Not the Update We Planned
Let's start with the announcement we have been planning to share. We are in the process to adopt again! Here's the part we didn't expect. The adoption is on hold. When we prepared to go to China, we prayed that God would make it clear even while we were in China, if He would call us to go back. I know for many of you, this might cause a bit of panic. How could we possibly know so soon? While God certainly works in all kinds of ways, we strongly hoped that God would deepen our desire to adopt again during our weeks in China.
During our weeks in China, we both believed God was calling us to adopt again. We fell in love with the culture and history and people in China. When we saw the 600 children in Kai's orphanage without families, 90% of whom will never have a family, the need was palpable. We both saw the severity of the need and knew that even though sometimes our resources feel limited, God provides.
Over the first several months of being home, we were amazed at how well Kai was adjusting. Don't get me wrong, it's hard and there were weeks when it felt like we would never adjust. But comparatively, everything was going so smoothly! Early in the fall, after discussing our desire with our agency and social workers, we decided to move forward with adoption number two! We didn’t expect the adjustment for our second adoption to be as smooth, but we still moved ahead. Since adjustment was going well with Kai, we felt we had the capacity to adopt another orphan. We moved quickly with the hopes of re-using our dossier if we were matched by our newest little one by May. We invested a significant amount of money quickly, expecting to work on grant writing and fundraising early this year.
We were excited to share the news with our families over Christmas. The boys quickly decided that they wanted a sister from China and Asher decided to name her George! We have been praying for this little girl and dreaming about who she might be! We planned how we would be able to make the travel work with Paul staying at home and me traveling with a friend. It was all planned and were were ready for the next step!
On New Year's Eve, we got the surprise of our lives. I know, this sounds a bit over dramatic, but if it isn't our biggest surprise, it's high on the list! We were arriving home from visiting Paul's family in Ohio. I thought I had the stomach bug and was feeling bad. Paul came up to our bedroom and convinced me to take a pregnancy test. Sure that was technically a possibility, but the doctors said it would never happen. They even said it was a miracle that we have Asher. Who wants to take a pregnancy test just to see another no? Not me. We have been through 4 years of no. I already knew the answer. I fought the idea for awhile, but eventually succumbed to the pressure. I took the test and literally within seconds, I saw two of the darkest lines I have ever seen. I immediately began to weep. Pregnant? Impossible.
When Paul saw me weeping, he didn't know if I was weeping because it was yes or no. When I showed him the test, he burst into joyful laugher, elated at what he saw. Talk about two different responses-- so typical of our marital dynamic! I had so many questions, fears, uncertainties. It took me weeks before I could even talk about the pregnancy or say the word baby. While accepting the fact that we couldn't conceive again was a painful journey, God had graciously led us to a place of acceptance. Acceptance didn't mean a lack of grief or sorrow at times, but for me, it meant clinging to the Lord and drawing near when the heartache was raw. This shocking news was more than I could process!
The first months of the pregnancy were an emotional roller coaster. The fear of another loss. The anxiety of whether or not this pregnancy would be sustained. The uncertainty of whether we could continue with the adoption. It forced us to lean into the Lord even more. He alone holds the life and the future of this baby. He alone holds the life and the future of our little daughter in China. He alone holds and directs our lives and is knitting our family together with incredible purpose, sovereignty and loving kindness. There is purpose in the timing. There is purpose in how it has paused our adoption process. There is purpose in our financial situation related to our adoptions. There is purpose in every emotion and every day of waiting.
When we finally saw the baby's tiny frame and flickering heartbeat for the first time, we were overcome with humble joy and gratitude for this miracle. Our doctor rejoiced with us and reminded us that while every baby is a miracle, this is truly a complete miracle. None of our doctors thought this would ever happen for us. We certainly believed that God could provide this miracle, but in all honesty, I think we stopped asking for it. When we shared this news with our friends, one of my dearest friends immediately responded in tears saying that she had been praying for this miracle every day for years. How precious it is to have the gift of friends that pray for the miracles that we sometimes begin to lose sight of.
Four years is a relatively brief time to walk through a season of suffering. I know women who have struggled with loss and infertility for exponentially more years than me. This blessing of life is ours, not because our faith has been great or as a reward for anything we have done. It is because of God's faithful goodness. The same faithful goodness that gives is the same faithful goodness that takes away.
We had experienced so much of God's nearness and goodness in some of the deepest sorrow and pain through the years of infertility and the adoption process. I have now intimately experienced what years ago felt so foreign. To the hungry, every bitter thing tastes sweet. Sorrow, loss, brokenness, heartache that drives us deeper into the presence of the Lord is incredibly and profoundly sweet. The loss that felt like death to me was instead a doorway of life and deepened and renewed hope. As my hope ceased to be in the gift of a biological child, my emotions and value and identity did not rise or fall based on each month's imagined pregnancy symptoms or negative pregnancy tests. My emotions were the gateway to more nearness to the Lord. My value and identity were grounded in God's love for me rather in my ability to bear a child. Only as the object of my hope moved away from conceiving a child and towards the Lord did my experience of this suffering change. In these dry and broken years, hope began to blossom.
So here we are, with the most unexpected update we never thought we would share on this blog! We will Lord-willing welcome a baby into our family at the end of August! We are overjoyed that God would give us this sweet miracle! We still believe that God is calling us to eventually pick up and complete our adoption of a little girl in China. As we learned through our adoption of Kai, adoption is not about us. It is not about growing our family or serving our needs. Rather, it is about the desperate need of orphans around the world who need love and even more deeply need Jesus. Parts of our hearts remain in China. We will continue to move towards this adoption until God would close these doors.
We continue to covet your prayers for us and our growing family. We spent just about 4 years as a family of 3 when Kai came home. Now within 15 months of welcoming Kai, we will be a family of 5. It's still hard to believe! Please pray for the baby's health and for my health through the remainder of this pregnancy. It has been a particularly emotionally taxing pregnancy. Please pray for us as we adjust to a new family of five with a biological baby and that God would provide for our needs! This will be a major change and could present unique challenges for sweet Kai as he continues to acclimate to our family! Please pray for continued wisdom as we seek to be obedient to what the Lord would call us to do regarding our next adoption.
In 2015, this is what we shared in our very first blog post:
In all of these things, the joy and heartaches, the tears and laughter, may God be glorified-- for He brought us from darkness into light. He has repeatedly brought life from barrenness in our lives. Surely, He will bring beauty from the ashes of our heartache and the heartache of the orphan that will be part of our family. As we hunger for God, He is making these bitter moments so very sweet.
How deeply true this is today. I look at how God has transformed our family and changed our hearts and priorities and I hold sweet Kai in my arms and I see that God truly has brought beauty from ashes. It is His nearness and presence that is most beautiful and that will never change regardless of what circumstance or suffering may face us tomorrow. He has faithfully made every bitter thing sweet.