Hey Dads. First of all, I know you’re probably a little scared. It’s okay. You don’t have to admit it, at least not yet. Just know that there’s somebody out there who gets what you’re going through. We’ve all felt it. Trust me, you’ll find a way to lead your family through the process. Take a deep breath. Let your shoulders relax. Sit still for a second and let me offer some encouragement.
There are seven things I learned through the adoption process. Hopefully, these will help you.
1. Capacity: You can do more than you think.
We are an average family with average jobs. Here’s something I know about humans… almost all of us are guilty of limiting ourselves by our past accomplishments. We believe that we’re only as capable as our most recent victories. But what about when we’re asked to do more than we’ve ever done before? We’re unsure. Hesitant. That’s when you know God is making you aware that you are capable of more than you believe.
2. Stewardship: If God wants it done, He’ll pay for it.
Sometimes this means He’ll send a check in the mail from someone or you’ll get approved for a grant even though you missed the deadline. Sometimes it means, you’ll look at the “stuff” around your house with new eyes and realize there’s probably hundreds if not thousands of dollars of unused crap in your closets that you can sell. We even sold some of the crap that was lying around our friends houses. If you’ve got good friends who love you and support you, they’ll be happy to get rid of some clutter. Or maybe you’ll take on an extra job to make some quick money. We often said that the cost to adopt might as well have been $2,000,000. It was gonna take just as much of God’s provision for one as the other. God was calling us. We knew He’d take care of the funding.
3. Bravery: If you trust God you’ll be scared out of your mind quite often.
We all have phobias. Mine’s ants. This is different. This is truly scary. Paralyzing. It’s Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor standing on the edge of the cliff with the enemies bearing down on him knowing that he’s got to jump or it’s all over. (Except nobody’s shooting at us.) Every time we faced a due date for certain fees it felt like a cliff. We’d put in our credit card number and hit submit and I’d feel my stomach in my throat. When we got to the orphanage, waiting to be presented with our sweet little girl I wondered, “Will she come to us? Will she attach? Would she thrive here? Can we actually do this? Would people at home make fun of her? Would I be able to protect her?” Every step felt like another opportunity to swallow hard and leap. And you know what? God has been with us every single time.
4. Confidence: There is no all-satisfying apologetic for obeying God’s leading.
Don’t get me wrong. We had TONS of support along the way. But there were definitely those who questioned our decision to adopt international, special needs. Most often, we heard, “Why China when there are so many children here that need to be adopted?” The bottom-line is this is where God led us. That response should be enough but we felt like we had to satisfy everyone with our reason. Here’s the truth though… you don’t. We just chose to obey God which led us to our daughter who just happened to be in China. If your daughter was in China, wouldn’t you go there to get her? There’s no need to satisfy anyone with “why.” You’re only responsible for your obedience. Stand confident knowing that what you’re doing is exactly what God has asked you to do. That’s enough.
5. Perseverance: Resistance will greet you at every major crossroad.
We sent our application in the day we saw our baby girl’s picture. The next day we woke up and our car was gone. Stolen. Thankfully we have a friend on the police force who recovered it a few days later in an epic movie-style police chase. Then two days after we submitted our dossier, somebody threw a rock through our window. Then, the day after we had received TA, the ignition switch on our family car failed. Every major step brought it’s own set of trials. It was an opportunity to trust. And trust allows you to press on.
6. Leadership: Invite people into the story and watch what happens.
We know people who want to adopt but are waiting to save all the money ahead of time. It was important to us to invite people into the journey with us. We knew we couldn’t do it alone and we hoped that by inviting people into it some of them would find a passion for adoption as well. And what do you know… that exactly what happened. At least six families have begun the adoption process in one form or another and many others have started asking the question, “Can we do this?” Sure, we could’ve saved our money for five years and adopted quietly and one little girl would’ve found a home. But instead, our adoption story has inspired and encouraged others who are now on their own adoption journey influencing others to adopt.
7. Obedience: Just say yes.
Lots of people will call you special. You probably don’t feel special. We don’t. We’re pretty normal in our own self-estimation. I think what they mean is, “I wish I could do what you’re doing.” But the little secret we know is that the only reason we get to experience the thrill of adoption is because we said yes to God. That’s it. There’s no special sauce. No magic potion. We just said yes. Every step of the way, we said yes. Every opportunity to trust, we said yes. And every time we said yes, God moved us through another door. That’s what obedience does for you. God calls. You respond, “Yes,” and His provisions continue. Yes, it’s a special privilege to be parents to this precious little girl. But, we only have this honor because we said, “Yes.”
God is doing big things in the background. He’s got everything worked out. He knows your fears. He’s not offended by your hesitation. He will work it all out.
Randall and his wife Kelley live in the Coastal Virginia area with their four children where he is a worship leader, pastor, writer, and filmmaker.