Saturday, August 16, 2008

I have not had the opportunity to share with you another blessing God has bestowed upon our family. The week before we left to pick up the boys we received notice that we had been given a grant through Shaohannah's Hope. It was such a blessing because it covered the amount of our airline tickets.

After receiving a grant the staff at Shaohannah's Hope gives us the opportunity to share our Adoption Story with others. The following is our story . . .

Why are we adopting??? In James 1:27 we are called to “look after orphans and widows in their distress”. Our family has felt God’s calling to care for the orphans. God had placed in both of our hearts the desire to care for orphaned children long before we ever met. After our second biological child was born we made the decision to expand our family through adoption. We began the paperwork trail three months after our son’s birth.

We officially began our adoption journey in February 2006 when we mailed our dossier to China. At that time, the estimated wait to be matched with a child was between six and nine months. One day in March 2006 I was standing in the kitchen, I think I was fixing lunch. I got cold chills and God said, “Your daughter was born today”. Well, I thought that was really cool and starting counting the days of how old she would be when we got our referral. As the wait got longer and longer I began to think that day in March was just wishful thinking. If she was born on that day she would be two or older before we finally got her and we had specifically requested a child younger than nine months of age. OK, skip forward to September 2007. We had decided several months ago that we felt God leading us to apply for a child with a special medical need. We had already applied for two children but were not matched with them. Of course we were very discouraged because we really felt we were following God’s lead. A new list of waiting children was released on September 11, 2007. I immediately scanned the list and found two children that fit into our age range and the type of medical need we were approved for. I printed their information out to review it with Darren but I still wasn’t content. I kept going back and looking at the picture of “Angela”. She was much older than what were had originally said we would adopt, but she kept tugging at my heart. I had to print her papers out. We did apply for three girls, including “Angela”. I couldn’t sleep at night without dreaming about her. Finally, on October 4, 2007 we got THE CALL from our adoption agency. We had been matched with “Angela”. I just fell to my knees and cried like a baby. At the time I did not make the connection back to that day in March 2006. A few days later we were on our way home from church and suddenly it all clicked. “Angela” was born on March 20, 2006. She was the little girl God told me was born in China that day in March 2006. WOW!!! Our daughter, Faith Fu Xiang was 20 months old on our “Gotcha Day” December 9, 2007. Faith has a repaired CL/CP and Rickets. She is an absolute joy!

On the plane ride home from China I told my husband, “You know we still have a son in Africa”. He laughed and said maybe in a couple of years. Well, God had different plans for our family. Two short months after we returned home from picking up Faith God placed on my heart to begin looking for our son. We had already decided if we adopted again we would want to adopt a “waiting child”. So I secretly began to review waiting child list from various agencies. After about a week of looking I saw the face of our son, Gabriel. Early that Saturday morning I told my husband in passing, “I found our son last night and his name is Gabriel”. His response was, “Oh, really”. We sat down together and reviewed his paperwork and crunched some numbers and by mid afternoon we had accepted his referral. If you knew my husband you would know that he is not spontaneous, especially when it comes to our finances. This was a huge leap of faith for our family since we had just completed the adoption of our daughter. Finances were really tight so we agreed that we would have to apply for several grants in order to finance Gabriel’s adoption. As we began the adoption paperwork for Gabriel God continued to whisper, “you can do more”.

There was a baby boy on the waiting child list who had several unknown health issues. I had been drawn to this little guy since we decided to adopt Gabriel but I knew Darren would think I was crazy. I approached Darren and said I think we need to adopt another little boy. Of course, he did think I was crazy, at first! His response was if God provides the finances than we will consider it. Well, he should know that you should never set a challenge before God or me. That Sunday I approached our class at church with our desire to adopt this little guy and the need for the finances. Needless to say God worked miracles that last week and provided us with the amount necessary to pay the adoption fees and his travel cost. There are so many stories to tell.... Eli who I think is 4 years old told his mom that he would do extra chores to earn money to help baby Jacob come home. A dear friend was out running errands one day and she came by with a check and said God just told me I needed to come give this to you. Another family stepped out in faith and said “we want to make sure this happens, how much money do you still need?”

The adoption of Gabriel Lema and Jacob Josiah was completed on June 23, 2008. We traveled to Ethiopia to pick them up in July 2008. Jacob was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy during the process of his adoption. We are currently having test done here in the US to confirm his diagnosis. They are the happiest two boys I have ever met. Their smiles can light up a room!

We have been asked on several occasions if we are done now. Honestly, we have no idea. We have prayed over our family and have decided that we are going to leave our hearts and our resources open to God’s prompting. God has been faithful to provide the finances each time a payment was due for the adoption. God has blessed our family through friends and agencies such as Shaohannah’s Hope. There are so many stories I could tell about God’s provisions and His providing us with the right people to encourage us each step of the way.

Right now our minivan is full, but I think we will start looking for a passenger van soon!

Darren, Rebecca, Miranda, Ethan, Faith, Gabriel & Jacob

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