Thursday, February 23, 2012

Michaela's two cents

Hi, this is Michaela. I will be the future big-sister to our adopted child. When I first heard that my family was adopting, I was thrilled! The thought of having another brother or sister was awesome. It was a joy to share this news with my classmates at school, and now to share with you who are reading this blog. I know that this adoption will have struggles, but I also know that my Heavenly Father will be with our family and will provide for our family. I cannot wait to proceed with this adoption process, and I wish that it could happen in a snap. However, adoption doesn't work like that, so patience is definitely something I will have to learn and accept during this time. My two younger brothers, Matthew and Mason, are also very eager to adopt this new child. I am also very excited to see what God has in store for our family through this adoption, and what He will teach me along the way. As I said earlier, patience will definitely be one of those things. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. It means a lot to me and my family, and I hope that you will enjoy reading more when my parents or I write more. Thanks again!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Our Orientation with AGCI

Even though we had done a 2 hour orientation with Bethany, we now needed to do an orientation with All God's Children Int. Being an agency located in Portland, Oregon we would spend an hour or so on the phone with Tiffany, our inquiry coordinator. We were so excited for this phone call because it meant the ball was rolling. As we went through a long list of items to discuss we were suddenly hit with the financial burden this adoption would bring. It's hard to understand how adoption costs can be so high, especially when that is one of the biggest obstacles to people pursuing adoption. Millions of orphans waiting for homes and it takes tens of thousands of dollars to make that happen. While I don't understand this, and I could get angry about it, this is the reality of it. So we just need to accept it. By the end of our orientation call with Tiffany we were pretty discouraged. We thought we would get off the phone with her, sign our contract, drive to the nearest notary, then to FedEx to overnight the paperwork. Our plan was the sooner the better! That was not how things went. I was reminded of the verse Proverbs 16:9 "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." That was only the beginning of the battle though. Scott and I spent most of that day praying, some separately, some together. It seemed impossible that this adoption would happen when we hung up the phone. We had to remind ourselves over and over again that we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7) , that with God all things are possible (Matt 19:26), that God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. (1 Cor 1:26-31) He would provide for it and we needed to surrender our worries and put our trust in Him. All of this runs through the mind, but convincing the heart, well that's a bigger battle.

Later that evening I was checking email and a friend had emailed me about a passage of scripture in 1 Kings 17:8-16. You can read it for yourself, but the gist is that this widow only had enough flour and oil to make one more loaf of bread for her and her son, and through God's provision her jar of flour and her jug of oil never ran out, and they provided not only enough bread for her and her son, but also for Elijah. God replenished it day after day. These verses really spoke to my heart. So much so that I went to the garage, grabbed an empty mason jar, printed out a part of this passage, taped it to the jar and put it on our windowsill in the kitchen. We talked with the kids about it and then we shared that just like the Lord provided flour and oil and replenished the widow's jar we believed that the Lord would provide for us and replenish our finances every time we needed money for the adoption. It was exactly the encouragement Scott and I needed to continue to move forward when we felt like everything had come to a screeching halt. That is the beautiful thing about God's word, it is our sole source of encouragement! (2 Tim 3:16-17)

All God's Children International

So why All God's Children International(AGCI)? Well we actually started with Bethany Christian Services. We went to Bethany's orientation class and that is where we realized International Adoption was probably going to be the path for us. After coming home I spent time googeling different adoption blogs and YouTube videos of peoples "gotcha days" (this is adoption lingo for the day your child becomes yours forever). Most of the videos I stumbled on happened to be with the agency AGCI. Having never heard of them before I went to their website and requested an information packet. It came, and so did a follow-up call from one of their employees. As we spent some time praying about which agency to use Scott had gone to a men's prayer gathering one Friday morning. It turned out to only be him and one other guy that day. As they talked Scott was sharing our need for prayer about choosing an adoption agency. As he shared the two we were considering this friend shared that they had actually used AGCI to adopt their daughter. After hearing their testimony, and having a sense of peace in our heart we decided to apply with AGCI. I just want to go on record and say that we found absolutely nothing wrong with Bethany, as a matter of fact we know many families who have adopted through Bethany and they came highly recommended to us as well. AGCI is just where we were lead and seemed to be the best agency for us.

Choosing to See

This past summer sitting by a lake I began reading the book "Choosing to See" by Mary Beth Chapman. I devoured it in two days. It is basically the story of her life from marrying Steven Curtis Chapman, to stories about their biological children, and stories about their adoption of three little girls from China. It also talks about the tragic loss of one of those little girls, Maria. This book displays Mary Beth's wrestling with God, not just in the loss of Maria, but in many things throughout her life. At the same time it shows her devotion and love for her Savior. I took many things away from this book, but the two things that struck me most were, one, the Chapman's did not journey through their adoption alone. They depended on family and friends to support them, pray for them, encourage them, and with one of their adoptions their best friends even journeyed with them through the adoption of their own little girl. The second was that through each of their adoptions the Lord used them to lead and encourage others to walk the path to adoption too. This became my prayer. One, that Scott and I would not walk this alone, and two that it would have it's ripple effect on our circle of friends and family. We have already witnessed the Lord answer both of these requests. Shortly after sharing with a few close people about our adoption a couple from church cornered us and shared that they were in the beginning stages of adoption too, answer to prayer request number one. Then as time went on we had one family member share with us their plans to foster-to-adopt and a few other people have asked us to pray for them as they sense the Lord may be moving them toward adoption too...the ripple effect.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Journey of Faith With Limited Sight

Scott and I have journeyed through life together now for 16 years. It has brought its twists and turns, and the blessing of three beautiful children along the way. And now we are excited to launch this blog and announce we are planning to expand our family through adoption. The Lord has directed our hearts toward adoption, this will make us a family of six...Adoption Makes Six.

I am sure many of you are wondering how this began. While we have many things to share we will start with the basics for this first post.

Two years ago we attended a banquet for a ministry called Love Cradle. We considered the idea of hosting a Ukrainian orphan in our home for that summer but things never came to pass. However, through this experience the Lord began placing on our hearts the possibility of adoption.  In December 2011 we applied with All God's Children International.  A few weeks later we were excited to receive a call that our application had been approved. And so the adventure begins. I titled this post "A Journey of Faith With Limited Sight" because that is exactly what this process is. We can't see what lies ahead, what the Lord has in store for us, and so we walk by faith and not by sight.
We welcome you to join us in our journey to adoption through this blog. We appreciate your encouragement, comments, questions, and most of all your prayers.