Well, what I have come to realize is that God is a bit of a multi-tasker, and he has quite the knack for teaching us lessons in the middle of long journeys, and each lesson is hand-crafted and unique for each of us. All he requires is that we take a little time to sit back and enjoy his handywork.
For me, and I guess for most of us, God likes to teach us lessons by challenging those things that we try to keep hidden from Him. That one sacred piece of our lives that we think we can handle better than He can. If we only can muster up enough courage to listen, each of these lessons has the potential to bring us closer to Him by breaking down the walls that we have put up between our heart and God's will.
Our adoption journey started about 7 years ago. When your OBGyn Dr. tells your pregnant wife during her 3rd high-risk pregnancy that "if you would like to be around to raise the 3 children you have, I would suggest that you not have any more," well even us stubborn, bull-headed husbands can take a hint. Truth be told, and Candi reminds me often, that we both wanted a large family, and I have wanted 6 children since we were getting married and had our first conversations about kids. The fact that we have waited this long to start our journey is due in large part that we put up walls between our hearts and God's will. My wall was mostly financial. Always wanting to be in a better place financially before we could even think of starting the adoption process. Always under the illusion that our finances were the one thing that me as the CPA and Financial Planner could control.
So God placed adoption on Candi's heart this time last year, and although it took me a couple of weeks to warm up the idea, somehow I set aside the need to control everything and blindly follow His will. What this journey has taught me so far is the power of God's faithfulness if I can just have the courage to listen, the faith to trust that God will provide, and the patience to see his will lived out in my life.
I'm not sure how much you know about the cost of adoptions. Well, as an CPA would do, before I could sign the application, I had to understand exactly what the costs were and how and where we could afford it. When I added up the costs and what we had on paper to pay for it, the bottom line just as many other adoptive families have learned before us...in order for this thing to work, we had to hand it over to God, completely, and trust in his provision.
Over the past 12 months, I have been shown time and time again the power of God's provision, as He has time and time again provided Exactly what we have needed in His perfect timing. Just a couple of examples of God's provision, like manna from heaven...
-- On the night we signed the agency application, scared to death that we just got in over our heads, we were blessed with a phone call and a gift that enabled us to make our first large deposit
-- We have been fortunate for friends and family, and their participation in several fundraisers we have had...from 30 families donating items to our garage sale...to selling t-shirts that we designed and printed...to a highly successful movie night in our backyard...and a Chick Fil A night with over 400 people. Every t-shirt, gift, and donation have been blessed by God. Thanks to all who have been a part of our journey so far.
-- In mid-December, out of the blue, I received a check from an estate of a great aunt of my mother. It was a small check, less than $1000, but it provided exactly the amount that we needed to make up the difference when we had to make a payment to accept the referral for our 2 children
-- The process for adoption in Ethiopia changed significantly in May 2010. We found out just 2 months after we started this process that we were now going to have to make 2 trips to Ethiopia instead of 1. at just under $2,000 for a flight, plus travel expenses, that added about $5,000 to the cost, and we didn't have the money to cover it. As we were paying our agency fee in January, we found out that the fees for siblings were almost $5,000 more than I had originally estimated. That puts us at $10,000 more than our original estimates. On the Tuesday leading up to our first trip for which we leave on Saturday, I get a call out of the blue with a substantial unexpected gift. On Thursday, I get a separate amount of money fall into my lap. The combination of the two gifts, just 2 days before we leave to go see our children for the first time, was within $500 of making up the entire difference in unexpected costs compared to our initial estimate.
Now one of these examples of God's provision, I tend to write of as good luck. Two times, and it's a coincidence. But by the time we are flying out to truly begin our journey to meet M and S for the first time, we do so with peace in our hearts that we are completely in submission to His will.