Over the last couple of weeks a video has been circulating around social media sites. Last weekend I decided to take the time to watch it and I'm glad I did. (You can see the video here.) The tagline on the link I clicked said this, "This couple was ruined" and I couldn't think of a more appropriate way to describe the process. All the memories of our personal journey came flooding back as I watched.
Bryan and I were married in the summer of 2001 and knew that we wanted to expand our family with children. About three years later I was driving through town one afternoon listening to an interview on Focus On the Family. Mary Beth Chapman was talking about their recent adoption of a baby girl from China and the path that led them to her. I was stopped at the red light at Concord Baptist Church when the Lord clearly placed a call on my heart. My eyes filled with tears and there was nothing I could do to stop the flow. (I'm not a crier!)
In that moment I understood in a way that is indescribable that I was adopted. When I was an eleven year old girl The Father adopted me. I became His and He became mine. Spiritually speaking, I was an orphan. I needed a family and a home and there He was offering both to me. I did nothing to deserve it and nothing to earn it. It was simply His love and grace that offered me a forever family. In understanding this, I knew just as clearly that I too was called to adopt. If The Father has freely and lovingly adopted me, I must do the same.
A dream was born! How would I ever convince Bryan that this was God's plan for us? Where would we ever get that kind of money? At the time I was working for a non-profit and Bryan was working in the office of a box plant. We made about $48,000 a year and we were both still paying off college debt.
I came home that night and told Bryan that I had heard the interview and felt like we should look into adoption and get more information. He had to think that I was crazy, but he agreed to think about. ( I think this was his way of trying to appease me and hush me up.) I was on a mission and started doing my research. At the time I was set on adopting a baby girl from China. Neither of us was old enough yet to meet the country's requirements, so I was content to continue researching and convincing until then.
Fast forward to November 2007. Bryan was now serving as the youth minister of our new church and I was working in a learning center. Our income wasn't much different, but I had finished paying off my college debt. I was still on my mission so when our church hosted an informational meeting about foster care and adoption I talked Bryan into going. My hope was that some of the information would be similar for international adoption as Bryan now met the age requirements and I was only a few months away.
I could have never imagined what would happen next. Bryan and I sat on the front row with our pastor and listened as the gentleman from social services talked about the huge need for foster parents in our area. At one point I looked over at Bryan and I saw the chin quiver begin. I knew what was to follow. Within a matter of moments that quiver had turned into full blown crying. A few minutes later we were given a bathroom break. Bryan turned to look at me and began to tell me how the Lord had just spoken to him. The words were identical to the ones He spoke to me at that red light several years before. Mission accomplished!
We finished the meeting and took the paperwork. As we got into the car, Bryan said that he didn't want to wait. He felt very strongly that foster care was the route that we were supposed to go. We started the paperwork and turned it in in January of 2008. We were officially in the process. We got the call about Reese in December of that year and about two weeks later he came home to live with us.
We were ruined! The realization of what Christ has done for us ruined all the plans we had. It brought us to His plans for us. I can't imagine our lives without Reese or the new understanding of true love that we have.
Many people (including our own family) have mistakenly assumed that we adopted Reese because we couldn't get pregnant. The truth is, we didn't know if we could or not and didn't care. Like I said, our plans had been ruined and instead, we got a much better plan. The Lord showed us His plan and there was nothing else we would have rather done!