Over a year ago, I had contemplated beginning a personal blog. Journaling is therapeutic and I don’t tend to sit down with pen and paper anymore. But a year ago I was in a very different place. Can’t we all say the same thing? I was a different person, going through deep personal struggles, things that could not be shared in such a forum. I set my mind on accomplishing goals and kept sane and occupied in that way. Now is the time. This is the year to share our life with others and chronicle our family’s journey. We are beginning the international adoption process.
No, we aren’t the first family to go through this journey, and there are likely other blogs that are more creative, but this page is really for us. I have two pregnancy books on the shelf, filled with different anecdotes about the waiting process for both Owen and Camden. Both of our children had healthy, nine-month growing periods with a specific end date, and I enjoyed writing down my cravings and the process of growing a human being. What a glorious privilege! This blog is my “pregnancy book” for child #3. Like the two children before her, we don’t know what she will look like, we don’t know her exact “due date,” and we have not yet decided on a name. But THIS waiting period does not have a specific time frame. This process includes more paperwork, different kinds of decisions, but there is still that yearning, that longing, and that love for baby #3.
We experienced the agony of waiting when pregnancy did not come swiftly for us after we were married. Owen Michael was a child who had been covered in anxious prayers long before his conception. When he arrived on August 15, 2008, tears of joy flooded my eyes. God had heard our prayers and answered them more wonderfully than we could ever imagine. He was perfect.
I can’t say that Camden Christian was not prayed for, but the time frame of my pregnancy with him was definitely a surprise. I was in the middle of graduate school, and he was born in the middle of one of the semesters. Camden was our “joy comes in the morning” child. I had just lost my Mom to an abrupt illness six months before we became pregnant with him. Sixteen months after his birth, my Dad passed away from pancreatic cancer. “Joy comes in the morning,” Psalm 30:5b.
Child #3, whom I will lovingly refer to as “Zhen” in this blog (which means, “precious”), is the child for whom I have prayed for longer than I can remember. I prayed to adopt a child, specifically a girl, before John and I were even married. This year we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. For well over 10 years, I have been praying for Zhen. Not knowing who she is, where she was born, or what her story will be. All I knew, and still know, is that God has created her for family. She is our child.
After Camden was born, John and I started supporting Show Hope, and organization created to care for orphans.
James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”
We knew that God was calling us to help in some way, even though it was not our time to adopt. A few months later, I was chosen to participate in a Show Hope sponsor trip to Luoyang and Beijing, China, to see the work being done there in the special needs care centers. These care centers provide the medical and personal care for orphans who would die otherwise. In September 2012, I found myself in the shared room with the other sponsors, writing in my journal before bed one night:
“I feel like today has only solidified my ‘calling’ to adopt. I almost feel as if I should not speak so boldly about it since I do not know the plans God has in store for us, but yet I have moments of great confidence that God is preparing my heart for this wild ride of adoption….God is so faithful and so good. I feel Him calling us to special needs baby even more.”
Fast forward to 2014, we were finally in our own home, and my heart was aching to help an orphan again, in some way. God spoke to my heart and I felt encouraged by His Spirit to use my personal running goals to achieve more. I began training for my first full marathon as a Show Hope advocate. I spent the year in prayer, running for a cause, and raising over $3,800.00 to help a family adopt a child with a Show Hope grant. January 11, 2015 I ran for hope.
The week before the marathon, I received our application packet for CCAI, an renown adoption agency for children in China. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Just as God was seeing me through one mission, He was preparing us for the next.
A lot has happened over the last 10+ years. But a piece of my heart has been in China all along. We continue to pray for baby Zhen and for this journey of love we are beginning at last.