I was asked to write a blog post for No Hands But Ours about Reluctant Spouses with Calla’s God story intwined.

I wanted to record for the podcast this week and sure hope it speaks to someone in the wait for their adoption journey.


Reluctant Spouses: Waiting on God’s Story to Be Written

I struggle to use the word reluctant.

When I look up reluctant I find synonyms like:

unwilling, disinclined, unenthusiastic, resistant, resisting, opposed; hesitant.

I might describe my husband, Scott as reluctant or hesitant but a better description is cautious: safe, careful, heedful, attentive, alert, watchful, vigilant, circumspect, prudent.
He has our best in mind and keeping our lives on level ground especially when I approach him with another adoption. Honestly I am hardly qualified to say for sure if we’re supposed to adopt again but for some reason God always shows me our child first. I can’t keep from sharing when I feel God is leading us to another adoption. It is never an easy talk and usually causes tension between us especially if I keep on and on about it.

Through the years I’ve come to know it is enough to open the conversation (one sided) and wait on God to work out the details.

Adoption Always Begins in My Heart

I’m in love with the child before we’ve even discussed whether we have the will for another journey. There is an inner struggle as I prepare for a year’s worth of waiting, the travel, and the months after of cocooning. It’s a lot to fathom but saying no and missing a child meant to be in our family is scarier to me. I don’t want to miss immeasurable blessings or keep a child from their forever. It’s definitely a heart thing for me.

My heart thinks ‘What is one more?’ We already have clothes and a bed, a seat in our car, and there is always enough food. The ones at home have settled in, feel connected, loved, and wanted. They are a huge help in bringing home another sibling.

[Going off the subject a minute: I believe it secures their place in the family even more as they think back to their coming home days. Even if they don’t remember, it gives them a window to look through imagining what it was like when they came home. The good, the bad, the always, and forever.]

I know if God has put this desire in my heart, He will make the way and provide. Total faith in why and how. And in no way am I implying Scott doesn’t know and feel the same way. He just comes to it in a totally different way of thinking and on a completely different timeline.

I know Scott is so focused on providing for the family he already loves. It’s laborious to think of adding another. Honestly he might even question if I know what I’m asking. Maybe I didn’t hear correctly from God. Again, I don’t blame him for how he questions and denies. In our experience, it is part of the process.

Adoption Always Begins in His Mind

He does not come to it with all the feels like me. He is thinking through logistics. He tries to figure out how it going to be possible. He has the greatest responsibility of providing financial stability for our family and bringing another child home, throws all the predictability out the window. It is more than clothes, food, transportation, and a bed. It’s a lot more!

For us it can take months to agree on such a huge decision. I still remember God speaking clearly to my heart in February 2015 and two months later seeing Calla’s face for the first time. I knew! I inquired about her before even talking to Scott. I wanted to make sure her file was still available. It wasn’t long before I approached Scott about this precious one I felt was our daughter. It always feels like a big old elephant walked into the room: crowded, awkward, and uncomfortable. With Calla, I presented what I believed in my heart and waited 7 months for Scott to hear God telling him too.

What began in my heart and his mind, finally settled down into our souls and nothing could keep us for the child waiting on us.

Scott reminded me as I was writing this post there are two thought processes completely separate from each other: The First Timers and the Many Timers.

For First Timers, saying yes to adoption at all is the hardest of all decisions.

Yes to loving an adopted child.
Yes to all the trauma that comes with that child.
Yes to all the medical issues known and unknown.
Yes to fees, paperwork, long waits, two weeks of travel, shock of a child you thought you loved only to find out he is a stranger.
Yes to months of being home with your new child helping her know family and forever.

You get the picture. It’s a big Yes and once made, alters your life forever.

Many Timers have a little advantage because they have done it before. It is still a big deal to say yes. Saying yes to all those things listed about that we know and realizing our world will spin upside down, out of control for sometimes years to come. Yes I said years. You have no idea what you are saying yes to but God does, and you have to believe He will give you what you need for each moment of every day. This is where we stood with the adoption of our 7th from China.

Calla’s Story

Have you ever had a Never Again moment because you thought you knew the future or maybe just didn’t take into account this life… {this story}… wasn’t your story?

It is God’s story.
Two Junes ago, a couple of 50-something year olds arrived home with their ninth child (6th from China) tired, feeling old, and saying we are done! After all, we had followed God’s call on our family and welcomed another daughter home.

Wouldn’t it make sense to be satisfied, content, and take care of the ones God had already given us? Go back to our safe life cocooning our new one while finding a new normal? Well, that’s exactly what we did.

Just for safe keeping of my heart (which I know all too well) I asked to be taken off all waiting child lists and blocked many of the ways I might see another face. Scott says I could love them all and he’s right.

That worked well until I went to an IF Gathering February 6-7, 2015 where God began to tear down walls I had built around my heart… A wall keeping me from China and another life to love (I sound terrible, don’t I?). Sharing truth. The walls I thought were protecting our family, my marriage, and what I thought was My Story.

The IF Gathering was one of those mountaintop experiences when God spoke straight to my heart about knowing and living for Him alone.

Key notes I wrote down were:

· Am I enough? Am I going to stay safe? Live by sight or by Faith? What matters? Souls of People!
· If God is real, why am I sitting here in the desert? Stop being safe and be crazy dangerous for Him.
· My life is not my own… What am I going to do about it? Run to the least of them and pray over people.
· Faith rarely comes easily and we should expect it to be hard. Faith doesn’t mean there is no doubt and Godwon’t always explain Himself.
· Let God be God (His ways are mysterious). Faith can thrive even when my knowledge is failing.
· Faith is a process that day by day develops us into disciples… He is able to do and be for me always.
· Unless we are willing to serve, we can’t be prepared for God to use me {Embrace my Place}.
· Service is the key to destiny.
· Know the Word, Love the Word, and hang onto the Word of God diminishing fear giving me a spirit of Love.

