It was my 27th birthday. I had been “talking” with this cute guy from church. He would walk me to my car and we would stand in the parking lot talking for hours.
I had no birthday plans. I was working late and on my dinner break I noticed there was a message on my phone. His quiet soothing voice said, “Hi, Bethany. I wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you. Would you be interested in some pasta and salad when you get out of work? I know it will be late and it won’t be anything fancy.”
I called him back immediately.
“Sure, that sounds nice. I probably won’t be there until about 11:00 pm.”
“That’s ok. I will see you then.”
We sat in his basically empty house at a fold out table. Penne pasta with sauce from the jar and salad from a bag. A baguette from the grocery store. We talked about many things. Our hopes and dreams. Our faith. Our families. Then he said something that made my heart fall to the floor.
“I would like to adopt some day.”
It’s something I’ve always felt passionate about. I became friends with a girl when I was very young – maybe four-years-old – who was adopted. A few years later we were playing outside in the snow.
“What happened to your real mom?” I randomly asked her.
She was Korean being raised by a couple with European features. Her dad was wiry with salt and pepper hair, her mom was a fair red head. My friend was brownish with slanted eyes and jet black glistening locks.
“She just couldn’t take care of me.”
I’m pretty sure that was the end of the conversation. But ever since I wanted to be the mom that took care of a child whose mother couldn’t.
It was at that moment that he said he wanted to adopt that I knew Andrew was someone special. We started officially dating about two weeks later and were married eight months after that.
When our son was born I almost died of a severe postpartum infection. Multiple surgeries and physical therapy later, my body is worn and damaged. While there is a chance that I can conceive again, there will most definitely be complications that will warrant more abdominal surgery. The realization of this fact was devastating to me. I wanted two biological children before we adopted. I see now that my expectations of my family plan were my own and not the Lord’s.
It’s too risky for me to have another baby while there is a mother out there having a healthy pregnancy who cannot care for her child. Maybe she’s a teenager. Maybe she was raped. Maybe she just can’t afford to raise a child and hold down a job. So many maybes. So many stories. So many reasons. So many babies who might have been doomed to abortion but their mother wanted them to live and become a person that could contribute great things into a broken world. One of those babies will be mine someday. My husband and I could bring just one more orphaned child into a loving home.
My son is now three and a half years old. My family plan was that he would have a brother or sister by the time he was three. Yet, again, I am holding onto control over my family. Even after I realized that having another biological child wasn’t possible, I fully intended to start the adoption process soon after his first birthday. Again, God had other plans.
More recently, I realized that, at 37 I am getting very close to 40. I began praying about what God’s call was on me in the next three years. I prayed and listened. Asked questions and waited for His whispers. I made a list, on the top of which was adoption. Adoption. A dream I’ve had since my seven-year-old self heard the tiniest bit of my adopted friend’s story. Thirty years ago.
If you know anything about adoption, it’s not a quick or simple process. It can many times take years. I have three. This prayer is wild, crazy, audacious.
Two main things get in the way of realizing this calling.
Our life is very full with an auto repair business – the source of our only income. Andrew’s brain just doesn’t even have room to think about our dream. Amidst the business we are trying to raise up a very busy 3 year old. My health challenges – mental illness and continued complications from my postpartum trauma – also play a large role. Our current circumstances don’t leave much room to invest time into the adoption process, much less a newborn baby. Our tight budget doesn’t leave much room for adoption costs and the cost of an additional family member.
I was texting with my best friend about this big prayer.
“I just want to see progress towards adoption. I’m not seeing it right now,” I texted. “My audacious prayer is by 40.”
“I’m confident that it will happen,” she replied. “I see you adopting a sibling group.”
Woah! Wait up! Not what I had in mind.
“Really? I’m praying for a newborn.”
She continued, “There could be a newborn in the group. But I just see that your heart is that big.”
Wow. This was scary because my friend has a deep prayer life and tends to be rather intuative. My heart exploded at her brazen compliment.
“I am definitely open to siblings,” I said genuinely…although I would not have said that two seconds earlier.
“I know not all people looking to adopt would be able to welcome more than one at a time… but I believe you have that kind of capacity. And that could be such a huge blessing to keep siblings together.”
So, now my prayer was getting bigger. Fast!
“I guess it would be cool to have a newborn and a 2-3 yo. Arthur would be 5-6. I would be happy for that to complete our family,” I pondered. “3 [children] under 6!” <shocked memoji>
And our conversation continued but my mind continued entertaining the idea of adopting a newborn and a toddler.
But how to surmount our obstacles of which there are so many?
God is working on my heart about that, too.
“You can’t change your circumstances, but I can change them for you,” God keeps whispering in my ear.
“Have I not provided for all of your needs?” He reminds me.
Yes, You have, Lord. Yes, You have.
In those continual prayers God is revealing to me ways that I can surmount those obstacles. Having faith that business will continue to grow. Formulating a plan for how we can raise the money. He is good and forever faithful when we are pursuing his will.
He is, of course, the Father to the fatherless and he calls us to come around orphans as a body of Christ.
So, now I ask you. Will you pray this big crazy audacious prayer with my family?