Let me introduce you to our beautiful children. Our son Joel is 10 years old. He is smart, loving and very tender-hearted. He is the PEACE-maker in our family. If there is conflict, he is the first to beg others to get along. If his sister has done something to earn a punishment, he pleads her case for leniency. We love this boy and are so blessed he is ours!
Our daughter Hannah is 7. She is funny, loud and full of life! Whatever Hannah feels, she feels it 110%! Her laughter is contagious and her tears can start at the drop of a hat. She brings JOY into our family and makes our hearts smile.
These two children are such blessings! I know everyone thinks that about their children, but I promise you, God blessed me when He gave me these two precious hearts to take care of.
So how to introduce the idea of adoption to these 2? Well…we just went for it! We sat them down and told them about what God had been doing in our hearts. We asked their opinions. We answered their questions. And we asked them to start praying about it. We told them that nothing had been signed or set in stone, but that we were going to start researching adoption options and we wanted God to speak to their hearts about the direction our family was going.
Let me just pause here and say that a child’s prayer is a powerful thing!! We have always included prayer in our daily lives, from mealtime, to bedtime, to hard times, to thankful times, to anytime! And our children know how to talk to God…so they prayed and we researched.
And God confirmed in our hearts what we had heard from Him already.
Our children started to get excited about this! They shared their fears – having enough time with mom and dad, having enough money for toys for more kids 🙂 – and they both came to a place where they fully endorsed our family’s decision to adopt!
During the next month or so we researched domestic versus international adoption. We researched countries. We researched adoption agencies. And I will condense all of this research and just tell you the outcome…..God was very definitely calling our family to adopt from Ethiopia. As we read about the critical orphan crisis in Ethiopia, our hearts were moved. As we looked at the pictures of the children in the orphanages, our hearts were yearning to bring them home to us. Did you know….
*Ethiopia is about twice the size of Texas, and there are over 4.3 million orphans.
*Between 60-150 million children live on the streets.
*1 in 6 children die before their 5th birthday.
*1 in 10 children die before their 1st birthday.
*1 out of 3 people are HIV+, the average life expectancy is 37.
*Half the children will never attend school, 88% won’t attend high school.
*82% of the population survives on less than $1 a day.
*24% of the population has access to safe drinking water.
*There is one doctor for every 24,000 children.
So on February 14, 2011, we signed the very first round of paperwork and sent in our very first (of many) checks to our adoption agency. We started the process that would change our family forever!