Monday, June 30, 2014

Our Adoption Story: Part 4

If you're just tuning in now to how God began to unfold our adoption story, you HAVE to check out Parts one, two and three (three being the BEST part). It has been so good for me to reflect back on how GOD started all of this. Beau often reminds me when my heart is anxious or fears creep in that, "Kendra, we didn't start this. God did." It's almost comical to me to look back on the YEARS I have prayed asking God for clarity of when to start the process: researching agencies, and countries, carefully monitoring our adoption account, etc. That was my prayer for so long, show us WHEN, show us WHERE (agency and country), provide financially for us Lord (to have the funds for the process), HOW MANY children do you want us to bring home, BOYS/GIRLS, ages, etc?

Part 3 of our story took care of that. God, took care of that.

Anyway, the night I shared with Beau about what God was pressing on my heart through "L's" message and the "fleeting thought" I had of Little D, and when he started to look into all of the information "L" gave us, he simply said, "Well, good night!".

Ummmmm? Are you kidding me? Don't you SEE all of what GOD JUST DID RIGHT HERE, and here he wanted to SLEEP? (It was around nocturnalness isn't always a shared life style with Beau and we both had to work the next day, Friday).

I laid there and laid there and laid there....unable to go to sleep. Tossing and turning, mind racing. I was SO UNSETTLED. Eventually I did what I knew I should have done right away, and prayed. (another specific I remember) "God, why can't I go to sleep? I've gotta work tomorrow! Help me sleep, calm my heart, ease my mind."
The minutes continued to tick by and then I asked the Lord, "I feel like there's a reason you don't want me to sleep." Here, I just remember my heart racing, and I felt like God wanted me to wake Beau up (impossible, by the way, he talks in his sleep, and I've woken him up in the middle of his sleep before and he NEVER remembers talking with it was weird to me that I felt led to wake him up and have a (forgettable) conversation with him). I remember laying there on my belly, up on my elbows, almost arguing with the Lord....."What do you want me to say to him? He won't remember anyway? He's dead ASLEEP! God. No. Tomorrow. Ya, how bout tomorrow? I don't even know what you want me to SAYYYYYYYY!"....well. It didn't work. I couldn't get peace or fall back asleep, so with what can only be the Holy Spirit's prompting, I sat up, and woke Beau out of his stupor.

He woke up, and I remember thinking, "Here goes nothing, God this better be good, and please help me know what you want me to say! I don't know what to say!" as I said, "Beau, I need to talk to you." He actually sat up, and was awake- this was different- ahahaha! From there on out, for the next HOUR, I, mostly doing the talking rambled and rambled what I truly feel like the Holy Spirit wanted me to communicate to Beau, and myself. (This wasn't a "convince Beau" conversation. This was a total God thing of HIM convincing us BOTH to say YES.)  From scripture, to evidence of God's faithfulness in our lives, evidence of God's faithfulness to those in scripture, and God's faithfulness to friends we have known who have walked through adoption. What I really think God was showing both of us that night was, I'm asking you to trust me, I'm asking you to allow me to show you my strength and faithfulness, if only you would step out and obey, trust, and have faith in ME. (we'd be here for the next week if I tried to put to words what all God was doing in that hour, and to be quite honest, I haven't been able to effectively communicate what exactly went on in that conversation. God truly came through.) I can't tell you the feelings, and peace, and excitement, and anxiousness that was swirling around in that room - as if God was absolutely changing our hearts right then and there, and us surrendering to what He was asking us to do. We then prayed, and Beau went back to bed. HA! That boy. I on the other hand, was elated at what God was so CLEARLY doing in us, and got up, took my computer, and wrote a journal entry. (possibly share that at a different time. I haven't read it since that night. Might be kinda cool to go back and see!)

At 2:30 that morning, I finally went to bed.  My alarm went off at 6:15 for work, and off I went. Beau actually missed his alarm that morning (whoops!), so we didn't get to talk about the early morning miracle in our hearts we had experienced.

