Well, we’re expecting….again! This time it is two elementary aged girls!
I think the call for me began when I was in first grade. Then, my parent’s friends adopted three girls and a boy from India whose parents had died because of a massive drought. The youngest girl was my age, and we became great friends. I helped her with English and discovering new things like Strawberry Shortcake dolls, and she taught me some words in her native language. Over time reflecting on that relationship, I have had this calling in my heart for adoption.
I would bring it up to my husband every once in a while, but it didn’t really seem to find footing for him or our family. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was finishing the last few classes I needed at seminary for my MDiv when I got a call from Matt. He said that while at the Crossnore School during summer camp, God had opened his heart to the possibility of welcoming a child into our family. It was time to start the process! I was overwhelmed with excitement that he was finally ready too!
The process of adoption is not an easy one. There are so many choices. After a lot of long talks, Matt and I decided to look domestically for an older child but one younger than Gabe. Gabe was ten years old and our youngest of two at the time. We went through hours and hours of training and a huge stack of paperwork and multiple background checks. Then, we finally got approved for adoption of a girl younger than ten in the state of Georgia. A full YEAR passed, and there was not the right match (and our only request was age!). But looking back, we now know that it wasn’t God’s timing for us; however, we learned a lot about the system and how everything works out in the end. In addition, at the end of that year, this amazing congregation in Charlotte approached me to be the Pastor for Family Ministry. This call in Charlotte couldn’t have happened if we were in the middle of an adoption. (God works in some amazing ways!)
We got settled in Charlotte and started the process again. Then when we were almost finished with all the paperwork, we found out I was pregnant with Copeland! I thought that having Copeland would silence this calling and desire inside of me. But as soon as he was born, it came back stronger than ever. So, working with the Crossnore School, we started the process all over again. But this time we thought we would take more of a risk and foster to adopt. This was a huge change for me. The idea of falling in love with someone and then having to give them back seemed too hard. Yet, after being in this process for so long and seeing so many children that are in need, we felt that having a child for even a short time would provide them with love in their darkest days. I knew we needed to take that risk. We needed to take the steps towards fostering with a chance for adoption.
I always thought that I would explain our love for our adopted children by telling them that they were so special because we choose them--out of all the kids that needed a home, we chose them. That’s not exactly how we ended up with our girls.
I have a pastor friend that told me about a wonderful foster family in her congregation. This amazing family was fostering two girls, and their case was moving towards adoption. This family felt called to foster children when they are first removed from their biological families and help them with transition but not adoption. Yet, this family was struggling because of the love they have for these girls. My friend introduced us, and we not only fell in love with the foster family, but we also fell in love with the two girls they were fostering. We would have play dates and watch them over night to support their foster family.
During one weekend when we had the girls, I was driving them to church. I heard a little voice in the back seat say, “Can I ask you a question?” I said,” Sure.” She asked if I knew that she was a foster kid, and I replied that I did know about that. Then, she asked the question that changed our lives this last month and sent our family into this amazing whirlwind! “Will you be our forever family?”
Sometimes we think we are the one who chooses. But in the Kingdom of God, God chooses US. We have been chosen to be loved and cared for by a God that never abandons us. As we reflect on this process, we have seen God all through it and know that God will see it through. Knowing that we are loved and called into a family is precious. We hope that these girls will always feel that love and know that it comes from God.
We as a family have a long ways to go before our little girl’s question can be fully answered with more than just hope. But we live knowing that we are not only chosen by two little girls, but we are also chosen by the God of all creation.
Live this day knowing that you are chosen. You are loved. And that you are a Child of God.