Well, you'll probably be more surprised to learn that I'm not pregnant.
Since November 2008, Josh and I have been in the active process of adopting a baby. How's that for throwing you for a loop?
In telling our family and friends of our big news over the past few months, we've noticed a pattern in the questions that immediately follow. So if you're just hearing this for the first time, here are some of the answers to your likely questions:
1. Why are you adopting?
You may have seen that I changed our header a while back and added some of the lines to one of our favorite songs ("Hosanna"). We fell in love with this song the first time we heard it, and we were struck deeply by the words in the bridge of the song:
God had already been working in our hearts in some really neat ways, and we had been feeling a tug toward a different direction in our lives. We began praying the words to this song, and God answered in big and powerful ways. He "broke our hearts" for Africa...and particularly the millions of children there who live with nothing.
No home. No clothes. No food. No families.
2. When did you decide to adopt?
We had been talking about adopting since early in 2007, but it wasn't until we really began to pray and ask God what He wanted for our lives that we knew this was the direction He was leading us. So we spent the next few months researching agencies, countries, costs, etc. and then began the formal process in November.
3. Where are you adopting from?
Ethiopia. (Yes, that Ethiopia!)
4. Why Ethiopia?
Well, we actually started out adopting from Uganda. But through a series of events over the first few weeks of the process, God closed the door on that country and opened it to Ethiopia. Here are a few facts on children in Ethiopia:
--there are approximately five million orphans across the country (more than the state of Alabama's entire population)
--one out of every 20 children born alive dies within his first month of life
--one out of 10 dies before reaching his first birthday
5. When will your adoption be complete?
It's hard to tell exactly. We're finished with our home study, which is an incredibly lengthy and involved part of the process, and we're compiling documents and forms for our dossier to be sent to Ethiopia right now. Our best guess for travel dates at this point are late this year to early next year. (If you know of a good pilot with his own private jet who has nothing to do around January 2010, send him our way!)
6. Who all is going to travel to Ethiopia?
We're considering a couple of different options at this point. We'll be meeting with doctors at the International Adoption Clinic at UAB well before we go to discuss that. At this point, it looks like at least the three little ones will be staying here because some of the vaccines required for travel are live vaccines, which Jack most likely can't receive because of his mild immune deficiency.
7. There are many children without families in the U.S. as well. Why not adopt domestically?
My only answer to that question is this: That's not what God asked us to do. We prayed a very specific prayer, and God answered in a very specific way. James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." We give and will continue to give to local charities that benefit children and families in our area, but God has put this specific journey on our hearts, and we willingly and joyfully follow!
8. You've been blessed with three wonderful biological children. Why would God ask you to go halfway around the world to adopt another child?
I'll totally give you that one. On paper, it doesn't seem to make much sense for us to invest the time, money, and emotional involvement needed to take this journey. But I think the Lord Himself answers this question in Isaiah 55:8-11:
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
There are countless examples in the Bible of God's doing things in ways that didn't make sense to men.
Why did He choose a small and weak boy to fight the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17)? Why did He arm him for the battle with nothing more than a slingshot and some stones? That same boy became a murderer, liar, and adulterer, yet God chose him to be a great king (2 Samuel 7).
Then God promised "a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever" (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Then He sent a baby in a dirty stable.
His ways are not our ways.
He sent Jesus to suffer a criminal's death for you and for me.
His ways are not our ways.
I'm not sure why God has put us on this path, but we know that He has. And we know without a doubt that He has a purpose in doing so. If we've committed our lives to following Him and bringing Him glory, then it's our joy to obey!
It goes without saying that this is a tremendous part of our lives right now. We would love to be surrounded in prayer for continued clarity, peace, and provision. And on an even more personal note, please pray for our newest son or daughter. Our baby's birth mother is most likely carrying him or her right now, and it would mean more than you could know to have that little baby blanketed in prayer. Please feel free to send this link to anyone you know who would join us in praying for our baby, our family, this process in general, and the country of Ethiopia. And I'll try to keep you all posted on things to come!!
Oh, and one more thing...if you need a good laugh today, check this out:
For those of you who follow us, you'll appreciate this little guy!
Thanks and we love you,
Allison and Josh