In January of 2003, a woman from my church with a small daughter from China asked our small group of leaders in the youth ministry to pray with her as she prepared to return to China to visit her daughter’s orphanage. As we began to pray for her and with her through the journey, I began to learn more about the plight of orphan girls in China. There are over 1 million orphans in China and 90% of them are girls. Through prayer and Amy’s journey, I began to feel a stirring in my heart about God’s plan for our family. I desired to have a daughter but I wondered if God wanted us to expand our family through adoption. I shared my heart with Robert but he was not as sure as I.
Over several months, we began to learn about God’s heart for the nations in other ways. Robert had just traveled to Albania in November of 2002 and we were take the Perspectives course that following spring. As God was teaching us about his plan of redemption for all nations, we also began to see how we could imprint that value into our heart and family through adoption of a sweet baby girl into our family.
In November of 2004, we sent our application form to America World Adoption Association and began the long process of the paperwork pregnancy. We scrambled from place to place, wrote letters, applied for grants, met with social workers, all in the effort to bring us closer to our baby girl. We finished all the paperwork and sent it off to AWAA and then on to China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA). We finally received a log in date of August 15, 2005.
Thus began the long wait….At the time our paperwork was logged in at CCAA, the average wait time for a referral was only 5-8 months. We were so excited! Quickly, however, we began to see the process slow down to fewer and fewer referrals each month. In just 3 months, the wait time had increased to 9 months. By February it had increased to 12 months.
Change of plans
In the meantime, God was up to other things. We had for a long time been considering the idea that God would have us serve in Albania. This was a long time dream of Robert’s and through a series of events we began to see that it indeed was God’s plan for us. As we began to prepare however, we worried and wondered when we would get that referral! We had a “plan” for going to Albania, but surely we were not supposed to go without our daughter. Our time drew closer and closer and still no referral. Now things were getting complicated. Robert’s employment was ending… how would that impact our home study and other required paperwork? We began to pray should we go or should we stay? It did not make sense to move to Albania when we had no idea when our referral would arrive.
And thus God speaks through his servant, Oswald Chambers.
“Lord, I will follow Thee; but . . .” Luke 9:61
Supposing God tells you to do something which is an enormous test to your common sense, what are you going to do? Hang back? If you get into the habit of doing a thing in the physical domain, you will do it every time until you break the habit determinedly; and the same is true spiritually. Again and again you will get up to what Jesus Christ wants, and every time you will turn back when it comes to the point, until you abandon resolutely. “Yes, but – supposing I do obey God in this matter, what about . . . ?” “Yes, I will obey God if He will let me use my common sense, but don’t ask me to take a step in the dark.” Jesus Christ demands of the man who trusts Him the same reckless sporting spirit that the natural man exhibits. If a man is going to do anything worth while, there are times when he has to risk everything on his leap, and in the spiritual domain Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold by common sense and leap into what He says, and immediately you do, you find that what He says fits on as solidly as common sense. At the bar of common sense Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad; but bring them to the bar of faith, and you begin to find with awestruck spirit that they are the words of God. Trust entirely in God, and when He brings you to the venture, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis, only one out of a crowd is daring enough to bank his faith in the character of God.
May 30, My Utmost for His Highest
Through these words, and God’s peace, we began to know that we should be faithful and GO. But it was not easy.
Moving to Albania
We moved to Albania in September, still waiting on a referral. Our wait time was now close to 13 months. We began the process of updating our home study. This was an interesting process in the midst of getting settled in our new home, learning language and the stress of culture shock. There were a few extra hoops to jump through to get a new I-171 and deal with the expiration of our fingerprint approvals. This paperwork all had to come from Vienna. Our social worker was a lovely Albanian woman who thankfully spoke English but had never written a home study for China. We toyed with the idea of going to China directly from Albania and found that to be nearly impossible when we could not explain things clearly to the Chinese Embassy in order to obtain a visa. They could not fathom an American couple living in Albania would be adopting a baby from China.
Finally… on November 30, 2006 we received an e-mail from our family coordinator that we have received a referral for a healthy baby girl. Her name was Ke Chun Feng, born on March 31, 2006 in the Jiangxi Province. These were our first pics of our sweet baby Jadyn.
Some day I will be able to express how this journey has changed me. Changed my outlook on life, changed the way I love all my children and how I understand more of God’s heart for us. But for now, I just get to keep enjoying the day to day joys of being a mom to 2 amazing boys and one feisty four year old!