For as long as I can remember, I have viewed adoption as a truly beautiful thing. A parent choosing to love someone else's child, every bit as much as their own flesh and blood. It seems not only beautiful, but also natural, and not far-fetched at all in my eyes. When I became a mother for the first time, I remember thinking as I held my precious baby, "I could absolutely pick up any child, and love it as my own." I guess I have a mother's heart. Richard and I were blessed with an unexpected pregnancy when I was only 16. Blessed?! Yes. Yes, I was afraid, but mostly I was afraid of what other people would think of me. I got over it. I loved my baby intensely, from the moment I knew he was in my womb, and so did Richard. We were allowed to marry, and became insta-grown-ups. Working and paying the bills, like everyone else. On a rainy day in April, our almost 9 pound bouncing baby boy entered our lives and blessed us beyond measure. He made Richard and Jennifer "Mommy and Daddy." We went through a lot, but we always endured together and our relationship with each other, as well as our faith, was strengthened through each trial. When our son was two, we thought he was just so awesome that we wanted to have another baby. We tried for the next three years to conceive. Because our son was unplanned, we always assumed that when we decided to have another child that it would happen instantaneously for us. During those three years of monthly disappointment, I was depressed. I began to wonder if God was punishing me. Ridiculous, I know. Struggles with infertility and depression can really warp one's thinking. I prayed my way out of the fog, and began to ask a different question. What if we are meant to adopt? After speaking with Richard I found that he was 100% on board with the idea of extending our family through adoption. Of course my sweet husband would be! Then, almost immediately, I found out I was pregnant. Our daughter came to us in 2006. A pink little ball of girliness and utter joy. Now, 6 years later, Richard and I have been bit by the baby bug once more, and this time we know with absolute certainty that adoption will complete our family. Maybe a baby, maybe an older child, maybe a sibling set. My heart is broken for the millions of orphans around the globe, just waiting for someone to scoop them up and call them their own. It's bad, guys. I can't sleep. I am completely obsessed with adoption research. Agencies, requirements, adoption blogs, the heart breaking statistics. The ones about this country in particular stopped me in my tracks. 20% of children born in here will not live beyond their 5th birthday. 1,500 people continue to die per day because of conflict, more than half of them children. This country has one of the highest prevalence of child soldiers in the world, with children as young as 9 years old kidnapped from their homes and forced to kill. It is known as "The Rape Capital of the world."
We simply cannot turn away from what God has opened our eyes to. Deuteronomy 4:9 - "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."
Do we have enough money? Is our house big enough? What about school? What will the kids think? What about our families, the grandparents? I have no idea. But I am certain of this; God has stirred in me an undeniable love, brokenness for the orphan, and a determined spirit. He will make a way where there seems to be none. James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
I want you all to know that I am not writing this to convince any of you of anything. I'm not trying to bully anyone into adoption. I'm not trying to persuade you that we are doing the right thing. I don't need to. I am simply letting you know that our family will soon embark on a brand new journey. To bring home someone that needs us, and to bring home someone we need. If you pray, please pray for us. If you are our friend, please continue to be. If you are our family, please begin to prepare your heart for our newest addition. We invite you to come along with us as we answer the call to the adoption!