Honestly, when I think about the past 3 months, maybe even longer than that my head spins. We have been busy. Four children is nothing to shake a stick at, especially four vibrant, intense and passionate children. For the gift that is each of them, we are so very grateful. However, sometimes I really have to make the choice to practice feeling that way. Like, when someone is in a hurry and spills a whole bowl of soup on the dining room floor that I have finally finishing mopping, literally ten minutes prior, after three weeks of accepting that Sandy the dog’s “spot cleaning” will have to do. I am so grateful for our time together. Yes, perhaps the loudest family in Cazenovia. But usually that loud is from laughter, from intense children with so much to share that they can’t contain it. It is so full of life around here; this home is just bursting at the seams.
About two years ago, my husband and I learned about orphan hosting from a friend’s Facebook wall. We both thought it was a cool idea, but just automatically wrote it off as one that we would consider more seriously when we were older, when our kids were older (they were 6, 4 and almost 2) and when we had a bigger house to host in. By that time we would surely have more financial means too. This is the time in our lives when we began to see firsthand how often God's plans for you are not even remotely close to what yours are.
After dismissing this hosting idea as a current plan, I had a dream about a young boy and it was a simple dream. (I have since learned that God uses a “still small voice” in my dreams, to speak very clearly to me to this day.) He was with our family, it was Christmas and he was sharing a bedroom with our then oldest son. I woke up and thought, “of course, he would sleep in there. Look at that, there IS enough room in this house.” In fact, reflecting on it now, with four kids living in our home comfortably, I can’t believe it was so hard to imagine at first. My husband and I talked again about this whole hosting idea and I shared that I felt this incredible weight, and that we needed to say yes to this. Our relationship is strong; we are committed to these types of things in each other. He saw that it was important to me so we began looking more seriously at the photo listing with the hosting agency. We noticed that many of them had scholarships, something that made the cost of this calling seem much more affordable. We also had an idea that we were looking for a teenage boy and then we found our boy, our now oldest son.
What was most noticeable was that he had a scholarship for over $1700, more than half of his hosting fees. Again, that “still small voice” made it very clear where the deposit to start the process was and there was a sudden awareness that we could fundraise. We could ask for others to step out in faith with us, to show their love in prayer and if they were moved to, to make a donation. We met our son on December 17th, 2012 and our lives will truly never ever be the same. Ever.
Over the almost two year adoption process we came to know Jesus. We began to learn that there is so much more to this life than just knowing who Jesus is and how much He loves us. Our hearts were stretched and opened to something amazing. Not only to loving an orphan child and seeing that he was our own and our family was his own, but that nothing is too hard for God. He is all powerful and He does have a plan and He does work for the good of all. We learned what it meant to “wait on God” and to “find rest in Him.” We saw Him fill us with ideas and words to ask humbly for donations, and within almost an 18 month period raise over forty thousand dollars for our son’s adoption. We saw our story of an “impossible adoption because of an age-gap law” move through our family and friends and their families and friends and pretty quickly it was moving across the country and the world. God was using our little family’s mission to ripple across His creation to change the hearts of many! What a gift to us. I still can’t grasp what it all means, that this is our family’s story. I am humbled.
However, as I write this, I keep thinking of what it is that I am most grateful for throughout it all. I am brought to my knees with such gratitude for the way God has shown me how to depend on Him. How only He can love wholly, only He can give me rest in times of great uncertainty or exhausting trial. How He never ever leaves us and although sometimes we don’t hear His voice He is always there, His plan is still in motion and it is a good plan. How I cannot be a parent of these children He chose for me (and me for them) without His constant guidance and wisdom. I cannot do this life alone. I need Him.
As a very special and very wise friend has said to me, many times, “Thank God for God.”
We are SO thankful.
We are a family that has been blessed by the gift of adoption.