Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Adoption Planning

My sister finally received some good news regarding their adoption and it had me thinking and reflecting  on how our timing is often different than God's.  Adoption is a test of our patience, there is no doubt about it.  So much is out of our control and in the hands of others, but ultimately it all is in the hands of God.

I am a planner!  My husband definitely is not.  So, we usually end up meeting somewhere in the middle, most of the time.  After we brought Jacob home in 2001 we knew we would really like to adopt another boy from Russia.  We plotted and planned and waited and Jonah joined our family in early 2004.

At that point we hoped that we would add a girl to our family next, but we weren't so sure Russia was where our daughter was located.  After much prayer and deliberation, we thought that God was calling us to China.  So I dutifully researched agencies and again plotted and planned our timeline.  The process for China was a long one even that many years ago.  I roughed out each stage, along with appropriate amounts of money that were due along the way.  That was very early in 2005.  It should have worked out great, a new little person would join our family within the next 18-24 months, everyone properly spaced, just as it should be.  However, God had a different arrangement.  A picture of Sarah showed up in my in-box on March 3, 2005 - she was home, from Korea, and in our family forever, four months later.   Jacob was 4, Jonah was 2, and Sarah was 16 months old.  Even though life was busy and full with three children, we hoped there was another daughter in Korea out there for our family.

Like Sarah, Leah was considered a "waiting child" and was listed on both Rainbow Kids site as well as the agency that we were hoping to use again.  Another adoptive mom friend and I were e-mailing back and forth about the desire to add to our families again, when she sent me a link to a particular child - the same picture of a little girl that Bob and I had been praying about.  In December 2006 that little girl joined our family and things haven't been the same since ;)

At that point we had four children under the age of six, now life was really full and very busy!  We really had no intention of adopting again, ever.  While we didn't feel comfortable saying that we were done, we were quite happy with the way things were.

In early spring of 2009, we starting tossing around the idea of adding to our family again.  The times before that one or the other of us might bring up the idea, and the other would give "the look" and we knew we both weren't on the same page.  Sometime in the spring of 2009 that changed and one of us brought up the subject and the other said casually "I have been thinking that too".  For us, that is how we tend to know that God is tapping on our shoulder, when we are both in agreement about something.  So off I went again investigating our options.  Our family was bigger than ever before and our country choices were a bit more limited.  (We have always felt certain that God had called us down the path of international adoption for many reasons)  Also, I felt strongly that we should adopt two children at once this time.  We liked how each child has a "buddy" so to speak.

We were initially drawn to Ethiopia, so I started researching agencies and doing my usual obsessive detective work.  It wasn't long and we had decided on an agency and even submitted our initial paperwork.  Shortly thereafter we learned about the possibility of adopting from Jamaica.  Almost immediately we felt like this was where we were really supposed to be going.  Travel from the U.S to Jamaica is of course much easier than travel to Ethiopia and we were beginning to discuss taking all four of our current children with us on these adoption trips and knew that a caribbean destination would be far easier on them as well.  So, we were on to our next agency, Creative Adoptions, and ready to begin our journey to Jamaica.  We submitted all of our initial paperwork, met with our social worker and finished our home study and were prepared for an approximate two year wait to complete our adoption.  Yep, two year wait.  I am not a very patient person, so it seems crazy that we would knowingly enter into a situation where we had to wait two years.  At the time we still had four children, eight and under, we had plenty to keep us busy.  We thought the two year time frame would work out great.  By the time the children were ready to come home our current children would all be two years older (and wiser, and easier??!).

Again, those were our "perfect" plans.  Little did we know that God had our children ready for us much sooner than we ever imagined.  In June of 2009 we received a call from the director of our agency.  She had a sibling pair that fit our home study requirements from another island in the caribbean called St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  Anna and Levi joined our family in December of 2009.  

As usual, God's plans are always bigger and better than anything we could have imagined for ourselves. Trying to remain open to God's timing isn't always easy, but the blessings are huge.  It is so easy to miss the things that God has in store for us because it just doesn't seem to fit with what we think we need.

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you...plans to give you a future full of hope" Jeremiah 29:11


Patty said...

Jen~reading this, you were describing me exactly with the mannerisms and planning. We have to be related.

I love this story. Our's is identical much on a more scaled down model of course.

The look you described...exactly. The same happened with us. God is amazing, isn't He?

I think you are an amazing person, parent, wife, and new found friend! God bless you!

Meghan said...

Jen, this is beautiful! God's timing isn't ours, and it is so hard to wait (said from the woman who was very ungracious during the waiting!) but in the end, His fit is always our perfect fit. What a beautiful story of how your children joined your family. Please let your sister know too we are praying for her family!

Kimberlie said...

Jen, I just had to laugh when I read this because I feel like I was reading about our adoption journeys. I *always* have my plan for our adoptions, and then there is God's. Guess who wins?

The look, yes, that would be the one that I give to my husband whenever he mentioned adoption. I am also learning not to say "we're done!" I thought we were done after #1, and here we are just a couple of short months away from traveling for #4. :)

I have so enjoyed getting to "know" you through your thoughtful posts and your advice on my many questions!

Sandy J said...

What a beautiful story and a message I needed to hear. All in God's time. We are about to start up our process again, God willing, after several starts and stops.

Thanks for sharing.

Sandra - formerly of Suburban Simplicity.

Jen said...

Ladies- thanks so much for all of your comments! I think "the look" between husbands and wives is universal :)

Michelle said...

Hi, I found your blog on the Hip Homeschool Hop. You have such a beautiful forever family, and a heartwarming story of how it came to be. ~Michelle

Lynn B said...

I love hearing all the details of how your family came to be! What a journey of grace, such a blessing to see what happens when we are open to God's promptings :)

Mrs C said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this!
Speaking of timing, this post came at a good time for me.
We've had yet another delay - the SW won't have our report until the end of the month or early next month. There is always something more important for her to do. Am trying to be patient and understanding. Like you say, God's timing.


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