Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean
on your own understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Where to begin… We first considered adoption early in our marriage, especially when we were confronted with some fertility issues and two miscarriages in 1996 before our first son was born. We talked about adding to our family through adoption from time to time, but never acted upon it. We were inhibited by the costs and the perceived complexity of adoption. We were also intimidated a bit by the horror stories of open adoption and the possibility of a birth mother changing her mind or reclaiming our child. We just didn’t think we could handle the heartbreak, and in those days, we really didn’t have a solid grasp on what it means to trust in the Lord. So, we held off on adoption.
With the assistance of a very good doctor and the miracles of modern medicine, Kim was able to carry a pregnancy almost to term, and we were blessed with our first son in December of 1996.
In 1998, we again faced fertility issues. Our doctor recommended a fertility
specialist, but I changed jobs, and we were in the middle of a move from
When confronted with the power of a praying wife, however, what I want is of little importance! It wasn’t long before Kim began working on me for one more. I conceded; if we could conceive and carry a baby without extraordinary medical intervention, that would be the plan, “...but,” I told her, “promise me we will eventually adopt.” What a plan God had! Kim became pregnant in 2001. Early on in the pregnancy, she began showing some of the same symptoms she had experienced with the two miscarriages. So, off we went to the emergency room where a sonogram confirmed that there was a baby… …in fact, there were TWO babies! That’s really the only time I can recall feeling panic and joy at the same time. Soon thereafter, we lost one of the babies, but God sustained our youngest son, and he was born in October of 2001. This time, we both felt that we were “done”, at least with the biological route…
In the couple of years that followed, God moved mightily in our lives to bring us closer to him. God had humbled me through the loss of my job while Kim was pregnant with our third son. He showed me that I had become a bit too self-reliant and had forgotten the source of my strength and of everything I have. In December of 2002, our youngest son had a bowel obstruction that disguised itself very well and almost took his life before the doctors could diagnose and correct it. That was followed by three months of him being on a liquid diet while Mom and Dad consulted (a.k.a. argued) with various doctors to determine exactly what was wrong with his stomach. In March of 2003, he had major stomach surgery, and we believe the fluid buildup and pressure from that and the December surgery led to a hydrocele which was repaired in May of 2003.
What does this have to do with international adoption? Well, there’s no direct connection evident there, but God used all of these events in our lives to mold us and teach us. We learned that He is in control, and our job is to trust Him and follow where he leads.
From 2002 to 2004, we were involved in a wonderful church
Kim continued to share information with me, and one day,
presented me with the idea of attending an introductory workshop through Dillon
International. This was an informational
workshop intended to provide the basic information needed for couples to make
an educated decision on whether or not international adoption is for them. I agreed to go with her and began to also
pray for God’s guidance. One evening, I
sat down to read the web site of our
the months that followed, we rode an emotional roller coaster that all ride who
embark upon this campaign. We gathered
the paperwork, completed the homestudy visits,
gathered more paperwork, waited for a formal invitation to be fingerprinted by
the Department of Homeland Security, gathered more paperwork, waited some
more… and finally received the coveted I-171H, the final piece of paperwork
needed to complete our dossier (the packet of paperwork that is sent to
China). Our dossier was finalized and sent to China in November of 2005
and logged in by the China Center of Adoption Affairs on November 23,
2005. Thus began the estimated nine to twelve month wait for our referral
But wait! In January, Dillon released their Waiting Children list, a list of special needs children in need of families. We learned of one little girl, Qing Cheng Le, with a cleft lip and palate who was 16 ˝ months old. Our hearts were immediately drawn to this little girl! We contacted Dillon to express our interest. Their Social Work Committee met, and we were honored and humbled to be selected to be her family.
After completing some more paperwork, we were ready for our Letter of Intent to
be sent to the People’s Republic of China! It was sent on
As we waited, we were sustained and blessed by tidbits of information about Mia that most adoptive families aren’t fortunate enough to receive. We received pictures (most of which are posted in our photo album on this site) and descriptions of Mia’s personality from other adoptive families who visited the Social Welfare Institute of the Qing Cheng District and who were able to meet her, hold her, and/or take her picture. We were privileged to talk to one of the ladies from A Mother’s Love, the organization that funded Mia’s surgery. And we were able to gather information and pictures from the web site recently developed for her orphanage. We want to thank all of these people who so generously shared their pictures and stories to allow us to feel a little bit closer to our daughter until we could bring her home! Your photographs and reassurances blessed us as we waited, albeit impatiently, for our TA, the coveted Travel Authorization from the Chinese government!
On March 2nd, we received word
from our agency that the folks in
During this process, we’d become good
friends with our group of potential travel partners, and we naturally discussed
the “latest date” we could receive travel authorization and still beat the
trade fair to Guangzhou. We estimated
that date to be March 24th.
March 24th came and went – again, much to our dismay. But, we continued to trust in the Lord’s
timing. Our travel group decided to
pray, not together, but at the same time,
on Sunday, March 26th. Jesus
told his disciples to pray expectantly, and that’s what we did! If it was God’s plan for us to wait until
mid-May, June, July, DECEMBER… then He had a reason, and we could
live with that. If, however, it was in
His will that we get our girls sooner, we asked His intervention because we HAD
to have our TAs the next day. On Monday,
March 27th, we all received TAs from
Many hurdles were cleared in the three
days following the TA. We had a travel
agent that must be an angel with the wonders she worked in getting us to
During the initial workshop in June of
2005 mentioned above, we met a couple who had adopted from
In July of 2008, we once again felt the
call to adopt. This time, the call was
for another child from
In December of 2010, God once again
tugged at our hearts. Through a
combination of Bible study, personal circumstances, a Francis Chan book, Crazy
Love, and lots of prayer, we became convinced that God’s will was for us to
pursue the adoption of a 20 month old boy in
We will never say, “Our family will be complete with this one,” because we don’t know where God will lead us next. Some say we are crazy to have a family of nine, but we can’t imagine our lives any other way! As long as God gives us the resources and strength to be his hands and feet, we will continue to honor his command in James 1:27.