Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The start of our adoption journey: Part 1

Our story.  The beginning. Some may call this a 'throwback". ;)

"I didn't know you guys were looking to start adopting!?"
"I've always known you wanted to adopt, how'd you know when to start?"
"Why now?"
"How did you decide what country/agency/how many children?"

All of these questions have been asked. I'm about to answer and tell you how we knew the answer to these questions, in several parts. To give you an idea, it takes a solid 45 minutes for me to verbally share the I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E story God has started writing. It's unreal. I'm a "details" person. So, I include lots of little details that seem insignificant, but are OH SO SIGNIFICANT and God's fingerprints all.over.this.

Back story:
If you know me (Kendra), you've known that I've wanted to adopt children from Africa since a very young age. If you ask my dear friend Kerrie, she'll tell you since the 3rd grade. Interesting, huh? I remember cutting out magazine articles about the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and being captivated by the number of orphans in Africa. I've told my parents for forever, that my babies would come from Africa. Well, after a summer trip to Malawi, Africa, marrying a God-fearing man who shares this desire- it was official. God has continued to put this desire on my (now OUR) hearts. Adoption is our "Option A". We get asked often if we'll have biological children, and our answer has been (NO!), or there are so many children in this world that need a family NOW, or "It's not really up to us!".
(stay tuned- God uses this!)

Technically, as we look back, we can see God starting this last winter (Jan-March 2013) with the purchase of our home. My financially sound/wise/planner/Dave Ramsey Jr. husband thought that we would start looking for a home in Spring of 2014....that would give us enough time in our apartment, continue to save, etc. Well, you can read the rest of that story here. (also INCREDIBLE) We knew in order to complete a home study you would have to have more than one bedroom. Our apartment at that time had only one bedroom. However, God brought this house very clearly (that sounds silly- it's just a house after all!- Seriously. Go back and read that post though!). I remember thinking, "God why in the WORLD are you bringing us this house right now? THIS WAS NOT OUR PLAN! WE DON'T NEED THAT MANY BEDROOMS!" I also remember my dad saying, "Who knows you guys, maybe now that you have a house sooner than you thought, you'll start adopting sooner than you thought!"
(I remember thinking, HA yah right. Beau doesn't want to start that until the end of 2014.)

Then God blessed me with a wonderful teaching job in the summer of 2013. Welp. For financial reasons, the job I took bumped starting the adoption process to the end of 2014. (remember- Beau's a planner. A financial planner. Keep following- God will use this too!)

Then came November 2013. Good friends of ours were pregnant. We were both SO SO excited for this couple to have their baby. On November 21st, 2013, sweet baby girl K was born!!! We went to visit her the next day (November 22) in the hospital. This couple, upon seeing us hold baby K of course, asked the million dollar questions: "When are you going to start adopting?" AND "Are you sure you won't have biological, come on guys!" ;) (Something to this effect.) We both laughed it off, and left in love with little K girl.

On the way our of the hospital to the car, in the parking ramp (I VERY VERY SPECIFICALLY REMEMBER THIS!) I asked hesitatingly, "Beau? (yes?) Did you notice or feel anything "different" when we held K?" (no, not really) My heart instantly deflated. What was going on in my mind?
I think God is changing my heart towards having biological children, and he doesn't seem to be on the same page. We got in the car, and I asked him again, this time being more specific and shared what was going on in my heart and mind. He again, wasn't on the same page. Both of our hearts had been set on two toddlers when we would start the adoption process. We're both slightly terrified of babies. :)
End of story. I didn't really think about it much.

The next few weeks, and months go by and I feel a heaviness in my heart. Asking God what in the world is going on? I've never desired biological children, my husband doesn't either. My mind was in complete chaos. What do you want me to DO? What are you trying to TELL me? Another VERY specific moment in time I remember....driving to work on they were building that weird little barn thing to the south....(see? I TOLD YOU, very specific.) I truly felt God "reveal" something to me. "Kendra, surrender this to me." I instantly thought, "He wants me to surrender only being open to adoption. He wants me to give him BOTH options....adoption and biological. Toddlers and babies. To place them both in HIS hands...not mine. To not stiff arm the one. That either would be a blessing. I also remember thinking, BUT BEAU DOESN'T DESIRE to have biological...and we're TERRIFIED of babies! What's the point in changing MY mind? COME ON GOD!?! What is going ON!? (I was also secretly resenting our friend's cutie-patootie baby that so obviously changed my heart- all God's doing of course!)

I said, "Okay." Peace. "Lord, whatever you want. I don't know how this will go. But, it's Yours."

Fast forward to the second week of January of 2014. I go somewhat CRAZY mentally. For real. Ask my friend Laura. I would frantically and desperately text her (Sarah and Nicole too) about this unbelievable "unrest" I had. I just had a "feeling" that I couldn't place that was driving me nuts. Anxiety (that was NOT of God). Fear (also NOT of God).
I asked for their constant prayer. I begged for them to send me scripture.
I was also becoming slightly bitter that Beau wasn't budging on the bio babies thing. (His interpretation of this time period is interesting. I'll leave it at that. :) ha!)
They were SO encouraging and pointed me to Christ each and every time. I remember asking God and telling Laura to pray with me, to take this unwavering/unexpected "motherly desire" away from me, if becoming a mother isn't soon- because I was going nuts. That I had an "expectant" feeling...not sure of what- but it wasn't letting up. She prayed. I prayed. Nicole prayed. Sarah prayed. (Beau- totally in the dark about this.) I've saved texts, messages, etc from these moments in time. I find that interesting in hindsight.

(Side story: Thursday, January 9th, Beau laid on the couch, laptop in hand and was looking up a second trip to Jamaica. He LOVED Jamaica for our honeymoon, and since we were 'far away' from adopting, "let's get a trip in now"....)

Okay- back again. Saturday, January 11- my mom called me and said she was coming over and needed to tell me about this 'adoption opportunity'. I thought (bitterly), "Doesn't matter- we're not adopting for basically a YEAR." UGH. Eye-rolling at Beau. (Gosh I was a turd. It gets worse))
A few minutes later she shows up and comes straight to me and says: "Kendra, do you remember "C"?
(yes, well not really, but yes- it had been over a year since I had met this lady ONCE for 15 minutes. My mom told her I had been to Africa and wanted to adopt- random to tell some stranger meeting for the first time right? MORE THAN A YEAR AGO. Thanks mom.)

"Well she found me at your brother's wrestling meet. I'm not even sure why she was there because none of her kids wrestle currently...anyway, she found me in the crowd and told me that she has an adoption opportunity. She told me to tell you that you should get a hold of her and she'll tell you more information." (enter: bitterness at Beau again. Oh the sin in my heart.) Beau doesn't really say anything. Mom also mentions that it's in one of the two countries in Africa we've researched and known we're 'qualified' to adopt from whenever that day comes.
My mom didn't know that. "C" didn't know that.

End of Part 1.

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