Here's a timeline of the weekend, seeing MORE of GOD'S GOODNESS AND CLARITY:
(WE knew what GOD was doing in US, but what would our friends and family think?)

Friday morning:
*  I called my friend Nicole (who this whole time since November was praying fervently for what God was doing in my heart about "motherhood" with the whole baby thing). I told her every detail, and man was she excited. I told her I was nervous about talking to Beau, maybe he'd think it was a dream, or wasn't thinking clearly because of the time of night, etc. Nicole knew this was from the Lord as well. (phew! I'm NOT totally crazy)

* I caught my friend at work Erin up as well. She was confident of what the Lord was also doing, excited along with me!!! (I remember doing devotions with my classroom that morning, and crying through it--- another message straight to my heart from the Lord, over and over. I know my kids thought I was a nut that morning.)

Friday night: 

The day goes by, and Beau and I come home from work and greet each other. A while passes, and we started talking about it- He DIDN'T THINK I WAS CRAZY- he was still on board, he remembered the convo! Thanks Lord! ;) He too, was still blown away by the last few day's events. Around that time we get a text from a couple asking if we wanted to come over and play a game that night and watch our fave show Shark Tank. ;) We thought, sure!!
(I remember asking Beau, do we tell them? Do we bring it up and see what they think? We decided not to.)

 After Shark Tank, we head up to play a game around the kitchen table, and out of no where mid Settlers of Catan, one of them asks about how we're doing with the whole "kids" thing....knowing we had been struggling to be on the same page and unified about it. Beau and I looked across the table from each other like, "Uhhhh THIS is WEIRD. and UHHHH do we tell them?" HA!
At that moment the lady friend said, "Well now you HAVE TO TELL US!", obviously reading our stunned faces. HAHAHA! So, we spilt the beans about everything that I've documented in my last three posts. Eventually, we said, "Are we crazy? Are we reading too much into this? Is this nuts? Is this God?". There was a resounding NO you're not crazy, and YES this is God. The man friend said to Beau something like, "Dude. God cannot make this anymore clear. What's holding you back? What're your fears?"

We laid out our fears, and everything came back to the money. We had wanted to save more before starting. This wasn't in the "plan". Beau We were waiting until the end of the year. It costs a lot. Like a lot a lot. We talked through what we had in our savings, we talked about the cost, etc. Then- our man friend (like that little cover name?- LOL) pushed back from the table, mid-convo, walked over to the kitchen drawers, pulled something out, came back to the table, and asked, "Your last name, is it -sen or -san?" He was writing a check. Writing a check to us. Writing a check for our adoption.

I started sweating.

Beau got red in the face, refusing to take it from him (yep. God's still breaking us of this pride-fulness). Is this really happening? WHY are they doing this?

They explained that God put on (his) heart at that moment to GIVE, that God wanted Beau and I to step out in obedience so He CAN provide....and our friend didn't want money to be the reason why we didn't say YES, and step out in faith right then and there.
"We will walk through this with you. We want to be a part of what God's clearly doing here!"

Amazing. Humbling. Praise God.

Can you see here, a reoccuring pattern? Our "little faith", our doubts, our fears, STILL taking over us, after God has been showing us TIME AFTER TIME, AFTER TIME in just a few days, "I'VE GOT THIS, FOLLOW ME!".

We left that night, and we walked into the kitchen, Beau stood there- turned around with the check in his hand and said, "I think this is exactly what I needed, and what God knew I would need as the flashing red arrow saying this is what He wants us to do. That money and funding this- was my biggest fear to get over." Thank you Lord, for providing not only a monetary change in our process, but a heart change in my husband- by using others to magnify Your glorious name! 


