The Genesis of Our Adoption
One person who responded to our "Let's Make This Fair!" post asked how we decided to adopt. Were we united from the beginning or did one of us press the other? I've never told the genesis story of our adoption.
Long story short, after several months of very challenging and trying circumstances (I may tell that at another time) God dumped an extra dose of compassion for widows and orphans into my heart. I began going online and reading stories of orphans and my heart broke.
At the same time in my life I had this nagging realization that the American Dream I'd accomplished wasn't very significant or lasting. I felt like adoption was something I needed to do.
Rhonda had no idea.
I confided in a close friend who began praying with me that if this was supposed to happen that Rhonda would come to the same conclusion independent of my influence. I decided not to bring it up unless she initiated it in some way.
A few weeks later I had the teens (I was a youth pastor at the time) over to our house for a "Save Darfur" meeting. We talked about what we could do to help raise awareness about the genocide going on in Sudan. To get a feel for the kinds of things happening in Darfur we watched Hotel Rwanda together. At the end of the movie I said something like, "This kind of genocide is happening in Darfur. What can we do about it?"
Rhonda aswered with a question.
"What would it take for our group to adopt a family and bring them to live with us?"
I knew that was my cue. When the teens all left I took her over to the computer and said, "I've been looking at orphan children online. I feel like God want's us to adopt."
After a brief period of stunned silence, she answered, "I've had this feeling like there's something more I should be doing with my life. This is it!"
I started telling her about the kids in Ethiopia.
Within a few minutes Bethany (then age 11), who should have been sleeping, popped her nose into the room.
"I can't sleep, Mom. What are you doing?"
Rhonda and I looked at each other. She nodded. I asked, "What would you think about bringing some kids from Africa to live with us?"
She just stood there and smiled.
The next morning we told Kailey (age 9). Her biggest concern was how long the adoption would take. Both girls immediately started talking about who would sleep where. Both offered to sacrifice their rooms for their new brothers or sisters.
Although it wasn't yet official, we prayed and talked about it as a family for just under two weeks. In our hearts, though, I think we all four knew it was a done deal. We applied with America World Adoption Agency.
Somewhere along the line we decided to change our request from age-4-and-under siblings to age-6-and-under siblings.
All these decisions, hasty as they may seem, brought the perfect completion of our family. Any hesitation and the outcome would have been different. From the initial decision to the day we brought Neti and Meke home was only 9 months - an almost unheard-of lightning speed adoption.