Friday, December 31, 2010

Decisions Have Been Made

In the whirlwind of the excitement of deciding to adopt, it is tempered by all the decisions that have to be made. What country? What age? What gender? Disabilities or no disabilities? Siblings?

My husband and I have decided the country from which to adopt. Apparently, I am not allowed to mention the country in a blog and this makes me want to play hangman, pictionary or, my all time favorite, charades. But I am depending on your sharp minds to eventually draw clues to the general area of the world. Here's one hint: They will be the yummy chocolate chips in our sugar cookie of a family.

We chose the country for several reasons. One, this country does not restrict adoptions to only smaller families. Larger families are accepted. Two, the main reason why these children have no family is not mainly due to lack of love or abuses but to death from AIDS and poverty. It is obvious that their culture, for the most part, values children and family as much as it has the ability to. There is a respect for life that is eerily absent in many other countries. There is a high likelihood that most of these children have tasted and known what it is to be loved. They know what it feels like and most likely can do it again if given the opportunity. I will be forthright and say that I am afraid to adopt a child that lacks the ability to connect or bond and I believe that the country we have chosen lessens the chance of that happening. It is not a guarantee....but it's the best option. When we adopt, I want to capture that child's or children's' hearts.....not be terminally shut out.

As far as age, gender and disabilities, we have made these decisions as well. We are open to siblings from the ages of three to eight. The gender option is open and we will wait on the Lord on this one. We will wait to see what children are available before we choose a gender. The biggest decision has been about disabilities. We have felt that the Lord wants to use us to reach out to HIV+ children. I will write about this in another post as I feel this needs to be talked about a little more.....ok, a lot more. I have found this to be a very loaded topic. I have also found that the ignorance about this issue is far more dangerous than the disease itself. Stigma can ruin more lives than HIV can.

Agencies. Because we want to adopt from the world of HIV+ children, after much research, we have decided that Adoption Advocates International (AAI) would best suit our needs. AAI has a very extensive HIV+ program and I have heard from others who have adopted through them, that they are incredibly ethical. Because AAI is located in Washington state and we are located in NC, we have had to choose a third party adoption agency to do our home study.

Pray for us! Our first home study visit will be in less than four days and the second will be three days after that. And our third and last visit will be several days after our second. We have paid to have our home study expedited.......well, because I stink at waiting and that's the honest truth. Most home studies take 6-10 weeks to complete.

I know this may all sound so boring and tedious, but such is the road that puts new little squirmy, wiggly lives around our dinner table. As I waltz around doing these necessary steps to adoption, I put on my rose colored glasses and dream. This is all I have right now as I have nothing faces, no voices or laughs I can yet identify. Much like a pregnant mother wondering what their baby will be gender wise and who they will look and be like. You know, I don't even know what their names will feel like rolling off my tongue. I don't yet know what the contours of their bodies and emotions will feel like when I wrap my arms around them to comfort them. But even without this knowledge, I pray for them just the same. I have love and commitment reserved for them to take when the time arrives for them to come home.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How Did We Get Here?

Well, I can tell you this much. When Steve and I were married, neither one of us married with the intention of having many children..let alone NINE of them. In fact, Steve was pretty enamoured with the thought of having just one child. I actually agreed to his crazy "Chinese-one-child-plan" while puking in the toilet due to the morning sickness from my first pregnancy. Who wouldn't agree?? Morning sickness bites.

However, immediately after having our first son, I knew that I would willingly spend hours puking in toilets for more babies.

And so I did for the next 12 years.

After many years of discussions, with babies being born in between, we eventually agreed that we would lay our childbearing at the feet of the Lord. This was all more complicated than my words portray, so don't let my "Cliff's Note" version of things fool you.

After our ninth child was born, Steve and I agreed that we would like to have one more. He is 47 and I am 42. I had been spoiled after the ease of getting pregnant 9 times without issue. The pursuit of the 10th child would be filled with grief, self reflection and big decisions. I was able to get pregnant twice with both pregnancies ending in miscarriage. The last miscarriage was of life long dream but without heartbeats.

It was time to re-evaluate.

During all of this, my husband and I read a book by the name of Radical by David Platt. Amazing book. Please do not cheat yourself by not reading it. It was after reading this book that Steve and I both knew that we had to adopt....soon. Again, after many discussions, we agreed to put our baby-making out to pasture and pursue some of God's children that really needed a family to call their own. Initially, I really struggled with this. I really wanted to have one more baby. But in the end, I could not justify having another baby when another child might suffer or die because I refused to hear and obey my Precious Lord's calling to care for some of His hurting children. As long as our lives are teaming with children, I don't care where they are from or why they are here. I just want a chance to call them our own and embrace them as part of our family.

So it is with great joy that my husband and I are in this together and excited. My children are already eagerly anticipating adding to our family. I am greatful that they will be able to witness adoption and the legacy it will create. My prayer is that they will see adoption as something they will strongly consider in building their future families.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Birth of the Unknown

This is the beginning. I have no idea where to start, where to look or what to expect. Here is what I do know; our family is going to grow and it will grow through adoption. After reading the book Radical by David Platt and many long discussions, we have decided with excitement that our nine children will have yet more siblings. Oh Lord, thank you. This is truly the desire of my have a house brimming with thriving children.

Who is this child?

What is their name?

What do they look like?

You are out there and we will fight to the end for you. Our family's name is yours. Lord, please make it abundantly clear who this (these) child (children) is (are).

Rachel, my four year old, has been asking on a daily basis when I was going to have another baby. We had been trying and had been successful twice only to have both the pregnancies end in miscarriage. The last miscarriage was of twins. There isn't enough blog space to fill it with the grief I felt. Any woman reading this, who has gone through it, knows exactly of what I speak. All this to say that I responded to my four year old that Mommy and Daddy have decided to adopt. She had no clue as to what this meant. I explained that Mommy would not be pregnant anymore and that we were going to take in a child that had no Mommy and Daddy. We would become their new Mommy and Daddy. She just sat there. Did she understand? After about a minute she said "But that baby would be from God's tummy right?" And I said.....


Hence, the name of this brand new blog "From God's Tummy".

Any person who has found the time to read this...thank you. We have no idea what we are doing. We are intimidated, overwhelmed and excited about all that needs to be done. Will you pray for us? We are going to need to depend on this. This leading is only from our Precious Lord himself.