What??? Did I miscount?? I thought they only had 5 kids……
Yes, well I’m pregnant……………… with a 15 year old boy! Can’t you see the glow?! This is our first sonogram:
We have accepted the referral of a 15 yo boy from Ethiopia! We mailed all our paperwork, and it is possible that we could even be in Ethiopia for a court date in July! We can’t give his name until we pass court, but you can call him “Solomon” for now. That is the Bible name I felt God give me for him 2 years ago and it will be his middle name. Since he is older, we will let him decide if he wants an Irish name like our other kids, or if he wants to stick with his Ethiopian name.
This is a long 2.5 year story, but I will try my best to hit the highlights. Though, as you might have noticed lately, I am not the shortest blogger. 🙂
In January of 2010, I put Liam, my then-seven year old boy, to bed one night (this was during our other adoption but we had not yet received a referral), and we prayed, as we usually did, for orphans and for our kids that would be coming. Then he asked me this: “Mom, aren’t there older kids in the orphanage? I mean, how do they feel when people come to get the little kids and the big kids aren’t picked even though they have been there longer?” That question has haunted me since that night and there has not been a day gone by that I didn’t believe that God spoke to me that night “through the mouth of babes.” (I wrote an entry in my journal about this dated Jan 18, 2010.)
Ever since then I have believed that we were supposed to adopt an older boy, one who is alone (not a sibling group) and will age out of the system soon. In Ethiopia, as with many other countries, at age 16 you are no longer adoptable and you go out to make your way in the streets. I have watched the Waiting Child List from our agency ever since then and seen boys that fit that description come and go. I even pursued a few of them a little, but the timing was never right.
Well, starting last fall I felt like the time was coming soon. Then late one night on Jan 20, 2012, I felt I received a Word from God. I was about to go to bed, pj’s on, computer closed, one last pit stop. (Sorry, going to be honest here because I just want to show God’s sense of humor. Yes, I was sitting in the bathroom when God spoke to me.) I heard in my head this nonchalant question, “Hey, why don’t you check out Katie’s blog?” It wasn’t me saying to myself, I wonder what Katie has written lately. It was a question, directed to me–Hey comma, ___?” I thought, “Wow. That was random. I haven’t looked at Katie’s blog in months, but OK.”
So I went back downstairs and opened up my computer. Katie Davis’s last entry was posted on Jan. 18. (Did you catch it was the same date as my journal entry, exactly two years earlier?) She talked about how God did not wait to send Jesus until we were ready and clean and had everything in order. He enters into our mess. HIS time is now. (Click on the above link to see her entry—it will be worth your while.) As I read, it was as if God was speaking straight to me. The time is NOW, NOW, NOW. Michael and I had just previously agreed to pray and fast during Lent (February to Easter) about adopting again, so how does this square, without me pushing? So I asked Michael if I could just send off for paperwork from our home study agency and our international agency. That doesn’t commit us to anything. He agreed.
Then there was another time in February on one of our fasting days where I felt a strong urgency to get going on things and later that day got a call from our international agency who encouraged us to apply before we got ahead of ourselves. I was setting up doctor appointments and other things that I knew we would need to have done, but again didn’t commit us to anything. I asked Michael if we could go ahead and apply because if we were not accepted, then our prayers were in vain anyway. We were out a little money, but again no obligation.
Then once in March, I asked a pushy question to Michael, one that came out of desperation and not trust in the God who was telling me we were going to be doing this. I asked for Michael’s forgiveness and I vowed in my head that I would not bring up ANYTHING adoption related until the Tuesday after Easter. Though I felt such an urgency about this, I also knew I needed to trust and respect my husband and give him the time we had agreed upon to pray about this and to process it with God himself. Patience. Trust.
During that one month, God bombarded me with Words from Him, and I had to keep them all to myself! I have had a handful or two of times in the past when I have felt God speak to me in some way, and they have always come to pass, but I have NEVER had him speak to me like this, multiple times with one specific message! During this month, we were accepted into our agency, “our boy” showed up on the WCL, and God revealed to me over and over that it was this boy that was supposed to be in our family. Through a movie, through Scripture and prayer time, through songs, through my adoptive moms retreat. (There is enough for a whole other post that I can share once we pass court and are allowed to tell more details about our boy.) He tied up lose ends and answered questions from years previous that had always left me wondering and not quite understanding His will. Everything became clear to me.
