.....anybody surprised to hear from us?? I have been a horrible blogger this year (obviously) and had actually come to the point where I had decided that I probably needed to delete the blog and just let it go.........and then everything changed. I had originally planned on sharing our thoughts and experiences and hearts for adoption over the past year on a regular basis. This obviously did not happen....at all. We held Mia for the first time last year on January 24th. So much has happened since then. My plan (and you know how those can change) is to update much more regularly (really, even once a year would be more regularly at this point), and to look back at the past year with hindsight as we share our future with all of the hope and faith we are using to move forward in our life together....pretty sure this is a major run-on sentence and although I am a stickler for grammar and punctuation, it seems that I believe typing on the blog gives me some type of artistic freedom.
So, what prompted the change of heart, you may ask....well, if there is anybody out there still reading, that is. It is simple: on January 24, 2010 the daughter that had been in our hearts for months became 100% ours in every way....and on January 24, 2011 we accepted the referral of an (almost) 6-year-old boy in Ethiopia who will become our son. SURPRISE!!! We are paper pregnant once again =)
The last two years, as we have walked a journey to our daughter and now to our son, our hearts have grown. They have changed, they have expanded, they have been opened in ways that we never would have expected. As Nathan and I started our lives together 8 years ago, we never would have imagined this journey that the Lord has taken us on. We were young, in love, and perhaps a little naive. We knew our little world....we were aware that there was a bigger world out there....we just knew very little about it. We knew very little about how to live outside of ourselves and of what it meant to truly give your life away. Sure, we gave pieces of our time and part of our life and some of our money.....but not our hearts.....not fully. And then we had children. Elijah opened our eyes to the love that was within us....to what it truly means to love someone more than yourself and to let your heart walk outside of you, where you have no control of it. Whenever we talked about adoption (something that I had always thought about) we said "maybe someday" but it wasn't a part of us...it didn't feel like a passion or a calling. Looking back, I suppose that this is because Eli and then Abel were supposed to exist. They were meant to be. Eli & Abel are part of God's plan...for our lives, for our family, for His creation....and we are so very grateful, everyday that His plan for us included them.
And then the Lord spoke plainly to our hearts....he brought the thought of adoption to the forefront of our minds for the first time. For the first time in my life, although adoption had always been a passing thought and a "maybe someday", adoption was something that was right there....all day long. I started reading and praying and seeking....and I was overwhelmed. 123 million orphans (these were the numbers 2.5 years ago....now estimates are closer to 145 million)....I had no idea. I had no idea that there are so many children with no one to pour bubbles in their baths, kiss their cuts, soothe their aches, teach them their numbers, comfort their fears, encourage their dreams, and believe in them...the list goes on and on. The simple fact is that for the majority of the world the things I mentioned above are not reality. They know fears....but not fears about standing up in front of a room of people to recite lines from a play, or being afraid of pretend monsters, or being afraid to tell their parents they hit their brother. They fear not being able to eat the next day....they fear that the water they drink will kill them....they fear that the baby they hold will be the 1 out of 5 to die before their 5th birthday....they fear famine and disease in a way that I never will. 143 million children have never heard of band-aids and bubble baths. They know fear....but not hopes and dreams. These are the things I discovered 2.5 years ago and they changed the landscape of my heart forever.
As is always the case with us, God used my passion to get us somewhere. I shared my heart and my calling with Nathan and after his own pursuit of knowledge and prayer, his heart and calling joined mine. And as is always the case with us, God used Nathan's steadfastness to keep us there. My passion and his consistency....they are a deadly combination =) And so we leapt into the unknown and pursued our daughter. We had learned so much, but we truly had no idea. We had no idea how much faith would be required of us. We had no idea about the tears we would cry and the things we would learn. We had no idea that we would grow-up and realize the need to live outside of ourselves. Our time, our money, our gifts, our talents, our LIVES....they are not our own and they became tied to a greater purpose at that point.
We brought our daughter home (I think I posted 7 or 8 times about our journey to her if anyone is interested!)and we are so very grateful, everyday that His plan for us included her. We thought that the lessons we had learned were going to be applied purely to trying to make a difference in the lives of orphans. "Our plan" was to become advocates for adoption and advocates for orphans. Our plan was to become involved with groups like FOVC (Friends Of Vulnerable Children) and EOR (Ethiopian Orphan Relief).....these groups are working in Ethiopia to change the living conditions of mothers, fathers, and children. They are working to change the lives of people in Ethiopia so that orphans are not created. They are working to provide food, medicine, training and education so that parents can change their lives and live and live well and provide for their children. We planned on working with these organizations and others like them (there are many, many more that I plan on high-lighting in this blog....both of you still reading this will become so informed!). We still plan on spending our lives and our money and our time and our energy and our gifts and our talents for this work. We are passionate....about adoption, about loving people, about changing lives, and about Ethiopia. One year ago we thought that this would be our ONLY plan....that the above things were what we had been shown and what we would pursue. Our family was complete and we had a mission,end of story.... or so we thought.
And then, well, God kind of laughed at us =) Not a mean or vindictive laugh....but the kind of chuckle that parents give when their children think that they have it all together....the kind of chuckle I imagine I will give myself when my 12-year-old son declares that he has figured it all out and met the girl he will marry.
I saw his face and I decided to pray for him. I mentioned his face to Nathan and he did not even give him a second thought....so neither did I....well, at least for a week or two. We didn't want a 4th child...not really. It had been a passing thought in our conciousness, but once again it was a "maybe someday". And even then, we didn't need another son and we would NEVER change our birth order....can you hear the Father chuckle? I want to give you the details in case you want to hear them, but I think that I have rambled on about our hearts and all we have learned already =) I will be back (before February is over...) and I will tell you about "T" and the journey the Lord has taken our hearts on. We don't know him...we have heard bits and pieces that we hold close to our hearts....but we don't know him and we haven't touched him. And yet, there is no doubt in my mind that we will be so very grateful, everyday, that His plan for us includes him.