More things have begun to fall into place. All medical exams have been completed. Everything has been given to the social worker so she can finish our home study. Our state police clearances came in but the format they are in will not work. We will have to have them redone. We have notarized copies of our passports, petition to adopt, power of attorney forms, letter of obligation, and notarized and apostilled copies of our marriage license have been ordered.
Please be in prayer with us about the adoption process. Vernon and I must decide very soon whether we are going to adopt one child or two children and we have to decide how to process the paperwork for the adoption. I can’t divulge too much information on this point but God knows the answers we are seeking and we would appreciate prayers for clarity on a few points of interest.
I have had more questions come up recently in regards to why we are adopting that I would like to try to answer, but in a very round-about way. This is a very long post, so get comfortable if you want to read the whole thing. If you are only interested in the updates you should stop reading now because the update is listed above.
I get kind of emotional this time of the year. See, it was 14 years ago this week that our baby girl Rebecca joined the angels in heaven. It is hard to believe it has been that long!! I think about how our life would be different if she had survived after her surgery. She would probably be a real joy at Christmas. Everybody who has dealt with people born with Downs Syndrome knows how joyful they can be and full of excitement. I imagine that Christmas would different with Rebecca here. Even though I wonder what life would be like with Rebecca still here, I never wonder what life would be like if we had never had her. In the brief period of time that we had with our beautiful baby girl, she changed our lives forever. The moment I found I was pregnant with her my life changed. The day she was born and we were told that she had Downs Syndrome and a severe heart defect, our lives were forever changed. The day she died our lives were forever changed. Even though that experience was very difficult to live through, I don’t regret having walked through it. I never think I should never have had her, I should never have had to go through that, or why me. Instead, I thank God for giving me that beautiful baby girl to hold, to care for, and to love even if it was for such a short time.
When I am all emotional like this about Rebecca I often reflect upon some of life’s other blessings and challenges I have experienced. My childhood was difficult, God was not invited into our home when I was growing up and our family had issues. Major issues!!! I had issues… still have issues. But God placed me in a position to meet the man who would become my husband and would be the one who took me to a church where I met Jesus. My life was forever changed. Vernon and I dated for a year and then got married at the end of our junior year of college. Our lives were forever changed. We got pregnant with our first child only three months after getting married and had her only 36 hours after graduation from college. Our lives were forever changed. Then we had Anthony, then Mark, then Rebecca. Each time we had children our lives were forever changed (I am not leaving Josh out; I will get to the adoption part in a minute). I cannot imagine life without these changes having occurred. I can’t imagine what life would be like without any of my biological children. They are all blessed gifts sent to me directly from God himself. The giver of life gave me my children.
Has life always been easy? NO!!! We have faced challenges with our children over the years. We have had to deal with some really serious issues, each one taking us to our knees in prayer. See, no matter what came our way with our kids, we always knew God would see us through. If you read Matthew 8:23-27 you will read about Jesus and his disciples on a boat when a storm arises. The disciples become very afraid but Jesus is sleeping. The disciples wake Jesus up and he calms the storm. Most people seem to focus on the lack of faith of the disciples. They are on a boat with Jesus, what do they have to be afraid of? But when I was reading that I thought about Jesus and that storm. He was on a boat in the midst of a very dangerous storm. He could have steered them away from the storm, but he didn’t. He could have had them wait on shore until that storm passed before they sailed to the other side, but he didn’t. He sailed through the same storm the disciples were sailing through, on the same boat with them. He knew that he would make it to the other side. He could rest peacefully while a storm was raging all around him because he knew what his father had told him to do, and he was doing it.
So, how does all of this rambling tie in to adoption in my crazy mind? Our father has told us to go to the other side. We will make it to the other side because Jesus is on the boat with us. We won't make it without storms, but we will rest in the knowledge that Jesus is traveling with us through the storms. When we adopted Josh we heard clearly from God that was what we were supposed to do. We had storms come up. We had issues arise with one of our children that led us to cancel the adoption in 2007. The storm was huge, we felt like our family’s boat was sinking. We didn’t know what to do. We cried out to God for help. We spent several months trying to piece our life back together. Then, a year later, I went to Ukraine and met Josh for the first time. I knew then that God’s initial instructions were still there for us. We had to go to the other side and do what our father had told us to do. We knew that storms would come. We did not know how many, or how severe, but we knew they would come. Jesus, on the other hand… knew the storms…. knew the severity…. and knew the outcome. He knew what was waiting on the other side. We had to trust in Jesus and let him walk us through it all.
Our son has had some life changing events just as serious as those I mentioned earlier about our family (before adoption). The day his mother died, his life changed forever. The day he was dropped off at the orphanage, his life was forever changed. All of the harsh treatment, the things he had to endure as a young child growing up with no parents and no support changed him. He experienced a very difficult youth and in some ways it shows very clearly. When we finally made it to the other side of the ocean to pick him up he was uncertain. He had weathered so many storms in his short life that he had to evaluate whether he was up for this kind of challenge. But then….He said yes. His life was forever changed. Our lives were forever changed. The giver of life had given us another child to hold, to care for, and to love. God had given Josh a family. He was then, and forever will be, our son. He came in a full 6 foot 4 package instead of a little baby, but a true blessing all the same. He has a heart of gold buried under that gruff façade. There is a lot of compassion and a sincere sweetness pouring out of his heart that only a loving God could place there. I love watching his new life unfold in front of him and how he grasps hold of certain things while still rejecting others. He keeps life interesting.
Now that God has once again told us to go, we are anxious to get there. There is one child, and maybe two, who will have to choose whether or not they want to get on life’s boat with us and weather the storms we will face together. They have experienced many things that have forever changed their lives. They will have the opportunity to step out and accept the challenge of many more life changing events with us; or they will choose to face life without us as their family to stand beside them in the storms that life will stir up for them. But one thing is for certain, we have been told by our heavenly father to go. There are more children that the giver of life wants to give to us. We want them!! We will go for them!! I am anxiously waiting to be able to say I cannot imagine my life without them in it and acknowledge that my life has been forever changed.
Enjoy the Christmas Season and reflect upon the blessings that have forever changed your life. If you haven't experienced the peace that Jesus brings into your heart, find Jesus. We celebrate his birth at Christmas and his resurrection at Easter. Jesus is real!!! Jesus is alive!!! Jesus loves you!!! Jesus wants to have a personal one on one relationship with you. Will you accept the forever changed life he offers?