I know I am not a good blogger - obviously should work on that! Honestly, been a little busy with a new job at VCH (which is awesome) and filling out all that paperwork!! Good news - dossier is in, hopefully will be on the waiting list early next week. So we should have more to update in the coming months.
I decided to go ahead and start typing the story to why we are doing this. It is THE #1 question I get ALL the time. The answer could be simple - there are orphans who need a home and a family and I have a great one! If it had been that simple we would have done this a long time ago. God's timing is always perfect, but I am ashamed to tell you I was no where near understanding the orphan crisis in our world. As a professing Christian, I should have known. God made it clear in the Bible we are called to take care of the orphans. I know that looks different for everyone, but obviously, some of us are or were ignoring our callings. Here is the story where we started paying attention to ours.
First, I cannot remember a time I did not know in my heart I had children somewhere else in the world. I have always known I would adopt. I ignored and made excuses for a long time, but always knew. (more on the excuses later) I always wanted a big family and am very blessed with 3 healthy children. They weren't easy to get here, but by the grace of God, they are here and well and I'm a mommy. It was very clear after the birth of our 3rd I would never have any more biological children. I had accepted that and was grateful to have 3 healthy ones. The current chapter really starts 2 years ago. I met a girl in Monkey's Tree House when I took my kids to play. Her name was Kristi. She and her family were starting the process of adoption from Ethiopia. I happened to be with another adoptive mom that day and introduced them to each other. We had a great chit chat that day and I moved on. Fast forward a couple of years, my heart began stirring for adoption again last fall, 2009. I would bring up with Jay and we both had a lot of excuses. The money needed to bring them home being a big one. Second being the fact we are already a family of 5. Adding to this crew changes a lot. The car you drive, your vacations, camps and activities we can afford for the children. And then there's college! Oh my! How do you pay for all those kids to go to college?! On and on we could go with that list.
Basketball season started this year and Jay and I were coaching Haley's team. I keep seeing this girl that I know I know her but for the life of me cannot place her! See her every Saturday and just let it go finally. UNTIL one night in the Cool Springs Mall. There she is again. She walks in with her crew and sits at the table next to my family. She is holding a beautiful baby girl from Ethiopia. (side note - my family has NEVER eaten dinner at the mall and we have not eaten there since that night). It all hits me again, that I know her, but cannot place her, but I know her whole family story. I almost left the mall that night, when God stopped me and I walked back to her table and told her I know she must think I'm crazy but I know her story, but not your name! She asks me mine, remembers me, because how many Candi's are there?! Reminds me of our meeting in Monkey's Tree House and that starts the conversation! For those who know Kristi, you know her excitement and love for orphans is very contagious. We end with her telling me to go home and watch Lucy Lane's Gotcha Day video on You tube. (You should really watch that video by the way!) Well, I'm in tears. Praying a few days later I get hit up side the head by God. I realize all those excuses in the last paragraph sound very shallow. I SOUND SO SHALLOW! Am I really going to stand in front of Jesus one day and tell him I did not follow this calling because I really wanted to take my kids on a Disney cruise and I would not have afforded that if I had adopted an orphan? Also, there was that $20,000-$30,000 to bring home a child. Well, there again, I was putting a price tag on what I thought God was capable of doing. He had to remind me that He is much bigger than $30,000 and the blessings I would receive from my future children far out weigh any Disney vacation or camp I might send my child to.
Moving on to Jay, I tell him where I am. He actually listens, watches the video. His words on the video, "now that's strong." We agree to start looking into adoption. Well, "looking into" turned into we are adopting pretty fast. Once God and I had that serious one on one I knew I was ready. Jay was not too far behind me now! I remember emailing Kristi telling her we were seriously looking into everything and we would be adopting form Asia! She emailed me back, saying "don't count out Ethiopia, they will steal your heart." I laughed it off, kinda! My brother is a missionary in Asia and has been for many years. I have been very fortunate to travel over several times and see some of southeast Asia. So I really thought that is where our kids are located. We research Asia and talk to a few agencies and the door is closed several times over in many countries and agencies for Asia. During this time I'm praying and it becomes very clear to me we are to adopt siblings. Well, now I'm petrified to tell Jay. How do you go from not being ready to adopt, to finally saying yes let's adopt A CHILD and then your wife walks up to you and says, "Honey, I have something to tell you and I'm a little scared to. But I really believe there is more than one child for us, we are supposed to adopt siblings." That's exactly what I did one night when he was sitting in the den. He looked at me, smiled and said "I'm at the same point. God's told me the same thing." WOW!
Siblings are not common in Asia - another message. Skipping some minor details, that lead us smack dab to Ethiopia! I quickly knew it was Ethiopia. I fell in love! I know my children are there. There's a song we sing in church a lot and one phrase is "break my heart for what breaks Yours." That is exactly what God did to us. Our hearts break for the 5 million orphans in this country and the 147 million world wide. My heart personally has been spread wide open. I feel this is only the beginning. God has big plans and I feel so honored and humbled to be in the middle of His plan.
So today I am so grateful God put a stranger, who has become a friend, to push us onto our path. Thank you Kristi for following your calling to lead others to follow theirs.
God always uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. I hear a lot of praises for us and what we are doing. Hear me (read me!) clear - this has nothing to do with us personally. This is about us following the calling of what God has on our lives. Living in His will is where the blessings lie. May you find your blessings.
Much love to all!