Sunday, February 12, 2012

And then there were 5....

So many crazy, exiting, nerve-racking,  and confusing things have been going on in this Baker home. Get ready to read a book. If you want the quick version just read this first paragraph :-) 

Like many couples, Aaron and I had talked about adoption throughout our entire marriage... shoot, we entertained the thought even before we were married. But unfortunately when my mind got any where near the concept of ACTUALLY doing it, it started swirling in all this fear and doubt and question that I allowed the world to speak into me... and I ran. Like so many times before, I would read a scripture, read what scripture calls us to do, commands us to do, let it impact me for a split second, then move on and never actually follow through with it. It wasn't until last fall when I started a bible study on the book of Daniel that I REALLY felt this unbelievable conviction to change. My little world of being a "luke-warm" christian was about-to-get-ROCKED. And God did just that. Over these past several months things have been shaken, stirred, and completely flipped upside down in my heart. We will no longer "waver between two options (1 Kings 18:21)". The quick version of the story can be summed up in one sentence: Our family is taking a leap of faith, obeying our command, and adopting

I have to add a little excerpt from my friends blog... she says it pretty perfectly:
"Who, me? Yes, you. Because the harvest is great and the workers are few. Because there is no Plan B in our world. We are it. In small ways or giant ways. It's not an option. It is a mandate. Help the poor, the orphaned, the widows, the homeless, the enslaved. Bring justice to them. THIS is true religion." -Katie Fickey :-)

How It All Began:
 1 Kings 18:21 says, “Elijah went before the people and said: “How long will you waver between two options? If the LORD is GOD, FOLLOW HIM.” This verse hit me like a ton of bricks as my mind had been racing for several weeks now concerning the idea of adoption. If anyone knows my husband, you would chuckle at this comment. Seriously.  Aaron has said from the moment I found out I was pregnant with Ava Hope that he was DONE. He was happy with his two happy and healthy girls. Our family of four would be easy. My heart was still very unsettled with the idea of not having any more children. My sweet friend, Avery, encouraged me to pray for either a change in my heart, or a change in his so that our will would align with God’s. So I did just that. 

A few weeks after that night another good and precious friend of mine told me about a new book coming out by one of her favorite authors, Jen Hatmaker. I had never read any of her books but I knew that if Katie liked her, she must be good! The book, Seven, was about the authors journey through a seven month fast. Each month she gave up different things and challenged herself to specific tasks to make herself more aware of the excess we live with and all around us. This book was a tremendous tool for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to the seriously abundant amount of blessings Aaron and I have. Such conviction about our overspending and ridiculous amount of clothes and the amount of time, or shall I say lack of time I was giving to my Father in Heaven. How dare I feel like I have NOTHING TO WEAR when I have a closet full of clothes that could outfit 20 families? How dare I feel like my children have to be dressed to a T in a stupid expensive outfit? How dare I ever compare my house or my possessions to anyone else’s, OR feel like they are not enough? Our home is more than enough, our cars are nicer than they need to be, my clothes are abundant. This culture had made us into possession obsessed, money driven, stressed out monsters. with out us even knowing it. OUCH, Holy Spirit.. Thank you for piercing my heart and bringing to light the dark places in there. So where am I going with all of this? 

Insert Beth Moore’s bible study, James. WOW God, am I really that blind that I didn’t see where this was going? This is my first time studying James. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve highlighted scriptures from this book so obviously I knew some about it, right? Oh how foolish I was. We weren't even through the first chapter and my heart was overflowing with amazement and awe and excitement to learn about Jesus’ half brother, James. Beth says that, “James writes like a man who’s about to run out of ink.” How right you are Beth. He is blunt, and to the point, paints these beautiful pictures and images in my mind that bring the scripture to life. I don’t have a huge understanding of the bible, or can I quote many scriptures off the top of my head, but what I do understand this far in my study is that James is a man who challenges us to live out our faith as Christians. We know what is right, what is commanded of us, but without deeds our faith is dead. On day one of the second week of study Beth asked us to write 4 things that we needed wisdom for because in James 1:5 it says, “ If anyone lacks in wisdom, he should ask God, who give generously..”. Day one I wrote on there that I needed wisdom to guide my heart towards adoption or away from adoption.

The next day we continued on with chapter one. James writes in 1:23-24, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” He continues on in verse 27 to write, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Hello light bulb! You could say my eyes were opened. Proverbs 24 comes to mind here.. 'Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act...' Proverbs 24:12. I've read those verses in James but never allowed God to open my eyes and CHANGE my heart.