So at the end of that month, I sat down with Michael and showed him all that God had shown me. I told him that I have never been more sure of something, more sure of what God was specifically leading us to do, than I was right now. Even of marrying him! Yes, I believe God had a huge hand in bringing us together, and I believe it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. But I did not necessarily get a “Word from God” to do so. Not only am I blessed to have heard from God once about this decision, but many times through many avenues that were unmistakeably from Him. How many times in life do we get to say that we know we are exactly in the middle of God’s will?? I am humbled.
Michael had tears as I spoke with him, as the Spirit confirmed the decision in his heart. He asked a couple of logistical questions, and then decidedly replied, “Ok. Let’s do this.” He is a brave man. He is trusting “Words from God” that didn’t come to him, except through me. He is trusting that God will continue to be faithful, as He has shown us before, though we have no promises about the future. He is giving his bread winning pride over to God and trusting that though this looks crazy (and is crazy) on paper, that we serve and remember the God who brought the Israelites out of Egypt and parted the Red Sea.
It has taken a while to get our Home Study finalized because Illinois has more more i’s to dot and t’s to cross than most states. While we were waiting for these items, other families from our agency were coming home from meeting their kids and several of them were talking “Solomon” up. They said he was so sweet and so good with little kids and would be such a blessing, and not to let his physical issues with his legs or his age deter someone from pursuing him. We were already actively pursuing him, but it was such a blessing to hear this about his personality!
This is not about us. It is not about a burning desire I have to have 6 kids. Or an overly emotional mentality that cries at every lost puppy and thinks that I need to save the world. It is about a God who calls himself the Father to the Fatherless. HE is the one who is watching over the orphan and hears their cries and answers them by putting each specific child on someone’s heart. In our case, he put two siblings on our hearts, a boy and a girl with specific ages, and now an older boy that fits a specific profile (will explain that later), that we were supposed to go look for. God is taking care of them, not us. Remember how I said that God “called” me while I was in the bathroom that night, Jan 20, 2012? Well, we found out later when we got his file that it was that exact same day that he was admitted to the transition home. God was telling me, “He is ready now. It’s time to start.”
Now we each can choose to obey or not obey. And it is my fear that too often God has parents in mind that he wants to stand in the gap for the defenseless, and they have busied themselves so much that they don’t even hear God ask. So the problem of the orphan is not that God is not working on their behalf, but often that we, his people, are not fully listening and obeying. My adoptive mom friend Monica reminded me of this Scripture on her blog recently: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2) Today it is our job to carry the burden of parenting for someone else who can no longer do so, and to help a young man get the medical attention he needs and love of a family so that he can have a chance at life and love and work and family. To have more to hope for than life on the streets without the physical ability to work and find food.
So this is where we are at this point. Our paperwork went unusually quick and we have a finalized home study, proper paperwork sent off to Homeland Security, and our dossier (all the international paperwork) sent off and will be headed over to Ethiopia as of 6-1-12. If all goes well, we could be there for court in July! We will get to meet and spend time with our boy that week, and then return for our Embassy appointment to take him home hopefully a few months after that.
Please pray with us that our paperwork continues to go quickly (especially because of his age and because the Ethiopian court closes for two months during the rainy season in August and September), that “Solomon” will feel peace and joy and trust in the God who is taking care of him, and that we raise the funds necessary to travel twice very soon. (Usually the big chunk you pay at dossier time is months or even years from the time of the referral chunk. Ours were a day apart. And now we will have two trips to Ethiopia very soon.)
We received word yesterday that Solomon was told he has a family and they said he was overjoyed! He had pretty much given up hope at this point. They said the staff and other kids at the transition home celebrated with him! He had recently received two care packages anonymously from us, but now he will get a photo book to know more of who we are. And we told the remaining kids here last night (we had already told the older two a month ago because they could keep a secret). We are all excited that we will be a family of 8! We had one more spot at our table, one more seat in our Suburban, and one more place in our home, and now they will be filled! Please praise God and celebrate with us His everlasting grace and goodness!