We have always wanted a large family and had discussed adoption in the past, but never seriously. On Good Friday of 2011, we went to the doctor for the first ultrasound of a new pregnancy and learned that the baby had no heartbeat. As the shock and devastation set in, our minds drifted to the significance of Good Friday. If our hearts were hurting so badly over a child we had never met, how much more pain must God have felt that day when He gave up His son for us? Now that is Amazing Grace! As we grieved that week, a friend sent us the verse, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” --2 Corinthians 12:9. Amazingly, we felt God’s peace during that time of heartbreak. We took the advice of articles we read and gave our baby a name… Grace…because we had truly felt God’s grace during a difficult time. The next week, we drove past a sign that we passed frequently but had never noticed before. It read, “Adoption: The Perfect Reflection of God’s Grace.” We couldn’t believe it! That whole summer, “adoption” kept popping up everywhere…television, movies, radio, magazines, books, sermons, friends, Facebook…we could not escape it. Furthermore, God used a recurring theme of “grace” to mend our broken hearts, to make us stronger as a family, and to give us a desire to be the “forever family” to 2 orphaned children. We learned how the Bible often relates our redemption in Christ to adoption. God has taken those without a “family” and made us part of His family by means of His grace. After all of these experiences, we truly felt called to adopt.
During Jeff’s time of working in Kuwait (2009-2010), the family visited him 4 times. Over the course of visits, Amanda and the girls became friends with lnd!an women who were housekeepers in the apartment building. The women shared hardships of how they had left their families behind in lnd!a due to poverty in order to make a better life in Kuwait. The money earned was sent back to their families in lnd!a. One woman, Mrs. Freida, had a significant impact on the family. She would hug and kiss the girls daily. She had such a deep sadness from being away from her loved-ones in lnd!a (including grandchildren), that it was like she adopted us as her family for a short while. She wept in our arms when we had to return to the USA. If we could have taken her with us, we would have. She said she would pray that God would bless our family. Once we made the decision to adopt, we wanted to pick a country that had special meaning for us. Because of the sweet women of lnd!a who had cared for us so lovingly, and because of lnd!a’s overwhelming poverty, famine, drought, and natural disasters, we knew lnd!a was our country. (There are an estimated 143 million orphans in the world today. lnd!a has the largest number of estimated orphans and vulnerable children in the world — 31 million.)
Why A and S?
We had marked on our home study that we wanted a sibling group of a boy and a girl under the age of six and were willing to accept minor correctable special needs. At the time, our two biological daughters were ten and seven years old, so we needed the adopted children to be six or under in order to maintain the birth order. On February 18th, we received our first photos of A and S. We were told that they were five and seven years old and asked if we would be willing to consider them. Yes, we would consider them! My heart skipped a beat when I saw their pictures. They were absolutely beautiful. There was a familiarity about them. I had only seen orphanage photos of children in school uniforms, but A and S were in costumes! I had been studying lnd!an dance and had even purchased a costume...I had dreamed about doing cultural dances with our lnd!an daughter...and she was dressed in a festive dance costume! I loved our son's name...it was a combination of our initials and it was an "A" name that I had considered in the past. It was like we were written all over him. Two weeks later, their file arrived at the agency. We were told that the children were older than we had been initially told. They were seven and eight years old. Based on the age and the disruption of birth order, we said no to the children. Two weeks after that, we sat down and confessed to each other that we were still thinking about those two specific children...we could not get them out of our minds. We called the agency to see if their files were still available and they were. There was also a video! We cried as we watched the video. We reviewed their files and they appeared to be healthy. We had several doctors look at their files as well. We decided to order a test for one of the children based on some confusing information in the file. It was supposed to take about two weeks to get the test results back, but it took four months! During that time, we started having doubts and had made a decision to turn the children down. For a week, I became very depressed and felt a horrible sense of loss like someone had died. After much prayer, I felt like God was telling me that regardless of whether we got the test results back or not, we were supposed to accept these children as our own. Jeff felt like God was telling him that we were supposed to accept the children whether the test results came back good or bad. On the same day that we individually felt a peace about our decision, our oldest daughter came to us and said, "Are we going to adopt A and S or not???" I said, "Why do you ask?" She replied, "Because I really think we should!" It was settled. We knew these children were meant to be ours. We received the test results which were very vague and incomplete, and ACCEPTED the children as our own. We are preparing ourselves for a huge challenge ahead given the age of the children and the number of years that they have been institutionalized. There will be hard days in our future, but we know that the blessings will outweigh the trials. We are trusting that God will equip us with exactly what we need to deal with issues when they arise. We are honored that God has chosen to grow our family through adoption and that He hand-selected A and S for us!