This is Part Two of a series on Adoption called Everything I Want You to Know About Adoption. To see the links to each individual post in this series, click the “adoption” tab on the nav bar at the top of the blog, or click here.
I told Elliana’s story once before
. It was my 10th blog post, written back in April 2008. For the most part, that post says everything I want to say today, only this time around, I tweaked it a bit to better fit into this particular series. If you were one of the 10 people reading my blog in April 2008, sorry for the repeat. For the rest of you, I give you: The Story of Elliana’s Adoption.
So, one day in the spring of 2006, I was driving down the road past the big, new, fancy Metro Fitness. I said out loud to myself and to God, “When Elijah starts kindergarten, I’m getting a gym membership. Yes Sir. I’m going to go right there and work out every day, ALONE. At the fancy Metro Fitness.”
Mind you, Elijah was still a year and two months away from starting kindergarten. But after nine years of having little ones at my feet and on my hip, I was seeing the light at the end of the Baby Tunnel. Sure, I love having babies at home. I really do. But as the time approached for my 5-year-old to join my 7-year-old in full-day school, I was getting downright giddy at the prospect of entering this next season of parenting and ministry.
See, I knew that God had called me to be a writer. So, in addition to my new gym membership, my future plans included getting serious about my writing.
(And also being able to clean my entire house in two hours, without a little person un-cleaning behind me. And perhaps going out to lunch with a friend for an hour of uninterrupted conversation. And just maybe taking a shower without someone knocking on the shower door asking for a snack.)
But back to the writing. I knew God wanted me to write. He had spoken it to me repeatedly throughout my whole life. By then, I had already completed my first book manuscript, as well as written a few articles for magazine publication (this was way before I started this blog). All I really lacked was the time I needed to pursue the open doors God had clearly set before me.
As I drove that day, I began to talk to God about all the wonderful things I was going to do with the 35 hours a week (!) I’d soon have when both kiddos were in school. And then I heard it. Oh no, could it be? No…not the
“I should be hearing the bells, not the crickets, right God? I mean, YOU are the one who gifted me to write, and YOU are the one who put a passion for it in my heart. All I want to do is fulfill the calling YOU have on my life…”
We interrupt this blog post about adoption to bring you today’s nonsensical (but descriptive nonetheless) vocabulary words:
Crickets: The word I use to describe God’s silence. An invitation from God to seek Him further on an issue. Visual learners might describe this as a “yellow light” or a “yield sign.”
The word I use to describe God’s approval. An inner “knowing” that I’m on the right track. Similar to the bells on a game show when the contestant gets the right answer. Visual learners might describe this as a “green light.”
Nutty: How normal people might be describing me at this very moment.
Back to the crickets, which I totally assumed would be bells. In my car, I was mentally planning for Fallpalloza 2007—which included, as far as I could tell, working out at a gym and massive amounts of kid-free writing time. But I was missing it. I was missing God’s plan for Fall 2007.
So, I asked God what I was missing. And, out of left field, I heard (in my heart, not my ears) the word “adoption
Adoption—as in, additional child/children.
This was not on my radar for Fall 2007. At all.
But I knew God’s voice and the “crickets” well enough to know God was leading me somewhere. I knew better than to ignore or override the crickets.
No more fantasizing about gym memberships, my prayers over the next few days intensified as I gently pursued various adoption avenues. Emphasis on gently.
First, I thought it might be a good idea to run this adoption thing past the man who would be the baby’s father and sole financial provider. I thought dinner at a great restaurant would be a perfect opportunity for this discussion.
Apparently, God had not yet spoken to Jon about said adoption, because I recall it going something like this:
Me: I’ve been thinking, maybe, about us adopting another baby, maybe.
Me: No, seriously.
Me: Don’t you even want to a little bit?
Jon: Maybe about 1% of me wants that. Excuse me, Miss, could I have a refill on tea?
Next, I left a message with Glenda, the adoption coordinator we used with Elijah’s adoption. “Glenda? Hey, it’s Sandy. We are thinking about adopting another baby. Call me.”
No return call.
More praying. More seeking.
Then, a few days later while I was on the elliptical machine in our basement (as opposed to the one AT METRO FITNESS!) flipping through the TV channels, I decided to go past every show I would normally watch, and stop on TLC’s Adoption Stories.
FYI, I don’t know if that show is even on any longer. I’m not really a fan of the show, because the previews always include some scary, sensationalized teaser. Prior to that day, I had never, ever watched an actual episode of Adoption Stories. And I haven’t watched one since.
The featured family on the show that day was a couple from Tenessee adopting from Guatemala. About 5-minutes into the show, seeing all the little Guatemalan children without parents, the orphanages, the poverty, the NEED…oh my, all I heard were bells.
ding! ding! ding! ding! ding!
For months prior to this day, God had been talking to me about our excess. I was repulsed by all we had managed to collect and stockpile over the years. I found myself purging closets and storage rooms. I was walking around our house noticing—really, for the first time—the spare bedroom and the mounds of toys and the drawers stuffed with too many clothes and the pantry stocked with too much food. (I really tell this part of the story so much better HERE
It’s worth the read to understand what God was doing in my heart in the year or two prior to this)
Little did I know, all of that was God’s way of preparing me for this very moment. On my elliptical. Watching Adoption Stories.
I stumbled onto the floor, grabbed a box of Puffs and sat cross-legged in front of the TV. I was a snotty, sobbing mess. And I was realizing right there on my basement floor that God was asking us to adopt a baby from Guatemala.
We have so much to give a child in need.
That night, I sat on my bed with my husband—hand-in-hand, eyeball to eyeball—and I described what I saw and felt when I watched television that day. Once again, I was a snotty, sobbing mess as I described to Jon the unmistakable tug on my heart to adopt a Guatemalan child. Jon was also touched by the need in Guatemala. But he was still not convinced we were supposed to adopt a baby.
I’m pretty sure he was still about 3% on board, at that point. A new baby wasn’t on his radar. And neither was taking $35,000 to pay for an adoption instead of paying down our house.
This is the part of this story where I get very real with you. I understood his hesitation. It was valid. I wasn’t on board yet either. That amount of money would require significant sacrifice for our family and would totally derail our financial plans. I didn’t really want to sacrifice that big.
It wasn’t just about the money, though. I wasn’t feeling all warm and fuzzy about taking on the responsibilities of another baby. For me, it would mean going back to diapers and bottles and nap schedules and sleep deprivation. Gating off the staircases and locking the cabinets.
No gym membership. No 35-hours a week of kid-free writing time.
Spending the next 18 years raising another child. Spending the rest of my life as the mother of another child.
I was very conflicted. Obeying God was going to be very hard for me. If God wanted us to do this, I was not the person to convince my husband. I needed God to convince me, too.
Feeling pulled in two directions, I called my prayerful friend Julie
, and poured my snotty/sobby/conflicted mess onto her. In her wisdom, she suggested we agree to pray together for the next 21 days. We asked God either to speak to Jon independently of me, or to close the door to adoption. Completely.
We prayed. And I stopped talking about adoption. Completely.
About 10 days later, I found my husband at our desk. The file cabinet was open and piles of financial information was sprawled out all over the floor. I asked him, “What are you doing?”
He looked up, smiled at me and said, “I think we can do it.”
“Adopt a baby.”
There’s more to this story, obviously. Come back Wednesday to hear it.
After that, I’m jumping into the FAQ’s of Adoption. Feel free to keep asking questions. I will address each and every one before this series is over.
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