Tuesday, November 2, 2010

God's Plan for my family and our life

This is the adoption story revised.

I spoke today at MOPS for 70ish women.  I was nervous to say the least, but I prayed that God would be glorified throughout the story of my life, and the journey He has brought me on.  I believe that was accomplished.

To God be the Glory great things He has done!!!

I had posted this before and linked it before, but I'm going to post it again for the new readers who may be joining me today.  This is the edited version where I had updated for my speech today.

WARNING!  this is long. :)

Really according to God our adoption story started 8 years ago. TJ and I were married in May of 2002, and we did not want to wait, at all, to have children. We were married young, (20 years old, I’m the youngest of 4 girls) and all my sisters married young and had children soon after and I wanted to follow in their footsteps in the same way, and thought, why wouldn’t I?

God had other plans though, I just didn’t know it at the time.

We tried for 2 years and I cried month, after month after month. Then in July of 2004 we found out we were pregnant. We were so over joyed and everyone had been praying for us as they knew we had waited and wanted this. The news was out, everyone knew, and TJ and I went to the first doctor appointment to hear the heartbeat. But the doctor couldn’t find it. She said, we’ll need to take you down to the hospital to use the newer ultrasound machines instead. The next day we went down there did an ultrasound and saw a lifeless picture of a little peanut. She gave me the worst news I had ever heard in my life.

Yet, All this time God was preparing us on our journey, we just didn’t know it at the time.

The next year we moved to Minnesota.  Never in my growing up life, did I picture myself adopting, or really even think about adoption and foster care.  But after moving to MN Little by little the idea of adoption was put in front of our face through people we met and friends and acquaintances. We saw it more and more and finally we started to put it in the back of our minds.

First we/I, selfishly was not ready to give up my dream of birthing a baby. So we sought out an OBGYN who specializes in infertility. After numerous treatments and tests and month after month of disappointment, I physically and emotionally couldn’t handle the stress anymore. I really thought that this would work, and that this is what we were supposed to do, and after all the hassle, and tests, and doctor appointments putting failure on top of all the work was too hard. So we took a break, and looked for another option. During that next year we visited 2 adoption agencies to get more information on how they work and see what options were available and what we thought we were supposed to do.

God had a plan for us, we just didn’t know it yet.

We still struggled with what God wanted us to do/what we thought we were supposed to do/and what I had always dreamed of doing. I never imagined being married 5 years before having kids. However this was our current circumstance, and I was down right mad about it.  I hate to have to admit this part, but it’s the harsh truth about the story. I was mad at life and God, and everyone else who seemed to get exactly WHAT they wanted WHEN they wanted it! It seemed everyone I knew, everyone my age, and everyone I saw, when out shopping or something, was pregnant. A constant reminder to me of what I’d always wanted and struggled to have and wasn’t receiving, and a sad reminder of what we thought we had for a moment and lost. By now it had been 6 years, more time had passed, more adoption realizations had been presented to us, and God was working in our lives and focusing our attention more on kids who are already out there and needing a home and someone to love them. So we met with a third adoption agency. This one was a God honoring agency and we were excited about their mission. So we started working with them. We felt a need more for older children and sibling groups and helping the children who were labeled “hard to place”. The fog started clearing.

We realized that God’s hand and working really was in this the whole time.

If this is what he wanted us to do then that is what the wait is for. It was finally at this point that I started to realize If we had previously birthed children (namely, not lost our first baby) we wouldn’t even considered adopting older children.
So we started paperwork, and meetings and more paperwork and traveling to meetings. Towards the end of 2008 we were asked about meeting a family of 5 children, and a family of 3 children in foster care waiting for a permanent home. So in mid-December we traveled up to Little Falls and met all of these children. We had NO idea what to expect and were so nervous and scared. After going up there we were sooo confused to be honest. How could you say no to anyone and how can you pick who your kids are. It’s a crazy weird experience lets just say. :) If we chose any of these children there were meetings and paperwork that still had to happen before anything else could happen so we were set on the waiting list. We waited for them to get back to us, and waited and prayed and waited. We didn’t know what God had planned for us, or what we were supposed to do, so we prayed for wisdom and a clear understanding of what we should do.

