About 9 months ago, with a 3 1/2 year old, a 2 1/2 year old, and a just turned 1 year old, Andrew & I came together and wondered out loud, what is God prepping us for? We both had this gnawing feeling in our spirits that God was beginning a new push, a new something. We just had no idea what. We prayed and talked...moving? more kids? We were truly at a loss but we could not shake the knowledge and experience that God was stirring in us and reminding us all over again through Scripture that we would rather spend all of ourselves for the sake of knowing and following Him than live safe & comfortable lives. So we talked and prayed and asked God to keep our hearts always bent towards seeking, hearing, and obeying wherever He led. I think we were quite convinced that was all the stirring was for, a reminder. And then came this.
I went to an informational meeting for 99balloons. We were already fairly well acquainted with the work they do because we are friends with the couple who began it so honestly I went to support them and see more of their hearts and passions in action. The meeting was overall about working with special needs children, locally and internationally, and at the end I grabbed a little prayer card for a boy who lived in the orphanage they worked with in Ukraine.
Let me say, I did not go home flashing this card saying to Andrew “Let’s adopt him!” But, I will also say, (and if you know me this is no surprise), my heart got quickly attached to him! His name was Sergei and he looked to be about 2. I told Andrew about the meeting and we put his card up on our fridge and began praying for him. Praying especially that God would place him in a family. For about a month we prayed for him and one night, as we were praying, I gave Andrew a look and I think he knew what was coming. Finally, I asked it: are we his family? I knew this was a HUGE thing for me to say out loud. We hadn’t really considered anything like this. We both knew God would need to move some mountains for us to know this was His path for us. We talked some and prayed and then quietly let it go for us to both independently process and pray about. I knew I loved this little boy and I knew I would welcome him into our home as soon as God gave us the go. So at this point, my heart was gone. Then about 2 weeks later, again, talking in bed, Andrew said he believed God’s plan for us was to pursue Sergei. I was s.h.o.c.k.e.d. Beyond shocked. We had such a sweet time talking about how God had given him confirmation through Scripture and prayer and we knew for certain we would pursue this little guy.
At this point, we had told no one we were considering this because it happened so fast. We called our friends and told them we needed to talk. I laugh looking back because they had no idea what was coming either! And they were so excited to hear our news (they were in the midst of trying to bring their daughter home from the same place)! We talked about next steps, getting more information on him, and tons of other things. It was such a fun and joyful time. Over the next few days we began getting pictures, video, and information on him from the therapy team that travels there every year. One of the therapists mentioned a binder with more information on him and said that it was with another gal who was out of the office. So we waited, and continued to pray. I knew in my head there were lots of reasons why this might not turn out the way we thought but still, you don’t see it coming when your heart is sitting with a boy who needs a family thousands of miles away. About 5 days into us seeking information on how to pursue him I got a very hard phone call from my friend. The therapist had gotten back to her and Sergei had already been adopted. I was both heartbroken and joyful. This is what we had been praying for him, to have a family. We thought it would be us, but clearly God knew. He had actually been adopted months prior to us even getting his card. Sadness and confusion set in and we cried and prayed in silence for months. I asked lots of times, what was the point God? We know it was You who moved us to seeking him, yet all along You knew how it would end. There is so much more I could say here about what God taught us about Himself, how He strengthened our marriage, deepened our prayers, and pushed us to complete faith and trust in Him. However, our story continues.
