I had a neat conversation with a good friend the other day and had the opportunity to share the story about how/when Mark and I finally got on the same page about adoption. Or rather how God put us on the same page. After sharing with her I realized that I still have not shared that on this blog.
So here goes:) Back in March/April 2010 I had felt the Lord pressing on my heart that we were called to adopt for a couple of years but conversations with Mark did not appear to be moving us any closer. I still felt it would be a LONG way off. So I asked two of my close friends to pray with me that I would be quiet and allow God to move Mark in whatever way He wanted. I knew that if/when we would adopt it needed to be led and spearheaded by Mark. The Lord needed to place that passion within Mark and move him to action. As the spiritual leader of our home, the right time would be when Mark placed it on Mark's heart.
Mark had been to Catalyst conference in Atlanta, GA a couple of times and for a year felt with certainty that he was supposed to go to the 2010 Catalyst conference. It is an amazing conference for Christian leaders and the Lord has used it in our lives in tremendous ways. In 2009 Mark attended and the conference had a major emphasis on the need for adoption and the massive number of 143 million orphans in the world.
So although it is by no means a cheap conference we made it a priority that he go. He went with his good friend, William Turner. The first day there were labs that they could choose which ones they wanted to attend. Mark really felt he was supposed to go to one that emphasized adoption but he made the deliberate choice to go to a different one. In his words "it was miserable". He was supposed to be at a different lab:)
One of the neat things about this conference is that on one main night they live stream the main session online. It was around 7pm and I was in the middle of feeding the boys, giving baths, we had just returned from soccer practice, things were chaotic. However I had the session streaming on the computer and after the praise and worship they had a ten minute segment that despite all the chaos...it grabbed my attention. I sat down on the floor and the boys listened/played around me while I watched a segment about adoption. At the 2009 conference a man attended and the Lord used the conference to lead him to the lifechanging decision to adopt. He and his wife had three children but despite financial obstacles they adopted in 2010 a little girl from South Korea.
It was a very moving story. Two things the man said resonated with me. He shared that if you are called to adopt then there is a child somewhere in the world that is not receiving the care and love that your family has for him/her because of your disobedience. He also said that people don't pursue adoption because of the cost...but if your biological child had cancer and you had to come up with $150,000 for your child to receive treatment...you would find the money, somehow. Those two statements stuck with me.
They also struck a chord with Mark too. As a matter of fact on the way home from the conference as he was debriefing with William he told him that he wasn't going to tell me about what he heard. He did admit to William that the Lord was pressing in on him with the calling to adopt but he wasn't ready. He said if I (Erika) said the same things to him that the man at Catalyst said, then Mark would know that we were supposed to adopt. Famous last words:)
When Mark arrived home we were planning the very next weekend to get away to Asheville, just the two of us. So we really didn't talk much about the conference. We jumped back into the busyness of life with 3 boys. We figured we would talk the next weekend. We did have home group that Sunday night. As a group we were studying Richard Stearns book "The Hole in our Gospel". The session we were on dealt with orphans. So I shared with the group that night what I heard the man say from the Catalyst conference. Mark was sitting beside me and started to cry...which was weird because he is not a crier. A little awkward but he didn't really say anything.
That night after the boys went to bed Mark casually asked about my comments and if I had seen the whole clip. I told him yes and that it was very impactful. He began to cry again and finally shared with me what the Lord had been doing in him. He affirmed that we were called to adopt and that we needed to move ahead with it immediately. We had no idea how we were going to do it or what that would look like but it was amazing that God brought Mark to the point where he was initiating the decision and we were definitely on the same page. We serve a big God:) And how cool that the very next weekend we had time alone as a couple to pray and talk and listen for direction about beginning the journey toward adoption!
Monday, January 24, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Step One: Done! (Look at those precious smiles!! Clean kiddos in pjs are the best!)
On December 31st we mailed in our initial application to Nightlight Christian Adoptions along with our $500. There are the boys with the envelope the night before we mailed it out. They began accepting applications on January 1st which was actually on the weekend so they wouldn't actually be open until January 3rd so just to be safe I mailed it out on Dec. 31st...we were a little excited!!
We received an email back from Nightlight on January 5th that we were accepted!! That really just means that we can now enter the next phase for adopting from their Uganda program. We actually received three emails from Nightlight that day with 22 attachments. We have quite a bit of work ahead of us:)
Lots of reading and paperwork to fill out, lots of paper trails and questions to be answered. Lots of research to do and stuff to learn!! Along with all the applications, financial forms and paperwork we are required to do 10 hours of adoption related education. They say that this will actually take about 20 hours. For me that means the joy of buying some cool new books. For Mark that means we are looking for lots of online resources and audio books we can download. Yes, we have very different learning styles:)
We have also started some work around the house. Mom helped me paint the upstairs hallway. We still need to finish the trimwork and then work on painting the upstairs bedroom. So we have lots going on. Of course we had a big Christmas with lots of family coming to Florence which was great. And then Eli's birthday was right before Christmas and Haig's is right after Christmas....and then of course we were out of school for 3 days because of the Great Snowpocalypse of 2011...so we've been busy!!
Our next goal is to have our homestudy application and the check for $1400 in the mail to Nightlight by the end of January. We are almost ready with that portion of paperwork. We are also working on getting current birth certificates for all of us, a current marriage license as well as lots of medical paperwork and financial paperwork. Apparently they need long form birth certificates and most of these certificates must be issued within 6 months of the adoption dossier being submitted. Whew! This is definitely testing my ability at multi-tasking and staying organized:)
Thank you for your prayers for us as we forge ahead and for our little girl somewhere in Uganda:) We will try to keep you updated. We are soooooo thankful for all of your prayer support and thank you to so many of you that already have surrounded us with financial and emotional support. Daily Christ reminds us that this is indeed the way we are supposed to walk:) Thanks for walking with us!