The Referral

or, Have You Lost Your Minds?!

Announcing that I am pregnant with triplets via Facebook during my first trimester is not something I would ever do.  [Please, let me be extremely clear that I am not pregnant with triplets.)

Which is why it feels kind of weird to announce here, in such a public forum, that after the seeking of godly counsel and much prayer, we committed to adopt three precious sisters, ages 3, 6, and 8, yesterday.

Most of you know that we felt called to adopt in the Summer of 2010 and then for various reasons dragged our feet:  both David Alan’s and my American, first-born sense of responsibility which says take care of yourself first and when that’s accomplished (and it never truly is), give to others, and a paralyzing fear of our own weaknesses, as spouses, parents, and followers of Jesus.

But over the next year and a half, the Holy Spirit worked in our lives in such an amazing way that we felt assurance that we must be obedient and that God would provide for all of our needs along the way, and he has.  In January of 2012, we submitted a second, updated application and began the long, exhaustive, home study process.  On August 20, 2012, our dossier landed on Ethiopian soil and we were placed on the waiting list at #71.  We were home study approved to adopt a sibling set of two, either gender, between the ages of zero and six.

Fast forward to February.  For a couple of months, we had noticed three healthy sisters on the waiting child list.  We tried to forget about them, we really did.  But we kept coming back to them.  We took into account the number of children, their ages, the fact that many couples [often understandably] want to adopt babies.  All of these things were working against the girls finding a forever family.  We took into account that between the two of us, we feel that some of our life experiences and the multi-cultural community that God has placed us in have been preparation “for such a time as this.”  And the story of the week leading up to this referral is pretty amazing, too.  (I will tell it separately, at some point).

So, on Wednesday, Feb. 13, we accepted the referral for three girls.

What Our Kids Think:

If you don’t know our kids Abigail, age 6, and Isaiah, age 4, you need to know that they are nuts—in the best way.  They’ve spent their entire lives in cross-cultural ministry to East African refugees in our current city.  Abby is extremely outgoing and loves to be in large groups of kids.  David Alan and I still can’t figure out how two introverts made an extrovert.  She is used to floating between cultures and once, quite seriously asked me, “Mama, what is the English word for ‘trash bag’?”

Our kids have been talking about “Africa babies” for years, now.  From day one, when we asked Abby what she thought about all of this, she placed her request for a “big girl,” to which I repeatedly responded, “That’s not happening.  There is no ‘big girl.’  You are the ‘big girl’ in our family.”  Famous last words.

Both Abby and Isaiah are excited that we are pursuing these sisters, although, I don’t think they have any clue what it means to have that many siblings, every day.   Well, maybe they have an inkling.

I asked Abby, “What will you do if you want to cuddle with me and I am already cuddling one of your sisters?”  She replied, “I guess I will just have to wait.”

Then, I asked just-turned-four Isaiah, “What will you do if you want your cup filled and I am already busy with one of your sisters?”

He responded, “I’ll probably throw a fit.”

“Do you think maybe you could wait patiently until I’m finished?”

Finger to his chin, eyes rolled back in head, “Eh, maybe.  But probably not.”  Yep, that’s our Yay.

What We Think:

I don’t doubt for a minute that this is going to be challenging.  In fact, I’m expecting it to be freaking hard.  I’m definitely both excited and nervous to meet the girls.  I can’t fathom what will go through the mind of an eight-year-old who will be making a drastic, life-altering move into a new family with different ways of doing things–a family who will have to learn entirely new ways of doing things, at that.

But I also know that God calls us to do hard things.  I keep going back to that story of Joshua, the one which gave me immense hope when we were just starting down this path.  This time, though, I am reminded of the twelve spies who went to scout out the land that God had promised to them—ten of whom returned too afraid of the giants who lived there, while only Joshua and Caleb trusted God.  As it turned out, of this group, only Joshua and Caleb were eventually allowed the blessing of entering the Promised Land.  Will we fear the giants?  We don’t even yet know what they are.  But we know who God is and that he promises to provide for all of our needs.

Of course, an additional referral costs an additional $5000.  We had nearly enough to accept two referrals, thanks to fundraising, donations, and a [surprise!] mutual fund that we were notified about.  We currently (as of 11:00 AM on 2.14.13) need around $3000 more by next week in order to accept all three referrals.  If you feel that God is leading you to donate financially, please click on the PayPal donate button at the right, or message me for a mailing address.

We beg for your prayers, though.  We do not take this lightly.  Even now, we need to pray that God is preparing the hearts of A., H., and S., to receive a new family, for healing from the loss of their birth family, and for Abigail and Isaiah to continue to grow in their understanding and acceptance of a life that will be different from what they now know.  Pray for DA and myself, that we will be faithful in our obedience, even though we can’t see much farther than the next step right now, and in the world of adoption, nothing is in our control and anything could change at any moment up until it is finalized.  Please love and support us by adding these requests to your church or small group prayer list.  It is God who “sets the lonely in families,” and “provide[s] for all of our needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus,” which beyond this immediate financial need, includes the emotional needs that are sure to appear in time.  He is the only one who can ultimately heal such wounds and bind new families together.  As Isaiah is fond of exclaiming, [often loudly, in large crowds], “Our God is a good God and he is a healer, too!”

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