So, now that you know the back story…I am so excited to tell all that God has done to get us to where we are today! As I shared before, the Lord had given me such a heart and passion for adoption. I felt so strongly that this would be part of our families story. I think it’s amazing the confidence that can come from the Lord when He has called you to something. This was exactly what I felt!
Long story short…God told me very clearly that His desire for our family was to adopt- but, Jason had not so clearly heard the message yet. After being unemployed for 7 months the Lord miraculously provided above and beyond what we needed and we were able to pay off all of our debt. We worked toward this goal with adoption in mind. But, when we arrived at that debt free moment, Jason just wasn’t there yet. He had not gotten the same message as me! That was so hard. I didn’t understand how I could feel so strongly and passionate about something, and he not. So, I began to pray, asking the Lord to unite our passions. And, if adoption wasn’t something we could rally behind together, that He would replace that with something we could. I asked God to make His plan clear to our family. There were several really difficult conversations during this time- when I did not so much patiently wait for the Lord to work things out. During our last of these conversations it was made clear that Jason felt strongly that this was not the time for our family to adopt, and that if and when that time came he would let me know. This was devastating for me- my hope for my calling felt like it had been deflated! The week following I continued to pray with fervor – asking the Lord to help me to be respectful and submissive in Jason’s response. And that God would just have His way with our family and the direction we would take- adoption or not.
It was very hard for me to remember that God is always working- in ways we cannot see, and would not believe!
The next Sunday morning as we sat down, and church began, one of our Pastors began to share a terrible tragedy that his family had experienced that week. He and his wife were in the long process of adopting a precious little boy, Isaiah, from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They had already been in the process close to two years, and were one document away from getting permission to travel. I cannot imagine the excitement and frustration that fill those days waiting on one piece of paper, so that you can go and bring your child home. During this wait, they received a phone call from their agency. It was bad, terrible, the worst news. Isaiah had contracted cerebral malaria, and had not survived. The son they were so close to bringing home- to a family- was gone. Needless to say there was not a dry eye in the place.
Then, Seth began to preach. He spoke of God’s faithfulness to His people, in spite of how we worry or try to change things to make them better in our own way. The message really impacted me in that I needed to just live in the here and now- love and teach and raise the children we have now. Be content with where we are now- adoption or not. Knowing and claiming that He’s got this and His plan is always the best- regardless of how much I worry and fret over how different it is from my own.
After the message during communion Jason and I were praying before taking the elements. He looked at me and said, “It’s time.” I just assumed he meant to join the church- as we had discussed this after visiting for several weeks. So, I smiled and said, “Ok.” We finished the service and got our boys from their classes and then headed out to have lunch with some friends. We’re pulling out of the parking lot and Jason looks at me and says, “So, what do you think about what I said?” And I responded in my typical long winded fashion (as you can tell from this epistle you are now reading!) I went on and on about how much I loved the church. How every week the sermons meet us right where we are. Our kids love it…etc. He starts smiling really big, and tells me that’s great and all but that “It’s time.” So, I’m super confused. He then goes on to explain that he believes that now is time to go find and rescue our daughter.
Shocked! ….full on ugly cry! He went on to explain that after hearing about this family’s loss of their son he was so impacted. A child they were committed to saving for months, passing away before you could be united with him. He talked about how devastating that would be to lose him when you were so committed to fighting for him so hard.
He looked at me with tears and conviction in his eyes that I have only ever seen a handful of times and said, “ God has called our family to the same thing and we aren’t even fighting! It’s time to fight for her. She is worth the sacrifice of time, energy, emotion, finance and risk. She deserves what Isaiah had in Seth and Melissa- our commitment to do all we can to bring her home.” And to follow such an impactful testimony with a sermon like he shared made it all the more obvious to Jason that fear and worry were holding him back from God’s calling. That God had promised to provide and protect him, so that he in turn could provide and protect our daughter.
I can’t really put into words all the emotions that I felt. Indescribable.
Later that day, I begin to imagine the pain that this family must have been feeling. Where they were in the grieving process, or how they would plan to move forward. It seems as though it would feel a lot like when I miscarried- missing someone that was never there. Then, as I began to think about all that had happened in the life of our family that day as a result of that family’s obedience to walk the long, tedious and messy road to adoption- only to have such pain at the end- we were now beginning our journey down the same long path. Trusting the Lord for each and every step, just as they had.
However, the Lord, our redeemer, promises us that in His hands nothing is wasted. No joy or pain. He makes beauty from ashes. T he story of Isaiah, the pain his family are continuing to wade in and work through right now is not in vain. His story and the bravery of his Mama and Daddy will continue to impact and reach so many.
Because of Isaiah’s story, there is a little girl somewhere in China right now- who God has chosen to be our daughter. Now, she won’t have to wait as long for her forever family because a family was willing to be transparent in their pain, and poured out to be used by His Spirit in the lives and hearts of others.
When we got home Sunday afternoon Jason gathered all the paperwork together that we had collected and began filling out forms, himself. God used Isaiah, His family, and their story to answer my many prayers. And He did so in a way that it is so clear that it could only have been Him at work. One week no adoption, the next our application is mailed.
I will forever be so grateful for the way the Lord moved and began our journey to China. It is my hope that our story in some way has reminded you that God can make beauty from ashes and that He can and will use even the hardest and most painful times in our lives for His glory! Please pray for our friends, as they continue on their journey to DR Congo to rescue to one God has for them. I know that our God is working and weaving together a tapestry so beautiful for their family…thankful for the way it will be forever woven into ours…and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
And to Isaiah…an orphan no more, safe and at home in the arms of his Abba.