I didn’t want to say yes.
I wanted someone else to say yes. Someone else could fundraise and do paperwork and travel across the ocean.
I made all the excuses.
I am really busy.
We already have a lot of kids.
I work and homeschool and drive some kids to school and volunteer.
We certainly don’t have the funds for the adoption expenses.
Saying no would be justified. Wise. People would understand and even applaud a decision rooted in reality and wisdom.
But I would know.
I would know that God asked us to say yes and I ran away. I would see my daughter’s face and know I was too scared to run to her. It would never be right. I was stretched thin with one kid, and two, and three, and so on. But somehow, we adapt and learn and re-organize and miraculously, we usually come out in a better normal, a more awesome kind of chaos and order that just works.
Most of all, I would know that I let fear win over faith. That I let ease win over love. And that would never be right. That is nothing like Jesus. So in the midst of doubts and fears, when we were completely scared and unsure, we said yes.
I didn’t want to tell anyone because I knew what we would hear….cautious congratulations. The congrats you get with a 4th adoption are very often not like the congrats you get with the announcement of your first child. I can close my eyes and see the confusion and shock on a person’s face as they stumble through “Oh. Wow. Congrats.”
Adopting one child is looked up to. Adopting 4 is starting to get weird. “You can’t save them all” they say. But the truth is, we could. We all could if we worked together. And we could certainly save one more. And that matters. It matters to her and it matters to me and it matters to the God of the universe.
“You’re so amazing,” they say. No.
“It takes a special family like you.” No, no, no.
Here’s the thing that I want people to know. We are not special. We are an ordinary family with an extraordinary God. What we know, that some don’t, is that life in Christ should look radical. I remember the moment I stepped outside of being a worldly version of “wise” (which mostly seems to be synonymous with “afraid” and “safe”) and into the absolutly amazing world of living in faith. This world involves saying “Yes, Lord, send me” even when it looks completely, over the top crazy. I hope and pray for that for the people around me. The kind of vanilla Christianity that I was living was so lacking, so plain and boring. What we have experienced from stepping outside that world is nothing short of extraordinary. We are not special and we fail at taking those leaps of faith time and time again. Even now I worry about the details and what-ifs, despite that I’ve seen God moving mountains on our behalf. But, every time we take that leap, we are so blessed because of it and I long for others to feel that same blessing.
By the way, I know what those comments are meant to be. The compliment is not lost on me and I’m not judging. It’s just that putting me on a pedestal takes away from the God who makes this possible and takes away from the fact that other ordinary people can do this too. BUT, I understand what is meant and I appreciate it even though it makes me cringe a little.
You know what else we see and hear that I didn’t think of in those beginning days when I dreaded announcing this adoption? Support. Unbelievable support.
Money raised and graciously given from strangers and family and friends.
People stepping forward to say they would help in so many ways.
Children praying for their future sibling and offering their coins and toys.
Child-like faith (in our kids) who were quicker than us to say yes. These kids knew the sacrifices but said, “Who cares? She needs us and we love her!”
Teenagers giving their hard earned money to ransom a little girl across the ocean.
People hitting “share” and thus spreading the story of a little girl who is forgotten no more. A little girl that before she is even here, is changing lives.
No words will ever be enough to say thank you. We are so grateful. This village, that through the internet spans across states and countries, this village – is everything. I will forever be thankful for each one of you.
So now, living in the yes, we feel so blessed. Before adoption I didn’t truly understand and FEEL the words of “my cup runneth over”. This girl across the world is already a massive blessing to us.
We are working to bring her home as soon as possible. Our home study is complete. We’ve finished 99% of our dossier and sent it to her country. We are just waiting on the US government to give us immigration approval before we can submit our paperwork to her country and wait for an appointment to accept her referral and meet her. Immigration has been very fast for us in the past and we are praying it will be again this time!
We still have thousands of dollars to raise! We are applying for grants now and then will re-group to figure out how we’ll fundraise for the remainder.
In closing, can I just say that I can’t believe I ever doubted? Every single time – I can’t believe I doubted. With every child, I spend so much time staring at their little pictures and thinking, “Should we do this?” and then staring and their real live faces in my living room and thinking, “We could have missed this.” Looking at my sweet children who came to us via adoption, I can imagine Stella here too – with pigtails and tutus and surrounded by siblings who will hug you to pieces if you’ll let them but will also fiercely defend your need for space if you need that. I can see her sitting in her room, in her clothes, with her stuffed animals. I long to hear her laugh and hold her little hands. I’m ready to help her through the hard times, and rejoice with her in the good times. I can’t wait to see her tottle into a new life, a life where she is loved and valued and so wanted. Already, I can’t believe we almost missed this.