Something that has always been on our hearts is adoption. When Brandon and I got married he told me he wanted a little chinese girl and a little black boy. He always has. My love for the idea has come along later but swiftly. When I began going overseas to do mission work, I just found myself with this immense love for the nations. Do I love the children in Georgia? YES! Could I see us fostering children someday way down the road? YES. But the journey we feel led on is adoption from overseas. We have always felt like adoption is just a step along fulfilling the great commission that Jesus called us on. Is this right for everyone? Perhaps not...but for us....it is a desire the Lord birthed in us long ago.
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
It was funny because when I went on my last mission trip, I knew that I would not be going on another short term mission trip unless it was to Africa. I was journaling while I was in Haiti in 2003 (I think?) and I just felt like the Lord told me I was going to Africa next. Sounds crazy, I realize that. I thought so too at the time. But I just listened and moved on. Fast forward 7 years and to a vision casting trip we went on with our church this year to learn about an awesome ministry called VAPOR SPORTS.
They were planning to take a group from my church, which is called MYCHURCH (it gets real confusing when trying to invite someone to church. "Where do you go to church?" I respond.. Mychurch. "No, what is it called?" The name of the church is actually Mychurch. ..and around we go...) to Africa. It sounded like the perfect trip for us, but Brandon was going to be deployed. Normally this would be a good distraction and ministry opportunity when he was away, but this time it didn't seem right. I prayed and prayed, begging God to say "YES, GO!!"....figuring why would God ever say NO to a mission trip, right? Well, it turns out the group just left last Sunday....and considering my present circumstance with baby and hubby home....I believe that I was a good listener when I did not feel confirmed in going. It is one of those things....at the time it seems very confusing but later....we see a purpose. I often hope that for the situation with Briar....it seems very painful now...but I know (or hope) that later I can see a hope or a purpose through the whole journey! I have been a crying mess lately, or at least I was Friday night. Crying about my hurts, my body image, all of it! Normal pregnancy hormones + the knowledge you are carrying a dying child...it all gets to be a little much sometimes. I guess it's good to have a good breakdown now and then, and pick yourself up and keep going. The Lord continues to sustain me, even in the darkest hours.
Okay, but back to ADOPTION. I don't want you to think we are going to rush into this. We are not even starting our paperwork yet. Ideally, we would have our first adopted child right around the time of our first biological child. In this case, I don't mean Briar, I'm speaking of the next child we have after him....which will be our second biological child. But we feel confirmed that we will be adopting from Africa. I suppose that is why I spent all that time to tell you all the Africa background. Our hearts have been stirred for Africa for quite a while now. When we learned of the need in Ethiopia specifically, our hearts centered in that area. Hearing that there are 4.7 million+ orphans in a country the size of Alaska is hard to believe. A sweet couple friend of ours from college are also adopting from Ethiopia and are much farther along than us. They told us that most of the time in Ethiopia children are placed in orphanages out of love by their remaining relatives because of poverty, disease, etc. as opposed to many children in Eastern European countries who have been abandoned or neglected. This difference gives the children from Ethiopia a much healthier foundation for building lasting attachments.
Lesli and Ryan are doing an awesome job raising money for their adoption. We just bought the coolest shirts from them (which I showed below...you should buy one!!). They are also doing lots of other creative fundraisers which I am sure we will copy :) I recently found this awesome way to get two great things...money for adoption...and coffee.
Below is the shirt L and R are selling. We love ours!!
Even more randomly confirming is when I was recently reading a blog that I have been following forever, I noticed that she has TWO different families she supports that are adopting from Africa....both from ETHIOPIA! Crazy!!! Click on them to visit their adorable blogs!