Saturday, June 13, 2015

Guest Post: Our Adoption Journey

Our story started years ago, actually. God started in me this slow softening of the heart through my eyes, this visual partaking in the beauty of what an adoptive family, and more importantly a child with special needs looks like. Being a visual learner, artist and photographer, this is where much of it all started for me. Learning audibly doesn't mean a lot unless I see it for myself. It must be tangible. While house sitting years ago, my then boyfriend/now husband and I were watching Slumdog Millionaire, and I saw these (albeit) fictional children stricken with need, and my heart melted. I turned to him and asked if one day he would be willing to adopt, and he said yes. I asked if we could adopt first from India, then Ethiopia, and he was completely on board. The conversation was short and simple, and our life plan was beginning to unfold in the middle of our Creator's design for us and we didn't even know it. 

In 2009 we were married, and in 2010 we welcomed our little boy into the world. I finished school, and we decided that if the Lord gave us a biological child next, it would be a blessing. If He gave us the welcome gift of an adopted child, we would also rejoice. And if He so chose to give us both, we would be overjoyed. We went to a meeting to learn about the various types of adoption at the end of July, 2012. Around this time we began praying for our child. We looked on a government website at countries and their stipulations for adopting, saw India, but thought maybe it wasn't right for us, and we would try and look at Ethiopia for the time being. India became completely forgotten to us. We became like the Israelites, searching for this promised land, this land our child would come from, but in our unfaithfulness to The Lord we began to wander aimlessly. We became hopeless, and my heart grew discouraged, not unlike God's people so long ago. We looked at multiple countries, many adoption agencies, locally, and local foster. Everything proved spiritually fruitless, with learning about it all, my heart only grew colder and more alone. During all of this looking, a friend of mine had been traveling Europe and Asia, and upon her return back to the states sent me a package of treasures from her travels. Inside the box was a journal, among other little gifts. I decided to begin journaling to this child, this unknown to me but known to God child, and tell them how much I loved them already, just as I had after finding out we were expecting our Little Abear.

In 2014 we thought we had found the country that held our child, Uganda. I still don't know how it happened, but we stumbled upon the perfect agency. They were kind, willing to help with all answers they had available, and they listened. We then realized the instability in Uganda, and that it might not be the safest choice to leave the child we had to go across the world, and possibly put our lives in danger. Was that a selfish choice? Possibly, but it was all apart of God's plan for our lives, because if we hadn't come to this conclusion, I wouldn't have found myself looking through available countries on this agencies website, and I wouldn't have found India. India! How could we have had blinded eyes for so long? How did the Israelites wander so close to the promised land to no avail? Because God had a lesson in the middle of it all, and so much more, He had a plan. This plan was not only for our lives, but for our little one's life. We contacted this agency, and were transferred to the best adoption liaison we could have hoped for, she was perfect to help our family. We prayed as a family, and sent in the paperwork to begin with the India program. Do you remember the journal? This precious gift from a land far away, was purchased for me in India. God is so good. I had been writing to my child between the cloth of their own culture. There are so many miracles, I would write for hours to share them all, but I will just have to leave this whole part of our journey labeled as blessing for now. Fast forward over a year, to Friday, May 22nd, 2015, one week after CARA (an adoption authority in India) approved us to adopt from India - this day at 12:26 p.m. we were matched with our little girl. Born that same month two years earlier... do the math and she would have been conceived end of July/early August 2012 - just after we started learning about adoption. This means I have been praying for my daughter since conception. Praise the Lord, for He is good, all the time. Through every trial and tribulation, through every tearful and unbearable feeling of hopeless, my God of hope never lost sight of His plan for our little family. 

What next? More approvals, six more. We saw our sweet little girl playful in videos, and we have one old photo of her - she is beautiful. There is always hope in hopeless. The Promised Land is never obsolete to those who love Christ, but this isn't to say we may not wander for awhile to learn, and to fall deeper in love with Him who "knows the plans He has for us" (Jer. 29:11). We hope that our Little Miss will come home sooner than later, but we know there is a reason for it all. God is good, and His people have been faithful in their love and prayers for our family, and we have been so blessed in the middle of it all. 

The idea came about a month or so ago to create shirts to help raise funds to bring our child home - so One Less shirts were born. For the original process, I overlaid a font of India over a colorful image of succulents I took, and did a see-through-to-text (one of the tutorials that helped me can be found here). I typed in "One Less", as well as Psalm 27:10, the entire verse. When I took this down to BrandX t-shirts, they told me that each individual shirt would have to be digitally printed, financially this just wasn't doable. So one of the artists there blocked out India, overlaid One Less on it so it would be a knock out text (you can see the shirt color through the words), and then put just the Psalm 27:10 verse reference to the right of India in white. I was so pleased with how these turned out, and they have been selling so well. We are so thankful for each and every sale, what a blessing. Ideally, I would love for everyone who is asked about their shirt to be able to not only tell a little of our story, but to quote the verse as well. We are all orphans without being adopted into God's family... "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in." Psalm 27:10.

These beautiful shirts are available in my shop to help bring this precious girl home to her forever family. T-shirts come in tri-blend grey ($25). Tank tops come in mint and tri-blend grey ($27). Children's shirts are light blue ($22).

You can read more about the adventures of this precious family here.