Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our Big News

This post has been on my heart for so long that my fingers are almost shaking as I finally write it out.

I think the best way to start is to tell you how it all began. And to be honest, I've spent a long time trying to figure out exactly when it really did begin. I have held this in my heart for so long that it was hard to remember the starting point. Sometimes it feels like it always was. But I think I narrowed it down to two events in my life that both occurred during the year I was just 15 years old. One was a conversation with my father as we drove home from our local Sanctity of Life ministry on a Saturday. Actually, instead of a conversation, I think it was a single question.

My dad asked me, "If adopting one of those babies would prevent a mother from having an abortion, would you do it?"

My quick answer was a resounding "yes", but it got a ball rolling in my head. What would adopting look like? More than a simple "yes", would I really be available to dive into the life-long commitment of adoption?

Next was a trip to Mexico City and some surrounding areas that summer. When you're 15 years old, the poverty of a place like Tultitlán, a shanty city literally built on the top of a garbage dump, rocks your world. But besides the world-view I took away from that trip, there was one other image that has stuck with me ever since. On the street-corner across from our hotel was a outdoor jewelry seller. And next to the table of goods was a wooden crate holding a beautiful baby girl. For all 6 days of our trip, morning or night, she was there with her cherub face and jet black hair, never moving from that crate. I wanted desperately to scoop her up and take her home with me. Now, no doubt this little girl had parents, and I'm most definitely not advocating that taking her from them would have been good in any way. But that feeling of wanting to pick her up, twirl her around, and bring her home translated into a further openness to adoption.

After the Lord planted this seed, the idea of adoption, grew and grew in my heart. In Ephesians 1:15 I read that: "In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."  And the more I fell in love with God's Word and understood how He had reached out and adopted me, the more my desire to turn and do the same blossomed.

I believe it was when we were engaged, while Steven and I talked about a family and children, that I asked him if he would ever be open to adoption. At the time, his response was a simple, "I don't know. Maybe."

Three months after we were married, I got pregnant. Five and a half months after Isaiah was born, I stared in shock as a little white stick flashed another plus sign at me. Later, two precious daughters joined our family. So obviously, adoption was not in the regular conversation. But like an old, loved book, every once in a while adoption was pulled off the shelf and flung into our private discussions again. It wasn't something we went around telling people. It was simply a "maybe if we ever get the chance" thought for Steven and a personal burden and quiet prayer for me.

Then, a few years ago, I heard that an acquaintance of mine was planning to adopt from Ethiopia. (Now you should know that right along with my longing to adopt was a heart to adopt from Africa, but that's another story for another post.) I made a bee-line for this woman the next time I saw her, and it was the beginning of a friendship that continues to bless my life. With my new friend, I was able to walk through watching four, yes four, children adopted by this wonderful couple. Suddenly it seemed that adoption was popping up everywhere in my life. Multiple other friends adopted from different places. Even my closest friend was suddenly adopting. I was having a hay-day: fund-raising, baby showers, prayers, and more. It was an absolute delight to watch something so dear to me unfold again and again.

I learned a lot watching my friends adopt; and yet, though my desire was ever increasing, it still didn't seem to be an option for us. We had bought a 3 bedroom condo at the peak of the housing market, and were officially "stuck" in our home. We had talked to two different realtors who had tried to brainstorm with us on ways to buy a bigger place. Both had come to same conclusion: there was no way we would be getting out for a long time. My heart sank. Without a larger home, there was no way we would pass a home study. Plus, while God had allowed Steven's heart to warm up to the idea considerably, he still had a few reservations. And in my heart of hearts I knew that unless he was ready to lead the charge, we couldn't go forward.

I had stopped really praying for a new house because it was impossible...right? As the new year of 2011 dawned, I felt a strong conviction from the Holy Spirit. Was anything impossible with God? I remember telling my mother that the Spirit had put on my heart a New Year's resolution- to start praying with faith for that house we needed.

In April of 2011, there was a distinct moment in the middle of an adoption daydream where I felt God asking me, "If you never are able to adopt, am I still good?" After 15 years of hoping to adopt, this question hit me like a wave. What if God had put adoption on my heart because He knew I would one day have the opportunity to passionately surround other women with this vision? There was a sharp pang in my heart; but right there and then, finding God's grace available to respond, I offered up my hopes and dreams to Him and His good purposes. If adoption wasn't in my future, God was still good.

That next June my husband and I were in Cabo San Lucas celebrating our tenth anniversary. One morning we had prayer time together sitting on a cabana overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We began to pray together for God's direction on whether or not He would ever open up the opportunity to adopt. Suddenly Steven stopped and let out a sharp, "Whoa!" I looked up thinking he had just spotted a dolphin. My husband, Mr. Practical, who up to this point had never had a vision in his life turned to me and said, "As we prayed I saw a little black girl dancing in our living room." I broke down sobbing. After I had come to a place where I was willing to give up this dream, it was like God letting me know that He wasn't asking me to give it up. That morning on the beach was a turning point for Steven. He was convinced that God was clearly calling us to adopt.

And yet, there we were, still living in a tiny condo. To make things more interesting, my husband's job contract was cut in September; and he, along with many others, was laid off. When I thought of buying a house, having our income gone wasn't exactly in my plans.

But it was in God's. He'd moved everything out of the way so that He could show us that He would do the providing, not us.

In October, through a series of events, the miraculous happened. Because this is a public blog, and I don't have the permission of all involved, I won't go into details. But suffice it to say, while out of a job, God provided the money we needed for selling our condo and buying a house. We couldn't move while Steven was out of work, yet still by the end 2011 I had watched my prayers be answered beyond our wildest imagination. We would be able to buy a home. In fact, our condo goes on the market tomorrow.

God used our unemployment to do further work in both our hearts. God tore down idols in our hearts of self-sufficiency and living for comfort. Steven now felt even more strongly than I (if that's possible) that God was calling move forward with an adoption as soon as possible.

So here we are.

And this is our official announcement.

We are pursuing the adoption of a little girl from Ethiopia.

Even though we probably won't meet her for two to three years, we already carry her in our hearts and in our prayers.

It's been a long road coming, but we couldn't be more thrilled, excited, and grateful.


  1. just as Moses cried for God to show off His glory, so have you, and He HAS!!!!!!!!! love you, dear friends, and praying for your little dancing daughter! love, the siegmanns

  2. Dear dear friend. . . I am so grateful for the intertwining of our lives. There is so much expectation built up in my heart for your family. I eagerly look forward to following your journey to bring a sweet little girl into your family! I wish you could have pictured the excitement in our house when I told the kids this afternoon!

    You're in our prayers!

  3. Bethany, thinking about your kids being excited for us is literally the happiest moment of my day!

  4. We are so excited for you and we can't wait to walk through this with you as well! God is so good and I'm so excited to see this desire that HE has placed in your heart start to be answered! He is faithful! You are in our prayers!

  5. What a beautiful and exciting story!! Thanks so much for sharing and I will be following to see how it all ends :-). Can't wait to see pictures of your beautiful new daughter! God bless and keep your whole family!!


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