I called a few more friends, adoptive mommas this time, and told them everything. It was no doubt God was moving, and they also gave me wonderful advice to consider as we moved forward too. We knew we needed to speak to someone from our family, so we called my dad and asked if we could come over that night to get their wisdom on some things. We set a time, and headed over.

Again, we word-vomited everything that was going down. Again, a resounding "YES, can it get any more clear guys?". They were obviously thrilled too! At this point, we were both feeling more and more comfortable and more and more peace....and mostly- sheer excitement!! We had literally no "red flags" or roadblocks while we sought wisdom and prayed about it. WOO! Okay!

We left my dads (who lives about two miles/few minutes away) and headed home. In the car, I could tell Beau's excitement was getting the best of him (finally!), and he said, "OK, we need to call "L" LIKE RIGHT NOW! We need to tell her we say "YES!" and we want those children!!!!!". I giggled and said, "Beau- I emailed her earlier today, and I gave her my number. If she wants to call us, she can. We don't want to get too ahead of ourselves!"

We pulled in the garage, walked up to our bedroom, and my phone started buzzing- it was from Minnesota. Where I knew "L" lived. No. Way.

For the next hour and thirty minutes, she explained and told us her life story, how God led her to "Africa", how He led her to starting a baby home in "Africa", and the life stories of "Little D" (who we've since renamed) and Little N (who we've since renamed), the process, an agency she recommended (who we've since changed from!) and it was SO CLEAR and SO PRESENT that Yes, this is what God was calling us to do. It was incredible. May I also mention, that sweet "L", never once, ever, "ASKED" us what we thought, asked us when we were planning on starting/thinking about adopting, ASKED how many children we'd like to adopt....ha! God never even really gave us the option to say no in terms of her "asking" us anyyyything. LOL


We are so very aware that our situation is so very different from most, we know the blessing it is to know so many details of our children's pasts, we know it's rare to know and have a close relationship with the owner of an orphanage (she lives in MN but travels often to "Africa" and has other in-country staff that are the administrators), to receive so many updates and pictures of the kids, to video chat with them, etc.

To be honest, amidst the JOY we were feeling, and the CONFIDENCE we had in the Lord in the process coming to be the way it had...and knowing that all involved were Christ-followers, we were very hesitant in telling others. Whether people were or were not aware of how the adoption process works, we were very nervous about sharing our news and our process.
We thought people would think we were:
 1.) Nuts   2.) oblivious and naive    3.) getting ahead of ourselves 
4.) being taken advantage of, etc.  5.) give a false interpretation of how the process is typically started

We were very aware that this was so new to us, and for this accredited and licensed orphanage that was ready to partner with agencies. Since then, the orphanage has contracted with two Hague-accredited agencies in two different states (that "just so happened" to be looking to expand their "Africa program" (our children's birth-country) That's another God story in and of itself.) and both of which were ready and willing to do the work to start with our family for the program. YAY! Not to mention, the partnership with the orphanage means MORE CHILDREN can be matched with their forever families, and make more orphans, ORPHANS NO MORE!
(If you are interested in adopting and would like that information of the agencies we would recommend, please let me know!)

God has been SO FAITHFUL since. We've had our hiccups like most adoption processes, but it's been so neat to see God's hand in those, and that those hiccups have been for the greater good and we've been fortunate enough to see almost immediately, His purpose in those! These last six months, I've never felt more close to my Lord and Savior, where I feel as if I'm truly walking next to Him, like He's my very best friend, and mostly- that my need for control, fears, anxieties, etc "fall away" much more quickly because I'm learning to have pure trust and pure faith in the One true sovereign God....who loves these children MORE, SO MUCH MORE than I do.

I have peace in that.

For now, as we wait, I work every day to battle my mind and my thoughts with the truth of God's word and know that He has my best interest, and our children's best interests at heart. He holds ME. He holds THEM. He is the God of he universe. Here in Iowa, and over "there" in Africa.

My "anthem" verse through this process has been:

Psalm 27:13-14

13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

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