Friday, January 1, 2010

A Defining Moment

A lot of people have asked us, “what was your defining moment when you knew you were going to adopt.” Did you have a divine sign, did you do it on a whim, did you always know? We had been talking about adding to our family for probably the last 5 years, but have been seriously considering it for the last 2 years. We had always talked about adopting a little girl from China, but never sincerely talked about it. Over the last two years, we kept coming up with excuses as to why we couldn’t add to our family; why we shouldn’t add to our family; we talked about the logistics and reality of it; we talked about our job situations and how that would be an issue; you name it – we used it as an excuse. But, the desire to add a little one to our family just never went away. We knew that God had placed it in our hearts for a reason. Little by little each excuse that we had seemed to disappear. The more we talked about it, the more it seemed like a sincere possibility. Following is our story of how God spoke to us.

We had been asked several times over the last few years if we would have any more children. Medically, it could be possible, but it would involve some treatments. We weren’t sure we wanted to go there. We are not saying that we are against fertility treatments in any way, shape or form. But, we had 2 children without any assistance, and I guess we figured if God wanted us to have any additional biological children, it would have just happened. We prayed about it, but never got the ‘yahoo’ let’s do this from God. But, the desire for a child lingered on. We talked about it all the time, prayed about it all the time and talked about different options. (of course we did all of this privately because we figured our family and friends would think we were nuts!!) Adoption came up, but again, we weren’t detailed in our discussions – we were open to it, but did go into details. What we did know was that we had room in our hearts for another child; we had room in our home for another child; and we were waiting on God to tell us what our next move would be.

Fast forward to October. We were set to go to Catalyst in Atlanta, GA. Catalyst is a leadership conference for church leaders that we attend with our church, Mountain Ridge Church. It’s an awesome time to connect with our current church leaders, a time to hear great speakers, musicians, etc., but mostly, it’s a time to spend with God. When else can you turn off the world, and spend a few days with God, hear great worship sets and just connect period!? Our first Catalyst experience as in 2008, and we were never the same! We had decided that this would be our “defining moment.” We needed to get clarity on what God wanted us to do about adding to our family. Should we proceed with treatments; should we adopt; or should we just be happy that we have 2 beautiful boys and concentrate on them? Were we selfish for even considering adding to our family? Is it in our path? We were tired of talking about it and being non-committal about it. If we were going to do something, the time was NOW. (we weren’t getting any younger!) We knew God would lead us to our final answer. We were OPEN to whatever God wanted for us.

So, here we are sitting with our awesome group of people at Catalyst and thinking about taking a break and going to look at the exhibitors, etc. The next segment to come on was “Are you Open?” Good grief! It was an entire segment on adoption complete with videos, testimonies, and the big she-bang, Mac Powell, lead singer for Third Day (which is one of our favorite bands!! Woo hoo) and his wife talking about the adoption of his son. Talk about a Defining Moment! Talk about Leaving Your Mark (which was the topic of Catalyst this year). I (Angie) cried through the entire segment. When the segment was over, we both looked at each other and knew. We knew this is what we traveled to Atlanta for. We knew this is what God has planned for us. Brad looked at me and said, “we’re going to the adoption tent exhibitor and getting more information, aren’t we?” And, that’s basically it. We haven’t looked back since.

Our decision to adopt from Ethiopia probably was planted at Catalyst last year as well. We saw the most beautiful children dancing and singing who were from Kenya, I believe. (not Ethiopia, but close). Their hearts and personalities were so innocent and pure. We instantly fell in love. They were there again this year, and appeared RIGHT AFTER the adoption segment and they even sang with Mac Powell. Of course I bawled my eyes out again this year! Ok, God, we hear You loud and clear!

We came home and instantly began contacting adoption agencies. I can’t say they we still didn’t have hesitation about it. We did. This was a big decision, a big expense (one that we hadn’t saved for), and this would change our lives and the life of a child and the lives of our 2 boys forever. We read, prayed, fasted and talked, and talked, and prayed and fasted. We were still hung up on if this was in our plan and our path. Although the writing was on the wall, we still wanted reassurance. We prayed some more. I decided to take a day or 2 and fast and pray yet again… just to make sure we were not being ‘moved by the moment’ at Catalyst… then something funny happened… we received an email from the Catalyst people (that very day) giving us an electronic copy of Andy Stanley’s new book, “The Principle of the Path.” Oh my word…. Really??... this again was God giving us another tool to help our decision. I read the entire book in a few hours. Then, Psalm 119 came to me. So I turned in my bible to it and again, God’s words spoke very clear to us about our path ahead.

So, here we are only 2 ½ months later, ready to submit our dossier to Ethiopia for the adoption of our daughter. 2010 is going to be an awesome year. It’s so funny when you look back on the last 2 years of our life. It’s amazing to see how God had perfectly aligned our thoughts, decisions and situations to bring us to this very moment. Way too many to list, but we see them very clear now. It’s a puzzle of perfectly aligned pieces. We cannot wait for the next piece!

I want to list a few excerpts from the front page of our Catalyst program. Now remember, we didn’t have this book in our hands before we decided that our Catalyst experience this year would be our “Defining Moment” about what direction we were going with our family. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I looked back at the front page of our Catalyst program and got chills. It was a ‘fill in the blank’ cover and then you open to the front page to read how it came out. The bold text show what I filled in. I won’t give you the whole thing, but here are a few excerpts… simply amazing:

“As leaders, we are marked by defining moments that shape and change us. Moments like our marriage redemption.[which should be a whole other blog, but we won’t go there right now :)]. These moments are turning points that adjust our present and help shape our future. . . When our true identity is clarified and we grasp a clear understanding of God’s eternal perspective . . . This journey you are about to embark upon is similar to hearing Third Day for the first time; once experienced, you’ll never be the same. . . We have all been marked by Our Heavenly Father. You have a unique mark. Now go leave your mark on a broken world. . .”

So, did Catalyst persuade us into adopting? Absolutely not! We already had that possibility in our thoughts and prayers. But, I think if we would have missed Catalyst this year, we would have missed our mark!

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