I began tearing up, which of course led to weeping (because I’m a hormonal woman). That day I asked a close friend to help pray for my discernment on a certain issue (as if the writing on the wall wasn’t big enough- I still doubted..). This precious friend asked if she could know specifically what to pray for. Hesitant at first, but so thankful in the end… I spilled my guts and poured my heart out to her. We talked back and forth via text for about an hour. She didn’t know at the time, but God was using her to speak direction and comfort and peace and clarity and wisdom to me. She then left me a surprise on my doorstep; one box of Tazo Passion Tea (a LOVE of mine), and the book, Adopted For Life. Precious, amazing, thoughtful, God given friend you are to me.

That night I took the plunge and began a conversation with Aaron about adoption. GULP! Needless to say I was super nervous about this. I started out with a, “Soooo I wanted to talk to you about something…”, which he quickly replied, “NO YOU CAN NOT BUY ANYTHING AT LULU TOMORROW WITH AVERY!”. Um, OUCH. I replied with a, “…. No I want to buy a child.” Buy a child?!?!?! REALLY? Yeah, I still can't believe I said those words either. I guess it was one way to break the ice. We talked back and forth with a sense of calmness (thank you Jesus for sending a spirit of calmness into our home) for about an hour. He expressed several concerns and gave me typical responses… “I’m pretty happy with just our two girls. You know how expensive it is? I think it’s stupid ridiculous how expensive it is. I don’t know, we already have two of our own. I want to provide the best I can for those two girls upstairs. Nothings for certain, I could lose my job tomorrow. I want to give those two girls the best future we can and provide a HOPE for them like my parents did for me.” OH… GREAT interjection point here. “What about the baby, the child, the sweet soul that has lost all hope and has no idea who our Jesus is or what love of a family feels like that we SOOO take for granted? We have this amazing family, church family, LIFE GROUP (words can't express how thankful we are for the other 6 couples in our LG). The bible calls us to adoption… everyone’s story is different and some might be called to help financially, physically, or emotionally in others adoptions or directly in the life of orphans , and some are actually called to adopt. Today, Jesus had told me adoption IS IN OUR STORY.” Our conversation ended pretty much on that note and with a little shake of the head and Aaron saying, “I don’t know, we’ll see.”

On February 1 I was reading Adopted for Life when, seriously for no reason at all I started weeping, not crying… weeping. I couldn’t stop. This escapade lasted for almost 20 minutes. Embarrassing- YES. During that time I felt the spirit prompting me to talk to Aaron again that night and something about 9 months. I didn't know if that meant in 9 months he’d be ready, we’d be adopting a 9 month old, or we’d get a child in 9 months (highly unlikely!). Just at that moment I got a text message from none other than my friend Katie. She spoke more words of comfort and encouragement to me and sent me a video about our calling as Christians to take a stand for adoption, not just talk about it… to put our FAITH in ACTION… sounds a little something like James… oh James how I think I will love, struggle with, and cry over every word you wrote. Bring it on.

This past Monday we were able to have dinner (with no kids!!!) with some friends of ours who have 2 domestically adopted boys. God used this couple to speak peace and comfort and information and tools and excitement into both Aaron and myself. Since that Monday we have chosen our adoption agency and have been shown so many things!  We had no idea where to begin… do we want a boy or a girl, what age, what agency, what race (ohhh how I HATE that question), what about special needs children? Needless to say our minds were racing with anxiety. It’s amazing how much of a reminder we need sometimes to know that God really is in control and will speak direction to us… I love how Romans 8:26 promises, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” And the Holy Spirit did just that. Our first response that Aaron and I both heard was that God has a son picked out for us. A son. A SON, people!!!!! I have a son somewhere that is waiting to be claimed and loved and sheltered and raised by us; A son who already bears the Baker name. Insert tears here. Soon after that, AAB and I were talking about race. I hate even writing about this because in all reality, IT SHOULD NOT MATTER. But I needed a quick kick apparently. If Jesus tells us that we are all created in his likeness/ image (Gen. 1:27), then what should the matter of race… matter? I believe that this doesn’t just mean man (Jesus) like man/ woman (us), I believe this means man (Jesus) like man/woman who’s red, yellow, black or white (that little children’s song can still teach us something)! That next morning I woke up early to do another day in my study on James. The scriptures we were dissecting and discussing just so happened to be chapter 2, entitled “Favoritism Forbidden”. Love that beautiful confirmation. I’m not going to type out the entire second chapter of James, but I challenge you to go read it. It’s quick. And painful, and eye opening, and beautiful all in one. If we are to love one another as we love ourselves, and not show favoritism to the rich over the oppressed, poor, and weak, then how dare we have any issues with race? Again I say, HOW DARE AARON AND I EVEN QUESTION THAT ISSUE. On our application- that box will be left open. We will not specify. Boerne may be a little bubble (a bubble which WE LOVE don't get me wrong)- but we do not care. Boerne… get ready for a movement to rock your world because we have news for you… there are many other families in the midst of the adoption process, several who have already adopted, and I believe that God will call more- lots more, to adopt. Get READY town of Boerne… It’s going to be good!!!!!!