Many of you know that my family has grown pretty big in the last several years. A part of this is do to the blessing of adoption 🙂 We get many questions about this and we enjoy sharing. For those who are curious, here is a quick time-line of our growing family:
In our college days (while we were friends and then when we began dating,) Michael and I were blessed with some pretty adorable and sweet nieces and nephews:
We used to pride ourselves in being the “cool and fun aunt and uncle.” Unfortunately having our own kids definitely infringed a bit on our cool factor! However we still have our moments! Here’s Michael with those “not so little” kiddos now:
We of course added our own cutie Ava Grace to the mix in 2005:
And just a handful of months after that we got another sweet niece and playmate for Ava:
Prior to that, in 2005, My sister and her husband Jason started to talk seriously about adoption. This was our first close look into the process as we prayed and waited and waited and prayed for little Hannah to come home. At the time a healthy child adoption took less than 1.5 years. Can you believe that it now usually takes 6+ years?! There is much to say about that and a lot of debate on why. If you are curious about why international adoption takes so long and is so costly these days, this is a good place to start: http://buy.stuckdocumentary.com/
Anyway, back to Hannah. We couldn’t wait for her to come, Especially Ava!
When they finally brought her home, she and Ava were fast friends 🙂 This is the first time they met at the airport:
Look at these beautiful girls now. The 3 amigos!
We were excited to add another boy to the mix in 2007, when we welcomed Jesse Michael:
If you asked me then (and for the 4 years following, I would have told you we were done at 2!) But we all know now, the Lord had other plans!
Around this time, there was extra excitement in the air, as my brother Dave and my sister in law Leanna decided to adopt, too! This time, our family was getting a little boy from China (from the same waiting Child Program that Jude is in.)
We all prayed for little Seth and we eagerly waited his arrival!
Not long after Seth came home, Dave and Leanna began the process to adopt another little boy, this time from Ethiopia. If you have lost count – this makes child #5 for them! We couldn’t wait to meet Asher! He was a little over 2 when he came home:
Jesse and the boys have become great buddies and we love how close in age they are- Seth(5) Asher(4) Jesse (5)
I had so much fun digging up those old photos. Michael and I love each and every one of these 10 children and we thank God for the blessing that they are to our family.
So, how has this journey of adoption affected Michael and I and influenced our journey, you might ask?
Randomly, we have been approached by people who have asked, “Are you adopting because your siblings adopted?”
I have to admit, we find that question odd. Many times it’s insinuated as though we jumped on some sort of adoption bandwagon. We would never bring another child into our home (whether biological or adopted) because someone else did.
Yet, it’s undeniable that my siblings have played a huge role in our own adoption journey. As we watched them walk in obedience to God’s calling on their lives, we were challenged in our own walk with the Lord. As we welcomed each of these precious children home, we couldn’t help but marvel at how God took a broken situation and redeemed it. I will never forget the first Christmas with Asher. We were each sharing about what God had done in our lives that year. When it was Dave’s turn, he talked about the blessing of Asher and how much joy he had brought to their lives. I will never forget the smile that spread across Asher’s face in that moment. He was so proud to hear his daddy brag about him. It was really beautiful.
So, in short.. We did not decide to adopt because my siblings did. We did however see Christ’s hands and feet modeled before us and we were impacted by it. We saw Christ’s love modeled and it inspired us to love. We are thankful that He shines through his children, revealing His glory.
God called us to walk this path and we are walking it, clinging desperately to Him along the way.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 1 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 1 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14
We can’t help but wonder if He will use us to encourage another family? Whether it be adoption or another calling to leap out in faith, we pray that His glory will be known through our experience and that we might cheer someone else on. 🙂
About 2 months after we started our adoption journey, Julie and Jason announced that they were also adopting. Talk about exciting-I can’t tell you how amazing it has been to walk this road together.
We welcomed Moses home 4 days ago with happy hearts! (You can hear Jesse asking to greet Moses as soon as he sees him 🙂
Ava and Jesse wanted to play with Moses as soon as possible. This is his first full day home. I think they like each other!
We have certainly all become advocates of adoption over the years. It has been amazing to watch blessings come one by one into our family. My parents have 12 grandchildren (we are just waiting for the 12th little guy to come home!)
If you or anyone you know ever wants to talk about adoption, we would love to encourage you/them, as we have been the recipients of a lot of encouragement. We are ready to be the encouragers!
As we wait for Jude to come home, we rejoice at the amazing things God has done. He is so good and we need Him desperately!
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.- John 15:5