It is with great joy and delight to finally be able to begin a blog! For many years, I have contemplated and desired to chronicle my journey in words. I am thankful for the current road we are on, because it is “forcing me” to develop a blog for the very practical means of updating folks on this exciting venture of adoption. But, in my heart of hearts, I see this as a beginning of sharing with others the theological ponderings of my own heart. It is to this end that I invite you to sit and journey with me, and just perhaps, you will find aspects of your own footprints. Ultimately, we can all give glory to the One Who fills our lives with a portion of epic love and venture.
It appeared to start out as an ordinary spring. Forty days until Easter Sunday in 2013. However, this year, I knew in my heart, I had a steadfast desire to see this “ordinary” spring, be transformed into something “extraordinary” in my heart through a season of fasting and prayer. I developed a list of prayer points in my heart, including one inspired my daughter.
From the time of our courtship, RevMD and I had aspired to have four children. God graciously gave us those four children, all born within 5.5 years of one another. Yet, a lingering thought that had been a whisper was elevated to a speaking voice, when my little girl, age 4 at the time, showed me her “prayer log”. A simple, stump in the yard had become a place where she would go to pray. When asked about what she specifically prayed for, her reply came as a “shout” to my heart, “A little sister.”
I will not sugar-coat this. I had struggled with postpartum issues after my last pregnancy. It was real. It was dark. Yet, the womb of my heart felt a longing that only a momma wanting a baby can feel upon hearing my daughter’s words.
In my upbringing in church, it would often be said, based on the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” to “take it Lord in prayer”. And, this is exactly what this conversation with my daughter drove me to do for the next forty days.
During this time, I ran into a variety of people. When you begin to look at the world through the lens of the Holy Spirit and prayer, you not only find that you pray, but you become “prayer-full”. I saw a mom at Wal-Mart. With both of us having preschoolers in tow, we had a conversation about children and God, all the while deciding on the flavor of coffee creamer for the week. Then, there was the almost shocking conversation with a fellow believer whose opinions on adoption saddened me. Needless to say, this negatively charged conversation actually served as one of the first seeds of something beautiful God was beginning to plant in my heart.
Not long after this, a lady from church spoke of the great need in our county for foster parents. The womb of my heart was having a deeper awareness of the forgotten and orphaned. I now knew that I needed to pray for direction and what my response should be.
After the fasting ended, the breakthrough came at dinner one evening. The best description I can come up with is how the Holy Spirit spoke the following into my heart: “If you adopt a child, one of your children will understand with greater clarity the message of Christian salvation.” I began to weep. According to the Scripture, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:13), I knew that this could not be outside of His will at this point.
A journey then began of learning the specifics behind this call. Local? National? International?
In researching various options, I kept coming back to China. Knowing that there were two more “hurdles” toward a final decision. One, I wanted to know for sure that China was the exact location we were to pursue the adoption, and secondly, I knew that RevMD needed to be completely on board with this. I began to pray that God would confirm the location and the call in my husband’s heart.
Not long after this, I was rummaging in the garage through some old books and stumbled across an old journal from 2010. There, upon the pages, was a dream I had written down. If a dream lingers in my mind and heart for a few days and seems rather unusual, I usually write it down. In this particular dream, I was walking on a muddy road during a storm. In the climax of the dream, I saw a little Asian girl, face down in the mud in front of me. I reached down, and I picked her up. She was rescued.
This was confirmation that China was the place! Within a week of this, my husband was spending time in prayer. You see, all around the same time, we had received word that we were going to be receiving a good tax return. Because of all that was emerging in my heart, I felt we should use it to put the downpayments down to an agency to begin a homestudy and start the process of China adoption. But I also knew this was a trust journey of God speaking the same thing to my husband. RevMD came and looked at me that day with tears in his eyes. The Lord had spoken, “Do you want to be the rich, young ruler?” (Matthew 19:16-22). God was calling us to lay down earthly treasures. He was calling us to adopt a girl from China.
Admittedly, the cost associated with international adoption can be a deterrent for many, and almost was for me on many days. Somehow, the story of the widow in Elisha’s time (II Kings 4:1-7) who kept going to pour oil and found oil every time spoke to me as I considered that if God were authoring this story, He would graciously have the “oil” show up every time. From knitting scarves, to mistakes made by employers that resulted in a “big fat check”, God has shown Himself faithful time and again to carry out His provision to get Naomi to her forever family. I share that to encourage you in your own journey. Wherever you may find yourself today, know that God’s ways and methods of moving are always higher. God sees the pearl way before all we see is the “sandy irritant”.
Two months later, we were driving home from a meeting with our agency. We had just “signed on”. The Lord spoke again, this time to my husband. Because our daughter would be a stranger from a foreign land, but would experience a redemption through the humble experience of us being used as a “kinsman redeemer” of sorts, we were to name her “Naomi”, which means pleasant. Furthermore, we would experience the joy of financial sacrifice and the literal laying down of earthly dreams and pursuits to pursue this call and others. We were being called to search out the “pearl of great price” both in pursing this little girl, and we were realizing the spiritual depth and joy of eternal treasure. “Zhen-Zhu” is Chinese for pearl. “Naomi Zhen-Zhu”. A “pleasant pearl” has entered our hearts, and she will soon enter her forever home in June 2015.