We decided to continue praying and processing but to not really talk about ‘what next’ kind of things until after the new year. Months came and went with no big anything from the Lord and then in January we started asking again, what do you think we should do in light of all God has brought us through and taught us in all this? My answer: let’s pursue special needs adoption. This is surely what God has for us. Andrew’s answer: I’m not sure. Perhaps special needs adoption, perhaps nothing. Yikes...those are two different pages. I am more of a it’s a yes unless He tells us no kind of gal and Andrew is more of a it’s a no until God tells us yes kind of guy. Thankfully, we knew that God’s plan was either going to be a YES to both of us or a NO to both of us. So we began talking daily about this, seeking God through Scripture, we shared with some friends and asked for pray and their thoughts. We tried hard to believe and live out the belief that God’s plan for our family was on the same page and we would find it when we sought Him out. I felt great confidence in adoption being what God wanted for us but I never ever wanted to “convince” Andrew or drag him along. So we waited. And waited. And I may have broken down several times along the way but we kept trusting and seeking. I began writing down Scriptures God had been taking me to and praying them for myself and our family. Andrew also was seeking God in several specific ways for our answer and he had the added job of trying to protect my heart and guide me well for whatever the answer might be.
In March I went to Guatemala with Potter’s House and kind of went into the trip discouraged and wondering where God was. I knew He cared and loved and all the other right things to say here but I just felt very alone and confused. That week I read through several Psalms and this is what God showed me,
“May he grant your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans. May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory, flying banners to honor our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers.” Psalm 20:4-5
“How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord! He shouts with joy because of your victory. For you have given him his heart’s desire; you have held back nothing that he requested...You have given him the joy of being in your presence.” Psalm 21:1-2, 6
“Surely goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6
“Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them His way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep His covenant and obey His decrees. Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear Him. With them He shares the secrets of His covenant.” Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14
“My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming!” Psalm 27:8
“The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the might sea. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.” Psalm 29:3-4
God had not forgotten me or hidden from me. He was there. He was with me. He desires to pursue me and talk with me. His voice thunders with majesty and He will fulfill His purposes. This was not a, “God will give you what you want” moment. This was a God is with you, He is faithful, He is working for His purposes to become our desires, and He will be victorious and glorified. This was some much needed peace and encouragement for me!
When I got home I knew we would soon talk about adoption stuff again and I was content to rest and share with Andrew the comfort I’d gotten from God the past week. I was mostly expecting Andrew to say he had been praying still and share some things God was teaching him, too. So when he said he wanted to talk I kind of pushed him off a bit until later. Laying in bed that night, he said, I think this is what God has for us. I sat straight up and asked, are you saying what I think you are saying?!?! He laughed at me a little and said YES! I broke out into tears and hugging and then slightly attacked him to tell me with every detail and as quickly as possible how this had come about for him. Bearing with all my interruptions with questions, tears, and more hugs, he told me how God had brought him to adoption being what was right for our family. His story is long, and it is his, but it is a beautiful picture of how God loves us and teaches us in the ways that fit how He made us in order to draw us to Him and give us the desire to obey Him. I am so thankful for my husband and how he seeks Jesus and guides our family along the way.
So, long story still very long, we are so unbelievably excited to say that we are adopting! Big, giant, YEA! We are pursuing special needs adoption from Ukraine and are currently praying about a specific little girl. As soon as we know more, I will definitely share! As for now, we would love your prayers for us as we begin this journey. We are so humbled to be a part of how God takes care of His children, one still in Ukraine, and us over here.
You’ve almost made it to the end...way to go! Just in case you were wondering about Sergei...
Through a little internet blog stalking I quickly found Sergei and his new family. They are a precious, Christ-centered family and his name is now Michael. I have since contacted his mama and I am so thankful I did. She has encouraged me greatly and prays for our family, as we also continue to pray for hers. What a crazy way that God works! Another crazy thing God did, while the Mooney’s were in Ukraine waiting to bring Lena home they got an email from a family who found out they were adopting Lena and said they had been praying specifically for Lena and her family. That family is the same one that adopted Michael. Our prayers are literally coming full circle for each other!
Lastly, again, I just need to say, YEA! We are so stinkin' excited and joyful and eager to bring our little gal home! Psalm 68:6, "God sets the lonely in families." So thankful He set me in my family and that He continues to add as He has planned! I sang this song at BSF this week and I couldn't have agreed more.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.