It happened to us on the same day at the same time but in totally different places. The overwhelming feeling that "now was the time" entered our minds. The thought entered my mind completely unprovoked while I checked my e-mail, but nevertheless clear, so I texted Nick. "Do you think we will actually ever adopt?" The response shocked me, "In the next year or two."
It's not like we'd never talked about it. As weird as this may sound, Nick asked if I'd marry him if he couldn't have children. It was a little off the wall since we weren't even engaged or talking marriage, but I told him God could bless us like Abraham and Sarah, and if not then we could adopt. I'd wanted to adopt since I was a child. When I was around 14, I told my parents when I grew up I would have 14 children, 6 of my own and 8 adopted. We'd all live in a barn converted into a large house.
Nick and I always knew we'd adopt. The first time we considered it, we had been trying to get pregnant for about seven months. We began to wonder if God had other plans for our family. After researching and praying for open and closed doors, I got pregnant with our first blessing Owen.
Next came our second blessing, Amra. We were content, but in the fall of 2007 we felt the stir of our hearts for the second time. We met with a case worker, got fingerprinted, did all the initial paperwork. We felt a little overwhelmed by the hours of class time we would have to attend while having two small children. Again we asked God for a child and open/closed doors. A month later, the test came back positive, and we were blessed again for a third time with Wrigley.
After Wrigley's birth and medical concerns, the doctors decided that I should not have any more children. And we thought that was it. God was determining for us, that this was all He wanted us to have. We accepted this and knew His way was best.
A year ago, God began a work of transformation in our lives. We'd spent most of our marriage living for ourselves. We were consumed by what we wanted when we wanted it and not at all concerned about glorifying God with our lives. Through a series of events (my mom's illness, Nick's changing jobs, Amra's surgery, etc.) we were forced to trust God with a faith we'd never encountered before. This extreme need for God showed us His holiness and our vast array of imperfections. We began a year of transforming to mirror our lives after Him.
We asked God to show us where our lives needed work. And God, in His humor, took that as an invitation. He has been uncovering every layer of grime in our hearts. Critical hearts, gossip, selfishness, laziness, greed, indulgence, etc. It was and is still not a pretty picture, but His grace has covered all of this, and we in our humbled states decided to hand our lives back over to Him to use in any way He chooses.
This past summer God decided to hand us the gauntlet. He put us through the fire, but not once were we burned. We tightly clung to God because we knew He was our only way through. He loves us enough that He went right through it with us.
God showed us time and time again through scriptures, sermons, and even blogs that He has called us to a radical life for Him. We thought we might be called to ministry, but we realized that our ministry was right here in our own streets. People we love are dying without a relationship with Jesus Christ and our fear of their ridicule kept them from this knowledge. So we began ministering to our "neighbors" no matter who they are or where they came from.
Nick took a new job last year that came with a pay cut, and I was not working this summer, and we had also committed to cut out all credit in our lives. But we never went hungry, we never went without a home, and we could get to and from anywhere we wanted. But it was a test of faith. And God was there through it all. It was the most painful thing I've ever gone through, but my relationship with God grew by miles in those three month this summer.
So when the stirring in our hearts said now was the time, and the adoption agency called the next day and said our baby would be waiting for us in 11 months, we knew we had to step out boldly and in obedience.
Our mission in our lives and the life verse we've chosen for this journey is James 1:27. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
We hope you will join us on our journey to our fourth blessing. We know it will be challenging and financially we will never need God to show up more than now, but we step out with bold confidence that He, again, will provide every penny. There are two ways that you can join us on our journey:
1. Prayer - First and most importantly is through prayer. I'm a prayer warrior, and I pray through and over any and everything. Prayer not only draws us closer to God but allows Him to show us His power. Please pray specifically for our family, our finances, and also for Baby K who is in Ethiopia awaiting the arrival of her parents to take her home.
2. Financial Support - Second, if you'd like to help financially, 100% of the donations will go completely towards all adoption fees and any money that exceeds our need will be donated to our friends Steve and Danae Lehman at Gobena Coffee (gobena.org), whose sale of fair trade coffee goes to feed, shelter, and educate orphans in Ethiopia...check them out!!! We will also be donating to Lifesong for Orphans, which is an adoption grant organization, which helps families fund their adoption fees as well.
We are so excited for what God is doing in our lives and cannot wait to meet, cuddle, and share the love of Jesus with our new addition! We'd love for you to join us and hear from all our friends and family along this journey.
Called to His Work,
Nick, Erin, Owen, Amra, Wrigley, and Baby K :)