In the end we were challenged to choose a word we felt God was giving us through all we had heard. We each wrote our word on a stone as a testament of His promise. I completely felt my word was Seven.

Seven?

I had my ideas and let’s just say Scott did not agree. At all! So I put all my thoughts and speculations to rest and continued living our new normal. I trusted Scott’s judgment and if he wasn’t feeling led, then I needed to heed his wisdom.

God continued to give me the word Seven many times over the next weeks but I prayed He would tell my husband, too.

God has had us on such a huge journey of faith and Matthew West sure got our world lined up when listening to One Less… In an interview he said, “When I get to heaven I have a really hard time believing God is going to ask ‘Why did you give so many orphans a home?’”

Have you ever watched Francis Chan’s video on Eternity? Watch here.

It’s quite amazing when you stop to think of how short our time on earth is… a vapor compared to the eternity we will share with Christ. Have you ever had those moments when you really wonder what in the world am I supposed to be doing? Really doing for God?

Bottom line… We are here to love like Jesus and lead others to Him!

For seven months God would press on my heart that we might have another. But every time I brought it up, Scott would say a definite no. I respected him completely and secretly felt relief. (In my ‘humanness’ who would want to start all that again?) We had just gotten settled into a normal life.

Along about April I saw a face that took my breath away and once again I mentioned that we might have another baby waiting for us. This time he really didn’t say anything. That meant no, too.

I started to think maybe God just wanted me to advocate instead of adopt so I barely began to allow myself to share little faces on Facebook or Instagram.

That same little face would continue to pop up over the next couple months and I prayed for her family to find her -although I really wanted it to be us. (I knew without a doubt if she was our little girl, I didn’t have to make it happen. God already knew and would make the way to her. Faith!)

Around our anniversary in June I learned she indeed had a family sending LOI and I was thankful she would have her forever. (I was sad it wasn’t us but believed God knew best.)

Then, one afternoon when I was working at my desk in the schoolroom, I received a message that she was back on the list. My heart leapt out of my chest. Her agency name was Rayne and I am not kidding when I say it began to pour outside my window… chills all over me.

I had a choice…
Be silent? Advocate again? Or send to Scott?

I thought he needed to know she was back on the list so I sent her photo with the little message I had received. I prayed God would make His will super clear to us.

Scott didn’t even acknowledge I had sent the photo. Days later he told me her face kept popping into his mind as he ran that next Saturday morning. He kept trying to block it out and say no.

Sunday we went to NewSpring and our pastor preached an amazing sermon…Lifesavers! God spoke right to Scott’s heart, and he fought it all day. In his words, he was broken over what he knew God was asking of him.

Finally, about 10pm that Sunday evening (when he really wanted to go to bed and just forget it all) he reached over, took my hand, and said, “The answer is yes.” Prayers had been answered and we were scared!

God had indeed told Scott he had a new daughter. God had indeed made His will for us super clear. For a long time that night all we could do was cry and pray. We had chosen another life to love forever. We had chosen Not Our Story or Our Timing…

But God’s Story being written through Our Family.

{Seven months later God would give us our seventh from China}

Love Wins Again!!! Can I give God just a little more Glory for what He has done??? Seven months from that February 7 day when He gave me the word Seven, He would give us PA for our little girl (wait for it) on Sept 7!!! February 7 – September 7: God’s number of Completion.

Our timing is rarely God’s timing and I have learned if you can figure it all out, it is definitely not God’s Story. Now Calla is home, fully Chosen and completely Loved, since May 23, 2016.
Thoughts on Being Like-Souled with our Spouses
Pray don’t Push: Anytime God leads me toward another adoption I pray continuously over it. When the time feels right, I bring it up when we are alone, no kids around, and allow him time to process what I’m sharing. It’s always enough for the moment, and I let it go. We both agree to pray about it and I believe God will do the work. It is not edifying for my spirit to work it out. I often think if I can figure out how it will go, it is not God working. Let Him bring us to a decision.

Process don’t Pressure: For Scott and I it takes time to process my heart thoughts with his mind thoughts. It’s not something we talk about either. The process is individual giving space to pray for each other. If I pressure him about it (which I have done in the past), it only causes stress between us. As much as I want to get the show on the road, it is just not how he works. You have to know how your husband processes information and allow that to take its course.

Preserve don’t Prioritize: Our marriage has to be sacred above all other relationships under God. It has to be preserved over the urge to prioritize adoption. If our marriage is rocky, how can we possibly stabilize another human being’s life. It will only heap more stress on the pressure cooker already hissing and possibly blow a family out of the water. Adoption needs stability to build upon which comes when there is accordance in the home.

Patience not Pace: As hard as it is to know a child is waiting in an orphanage hungry, cold, and lonely, it is very important to have patience over pace in the decision. Hurrying the time line causes strife and nothing helpful comes from that. I have found looking back on the timeline of our adoptions, the times of wait and patience were times God was preparing us and our child for just the right time. I often want to hurry through all the waiting but knowing up front this is part of the process, makes it a little easier.

Agreement in another adoption comes when two like hearted, minded, and souled people say yes together squelching out any reluctance that might have been there from the start.

Bottom line: Supporting each other and realizing how differently we come to this decision can make all the difference in the world.

Adoption is a life changing decision and both people have to believe whole-souled they are called to it, otherwise, it will take a marriage through the storm, and who knows how it will come out on the other side.

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep. – Psalm 127: 3-5