Monday, July 8, 2013

Adoption Week- Jeannine's Adoption Story

When I was 15 I went on a week-long “mission trip” with my youth group to a slum town in Mexico. One day we visited an orphanage. Since we don’t have orphanages in the US, this was a shocking and life-changing experience for me. I had always loved children and the fact that these beautiful, precious little creatures had no parents to raise them broke my heart, and I never really recovered. I spent several years feeling that someday I wanted to be an orphanage worker (I don’t know the official word for that). Then one day I was home on Christmas break during my freshman year of college. I was praying about this particular topic. I don’t remember the words of the prayer, but it had to do with going to another country and working in an orphanage. I wanted to give love and care to children who didn’t have a family. I wanted to be that family. I was young and starry eyed at the time, thinking it sounded awfully romantic to travel to a foreign country and work in an orphanage full of unwanted kids – to fill a void in the lives of children who lacked so much, including love.
I don’t hear specific messages from God in my head very often. This is one of maybe two times in my life, before and since, that this has happened. I know it’s looked on as crazy by many to say “God spoke to me,” but I believe that He did in that moment, because what I thought was not at all in line with where my thought train was going, and it was so out of the blue and something I had never considered. What He said was, “Maybe the orphanage will come to you.” The word “maybe” was not a “maybe, maybe not,” kind of maybe, it was the maybe that means, “Did you ever think about that? How about thinking about your dreams and desires in a little bit different context.”  I was like if a child said “I really really really really want to go swimming for my birthday,” and the parent says, “well, maybe, we can go to Disney World instead!” Because Disney World is so much better. It was that kind of “Maybe.”
I had no idea at the time what that would mean for me, but I held on to that word, and I knew with all my heart that God would bring it to fruition. I envisioned somebody dropping babies on my doorstep; I envisioned running a “home for children” – kind of like an orphanage, but more modern and community oriented. I figured adoption was somewhere in my future, but didn’t know how it would come about. Fast forward another thirteen years – college, moving out of state for my first job after college, another job, marriage, step parenting, home ownership, and two biological daughters later.
I met my husband at a church that I was invited to by a mutual friend. It wasn’t a set up, it just worked out. There was another couple at the church who had been foster parents for years, and had adopted 5 kids from foster care (and 3 more since then!). It was never in my mind to be a foster parent, but the more we got to know this family, it just seemed like something we wanted to do. We started fostering in 2008 when our youngest daughter was about two. In April of 2009 we were placed with a baby boy. We picked him up from the hospital when he was just four days old. Five months later, we got a call for another 4-day-old baby boy, and for some crazy reason I said yes. I have to admit that if I could see the difficulty ahead of me in the next couple years, I probably would have said no. But I didn’t have much time to think about it, and I couldn’t get a hold of my husband at work, so I said a quick frantic prayer, and the answer I felt in my heart was, “This is what you’re here for. This is why you are foster parents.” So I said yes.
In December 2011, eighteen years after a seed was planted in my heart, and fifteen years after receiving a specific, if somewhat ambiguous, word from God, our two adoptions were finalized. FIFTEEN YEARS! If that’s not a lesson in God’s timing, I don’t know what is.
So here we are, raising our 5 amazing children. There was a time I thought I wanted 8 or 10 kids. Now that we have 5 I realize that I am a human with limitations, and five kids is my limit. And I’m ok with that. There have been ups and downs, as there are for everyone. Having two babies five months apart has been more challenging than I could have ever imagined, and in ways I never dreamed. I probably wouldn’t recommend it to most people, but I wouldn’t change it either. I know it’s been part of God’s plan for all of us all along.
{Story originally published on Jeannine's blog, Eubanks Eutopia}

No comments :

Content Ad