She was speaking to a ballroom overflowing with women, but at that moment, it was as if I was the only one there. I saw her final question, “What is God leading YOU to do?” float slowly above me until suddenly, wham, I felt like I was hit over the head.
“Adoption.” That’s what I felt God speaking to my heart … and I sat there with the hair on my arms standing straight up.
It was the last session of a women’s retreat I had attended in February of 2003, a weekend filled with friends and fellow believers, worship music, inspiring speakers, laughter and rest.
My stunned expression drew the attention of a couple friends sitting next to me, and when I told them what I thought I felt God saying to me, they were ecstatic and enthusiastic. Me, not so much. I said to myself, “Nooo, I’m hearing wrong. Don’t be dramatic, that’s never going to happen.”
I couldn’t shake the goosebumps though, even as I packed up to leave and throughout my drive home. We HAD talked about adopting a child two or three times throughout our marriage, but Craig and I had put that topic to rest years ago. Our lives were full and busy with our kids and I was over the moon to be the mom of two healthy, loving boys.
As I drove, I argued back and forth, in my mind, with God. “My days are so busy, I can barely keep up with the boys, I couldn’t possibly handle another child. I must have misunderstood you.”
I felt God patiently counter every argument I came up with. When I said I was too old, He reminded me that I was young and healthy. When I said Craig travels often and I can’t do it alone, He reminded me that He’s never given me more than I could handle. When I said I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough love in my heart, I’m pretty certain I heard Him laughing.
I tried over and over for an out, but didn’t get one. Well, I thought defiantly, I’ll go home and tell Craig and he’ll say absolutely not, and that will be the end of it.
When I arrived home the house was brimming with shoes and toys and noise. Brett and Collin each had several friends over and Craig was in the kitchen, sweeping and cleaning. I set my bags down and said, “Honey, please sit here with me, I have something to tell you.”
We pulled kitchen chairs up facing each other and sat knee to knee. I grabbed his hands and told him about the speaker, sharing that often God calls us to action by whispering in our ear. She said we sometimes try to brush those messages away, but if it’s something God wants for us or for our lives, He’ll keep telling us again and again.
I told him the feeling I had when she ended her talk with that question, that question that was now consuming me. “What is God leading you to do?” Craig looked down for a moment and then locked eyes with mine and said, “Let’s do it.”
What?! My heart pounded in my chest, a drum beating the way to a new future for our family. We’d go from a family of four to a family of five. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew.
There were many, many stops and starts in our adoption process, but looking back now, I’m still amazed and in awe of the miracle of it all and of the amazing way that God directed our path across the globe to Russia to pick up our beautiful daughter.
It’s impossible to imagine our lives without our now teenage girl and I’m so thankful that we didn’t ignore the promptings.
To have missed out on the deep love we all have for one other and the lifelong blessing of being Marina’s parents is something I don’t want to imagine. God, thank you for moving us along on our journey to get her, even when the fear crept in.
We certainly never dreamed we’d be called on this journey once again. But here we are, twelve years later, in love with a precious girl in a far-away country, a tender soul who wants nothing more than a mom and a dad, a family and a home to call her very own.
I’ve learned to listen for His voice, and I remember this familiar feeling and I know that God is, as always, guiding and directing us.
Throughout the winter we had been in a funk and had been earnestly praying each night as a couple, on how and where we could exalt and glorify God with our gifts and our lives, wanting to honor Him in gratitude for all the many blessings He’s given us.
And, of course, He answered.
He answered in the ways that He does, through unexpected insight, wisdom, and opportunity – a post card from our adoption agency asking us to be a host family for two weeks to kids who were residing in an orphanage … and through that still small voice, that reassures and gives peace, even when we’re scared.
And oh to have the faith of a child!
Marina has pointed out to me each time we’ve heard through a sermon or on the radio or television, that God wants us to care for orphans.
She KNOWS that God is talking to us and we, of course, know it too. She has never wavered in her belief that this particular, dear girl is going to be her sister.
It is definitely going to be their story.
God is a God of miracles and Craig and I and our sons and daughter are praying that the adoption agency will match us with her, and that God will bring us to her and her to us as quickly as possible.
We see the beginning of this new journey as the miracle that it is and are so thankful.
Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein
Debbie! I love following your story! ♡ You inspire me to live even more for the Lord! ♡ Love you and your beautiful family! ♡
I love you and your family too, Kim. We’re so blessed to have you all in our life!
Debbie, I love your writing and you and your husband’s hearts even more! Wow! Being open to brand new adventure just when you thought you both would have time to coast a bit! Your obedience to God’s prompting is inspiring! May God bless your family as you open yourselves to a new chapter one day at a time. Or maybe more like a sequel! : )
Thank you so much, Cherie, God bless your family too. We’re so grateful and joyful to have friends that will encourage us and pray us through this next adventure!
What a beautifully written story, Debbie! You are inspiring and courageous. May you make many happy memories on this new journey in your life. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Thank you very much, Cindy, we’re so excited for all the future has to hold!
Such exciting news – what a blessing for all!
Thank you, Barb! We are so excited and can’t move through this paperwork quick enough! xoxo
I’m so very proud of you and your family you and your family truly are a interment of God! I can see him shining right though you. How very proud your mom has to be. I know your dad is watching over with proud and loving tears in his eyes . What a wonderful jorney you are taking your family though! But what a fantastic present to give to a little girl that would other wise be forgotten , for children of her age Handley ever get a mom and dad, and of course special sister and brothers. I pray for Gods speed to deliver her to you as fast as possible. My heart goes out to you courage , love and understanding the ever day miracle that happen around us every second of every day. The 5 of you , soon to be six is a loving miracle in its self. My love, hopes and prays continue as your jorney just begins
Love and prayers to you too as you start a new journey also!! And thank you, we are the ones on the receiving end of a present and a blessing for a lifetime! Thank you very much for your prayers that we can bring her home as soon as possible!
Debbie, I am full of excitement, hopefulness and love for you and your family. You are such an inspiration and an incredibly beautiful soul. I am confident that through love and prayers, all of your hopes and dreams will come true!
Thanks so much for your kind words, love and prayers, my friend. Looking forward to seeing you soon!