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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Finished With Five

I was recently reminded again of a special conversation Dustin and I had before we were married. Actually, I'm sure we had this conversation several times but I seem to be able to recall one in particular. We were doing as young lovers do, dreaming about our approaching wedding and the life we would share together. We talked about how we love our large families and dreamt of the one we hoped to build.

It was during this conversation that Dustin and I determined we'd like to have 5 children. At that time the number seemed a bit random. For some reason we couldn't explain we knew we wanted more than four. And six, well, that seemed like too many. But 5, well now, that was a number we could manage.

Then, we had our first child, followed closely by our second 16 months later. We wondered if maybe two would be enough.

Over time we grew more proficient in the art of multi tasking and confident that we were, in fact, decent parents. That was about the time the Lord decided to add baby girl #3 to the mix. By the time she was born we were convinced the main reason God brought us together at such a young age was to have enough energy to raise all the children He would give us.

When Dustin and I began our adoption journey that fateful May 2007 we knew from the very beginning we'd be adopting two boys from Ethiopia. Our intention for this was not simply to achieve our goal of five kids (the idea never crossed our minds), but more out of a desire that the boys be close in age so as to have each other as playmates. We knew it would be important for them to share the common bonds of adoption and race within the family.

As sure as we were felt that May about adopting two boys we didn't feel we should request two at the same time. We knew it would be less expensive for our family to adopt two boys simultaneously. We knew that bringing home two kids at once would be a tall order but not impossible. But, we just didn't have peace about it. So we requested a single child and waited to be matched with our spunky, sweet Jonas.

Whenever people would mention that they were requesting two boys at once I'd feel a strange twinge of something. I never did know what to call it... doubt, maybe? Often I wondered if we had made the right decision. Mostly, my concerns had to do with money and whether we truly would be able to afford to go back to Ethiopia and adopt a second son. I knew there would be more sacrifice involved for our other children in order for us to complete a second international adoption ( i.e. College fund? What is this thing you speak of?)

Last night I was overwhelmed at the realization of all the Lord has done to build up our family, and all the details He orchestrated to bring us to this point. I realized: Even when Dustin and I thought son #2 would be on the back burner for a while God was designing a way to bring him home. Not just any boy number two, but OUR number two. The RIGHT #2 for this family- A*.

It was surprising to us (but not the Lord), when shortly after we arrived home with Jonas we began to feel a pressing urgency to adopt again. It felt so sudden that we would immediately feel drawn to kids with special needs. When, through a series of twists and turns we ended up looking over AWAA's waiting child list right before Jonas' six month post placement visit with the social worker (SW) it felt to us as if the timing couldn't be more awkward. Who does that anyway? Who looks at a waiting child list like one day before the SW is due to arrive for their 6 month PP visit?

Apparently we do, because, there A* was. The just-right boy for us.

As we sat and talked with our SW during her visit about the idea of pursuing another child so soon after bringing Jonas home our vision suddenly became clear, and we realized that the Lord had been preparing us for A*, his HIV, and the care he would require all along. I found I was reciting a list of reasons why our family was the right match for A* and was surprised and how logical and sensible it all sounded coming out of my mouth. It was as if the Lord was speaking to me and through me at the same time. Our social worker responded in a shockingly agreeable way. She, too, seemed to believe we were a good fit for A*.

... You know the rest from there. You know how the Lord provided the finances we needed to make this happen.

Last night, I turned to Dustin after I had been sitting quietly thinking and said out of the blue, "Oh my goodness! If we had requested two boys at once we never would have gotten A*."

"I know." He understood without skipping a beat, seemingly having read all my previous thoughts.

"How horrible would that have been!?"

"I KNOW!" (That's my man of few words for ya.)

It was then that I understood, possibly better than I ever have before, how everything HAD to happen this way.

The Lord has been preparing a place in this family for A* long before we ever realized it. Not just A*, but all of our children. He's timed each one of their entries perfectly, divinely. While I've always know that, somehow, I comprehend it better now. Little did Dustin and I know the night we dreamed- a little over a decade ago, now- of what our future held that we truly were meant to raise five kids after all (with another two waiting for us in heaven). The seeds of all our hopes for the future were planted in us by God. They've been watered by His faithfulness ever since.

Soon our family will be complete. A* will come home and that feeling- that unfinished feeling- will be gone forever.