December 1, 2013 – We were in Hartford enjoying a visit with my family. The cousins were having big fun together. As the oldest, my nephew Lane was the leader of the pack. His sister Brooklyn was the baby and at almost one, so stinkin’ cute I could have eaten her with a spoon. Both of my kids doted on her that day. I remember thinking how much fun it was to watch them interact with her. At one point I commented to Nathan, “Could we have a one year old?”
“I don’t think we can just produce one,” he said, “but we could potentially adopt one.”
Time stood still. He said the “A” word. We had not been using the “A” word. Not in months. (Find out why here.)
With that one little word, the silence around adoption was broken. But then came the torrential rainfall of the word. For a week solid it poured into my mind relentlessly. I heard it on the radio. It filled a fiction book I picked up to read. Blog posts shared on Facebook. It was everywhere I turned, and for the first time in months it was all I could think about.
After seven days of this onslaught, I decided I should mention it to Nathan.
It was Tuesday. We were putting up the Christmas tree and talking about what our family would give Jesus for his birthday that year. In the midst of the ornaments and excitement, I said something like, “Umm, Nathan. I’ve been thinking about adoption again”.
So after Titus and Anna went to sleep that night, Nate and I sat on the couch and discussed the “A word” for the first time in months. Before turning in, we prayed about it together. Once the “amen’s” were said, I thought, “The last time we prayed like that, we moved to Alabama”. I knew God was moving. But I had no way of knowing how fast He would go!
December 8 – The following Sunday I was standing where I always do on Sunday mornings around 11ish; the front row. During worship, we sang “This is Amazing Grace”. One of the lines says; “He makes the orphan a son and daughter”. I get all choked up when we sing that part. Every. Single. Time. But that Sunday, I also had a fleeting vision of a row full of children. I kinda laughed in my spirit. Really, Lord, a row full? That’s funny.
After a busy Sunday morning at church, the four of us came home and crashed. Everyone laid down for a nap, but I couldn’t fall asleep. (Weird. I’m a champion napper. It’s one of my spiritual gifts.) Giving up, I shuffled from my bed into the living room with my half-read fiction book in hand (the one I randomly picked up earlier in the week that coincidentally featured a main character who was adopted) and sat in my rocking chair. I read a little, stared at the tree, listened to Nathan and Titus snore on the couch, and generally thought about how wonderful and perfect our life was. I was completely satisfied in that moment with our little world and how everything was turning out. I felt deep, deep peace.
Nathan roused a little later and we decided breakfast for supper would be divine after our lazy afternoon. I was standing at the stove burning frying bacon when Nate said, “I think I’ll go out and check the mail while you’re working on that. I forgot to yesterday.” When he came back in, I glanced over to see what he had in his hands. Double-take. It was a plain manila envelope. The kind they sell at Walmart everyday. It had no unusual markings to set it apart. Just our handwritten address.
But I knew immediately what was inside it.
I stared a hole through Nathan as he was pulling out the stapled packet of papers it contained.
“Did you request another application from Chambers County DHR?” I asked.
“No. I have had zero contact with them since last August,” was his reply. Chills covered my body as he pulled out an application identical to the one I had tossed in the trash months before.
Then…a still, small voice whispered to my spirit,
And I knew.
Nathan asked if I wanted to fill out the application after the kids went to bed. Usually my response to that would have been something like, “Have you lost your MIND? Not until we pray and fast. And seek godly counsel. And search the Holy Scriptures.” But with absolute calm and certainty I simply said, yes.
Yes, let’s pursue foster care and domestic adoption.
So we stayed up late documenting everything about us on the 20 page application. We mailed it in on December 9 and waited impatiently for them to contact us about what to do next.
Meanwhile, on the following Sunday I got the most unexpected phone call of my life.