Believe it or not, when we tell strangers we are adopting, whether a new co-worker or the lady at the Aldi checkout lane, this is their typical response. It is usually followed up by, “Doesn’t that cost a lot of money? Isn’t it hard work?” Well, yes, it is expensive and, even more of a “yes!” it definitely is a lot of hard work...but aren’t all children?!
I knew I wanted to adopt since the age of seven, which might seem ridiculous to some. However, at such a young age, I had the privilege to come literally face-to-face with not just the term “orphan” but the raw and harsh reality of it. My family moved to St. Petersburg, Russia way back in the early ‘90s, not long after the “Iron Curtain” fell and Russia became opened short termed to missionaries. My family went to schools and orphanages showing the Jesus film, which was the first time many Russians had ever met a foreigner, let alone heard about the Jesus in the film.
Two vivid memories (and their smells and sounds!) from our time there over twenty years go stick out to me to this day. One was having to eat a thick brown-muck soup with something squishy on the bottom. To my horror, I quickly regretted scooping that the squishiness from the bottom of my bowl. It was none other than a dead, but very much alive looking, fish with its eyeball staring at me. (If you know me, you now understand why I wouldn’t touch any fish to this day!) The second memory was when we were playing in this large room filled with chaos, children, and not much else, all clambering for attention and love. It was time for us to go and I’ll never forget how one about four year old boy just clung to my mother’s legs. He wouldn’t let go. He sobbed. My sisters and I cried, “Can we take him home?” It made perfect sense to me: he needed a home and we had space in our three-room flat, even if it meant my sister and I had to share a bed. I was young, but I quickly learned two memorable things about orphans: they have to eat terrible food and all they want is love.
Fast forward many years later when we began dating. I am pretty sure I told my now husband straight upon the first date, “It’s me and adoption or no me. Adoption isn’t optional in my book.” Thankfully, God was working in his heart too and over the years since being married, it has always been in our plans.
After living in China for two years, learning about the orphan crisis there, having friends who adopted, and hearing heartbreaking stories from our sweet friend who loved on so precious orphans in China, we believed that God has led and uniquely prepared us for adopting our son from China. Due to China’s change of eligibility, we had to wait a little longer than we originally hoped to begin our son's adoption. But one year to the day we began our paper journey, we brought him home!
We appreciate you taking the time to listen to our hearts and we hope you come on this journey with us. It will literally “take a village” to bring another precious child home!