Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Putting The Pieces Of The Puzzle Together

The Beginning Of Our Second Adoption Journey

For me, many times, seeking God's will for my life is kind of like putting a puzzle together with a blurred picture or no picture at all of the finished product. God is the only one who sees it in all of its glorious detail. We attempt to place each piece of the puzzle in to see if it fits into the overall picture. With each piece, God confirms whether or not that is His plan for us and encourages us to press toward His perfect end result where He can be glorified. Our second adoption journey begins really soon after our first as God enlarged our heart through the experience of adopting our daughter Lottie from China.( See Our Little Lottie link on side bar)He opened the eyes of our heart to His heart for the orphan. We helped to launch an adoption ministry in our church and lead an adoption small group in our home soon after our first adoption. We so wanted to give God the glory for what we had experienced through adoption and so wanted others to experience the same blessings. From our view point, the puzzle was nearing completion. We had been blessed to be a blessing and we were enjoying sharing our story and encouraging others. God began to reveal to us though that there might be a missing piece to our puzzle. I was involved in an in depth Bible study all of last year on the book of Mark. One day I read the verse in Mark 11:17 where Jesus says in Red Letter words , " My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations". These words resonated in my heart and I began to pray about their meaning to me. I shared with Battle that I thought God had something to tell us about bringing His Glory to the nations. Soon after this Bible study, we had a guest speaker at church who spoke of the fact that God mentions the word "nations" in the Bible 550 times. His message was confirmation that we were to be a part of making His name great among the nations! His ministry happened to be a ministry our church had partnered with to minister to the deaf in Africa. A quiet time a few days later drew me to the verse in Psalm 96 :3 , " Declare My Glory to the nations". At this point we could not dismiss the message. It was becoming more and more clear.

All along, Adoption had continued to be on our heart and we knew it was the very heartbeat of God. From time to time I would even look at waiting children's lists just wondering if we were to add another daughter to our family, a sister for Lottie and her two big brothers, Graham and Noah. I even inquired about a few special needs girls from China as I wondered....could this be the next piece of the puzzle? But no, God would open up my heart to a whole new world.....a whole new continent.....the piece of the puzzle He knew to to be AFRICA. The only association I had with Africa was with the commercials I saw on TV as a child, pictures of the bloated children with flies hovering who were dying of starvation. I did have another memory however. One of Battle and I talking when we were dating. We had a conversation early on in our dating days when we were sharing our hearts....our hopes and dreams. We talked of adoption and we also talked about Africa. We both had a heart for missions and for some reason shared a desire to go to Africa at some point and declare His Glory there. I even have the letters for the word -A-F-R-I-C-A - I had cut out of a magazine and pasted on a creative card I gave Battle when we were dating. I had only revisited that conversation a few times in our marriage as we had gotten busy with the "stuff" of life. But when I did revisit it, I wondered....what ever happened to AFRICA? God had NOT FORGOTTEN!!

One of our first guest speakers for our adoption ministry came to share of the ways God had moved mountains in His adoption story of his little girl from Uganda in Africa. I wondered then what the stirring was going on in my heart. I stumbled across an adoption blog of a family who had adopted several children but had just recently come home from Uganda with two toddlers. Her blog linked me to another amazing blog of a young girl who left her life here in the states to go to Uganda where she is now mommy to 14 African daughters! I read blogs of many families who had adopted children from various African countries and was moved again and again at what God was doing on the other side of the world. I was educated in how AIDS , poverty , and war had created a crisis of unfathomable proportions leaving millions of children orphaned and alone. Another family came to speak to our adoption ministry at church who had just returned fom adopting a siblng set of three from Ethiopia. Their testimony of obedience to God's call was quite moving. We learned of Tom Davis whose passion for the orphan is contagious and who passionately wrote two books Battle and I read on this journey..Fields Of The Fatherless and Red Letters. All of this brought us to a point at the end of February of this year which found us looking at waiting children from Africa on the web. We were drawn to one child in particular back in February who was from Ethiopia. We agreed that we would investigate further. We wanted to pursue her but did not feel comfortable with the agency situation who had her in their care. We felt that this hesitation in our spirit was from God and we had asked Him to put up any roadblock needed to protect us from being led astray. He confirmed in our hearts during this time though that our daughter was indeed in Africa and we felt that He was leading us to Ethiopia. One of our confirmations about this came when we were discussing this little girl in Ethiopia and later that evening the boys began to study their Awana scripture for the next day and their passage for that day was the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. Some would call this coincidence but we knew God was speaking. Another confirmation came in the name we had chosen for a daugher but I will save this for another post. From this point we continued to be open to God's direction and leading and just prayed that He would lead us to our daughter in His timing. We prayed that we would just KNOW when and where and how our daughter was going to come to us. My dear friend encouraged me that if this was God's desire for our family, it was not a question of If? but When? This past week we felt God beginning to answer these prayers. I again found myself looking at waiting children from Africa online. I had done this on and off for months but never felt any leading until this past week. I inquired about a child on the list but found another family was already pursuing her adoption. I ended the conversation by telling the agency representative that my husband and I would continue praying and wait for God's timing. At that point , instead of saying goodbye she said I might be interested in talking to an agency they work with who had some little girls coming in to care. The stipulation was that you had to be a Christian family. WOW!!! My heart skipped a beat as she told me she would e- mail me their information. I soon found their website before I even received her e-mail and had read all about their work in Ethiopia and their vision to minister to the orphans and widows there. My heart resonated with everything I read and I called immediately to inquire about their program. The next thing I knew I was typing in the password to get to their waiting children list. There were several older children on the list and then there was a little 7 month old girl. My heart was racing by this point. I felt as if this was the direction we had been waiting on from God. Battle and I talked at length soon after this and decided prayerfully that this is the direction we were to head in. We could not be guaranteed to be matched with this little girl as we had not completed a homestudy but we felt assured by God Himself that this was the next piece of the puzzle. At this point we have mailed in our application to the adoption and homestudy agency and are officially paper pregnant! We now wait expectantly to see how the rest of this puzzle comes together and are comforted by the fact that God DOES know the end result and we KNOW that we are right in the palm of His hand ..in the center of His will. There is no better feeling than that!!


  1. I am so excited to watch God's divine plan work out in your lives!

  2. I can't tell you how blessed I was to read this little summary of how God has been faithfully at work in your hearts and how He matched us up! He is writing a beautiful story in your lives. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. We just finished our Homestudy with Adoption Ministry. I'm going to steal your term "paper pregnant" - that describes the process well! :) Thanks for sharing your story with the blogosphere - it's encouraging to read about the process of others on a similiar journey. Blessings! Rachel in WA

  5. Shannon-

    I am freaking out. . .we gotta talk!! Really. This is Susan Robinson (Su Soutter now) from high school. . well elementary school. Can you email me your phone #. . this is crazy how I found your blog. I gotta tell you the God story. My email is susoutter@ bellsouth.net (take out the spaces).

    more later. .