From early on in our married-life, we’ve had a surprising number of intersections with other families who embraced adoption; each one with a unique story marked with exhilaration and joy, challenge and struggle. Through them all, we’ve seen God’s unmistakable handprint and grace.
Michelle certainly had an early affinity to adopt, and, while Scott didn’t necessarily share that affinity, he was still very supportive of the idea. For many years, it remained just that – an (seemingly far-off) idea.
Perhaps God was using the extended time to bring us both to a place of agreement—all the while, intersecting us with real life examples of the narrative of God: he adopts us into his family through the grace and power of Jesus’ life, sacrificial death, and resurrection.
It goes without saying, but God has blessed us as a couple with 2 of the most amazing gifts in Chase and Savannah. Over the past 8+ years, our life has felt full, and in many ways, complete. We’ve loved, nurtured, and even protected the close relationship that we share as a family of four.
In August of 2012, while on a mission trip to Honduras, Michelle had an unexpected encounter with a young girl that would begin to shift this “idea” of adoption and change the landscape of our family. During this [fleeting but poignant] encounter, God gave Michelle a glimpse of the depth of love that she could feel for a child who was not born naturally from her. She walked away from that encounter sensing that God was ripening her desire for adoption and preparing our family for what He had in store. Scott had not experienced the same sense from God, so admittedly, we came home and little changed.
Hearing what we've always heard
Jump ahead 5 months or so, to what seemed like a typical Sunday morning of worship at our church, Epic Church. While listening to our pastor teach on something completely unrelated to adoption — God pressed in and whispered adoption to us.
On this particular Sunday (January 2013), our pastor was teaching on the rich young ruler who asked Jesus, “What must I do to have eternal life?”. After hearing Jesus finish with, “sell all of your possessions and give everything to the poor,” the ruler went away sad because he knew that he just couldn’t follow Jesus with full abandon. As we listened to the message, God gently but very clearly spoke to each of us.
“I was instantly struck with the question: What is preventing me from fully following Jesus? I did not expect to hear the Father lean in and say “adoption”. But he did, and it was overwhelming. When I’m scared or uncertain of something, my natural reaction is to ignore or walk away from the situation, but this was different. There was no ignoring this. I am certain that whatever lies ahead, I am trusting and following Jesus with pursuing adoption. It was as if a switch of grace turned on for me. I know difficult times and joyful times are ahead. But I want to follow Jesus and not be sad like the rich young ruler.
Talk about being surprised. We weren’t working our way up to the idea of adoption until that moment - the idea came from the source of real adoption: the Father himself. I’ve only had a few salient experiences like this in my life and have been changed in surprising ways because of them.”
“During our pastor’s message at church, he was speaking on Jesus’ interaction with the rich young ruler. In what seemed totally out of place my mind and heart wandered toward adoption. Throughout the message I felt almost preoccupied with this seemingly unrelated thought. As I prayed for clarity and some sense of context, I felt as if God was saying – like Jesus did to the rich young man, “Are you willing to give up what you have [this comfortable life, our ‘perfect for me’ family, 2 healthy children, etc.], for the life and family that God has in store?”
I wasn’t sure what to make of this overwhelming thought, but I knew I couldn’t shake it and I needed to share it with Scott. I prayed for clarity and discernment for how and when to talk this over with Scott (figuring he wasn’t at the same place in his desire to adopt just yet). Little did I know that God was stirring Scott’s heart for adoption too – at the very same time!
The kids and I left church, while Scott stayed to tear down after the service. On my way home I received a text message from Scott saying, 'I’m ready to adopt'.”
Once Scott arrived home, we shared with each other (through tears) what we had individually heard from God.
This marked the start of our adoption journey
We are convinced that our story is ultimately God’s story. And it’s because of God’s story that we can walk boldly and confidently into the unknown – trusting that God is going to continue to write our story as we trust and obey him. We know that this may not be easy, but we believe in our hearts that it will be worth it. For us, for Chase and Savannah, and for the child that he is preparing for our family.