Where to start??? Well, we had been married a couple of years when some friends of ours went to China to pick up their 1st child. I remember going to the airport to welcome them home (with a small bundle of pink balloons). Little did I know just how much this moment would impact my life. I remember seeing them walk off the plane (these were the good old days where you actually got to go into the airport to greet people) and feeling an overwhelming burst of emotions the moment I saw my friend Angie walk out holding her new daughter. Now, let me tell you that I didn't really know these friends that well at the time, but there I stood holding my little bundle of pink balloons crying just as hard (if not harder) than their family (trust me, I was just as surprised and embarrassed by this as her family whom I had just meet). My friend later told me she saw a look in my face that day, and she had a feeling God had begun a new work in our lives. I also remember coming home later that night and while cooking dinner I turned around and asked Charlie, "What would you say if I said let's go to China and get a child" (I remember this like it was yesterday). He looked at me with a little shock on his face and said,"I say we wait, let's try to have children of our own 1st" (which we had no plans on doing for a long while still). I knew in my heart he was right about waiting; I too wasn't ready to start a family. After that moment the feeling died away for a long time. When it came time to start our family that desire was gone. I would think about it from time to time, but that same drive was nothing more than a thought of maybe "one day".
So, most of you know that after being married 7 years God chose to bless us with the most amazing twin boys. Who would have thought that during the HARDEST time of my life that God would then begin to water the seed he had planted long ago? The crazy part is that we both knew we didn't have a desire to have more of our own children, and for that matter we didn't want another baby (love other people's, just didn't want our own). Maybe this had something to do with fear of getting pregnant with twins again (I've met a few women this has happened to, but more than likely it was God shaping our hearts to align with His) . The sweet part is that I was starting to see that God was planting a seed inside Charlie's heart at the same time. God also began to give both of us visions of a larger family "one day", and when I say one day, I mean these visions were of older kids. So, in the throws of raising twin toddler boys we began to pray about how and when this bigger family would "one day" come to be (because it was most certainly NOT coming through me).
One of the 1st things people want to know is...Why China? Short answer is, "This is where God is leading us". Funny, but China was not at all where we started. I feel like we have been all around the world, just no souvenirs to prove it. With each path God has taken us down we have learned so much about ourselves, our marriage, our family, our kids, and most importantly, His will. I visited an orphan camp a couple of years ago with our young married minister's wife from church (who was planning to adopt one of the kids there). We attended CPS classes last summer thinking maybe He wants us to foster (what man attends those horrible foster care classes alone without his wife some nights if he's not really hearing God's call). We even had an 11 year old girl from Ukraine in our home last November, only for God to close that door too. We spent some time talking with others and looking into other countries (none of which were China) only to have more doors close. Now, we are emotionally exhausted!!! I think we began to wonder if adoption was really for us. Are we really even hearing God at all? The only reason we kept searching is because "If" God was calling us to adopt, neither of us wanted to be out of God's will (the fear of the Lord kind-of thing). We finally left it at maybe "one day" when the kids are much older we are supposed to have foreign exchange students in our home...maybe that's the vision we continue to have, maybe these kids don't belong to us at all. Foreign exchange students? Way down the road? Sounds good to me!!! We began to rest in knowing God would "one day" lead us to whatever, wherever. For now we rest!
Matt. 11:28 Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you, REST.
Little did we know that only 6 months later God would come knocking on our hearts again. Through just a short email I received one day, I began to ask myself, "God is it China?" I quickly remembered Charlie's answer all those years ago, and assumed there would be no way he would be on board (oh, how we were enjoying the rest). When I finally did mention China to him he very quickly answered, "Check into it"...WHAT???
Now I'm the one who is struggling with the idea! Yep, me! You might even say fighting with God a little. You see, yes God did give me the insight that another child was coming "one day", but His timing was WAY OFF (so I thought, "Remember the nice plan of the foreign exchange students much later down the road Lord?"). One of the hardest things I was fighting Him over is the fact that we are JUST NOW to a place with the twins where life isn't so hard and I can enjoy life with them so much more. I finally feel like a mom with 2 children vs. twins. Life up until now has been soooo hard and full of work. I mean kindergarten starts in a few weeks and I will finally get some alone time, in my own house. Then God reminded me (while in the middle of one of my many pity parties) that He never promised life would be easy. As a matter of fact the Bible tells us there WILL be trials. He also reminded me just how hard life was for Him, and He did that so that I might be adopted and have my forever family and home in Heaven. Yes, I too am adopted, by my Heavenly Father. No matter how hard this road has already been (or will continue to be) it doesn't compare to the cost, or physical sacrifice He made for me. After much time on my knees crying out and praying for God to please take this cup from me, I finally surrendered...Not my will, but yours.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
"One Day" was July 30 we began to follow God to China. The moment we agreed to do this God began to lift my burdens and give me what I longed for for some time now...JOY! One of the things I have been dreading is that darn home study every family has to go through (Oh, the never ending sea of paperwork). Charlie came home on that Friday with every bit of that initial application TYPED out (except for the parts only I could do). 1 down and how many more to go??? Wow, what a blessing that was for so many reasons. It feels so good to now know we are in this together!!! We still have so much ahead of us, but we continue to walk with our sweet Lord on this journey one step at a time.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.