A friend asked me to share our adoption story here. She was kind enough to share hers some time ago. Lea's Story
I will try to be as concise with it as I can, but there's kind of a lot of information to share. I'll do my best. :)
Here is our story: I don't actually know the exact date of when it all began. It was 1998-1999 and we were living in Texas. There was a family at the church we attended, who was very involved in foster care. They had cared for many children over the years and had adopted once. At the time our story began, they were caring for a baby who was severely handicapped. We'd seen them care for other children over the years.
I began to feel a tugging at my heart. I felt that maybe we too could help children. This evolved sort of slowly. I also remember being so touched when I would see the commercials on TV for world relief organizations. I would sometimes cry when I saw the extreme need, and the hungry, starving children.
Somewhere along the line I also became interested in international adoption too. I would secretly look at adoption agency sites on the Internet. I never told anyone. When I looked at how much an international adoption would cost, I figured there was no way we would ever do something like that. I just put it in the back of my mind.
The tugging at my heart to possibly become involved with foster care became more and more insistent. I definitely felt that it was God who was speaking to me, whispering in my ear, "You need to do this." I felt that we were to do foster care with the possibility of adoption.
I prayed about it. I told God that I had no idea how I was going to broach this subject with Alan. After praying about it, for what must have been numerous times, I told God if he was asking us to do this, he would have to make Alan agreeable to the whole idea.
One night it was late, and our children were in bed. Alan and I were alone in the family room. I believe we were lying on the floor together. I finally found the courage to bring up the subject. I laid it all out there and told him what was on my heart. Here is what Alan said, "I love children very much. Why wouldn't I want to add to our family and have another child?"
Now writing his response here looks so simple. I'm sure though, when I heard his response, my mouth must have fallen open and my heart and mind were just freaking out. Did you hear that, world?? My husband just had a simple and precious reaction to what must have seemed like the monumental million dollar question to me at the time. That's God! How very simple it was. It was simply God working in our lives.
After that, we decided to become involved with foster care and we took all of the required classes, had a social worker come for a visit, had required inspections, etc. We'd almost completed everything required to become licensed for foster care.
Then our lives completely changed. Due to changes within the company Alan works for, we ended up moving from Texas to Minnesota. This was one of the hardest things we've ever had to do. Moving away from all of our friends and family was very, very hard. For months afterward we just took the time to get our family settled here, and make a new life. Everything regarding foster care and adoption was put onto a shelf. It stayed on that shelf for a long time.
Much time passed. When God puts something into your heart, it never really leaves. Plus, there was our daughter Kaitlyn. Somehow, God used her as a little tool to also give reminders every once in a while. "Mom, when are we going to adopt?" or "Are we ever going to adopt??"
Finally we started to talk about it again. By this time, it was the summer of 2004. I remember that's the summer when we bought the vehicle we are currently driving. I told Alan that we would need to make sure it had plenty of room, "just in case we decided to adopt or something." :)
Alan and I decided that we were not getting any younger and it was time to get the ball rolling again. We went to an orientation meeting for foster care in our county. Then one night we went out alone on a date. We sat talking for a long time in the Chinese buffet restaurant where we had dinner. We then continued the conversation in the car, just sitting in the parking lot. Somehow in that conversation, I told Alan that I also felt a calling toward international adoption. I told him that more than anything else, I was interested in doing that. He said, "Well if that's what you really feel we should do, then what on earth are we doing, about to start foster care training again?" That's my Alan, always the logical one. :)
We spent the next 2 weeks, researching adoption agencies. We received information in the mail and also spent time on the Internet. We went to an orientation meeting for an agency and it felt so right. We turned in a preliminary application that night.