Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Arms Wide Open

I have a little somethin' to share. About six years ago, we decided to sponsor a child through World Vision. Our only request was that the child be born on 9/11/01. We were matched up with a little girl named, Leah, from Uganda. A few years later, Steve and I started doing volunteer work for Project Hope Worldwide, a non-profit organization that has built an orphanage in Lira, Uganda. After hearing about the plight of orphans there, we knew we had to go see it for ourselves so I went in December 2010 and Steve went in July 2011. All of this to say we truly have a heart for orphans, and especially orphans in Uganda.

Several years ago, I started having a longing in my heart to adopt from Uganda. However, I always heard you had to live there for three years, which was clearly not an option for us. But for some reason that longing would not go away. Then about six months ago, I heard that a relative of a family that goes to our church was adopting from Uganda and they did not have to live there for three years as I was previously told. This news got my heart pounding. I started looking more into it and discovered there are ways around that and that people from all over the United States were adopting from Uganda. I started looking into adoption agencies and found there are several that adopt out of Uganda. Then reality set in. I thought, "Could we really do this? At our age and this stage of life, could we really do this? How would our family take it? Would my friends think we were crazy? Could we afford it?" Question after question kept popping into my mind but when it came down to it, I truly believed God put that desire in my heart. And if God was calling us to adopt, He would guide our path. So I prayed about it. I prayed about it a lot. I really felt like it was what God wanted us to do so the next step was to bring it up to Steve.

So after a dinner date one evening about three months ago, I brought it up. I asked him, "So... I have a question for you. Have you ever considered adoption for our family?" To say that question took him back a bit is an understatement. His mouth just about dropped to the floor. Slowly, he said, "Nooooo." I went on to tell him about the longing I've had for so long and how I really felt like God wanted us to adopt. I asked him to just pray about it and if he didn't agree then I wouldn't bring it up again and would put closure to my crazy idea. Several days passed and he didn't say a word about it. I took that as a "no" and tried to put it out of my mind. Then one day, he spoke up and said, "I've been praying about the adoption and I think we should do it." I couldn't believe what my ears were hearing! I couldn't believe we were actually going to go through with it!

So there you have it - our big news! Crazy, huh?!?! We found an adoption agency to go through and sent in our preliminary application. That got accepted then we sent in the longer application last week. Then I heard from the agency first thing yesterday morning and that has also been accepted. Our next step is to do a home study that could take about 2-4 months. The entire process should take about one year and if things work out, we will probably travel to Uganda as a family to pick up our child. (The girls have always wanted to go to Uganda so they may actually get their chance!)

I knew it would be hard to keep it a secret from the girls much longer so Steve and I decided to tell the girls last night. Here's a couple of videos that share how it all went down...

Those goofy girls were so excited they could hardly contain themselves and of course, they had a hard time getting to sleep at night.

So why Uganda when there are so many orphans in the United States? Well, mostly because we have a heart for orphans in Uganda and we feel we are called to adopt from there - but also because the need is so great. There are over 2 million orphans living in Uganda. There are many in the States, too, but there are also many couples that want to adopt here, as well. Why shouldn't kids in Africa, or anywhere else in the world, have the same chance to be brought into a loving family? What makes them any less worthy? They simply aren't. We were all made from the same Creator and we all deserve to have a loving mom and dad. Just as God adopted us into his family, we are all also called to care for orphans in some way. James 1:27 says, "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." 

So here we go on a new adventure in life - not sure where it will take us and how many bumps we may encounter along the way. But I do know that God will walk us through it, though. Good thing because we couldn't do this without His help. If you think of us, we would so appreciate your prayers. Please pray for the following things...

1. Pray that doors remain open and that we follow God's leading

2. If it is God's will for the adoption to take place, please pray for the child we'll be matched up with - for their safety & good health, for healing from any emotional trauma they may have experienced, for them to be open to a new family, and for them to be accepting of our family, and even for the adjustment period after the adoption process takes place.

3. Please pray that the "bumps in the road" are minimal and that God gives us strength to carry on.

4. Please pray that finances will be "miraculously" provided

Thank you for your prayers and support! We'll keep this blog posted with new details as we have them and a few thoughts along the way. We welcome this next step in life with arms wide open ;-)