This one's a little lengthy, but there's not really a good place to stop and break it into two parts...
It's been a little humorous the past week or so. Most people who know us really well, knew that we were eventually going to adopt - so our announcement that we'd started the process was no surprise to them. But to some...we definitely got that, "Huh? Are you crazy? Don't you have kids?" look. Some people even squirmed a little, not really knowing what to say - and that's fine. But between the looks, awkward body language, and sometimes outright saying it, people wanted to know why. Well, my friends, I would love to tell you...
When I was about 12ish years old, I watched the movie Free Willy - you remember it, the one with the foster child who spray painted graffiti at SeaWorld and then became incredibly attached to the giant whale while doing community service? Besides the fact that I just "aged" myself...that was when it clicked for me that there were kids without parents. "Annie" became real to me in that moment, too. I remember at this time in my life taking my first mission trip to an inner city, and finding that not every child - even those with parents - had the same loving, stable home and family I did. And I couldn't believe there really were kids without a mom and dad at all. It just didn't seem fair in my pre-teen mind. So I decided then that I would do something to change that. I would adopt someday, when I got older.
Fast forward several years and this desire never changed...I would adopt a child. The love for at-risk children deepened and grew within my heart as I got older. I went into social work to change the world for these kids.
I met my husband my senior year of college. We'd been dating a few months and we both knew that this relationship had a big potential to really go somewhere. It was time for us to talk about where it might go and make sure we were on the same page as to how to get there. I had only a few non-negotiables for a husband: 1) He would love me with as great a love that my dad had for me; 2) He would be a man who followed Christ and would lead our family in the same way; and 3) He would adopt.
I already knew numbers 1 and 2 had been met, but we hadn't discussed the third one. It was time, though, because I knew in my heart of hearts I could not marry a man who was not open to adoption. So I said, "I'm going to adopt a child some day. Are you in or are you out?" He wanted to know why - could I not have kids? I told him as far as I knew, there wouldn't be any problems with me giving birth to children. And then he sat there and looked at me. I could tell he was thinking. I almost started to get a sinking feeling because I really, really liked him and thought he was amazingly handsome...but I was prepared to walk away.
Then he says to me, "You know...I've absolutely never thought about it. But sitting here, I can't think of a single reason why we couldn't. Or shouldn't." Sorry, ladies...this amazingly handsome, godly man who sees no reason not to take care of fatherless children is mine forever and ever...
The desire for adoption grew and grew in our hearts and we waited patiently for many years. We were waiting on God's timing because all things work so much better in His time. (Hear me repeating that to myself right now????) We had Anna Beth in 08 and sweet Lynnsie totally surprised us in 09. In January 2011, we both knew it was time to grow our family, but we were really praying for direction...to get pregnant or start our adoption. We started researching the original adoption route we had, which was foster care (another time, another blog post). About 3 weeks into our research, I got a "sinus infection" that upset my stomach. Enter Creek and the answer that we needed. In September of that year, I held my sweet boy.
Finally, finally, FINALLY we knew that this was the time to start. Our kids understand that there are boys and girls who don't have a mommy and a daddy and they've asked us, "Why don't we just bring them here so we can be their family?" Yes, girls, YES!!!
Up until a couple of years ago, though, I just felt like this was the "right" thing to do - it made sense and would make things right for at least one child. But then through several conversations with friends and as my relationship with Christ grew and I really began to see what Scripture says about orphaned children...I knew that the desire in my heart was not just to make things right for a child, it was a special calling God had placed on my life and on Jacob's life. Don't get me wrong, I still think it's just the right thing to do, that it just makes sense...if there's a problem or a crisis with an obvious solution, well...But it is also so much more than for us. It is how He would have us to respond to these precious, vulnerable, fatherless children.
So essentially, it went from a response to Free Willy/Annie to obedience to God.
So, yes - we have our "own" kids...their names are Anna Beth, Lynnsie, Creek and one in Colombia who has a name and face that I don't know, yet. But he is mine. My son. My child. I am his mommy.
And, yes, - I am crazy. And what makes me crazy is that there are children who go to bed at night with no one to tuck them in. And there babies who don't cry anymore because they are only 1 of dozens of babies in a room, sometimes multiple babies to a crib, whose cries went unheard so they stopped. And it makes me crazy that there are children who belong to the government. The government!!! Because no one else has claimed them as their own.
So, that's how we got here. And we're so happy to finally be here. And please....please....if you have questions...we want you to ask. We want you to know. We want you to be comfortable talking to us because we need you to talk to us about it. Because when you ask about it and talk to us about it, we know that you care. And we know that you're with us...