Adoption Journey

"I think I want to adopt NOW!" Jess said to me in August of 2010 on way to one of my close friend's wedding in New Orleans.  We had talked about adoption in the past and had both come to a decision to adopt....one day. We had been trying to get pregnant for almost two years at that time. As we drove we talked about our desire to have a child. While on one hand we wanted to have biological children, on the other hand we both just wanted to have a child to love. After the wedding that night we went and ate dinner and decided to walk into Borders to look at books on adoption. Naturally I was drawn to the book titled "Adoption for Idiots." We have all seen the "idiot" books in the bookstore and as I thumbed through it I saw that it was actually pretty helpful. Jess and I pretty much looked through the whole book that night in our hotel room. Some of its content was great..some scared us to death.

We both decided that we were going to start praying about adoption and ask the Lord to show us His will. During that  next week I was in Florence, AL one day for work and decided to walk into the Lifeway Christian Store to check out any books they may have on adoption. I went to the family section and just looked for a book with anything about adoption in the title. I found a book titled "Adopted for Life" by Russell D. Moore. Just like the "idiots" book I decided I was going to read a few pages. I skipped the forward and went right to the first chapter titled "Adoption, Jesus, and You:Why You Should Read This Book, Especially If You Don't Want To." It was as if the chapter had been written for me. In it Dr. Moore spoke of his own adoption of his two boys from Russia. Then right there on page 17 it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I dont know who you are, reading this book. Maybe you're standing in a bookstore, flipping past these pages. Maybe you're reading this book a few minutes at a time, keeping it in a drawer
so your spouse won't see it. Maybe your never thought you'd read a book about adoption. Maybe you're wondering if you should"

WOW!!! I am not kidding. He went on to write.

Adoption is on one hand, gospel. In this, adoption tells us who we are as children of the Father. Adoption as gospel tells us about our identity, our inheritance, and our mission as sons of God. 
Adoption is also defined as mission. In this, adoption tells us our purpose in this age
as people of Christ. Missional adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for helpless
and abandoned. 

As soon as you peer into the truth of the one aspect, you fall headlong into the truth of the other, and vice versa. That's because it's the way the gospel is. Jesus reconciles us to God and to each other.
As we love our God, we love our neighbor; as we love our neighbor, we love our God. We believe Jesus in heavenly things-our adoption in Christ; so we follow him in earthly things-the adoption of children.
Without the theological aspect, the emphasis on adoption too easily is seen as charity. Without the missional aspect, the doctrine of adoption too easily is seen as mere metaphor. 

I want to ask what it would mean if our churches and families were known as the people who adopt babies---toddlers, and children, and teenagers. What if we as Christians were known, once again, as the people who take in orphans and make of them beloved sons and daughters?

Not everyone is called to adopt. No one wants parents who adopt children out of a sense of duty with which they may give to the building fund for the new church gymnasium. But all of us have a stake in the adoption issue, because Jesus does. He is the one who tells us his Father is also "Father to the fatherless" (Ps. 68:5). He is the one who insists on calling the "least of these" his "brothers" (Matt. 25:40) and who tells us that the the first time we hear his voice, he will be asking us if we did the same. 

As I read this I immediately went and bought the book and went to my car.  I called Jess with tears in my eyes and said "We have to adopt. I am ready"

Jess knew a sweet family around Hartselle that adopted a little boy from Ukraine and used Lifeline Children Services for the adoption. We asked to eat dinner with them and pick their brain. After the dinner and hearing them tell us about the adoption of their son we prayed and God put on our heart to adopt for the Ukraine as well. We called Lifeline and got the process started at the end of August. After a good bit of  initial paperwork(I won't go into the amount of paperwork needed in the adoption process) we were ready for our first call with our social worker. Right about this time we find out that Jess was pregnant. God is good. We hadn't been to the doctor yet so we didn't mention it to our social worker at that time. The call went great and we set up our initial interview. During that interview we told her we thought we were pregnant. Our social worker was just as excited for us as we were and asked us if we wanted to keep pursuing the adoption. We said yes but were told we would have to wait until our baby was 6 months to a year before we could adopt. We were fine with that and kept going along with the paperwork and home studies.

In April of 2011 we welcomed our baby boy, Elijah James, into the world. What an awesome blessing from the Lord. This summer we got word from our social worker that Ukraine had passed a new law that we could not adopt any child younger than 5 years of age.  Our hearts broke again because we knew we would not get a 1 year old from Ukraine but we have been praying for a toddler.  Here is where we really understood Lifeline's policy of waiting 6 months after your first child.  After having Eli our desire to adopt grew stronger after we realized how much a baby depended on his or her parents and how much love we had for Eli.  Our hearts broke knowing that there are 147 million orphans that do not have the love and care that they deserve and need and somewhere was our child that God had planned for us to adopt waiting to be held and loved. But also having Eli we realized that we have so much to learn about being parents and that we would not be ready for a child that could be older than 5 right now.

Eli in now 6 months and Jess and I, after praying and asking the Lord to show us what he wanted, are now pursing adoption from Ethiopia. Please keep us in your prayers as we seek to "father the fatherless" and to love like He loves.

Check out our Adoption Fundraising page to help us on our journey