I am pretty confident that there are not many committed readers to this blog that is rarely updated, but in the case that there are - you are about to be let in on a pretty significant secret. This secret is one that I am feeling compelled to begin documenting as I know that there are many other families who are experiencing similar thoughts and may find encouragement from my rambling words. This secret is also one that Brent & I have begun sharing with family members and close friends but it is not quite a common topic of conversation among our group.
This important piece of information that I am wanting to share are the thoughts and feelings we are beginning to have about expanding our family in the future! Now I am sure the words "expanding" and "family" are bringing up instant images of a pregnant Angie in the future, but here is where things are different for our family. -- Brent & I are feeling called to adopting our first child, specifically a son.
Allow me to back up and begin sharing some details that have led us to begin pursuing this path of family planning.
All my life I have wanted a big family. And by big, I mean 6-7 children! I need to look up some of my old diary entries where I shared my desires for many children and the family I hoped to have as I am sure it would be extremely entertaining! When Brent & I started dating 5 & 1/2 years ago and begin talking about a *hypothetical* family in the future, I expressed feelings of frustrations to my closest friends as Brent wanted ONE child and I still dreamed of 6. I told my friends that I was wasting my time on this boy as even a difficult compromise of 3 children would only be half of what I had always wanted.
But thank God for my now husband who is rational and thinks things through that I tend to ignore...you know small, unimportant things like: finances, time, space, etc. He later expressed to me that he would love a big family as well but is not sure we will be able to afford so many children or have the time for them. Very true & valid points.
Fast forward a few years after those conversations and Brent and I were married on October 23rd, 2010. Immediately the questions came from anyone and everyone: "When will you have your first baby?" To this common question, we always gave the same answer that left many with their mouths hanging on the floor:
We agreed on this time frame during our engagement as we both really wanted to be able to get completely settled into our relationship and lives as a married couple. We wanted to travel together and go on long, international missions trips and become more financially stable.
People have had many responses to our "5 year plan". Mostly supportive, encouraging comments but some words of criticism as other couples seem to think there must be something wrong with us for wanting to wait so long to have children. But this is our plan, and about 14 months into it we are still feeling confident that this is where we need to be....except God seems to have adjusted our plans to be more representative of His.
In August of 2011, Brent & I embarked on our 2nd international missions trip together. The previous summer we traveled to Haiti and this year we were able to experience Guatemala. We went with a small team and visited Casa Para Ninos Orphanage. Our project was to love the children living at this orphanage. That was it. No expected heavy labor or intense construction like we experienced together in Haiti. We were told to spend time with the children and show them God's love. This was a mission that was exhilarating for myself, but a tad overwhelming for my sweet husband. Before Guatemala he was definitely the type that would rather work 12 hours of construction in 110 degree temperatures than be told "go spend some time a child". However if he was given that choice now, I am not sure what he would choose.
During our week in Guatemala, I spent a large amount of my time in the "baby dorm" at Casa Para Ninos. This building was filled with infants - 4/5 year olds who were desperate to be held and loved. There were many times I walked into the nursery/toddler room and was immediately surrounded by sweet little ones crying with their arms outstretch saying "Mama, Mama, Mama!" To them, any female that would hold them was their mama. I spent hours holding these babies and praying for their future. Praying that God would protect them and that they would come to understand what love is and never have to seek it from those who wish to do them harm.
There was one specific boy that my heart was immediately attached to. His name is Angel and he is just the cutest little chubster with a mess of curly hair! I held him the most out of all the children and was in love with his sweetness and innocence. I will never forget him because it was while I was holding him that I believe God spoke to me and told me that we should adopt a boy before attempting to have children naturally.
I remember holding Angel and having this thought come to me and wanting to push it away. The large majority of women desire to be pregnant and have "their own" children before even considering adoption (if they ever do). Why would this thought be coming to me at this moment?
That evening, I sat with Brent as we did every night to discuss our day and chat about our high/low moments. I shared with him how I was feeling about adoption and that I was feeling called to adopting our first child. He told me that he was having the same desire.
God is great.
Ever since that trip to Guatemala, adoption has been in the back of our minds but we are still a solid 3-4 years away from the time we had "planned" to have children. However, over the past few weeks I began feeling compelled to start the process of adopting through an initial phase of research & prayer. We definitely think international adoption is in our future for this first child and the world of international adoption is HUGE. I am planning to read up as much as I can in 2012 to get a better idea of the costs and challenges that arise with international adoption and hopefully by the end of 2012 we will have a clear idea of what country we should be beginning the process with.
Who knows where God will direct us over this next year. I know He must laugh at our plans and specifically mine as I am extremely detailed but hopefully we will be able to hear His voice and follow His plan for our lives and our future child and children. * Wow that was strange to write!
I plan to share reviews of books that I have read about adoption on here in hopes to encourage/inspire at least one family who may be on a similar journey. This will also be the first of MANY postings that I plan to share as the LONG process to international adoption begins.