Here is the beginning of the story here. To continue on...
In that magazine was an article about Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife adopting their first little girl from China. We had briefly talked about international adoption years before, but there were two issues. One was HUGE - we had NO idea where that kind of money would come from. Second, though not as big was that I wanted a baby and I wanted one quickly. So we had never followed the idea any further.
As I read about the Chapman's journey, I knew so clearly that God was showing me a choice - windows or orphans. If we were willing to take out a loan for windows, why wouldn't we be willing to do so to save a child? It was a moment of absolute clarity. Poor Handsome, he had no idea what was coming! He thought I was a bit crazy when I first brought it up - or maybe a lot crazy. We had a 7 month old baby. We already had four kids! (That makes me snicker a bit now at our cluelessness!) We did not know anyone - NO ONE - who had large families. We knew some people had adopting from China because they could not have biological kids. I really did not want to be pregnant again. We had made a big deal with the pregnancy with Smiley that this was the last pregnancy. Here was a way to add to our family without a pregnancy - and to help a child in need.
I will be very honest. At that point, the adoption was all about us. I wanted more children. I felt a deep desire to do this for me. God used that selfishness in His grace but would eventually change the story.
Handsome was willing to talk about it in a future tense, but he was not convinced it should be any time soon. I was convinced otherwise and began my search of countries and programs. This was just at the beginning of photolistings for international adoptions. It was still at the time when you had to have agencies mail you packets that explained their programs and agency - how times have changed! One thing that did come out very clearly was that Handsome was unwilling to fly anywhere. He HATED flying. Hmmm....well that narrowed it down quite a bit. It needed to be a country that I could go by myself. I couldn't quite wrap my heart around being gone from my kids - I was never gone from my kids! But I ploughed ahead anyway. My search narrowed down to Guatemala.
The beauty of the kids was overwhelming and I researched everything I could. God began growing my selfish heart by His grace. Handsome had always had sponsored kids through Compassion International and World Vision. In my ugly selfishness, I could not see why we had to give so much money to others when we had needs at home. Pretty ugly, huh? Really ugly. Handsome had even challenged me to pray about my wrong attitude. I had half-heartedly done so - but once again, God in His overwhelming grace, took my half-hearted prayer and began a new work in me. As I researched the kids overseas, my eyes and heart were opened to the gaping needs everywhere. How could I sit in my huge house and penny-pinch over $30 a month (per child) to help those in need? We really began to get involved with Compassion International and even held several "Compassion Sundays" at our church - trying to get more kids sponsored. I won't tell you how many files that I couldn't let be returned - so our Compassion kids "family" increased greatly.
All the while I was badgering and nagging Handsome and all those around me to consider international adoption. I cringe now as I see all that I did by human effort, rather than by prayer. Not that I wasn't praying - but they were very immature prayers, focused on my plans and my desires. I am so very, very thankful for God's grace and patience. Handsome and I had many heated discussions about adoption. I had so much to learn about waiting and trusting His Hand. It would always end with Handsome saying, "Not right now!" I would be angry and heartbroken - but still determined to plow ahead. Oh, how much I needed to learn.
Finally, after months of this, I clicked on a link that had two names, not just one. This was the picture I saw:
Twin boys! TWIN BOYS! I had always secretly wanted twin boys! Oh. My. Goodness! It took my breath away. I couldn't move. I could just stare at the picture. How could I show Handsome? We had just had another argument the night before and he was pretty angry. He also had a big event he was working on and was pretty distracted. For once, I slowed down and decided to wait and pray. His event was over in three days. God pressed on my heart that I needed to wait until it was done. Three days. At the time, it seemed like an eternity! But I faithfully prayed with every breath - and waited the three days. Because immaturity takes time to grow out of, I pounced on Don the moment that he walked through the door at the end of those three days. I nervously showed him the picture and he just hung his head. He said, "Of course they look just like [Smiley]." Pretty funny considering they don't look at all alike! Remember, Smiley was only 9 months old at the time. We talked all weekend long, but I had very little detailed information. Handsome said we needed to find out how much it would cost. I gritted my teeth a bit, knowing he would be rattled at the number. I was praying there would be some kind of "sibling" discount.
Monday came around and I called again. There was a series of missed phone calls and messages - putting my heart on complete overload. Finally, I got to talk with someone at the agency. Uh,oh. No sibling discount. And the cost? Wow. It took my breath away. $45,000 - $50,000. Really? I couldn't even wrap my head around that. Handsome was listening as I talked with the agency worker. I said at the end of the phone call, "I just don't think my husband will go for that." I dejectedly hung up the phone. I am pretty sure that Handsome had to sit on the couch for quite a while after I told him. I also told him that the agency had had them listed for several months without a family coming forward and they were going to split them up very soon if a family wouldn't take them both. I was just numb. I figured that was the end of the road.
But God was moving Handsome's heart even as I was giving up the fight. In the end, he decided that we would take out a $40,000 loan and try to come up with the rest of the money somehow. At the time we were so limited by what we could do - not waiting and seeing what God would do....
So we hopped on the crazy roller coaster of international adoption - with no thought or fear of what the future would hold. God wouldn't let anything bad happen, right?
To be continued....