had seen his picture and biography in our agency’s monthly newsletter. He showed me the article and said, “I think that is our son.” We had not been talking about adopting again, but I was elated! His plan, His timing, in His love and equipping. Nothing has ever stretched our faith, our trust or our love for our Savior more than adoption. God has given us Isaiah 43:5-6 from the beginning of our adoption journey:
“Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,”
I praise and thank Him for His plan!