Finally in March of 2009 we were asked if we would adopt  the 2 boys of the family of 5 children we had met previously. We weren’t sure what choice to make previously, but once presented with this option we were thrilled with the idea, and that the choice was no longer a choose this or that, but here are 2 boys will you give them a home?  Yet, still more paperwork and waiting had to happen. We were finally given the o.k. that the paperwork was finished and the next batch of paperwork could start which meant we could start the visits with them, and slowly make the move into our home. May was filled with more waiting as we waited for the move to happen and wondered when it would happen. We were having such a good time visiting with the boys we couldn’t wait for them to move in permanently and to be their forever Mom and Dad. Finally after many hours of driving back and forth every weekend, June 19th we became their forever Mom & Dad. We were excited, they were excited. It was a huge roller coaster of excitement! ;) God has been so good to us, even through the rough times of life. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you, Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” We are so grateful for the Lord’s unfailing Love, and his provision and faithfulness. If it weren’t for the hope we have in the Lord we wouldn’t have grown through the tough times and I personally wouldn’t have made it through those rough years. God is good to us, even when we lose sight. I’m so thankful for that. Not many times are we ever thankful for the rough times of life, but God knows best and I can say that He used those rough times to mold me and make me a better person.  I’m constantly reminded of the verse in Isaiah 55:8 that says.... ”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”  declares the Lord. 

So again, I’m grateful for those rough times and that God’s ways are not my ways. If it weren’t for those rough times, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have a stronger faith, or relationship with the Lord like I do, I would still be selfishly wanting my own ways in life instead of God’s ways and things would be much harder.  Most importantly, I wouldn’t have this wonderful blessing of my 2 precious boys that I am privileged to be the mother of.

I pray that our story can be used by God to give hope and encouragement to anyone out there. God is always and will always be working in us to make us who He wants us to be and to be a better person for His name sake. Some times the things He needs to change in us are big, sometimes they are little. Sometimes they are quick, sometimes they are long, hard and very painful. But whatever the case, however big or small, if God is in it, He will carry you through.

This year we celebrated 8 years of marriage, what a rough 8 years it’s been. But, to God be the glory great things He has done. June marked our 1 year celebration with the boys moving in. They give us so much joy and love to our family. We couldn’t ask for anything more. We’ll see what the next few years hold, and we’re praying for the other children, whoever they may be, that God has already planned and prepared for us.

When I was at women of Faith in the cities recently Sandi Patti said, when you feel like you’re standing on the edge of disaster, you just might be standing on the edge of the divine.  And let me tell you that is exactly what happened in my life.  A good friend of mine asked me what I was doing the days my children were born.  Obviously I was not there when they were born, but what was I going through, what were my actions, thoughts, etc.  Well, in April of 2004, the son we'd adopt was born, plus we had found out we were pregnant, and lost the baby.  And even though I was standing on what seemed to be the edge of disaster....GOD looked down, held me in his hands and said,  “Be still, and know that I am GOD.”  I have good things in store for you.....see this precious baby that has just been born, when the timing is right, you two will be placed together.  And in 2006, after losing the baby, after losing my father tragically, and moving to Minnesota and trying time and time again with the infertility doctor and not knowing why things aren’t working, again, I thought I was standing on the edge of disaster, and yet again I was standing on the edge of the divine where GOD was looking down, scooping me up and holding me saying, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways.”  If you could only see this little baby that has just been born, you will be together when MY  time has come.   Would I have understood if GOD could have told me these things?  No!  Would I want to hear about the terrible things these children would have to go through before I could take them in and love them? No.  That's why God made us wait.  Would I want to know that things are going to work out, but not for 5 years?!  No, I was selfish and wanted things my way, and right now!  And I also loved what I heard Mary Beth Chapman say when talking about losing their daughter tragically.... we shouldn’t ask why these things are happening to me, we should ask, why not me?  Because who are we to think we don’t deserve bad things?  And, how can God use us otherwise, if we are not shining for Him.  When the sky is the darkest around us, our light can shine the brightest to those around us!

Praise GOD for his workings, and his will!


Brad, Kim, Jasmine, Zakary, and Nickolas said...

Thanks for sharing this story of what God is doing. May you continue to see His hand at work blessing your life, Kim

Bobbi Kenow said...

Wow! That is all that I can say. Thanks so much for sharing this and for your open honesty. It is truly amazing to witness God and His Divine Providence!

Sanford Family said...

Yes, thank you Stephanie for sharing your family's amazing testimony. We don't want to go through the difficult times, but God truly does have a great plan in it all. I am blessed to know your family. And I'm so happy that Maisy shares her birthday with the day you became Mom and Dad to Shane and Anthony.


landoltjk2 said...

Stephanie, that was the most amazingly written it could have possibly been. Praising the Lord for how you have been blessed!
I am so thankful to have had you for a roommate back in college. You were a joy and still are!
Karen L.

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