We had two biological children when God first seriously put adoption on our hearts. My pregnancies had been challenging on many levels and we had no desire to travel that path again. There were over 147 million orphans worldwide in need of a forever family and we sensed God calling us to one of those children. We began to prayerfully consider the idea of adopting and God’s whispers very quickly became deafening. But where was our child?

We had always felt a draw to China. Life for girls there has been tragic throughout most of the country’s history. For a multitude of reasons, in 2006, we decided to pursue one of China’s precious daughters. About four months passed and we were nearing the end of the seemingly endless amount of paperwork required in a Chinese adoption when we learned I was (unexpectedly) pregnant with our third child. After much wrestling, we put our adoption on hold and spent the next year surviving a pregnancy and adjusting to being a family of five.

Life was very full and most thought that we would no longer pursue adoption. But God had opened our eyes to the plight of the orphan and looking the other way was no longer an option. He had broken our hearts for these children and somewhere between our second and third child, He had broken us. We had awakened to the true joy and purpose of parenting. We had surrendered to him. We put our orderly, controlled plan away and put our faith in Him as the designer of our family. However, during our hiatus, the wait for a baby from China had grown from one year to over three years. We had desperately hoped that our children, both biological and adopted, would be one contiguous group and this wait made the age gap seem too large. After some research, it seemed that Ethiopia might be the solution for our family. However, we were conflicted. We were still invested in China and we felt hopelessly connected to the little girls there, but there were over five million orphans in Ethiopia. It seemed an impossible choice.

Why did we have to choose?

For quite some time, I heard God’s inaudible voice, “Both of those children are yours.” I never mentioned it to my husband. Five kids? I was afraid that if I actually spoke the words, it might come true. I was in no way gifted or equipped to be a mother to five children. As most in the Bible, I was an unwilling and doubtful servant. I still said nothing to my husband. If God brought him to the same place, then the path would be clear. Patrick was wrestling with his ability to be a good parent and to provide for so many children. To suggest that we adopt two? He would never agree. I continued to wait. But one weekend, as we talked while driving to Charleston, SC, he turned to me and said, “I think we should do both.”

We finished our paperwork for both Ethiopia and China at about the same time in the spring of 2009. In February of 2010, we brought home our nine-month old baby boy from Ethiopia. The road we traveled was long and there were so many instances when we were consumed with fear. There were innumerable times when we simply had to take the next baby step, because the big picture seemed impossible. But when I see our four kids together...I am overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness. 

Because of the slow-down in Chinese adoptions and the shift from healthy kids to mostly special needs, our path to China has taken a bit of a different and much slower course than we expected. We had finally found the new normal with four children and were about to update our home study for China, when our oldest daughter, Bailey, was diagnosed with cancer. We again put the Chinese adoption on hold to fight the greatest battle of our lives. Our daughter is now doing well, but the year-long cancer battle took its toll and we desperately needed some time to regroup before considering another little person.

In the summer of 2015 we finally updated our home study and turned our focus back to China. A crucial development to our adoption story is that during Bailey's cancer battle she became an amputee, losing a leg to the beast that is osteosarcoma. When considering a special needs adoption, we had wrestled in determining for which specific special needs we would be equipped. In the fall of 2015, we accepted a referral for a 15-month old little girl from China. She is beautiful, but she also faces a number of physical challenges including bilateral club feet and an extra finger. But since we now have an extensive orthopedic network as a result of Bailey's cancer battle, her needs seem like a natural fit for our family.

Last summer we finished the I-800A and last bits of paperwork. Shortly after, we received the file for a 15-month old baby girl with bilateral club feet. After quickly and prayerfully reviewing her file and running the limited information past a few specialists, we accepted the referral.  We are thrilled and completely terrified. Throughout the peaks and valleys of this journey, one thing has remained consistent. We perpetually wrestle with feelings of inadequacy as parents. It is a daily struggle to lay down ourselves and make the sacrifices necessary in raising a large family. It is difficult to take that leap of faith knowing how challenging it has the potential to be. This journey has been much longer and more arduous than we ever dreamed. But if you go back to the beginning of our story, we have been pursuing and praying for this child for ten years. We simply were not ready to give up on her, and now a decade later, she is coming home. Regardless of how the details unfold, God has opened our eyes to the suffering of these precious little souls and we cannot turn away. We are trusting that He will carry us and bridge the gap when we are not enough.

Our Adoption Story

Bringing Home Caleb

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