Monday, December 17, 2012

God had different plans

We thought we would wait another year or so before adding to our family after bringing Bek home. He needed time to heal and transition, we needed time to get familiar with our new son and family dynamic. Everything changed when Bek came into our family. Most of the changes have been welcomed & have brought joy into our lives, others have added unique challenges. They say the first year of having an older child home is the hardest. All parties involved are learning this new way of life & getting to know each other. There is a lot of learning through trial & error and that brings forth stress more often than not. Despite the added stress & challenges that come with expanding your family there is always so much more joy that accompanies it. Those challenges we've experienced with our son have made the sweet moments with him that much better. Through his grieving we're learning to be better, more patient parents. We've learned the importance of unconditional love in a child's life and have been able to experience the type of love God so freely shows us. We don't deserve His grace yet he lavishes us in it.  We didn't do anything to receive His blessings yet He loves seeing His children smile.  We didn't choose to be born into the situation we're in yet there is a reason He has placed us in it. The blessings we've received come with responsibility.

John & I try to live our life in a way that brings glory to God. The love we have for Him influences our choices & the way we live our life. Since we started dating we both expressed interest in adoption. God had opened our eyes to the need in this world and we both wanted to make sure the person we married was on the same page. At that time we had no idea what our future held, we just knew adoption would be a part of it. It has been amazing to see how God is growing our family. I say God because He is responsible for bringing our children into this world & uniquely weaving them into our family. John & I definitely didn't anticipate adopting older children when we had that initial dialogue over coffee years ago, but as always He has better plans. Plans to bring us on a journey of healing, learning, loving & raising beautiful children.

With that being said He has opened the door to add another child to our family. A couple weeks after having Bek home John & I had talked about adding another older boy into our family in the future so Bek would have a brother closer to his age. We in no way anticipated to adopt again anytime soon but knew it was something we hoped to do in the future. During the first month of having Bek home we were having a chat about his friends in Ethiopia. Since at that time he spoke VERY little English it was pretty hard to communicate using words. Since we were talking about his friends I decided to show him our adoption agencies waiting children's list (WCL) hoping he would be able to show me some of his friends from the orphanage. As I was scrolling through the pictures of these beautiful children he kept shaking his head saying "no" to the children since he didn't recognize any of them. When we got to the very last picture on the list he looked closer at the picture on it & enthusiastically said "Yes! Sha****!" as he stared at the picture he smiled. A few moments later he looked at me and said "I love him" which about broke my heart.

See, I had seen this boy's picture on the WCL months ago. It was the same WCL Bek was on. I remember seeing his picture but didn't feel that same tug on my heart like I did towards Bek. I almost feel guilty looking back. God had different plans & at that time it wasn't to bring this other little boy into our family. Little to our knowledge that was yet to come. A few days went by after we saw Sha's photo. If I thought for a moment that we would bring another child into our family anytime soon that thought was immediately ruled out by my more sane & logical side. However Sha's photo was in the back of my mind daily and Bek started to share more about his relationship with him.

They grew up next door to each other in their rural village in Ethiopia. Their mothers were best friends & they would play together growing up. There are more extraordinary details to their relationship that I am choosing not to share since this will be Bek & Sha's story to tell someday but needless to say both John & I were blown away with their connection to one another. We were so taken aback that we started to have more serious discussions about what it would look like to add Sha to our family. We initially just didn't think WE could do it. All of our reasons were valid having just gotten home with Bek but we just couldn't deny the connection they have & felt God revealed it to us for a reason. He was exposing yet again the need one of His children had for a forever family & we couldn't say no. So we didn't. We prayed & God answered. He put the pieces in line to make it happen one of which was getting our agency to allow it since they normally make families wait a year before pursuing another adoption. On a side note I can't say enough amazing things about our agency, AWAA. Everyone we've worked with has been wonderful. They are a Christian based adoption agency which was super important to us since our faith is what led us to adopt.

We believe as Christians we are commanded to care for "the least of these" & reach out to the hurting. To us that means adopting. To others it may look different but since we are at a point in life where we want children it just makes sense to us. Ok, back on track....So after several discussions about adopting again John & I decided we would pursue bringing Sha home.  However there were still many obstacles to overcome at that point. We prayed that God would either open or close doors & just like He did with Bek He flung the doors wide open! Our case worker & adoption agency were supportive. Our businesses were blessed to make it work financially & our family although a little hesitant were overall extremely supportive. I also have to mention how fortunate I am to have married an incredible man who loves the Lord. I am usually the one gets the ball rolling in regards to our adoptions but he is the one who makes it happen. He is the one who chases the paperwork, discusses countless details over email & phone with our case worker & works his butt off to make enough money to pay the expenses associated with adoption. I have heard so many women tell me they have a heart for adoption but their spouse just won't consider it. That breaks my heart. I am encouraging John to be more active on his blog which talks about adoption from a man's perspective. As far as I'm concerned there is NOTHING more attractive than a man who fearlessly loves his family & others. Sometimes that means taking a leap of faith & hearing your wife out when she tells you God might be leading her heart to adoption. I know I got way side tracked again...sorry!

So here we are. Waiting for a court date to fly to Ethiopia to meet Sha & adopt him. We are praying we will be there in early January & back home with him sometime in March. Sha does know he has a family & from what we've heard he is very excited about that. He was happy to see Bek would not only be his life long friend but brother soon. Praise God for His plan & for blessing us with another son! We know the road won't be easy, we know his little heart has been hurt & his beautiful eyes have seen more than any child ever should but we believe in a God that heals & restores. We are looking forward to seeing another child blossom into the person they were created to be. Please pray for Sha. Pray God will prepare his heart for the transition that's before him as well as the rest of our family as we prepare to welcome another kiddo into the mix.

God never seizes to amaze me with His plan. I am thankful that despite all my shortcomings He has chosen me for the special job of being a mama to these little humans. I love my people!


  1. Amazing and wonderful story of love and always, we are standing in support and prayer for you, John and the kids. This mom/grandma loves you all so much! I just cannot wait to see Bek and Sha, and of course my little love Cruz.

  2. Brittany! I found your blog somehow... Through a friends adoption blog perhaps? I've been meaning to contact you since I read your "are we crazy?" post. I would lovee to talk to you more -email perhaps. We are looking at older child/sibling group adoption and in the 20ish category. And yes--- in the minority for sure. So we are crazy. Love to know your thoughts, advice, etc.

  3. I found your blog through Give1Save1 and am just loving reading your family's story. Truly amazing to watch God work in such awesome ways through your family! Praying for you all and for your newest son to be home very soon! Blessings!!

  4. Hi Brittany,

    I am LOVING reading your husband and I, also 25, are preparing our home and hearts to bring home our 3 daughter, ages 7, 7, and 8. We are dealing with many of the same joys, struggles, and "blank stares" as you describe in your posts. It somehow comforts my heart a little to know that there are other people out there following God's call despite what the world says is normal. Keep doing what you are doing. What a wild and unbelievable blessing you two are to these precious, precious boys who need Jesus and a family!

  5. Brittany (and Becky above) -
    Would LOVE to hear from you both about your preparation of starting life with older kiddos! As we are just beginning process and things are on the DL for the moment.
    email me: ackvbr at aol dot com

    Ashley Again