It all started in Colorado, when we were made aware of an organization called Project 127. A Colorado church-based initiative whose aim was to decrease the number of children waiting for families by empowering and equipping Christian families and the churches in Colorado to adopt them. I wrote this down at the time, because I wanted to remember exactly what I felt like God was saying to me....... (below is what I wrote in July 2008, it is in past tense, but I purposefully wrote it so that I could use it later- turns out that came in handy!)
My friend, Emily, once stated (as she does so matter-of-factly, but in a light-hearted, funny way, about various statements people just say that can be slightly annoying :) that she hates it when people say that they are "trying". I thought nothing of it and dismissed it as Emily just being Emily...until about a year later. The thoughts that came changed my life. They changed it drastically forever (please excuse the dramaticism :).
It was a July day in Colorado 2008 when I could say "it began". The truth is it could have begun the day I was born. It could have begun the day I was two and my parents' divorce became final. God had been working on me for longer than I knew, but the culmination of His work on me in this area "began" on that day in July. It was one of those crazy seasons where everyone you know comes to visit within a matter of months, you have illnesses and surgeries, and your marriage seems to be just a tad bit on edge because of lack of time together, sleep, and communication with one another. My friend Jen called, and normally I would stay in my hole (or apartment) and hide out, ignoring social invites, but I decided to go and visit her despite my reclusive tendencies. I am so glad I did.
She fixed me some tea, and we exchanged small talk which grew into how each other was doing which grew into the sharing of struggles and funny stories. She was giving me updates on the “infertile” of our group of friends (actually pretty much all of our friends were going through this or had just been through it). She then shared with me some website she had recently been researching called "Project 127". Honestly, I was curious, but not interested until something she had said flipped on one of those heaven sent light bulbs that stay in your head until you or someone else allows them to be turned on. She said that the website/ ministry, Project 127, had been named after James 1:27: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans... in their distress.
The widows and the orphans. The least of these. Jesus on earth.
Recently I had read a book by Shane Claiborne called The Irresistible Revolution. His book, in premise, challenges my generation to follow the Rabbi Jesus in all ways, including peace-making, bridge building and care-taking of those Jesus talked about and with whom there is a degree of separation from us comfortable Christian Americans. I felt as if someone had given words to some of my feelings and had convicted me of further action. But after reading it I felt the need to take some kind of major action towards those convictions, but I had no idea what that was. This is where the conversation comes in and the light bulb came on.
I mentioned earlier that my friend Emily hates the word "trying", and I think now I feel it's not such an appropriate word for me either. My husband and I had been doing just that (you can call it trying, planning, wanting-- they're all the same here). I had even gone in for surgery/ treatment for endometriosis only to find that it should not have been affecting my chances to get pregnant after all. I was starting Chlomid, a fertility drug for ovulation as well at this time (July 2008). We had wanted a child so badly for what felt like the whole time we had been married (actually only 1 1/2 years at this point). I always was astounded at the number of people that I would hear about having problems having kids with-in the first five years of trying (there's that word again, bear with me you will soon see my point:). I also marveled at the number of stories you hear about teen-age and unplanned pregnancies.
And at that moment on Jen's couch, I heard the answer to my suffering and to my questions. It was so clear to me everything I had wrestled with over the past year and a half, every dry spell I went through in my walk, every fire I got in my heart and had no place for it to set something a blaze. We are "trying" our own plans. And that is all we are accomplishing is the "trying" because we are in the realm of our own plans. I believe I heard the Lord say to me, "I care about the least of these. The least of these are ME. What you do for them you do for ME. What you do to them, you do to ME. It is possible that I could have designed it this way so that there is a balance. Many of my people (Christians) are unable to get pregnant. It could very well be by my design. I control everything under the sun. My first priority for you is not your comfort, but it is for you to take care of the least of these. The widow, the homeless, the orphan. I am the FATHER to the fatherless. My people are my vessel. My people should be "trying" to love and embrace the fatherless of this world."
I shared these thoughts with Jen, and she said very thoughtfully, "I wouldn't put it past God to be behind all this". I felt freed by this, and even surer that I wanted to adopt, but I still didn't know where to start. I mean I hadn't even talked to my husband yet about it for crying out loud! Here I am so convinced that adoption is my future, and I have no idea what he wants to do. He had a lot on his plate at that time, being an organic chem student and all. His minimum hour requirement by his boss was 60 hours a week. How would we ever get the money and time. Had I completely gone from the woman who wanted to "carry her own babies" to this woman who wanted to raise and love a perfect stranger? Would it be harder to raise a baby like us, with our ideals if that baby did not have our genes? And what about what their previous parents did to them? And as I thought about all of those things, they paled significantly to the power and resources of the Almighty and His people.
So I did what every young whippersnapper with a vision for change does, I went surfing the internet. I found the website for Project 127. I bawled my eyes out, and I wrote down this little excerpt (yes I wrote it in past tense-- who knows it may go in a book some day and this will save me the time of changing all the verbs). I encourage you to check it out. The stories of the waiting children are compelling. The commission to the church to stand up for the orphaned is inspiring and this ministry has developed a real way to actualize this call. And even better, they are working with local government agencies which helps to bridge the gap between secular and Christian.
But, alas, it was not our time to adopt in 2008. With the events that unfolded at the end of that year, and the beginning of the next year, we now know that we weren't even staying in Colorado. I was called to go back to school, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and David struggled for about a year with his own health, having to quit his PhD program.
David and I joke about how (if our relationship were like a boat) he is the rudder and I am the sail. Sometimes we switch back and forth, but mostly I am the passionate idealist who wants to press forward from challenge to challenge. Sometimes immediately. And he is the harness-er of the passion so to speak. He makes sure that we have balance in our marriage. A balance between what we are called to do and the wisdom with which to carry out the call.
In this case, the wisdom took three years! But here we are. David is very excited about adopting, especially from the state system. He said to me that he has "grown to see that there is a balance between understanding that this is a Big Scary Decision and realizing that it's not big or scary with God!"
As we mentioned before, we are knee deep in paperwork and errands right now. They basically want to know when your Grandma's cats last vaccine was (slight exaggeration :). But we have the first homestudy done, and the next homestudy we will have (hopefully) all the paperwork done. We are shooting for April/ May for this one.