Note: Every weekend we’ll (Jennifer and Benjer) share a bit of our journey to adopting a child. This post is by Jennifer. To read more posts on adoption, visit our adoption page.
Why Are We Adopting Now (or in three-plus years when all is said an done)?
As I (Jennifer) sat down to write this post I became aware of some anxiety that wells up in me when I know I am going to talk to an unknown audience about our new and growing adoption story. It turns out there is no small number of people out there who have an emotional reaction when you tell them you are going to adopt internationally, and sometimes it is a negative emotional reaction. This has been somewhat difficult for me because I never know what someone I am talking to will think or how they will react. It has left me feeling defensive and reluctant to share. When talking to another mother with both biological and adopted children recently she said, “When you tell people you are pregnant, everyone congratulates you. When you tell them you are going to adopt, they seem to think that their approval is needed.” Interesting point, isn’t it? Although, even when you give birth biologically, if there is a perceived moral issue involved, then people also tend to think their approval is needed. For example, the Duggars of the 19 Kids and Counting show has had their share of disapproval.
While there are moral arguments both for and against international adoption, we did not decide to move forward with this international adoption at this time because of these arguments. Actually we never thought we would be adopting this way at all.
When I was 7 years old I learned what “adoption” was because I had a friend who was adopted. When I learned that their were babies and little kids out there who did not have any mothers or fathers, I was sold out to the idea of adopting them. Since then, and especially as an adult, I have researched and learned about adoption whenever an opportunity presented itself. I even went to an adoption expo as a single 24 year old woman. My husband and I have talked about this since we first met. When I was 8 months pregnant with my first child Benjer came home from a meeting he had where he met a father who had just brought home his adopted son and, even though I was about ready to have my own child in one month, I nearly jumped out of my seat with anticipation and excitement for when we could adopt. I have literally felt called to adopt for 25 years, and have been being waiting that long for the “go ahead” from our situation and from God to adopt.
Our plan was to have two biological children and then wait until they were older to adopt children that were younger from them through foster care. We thought it was a good plan, financially, because children who are older and in the system do not require the same money as babies or international adoption do, and also with family dynamics. Then God showed us He had a different plan for us these past few months.
I started to feel an urge, a deep desire, to have more children… but not another baby. I was really confused by this at first because I knew I did not want to be pregnant and have another biological baby again. But, I felt this almost disturbing nagging inside that we needed to consider having more children now. I asked Benjer to pray about this, because, who knows? Maybe it was just my hormones. He prayed and he felt, to some disappointment, that it really wasn’t the Lord’s prompting to have another biological baby. So I kept on praying and seeking the Lord in all of this because the feeling did not go away. Then I realized this feeling for more children might be my go-ahead to adopt. So, we prayed some more. Then we asked some of our close friends and family who have a good prayer life to pray for discernment for us. One friend who serves as a missionary right now on the other side of the world said that when she was praying she felt she was given a very clear message to us that we should proceed with adoption, internationally from Easter Europe. A child with special needs. That seemed quite specific! Then I talked with my mother, who lives in Colorado, and she said that she also had a specific feeling in her prayer life that we should adopt from Eastern Europe. I, too, in my prayer life had felt led to Eastern Europe. It just seemed to be one confirmation after another.
Obviously, this is a little unusual to say the least. This kind of spiritual confirmation isn’t something that Benjer and I have experienced on a regular basis, and it’s certainly not an expected daily occurrence for followers of Jesus. But it is quite exciting, too! I am very thankful that we were blessed with these specific experiences of people feeling led through their prayers to tell us to adopt internationally now, because when I have faced opposition to our decision I have had these experiences to give me strength. I do not need to win moral arguments or even have it make sense. Because it doesn’t make sense at all. We don’t have the money to finance this kind of adoption and our children are significantly younger (2 and almost 4) than would be recommended for this, depending on how long our wait is. But God does have a history of asking his followers to do things that don’t seem to make sense to show how His ways are so much better, and He also has a history of asking his followers to do things that they couldn’t possibly do on their own to show His power and glory.
We are so excited (and scared at times) to see God continue to show up in this to show His plan and His power and His glory. Because that is all that really matters in this whole endeavor anyway.
To read more adoption posts and to sign up for email updates, visit our adoption page.