Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Our Story: Adopting a Waiting Child

     As I begin this story, I must say that it is a story in which God began His work a long time ago. As I look backwards a bit into my growing-up years, I see many things that God used to lead me to the journey of adoption. Brad and I can see, now, many instances that were gently leading us to hear His call. It was when we stepped aside and answered that we were abundantly blessed.
     Our adoption story begins a short time into our marriage. We experienced some difficulties with infertility and suffered two miscarriages within six months of each other. It was then that God began a gentle yet insistent nudge, and we began to seriously consider adoption. As we started investigating foster care and domestic adoption, we were abundantly blessed with the discovery that we were pregnant. Over a period of about six or seven years, we would be blessed with three beautiful biological sons. They each have an amazing story of God's abundant love and miraculous works, but since this is our adoption story that is where the focus will be. With each of these blessings, God would gently nudge us to consider the calling of adoption. He would lead us there in His perfect timing and his amazing ways.
         Our first adoption was the beginning of something wonderful, a calling that would touch our hearts and minds forever. I (Kim) kept feeling this gentle, yet firm, call to adoption. Brad felt like he wanted to adopt, but he kept waiting for the “right time”…you know when the bills are all paid, when the boys are older, when, when, when… . It seemed to me that everywhere we turned there were adoptive families right in front of us. Families at our current church, people we would run into at the park or restaurants, and even our son’s baseball coach had adopted children. I would remember two families (from our church in Texas) that had adopted little girls from China, and I remember an occasion when we taught those girls in children’s church that I had asked Brad if we could adopt a little girl. His answer was never “no”, but it was always “when the time is right”. Little did he know that these same families would lead him to the “right time”.
         Less than a year after God had moved us to a new home in the state of Missouri, He would begin to tug at my heart with a strong feeling and a sense of urgency to begin the process of adoption. I began questioning everyone that had adopted, researching any and all information that I could find, and reading every blog and adoption website. One of these blogs just happened to be the travel journal of one of the previously listed families. They were in China adopting their second daughter, and their adoption story and travel journals broke the last threads of resistance in my heart and mind. I, after much pleading, convinced Brad to read their daily journal postings. After finally sitting down to read, God would remove the final pieces of resistance in his mind and heart, as well. We would hurriedly join an informational meeting given by our choice of adoption agencies. Less than two days later (and even getting a babysitter on short notice), we would be in attendance at that meeting. At that time, Brad and I knew that we were embarking on a life changing journey, and we knew that our daughter was in China. Turning in the initial application at the meeting, we would begin all the paperwork and home studies for adopting a “healthy little girl, less than a year old”; however, God had a much different plan. After our Dossier was in China for several months, we would learn of a little girl, 15 months old, on the special needs list. She needed a forever family. As I read the words” …15 month old…needing a family”, I knew that this was our daughter, our Mia. We had not even seen her picture nor had we read her file. We knew even less about what the special needs/ waiting child list meant, but we KNEW she was OURS! Then we saw her picture, and we felt like there was no denying that she belonged to us…”those eyes”!  But… we were informed by the agency that two families were interested in her file, and that the agency would take it before the board and inform us the next day of the family chosen to be her forever family.  No matter the wait…We knew … and the next day we received notification that we were her chosen family. You can read her story and the God orchestrated travel stories on our travel website at http://www.blessingfromchina.com.  Her Chinese name is “le-le” meaning “joy and happiness”. A more fitting name could not have been selected… She was and is a joy! Her joy and happiness are contagious, and she touches everyone that she meets. 
     A short six months after this “joy” joined our family we would feel a familiar tug at our hearts for another child. We had been told by another adoptive family that if we went once we would most certainly return for another child. This would prove to be more than true. You see God was calling our hearts…he was giving us a ‘calling’. At first, we thought we were returning for another baby sister; however, as God would have it, we would return for an older sister. We would adopt an older child, and please believe me when I tell you her story is one that only God could orchestrate. We would receive her into our family exactly nine months after beginning her paperwork. During the “waiting time” for our Mandy, I kept feeling a tug…”but, we are already adopting again God”. He had a little boy on my heart and mind. Where from? When? These questions would remain a mystery to me until God would place directly in our paths a little boy who needed a family, and he would come to us through a disrupted/dissolved adoption. His story is equally amazing and definitely ordained by God. At this point in our lives, we were not sure if we were done. We had learned to never say never to God’s call; however, Brad felt like we were through…I said I would wait and see. After taking a Sunday school class on Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, Brad began to feel as if the Holy Spirit were directing our hearts to something big (like moving to Africa or Honduras to begin a children’s home)… but I knew what that “something big” was going to be. God had already begun to place that all too familiar tug on my heart. Then, after seeing his picture on Rainbow Kids, I knew that our next child would be a little boy, age two and another waiting child. We knew we were returning to China. It would take us eleven months to complete this adoption and to hold our Toby in our waiting arms.
         None of our children are without their own special stories of how God placed them in our lives. I consolidated all the stories because I would have to write a book to tell of all the amazing things and stories that God has interwoven throughout our family and throughout each of our lives. We are just grateful that He chose us… that He chose us to be the family for each of these beautiful children. We are grateful that He blessed us with this calling…a calling to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Are we done, yet? We have no way of knowing because we never say no to His call. We cannot wait to see how He writes the rest of our story, and we want it to be said of us that we finished STRONG…no matter where, no matter when and no matter how.

About us: We are Brad and Kim Smith, parents to seven children, and we have a passion for orphan and adoption ministry. Our seven children include 3 bio sons and 2 daughters and 2 sons adopted from China with varying special needs. We homeschool all 7 of our children and live life serving Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

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