Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Choosing Adoption: Part 2: International Adoption

 Last week I started a 3 part series calling Choosing Adoption here on our blog. We are asked all the time how we decided adoption was right for our family/how we knew God was calling us to adopt. We are open about our story & love sharing what God has done in our family over the past 2 years. 

Since the answer to the question "How did you know God was calling you to adopt?" is complex & different for every family impacted by adoption, I've put together various perspectives & testimonies for those of you considering adoption. I asked some woman I greatly admire to share bits of their stories with you in a 3 part series called Choosing Adoption. 

Click here to catch up on the first post & also hear a little bit about our decision to adopt. 
You can read Choosing Adoption Part 2: International Adoption below. These stories are all so powerful & putting together this post had me in tears. I'm amazed at how God works to bring families together through adoption! 

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Denise's story: 
I was surrounded by all these beautiful faces. But they were dirty, bedraggled and not all were healthy. The leader of the inner city children's outreach ministry pointed to one little boy who was desperate to climb on my lap. "This one... his mother is a prostitute and a drug addict. He rarely sees her and often has to try and fend for himself." The little boy was adorable. All he wanted was to be held, hugged and have someone's attention. I was only 19 at that time, but everything in me wanted to take him with me and show him what a healthy family situation looked like. Not long after I was in Bogota, Columbia. Holding a baby who had been rescued from a trash pile as a newborn. His one hand mangled because he had tried to eat it. I wept over him and again this desire to just give a child in need a family overwhelmed me.
Soon afterwards I met my husband. We both worked with YWAM in many inner city ministries across the United States, as well as in South America. So many hurting children. So many desperate to be loved. We both agreed early in our relationship, that adoption was in our future if we were to be married. 5 years after our wedding, and 3 years of struggling with infertility, adoption became a reality for us again. Just as we were about to start the process, we were blessed to conceive our son. 6 years later we finally knew it was the right time for us to begin our adoption journey. I'm so thankful that God placed adoption on our hearts so long ago because it was never "Plan B" for us. It was always part of the plan - we just needed to know when. We now have three amazing kids. Our biological son, our 7 year old daughter born in the USA who came to us at birth (we are Canadian), and our second daughter came to us from Haiti at age 2.5 years. She just turned 6 years old. 
All of their stories are different, but all of them are a miracle in our eyes. They are a blessing to us beyond what we ever could have imagined. I have had to learn about other cultures, how to do their hair and care for their skin. I have had to become aware of racism and my privilege in this sometimes cruel world. We have had to learn about adoption language and trauma (even in utero) and how that affects their brains and how they learn. It's been a huge learning curve and being willing to parent differently than we did our biological son... but all of it so worth it when those eyes meet mine and I know they feel loved and cared for in this family. 
~Denise

Lena's story: 
I was raised knowing that there were children in this world in need of loving families. My parents fostered and I had the privilege of watching children my family cared for be adopted. Even at a young age I knew adoption would be a part of my life. I grew up in an adaptive household, my dad has ushers syndrome and is blind and deaf. Having a heart for people who are differently abled I was blessed to volunteer at a day program for adults with special needs. I developed amazing friendships with a few adults with down syndrome who left a lasting impression on my heart. Looking back God was laying the foundations of my adoption story. I started believing one day I would have a child with down syndrome, knowing I could not guarantee that biologically I started researching adoption. That is when I learned that in many countries children with special needs are placed in orphanages and mental institutions. God laid the needs of these children heavy on my heart. When Gods timing for me to adopt came he relentlessly pursued my heart. I started falling in love with profiles of waiting children with down syndrome from Eastern Europe but I had a million excuses as to why now was not the right time to adopt. After months of praying God audibly told me my excuses did not matter and now was the time to adopt. I knew adoption would be hard, expensive and the process seemed overwhelming but I knew God is never wrong. I did not have my whole life together, I was in a new career, single, young and had minimal savings. On paper adoption in my life right then did not make sense but in my heart it did; with full faith in God everything came together. Nineteen months after God telling me "Now" I became the mother of the most beautiful and perfect 16 month old girl with down syndrome from Bulgaria. She is the greatest blessing, I am thankful everyday I followed Gods calling and said yes. ~Lena 


Libby's story:
When my husband and I started praying specifically about how He wanted to grow our family, we stepped into scary territory. We began letting go of our plans and went on a search to find His heart. When we opened our heart for His way, every where we looked adoption came in announcing itself's loudly. My husband got hired as a youth pastor, the pastor and his wife had adopted three children, I went to a women's conference, the lead speaker was adopted and spoke about a Father's love that wrecked me in the best possible way. We went on a trip and when we when we got on the airplane, the mother beside us was with her daughter and told us after an hour conservation her adoption story. Adoption became a theme and we saw God moving in our life through the people we met and lived with every day. One of my favorite quotes I found through the adoption process was, "I always questioned if I was ready to adopt, Then I realized, No child was ready to be an orphan." When God puts adoption on your heart, you can't "shake" it and the whole universe moves mountains, waters, and miles just so you and your child can be together. It's magic, really. 
~Libby




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How beautiful are these stories?! I just love each of these precious families & their testimonies. One of the unexpected blessings of infertility & adoption has been the friendships I've developed as we'v journeyed through it. It's been amazing to walk & pray alongside other women who share the same passion about adoption that I do. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your hearts & stories, sweet friends!

If you are feeling drawn to adoption, I would encourage you to spend time in prayer, do some research & surrender your heart & plans to the Lord. Maybe your story includes adoption, maybe it doesn’t! I’m not here to answer that question for you either way, that’s for you to discern & the Lord to lead. If you are considering adoption, my hope is for this Choosing Adoption series would encourage you to hand your heart & story over to the Lord.

Stay tuned for Choosing Adoption Part 3: Foster Care Adoption! 

With love,
Tyler 

"A father to the fatherless, defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads the prisoners out with singing…" ~Psalm 68: 5-6



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