On July 25, 2019 we officially began the matching phase of our adoption process. On January 8, 2021, we said “yes,” and were matched with our daughter! This phase was so emotionally and mentally draining. I truthfully wondered if our match would ever happen. We even seriously prayed about switching countries. The line from the song, “Waymaker,” beautifully sums up our matching journey – “Even when I can’t see it, you’re working. You never stop, never stop working.”
God’s timing is perfect, and honestly, quite interesting. We received our daughter’s file when life was pretty chaotic for us, which wasn’t too long before Christmas. After reviewing our daughter’s information, Jack and I decided to have the International Adoption Clinic (IAC) review her file. I quickly sent the IAC her information, hoping to squeeze it in just before Christmas. I had an unrealistic expectation of having our decision made by then. One of these days, I’ll learn not to get my hopes set on *my* timeline, but to trust the Lord’s. We found out the IAC closed for the holidays until January 4 (which, good for them! We all need family time, right?). India gives families 30 days to review files, and our time was up on Friday, January 8. I’ll be honest, I panicked. Would our review get done in time? The IAC’s insight is so valuable, so we knew we needed it to make our decision. The Lord reminded me of his omniscience and sovereignty. He knew a good chunk of our 30 days included the holidays, that the IAC was closed, and when our deadline was. None of this surprised him, though I felt the need to continually remind him of these things. The IAC called Tuesday afternoon with their review. They were so helpful (seriously, I can’t say enough good things about them! We’re so grateful to have this resource not too far from us!). They gave us a few questions to ask about the file that would give more insight. I reached out to our agency with our questions, but I knew it was a very real possibility we wouldn’t get answers in time for our decision. However, our daughter’s SAA (Specialized Adoption Agency) answered each question just a day later! The IAC also gave more insight on this updated information!
Finally, it was decision time. Jack and I individually and together spent much time crying out to the Lord, begging him for wisdom. It’s hard to put into words all the Lord taught me through this. Some lessons are still in progress. First, this decision making process reminded me of God’s design for marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33. There’s much to be said about this passage. Unfortunately, it can leave a bad taste in our mouths, because it can be easily distorted. On the other hand, when handled rightly both in word and deed, it’s beautiful. Jack is the head of our home, and as his wife, I’m to submit to his leadership. Does this mean he alone shared opinions, prayed, gave insight, etc. to this decision? Definitely not! This decision (like all) was a joint one. However, I did look to his loving leadership to guide us. Wives, this decision reminded me the importance of praying for our husbands. Leading a family isn’t an easy job. Let’s pray the Lord would strengthen them so they may lead as the Lord calls them to!
That night, while I waited for Jack to get home from work (and to bring sour cream since ours had expired- ha!), I sat on our kitchen floor and begged the Lord for wisdom and unity as we approached our decision that evening. I believe our marriage is stronger because of these 18 months of the matching phase. We struggled together, prayed fervently together, and ultimately, came to a decision together. It wasn’t always easy, but I’m grateful for how the Lord works! I also believe my individual walk with the Lord is stronger. Maybe I looked crazy sitting on my kitchen floor in prayer, but it’s a good and beautiful thing when the Lord teaches us such dependency on him.
That night, I reached out to several moms who recently adopted sweet children from India. Their insight was so helpful! This decision was a life-changing one, and we felt the weight of that. Speaking to other moms who had been there meant the world! Honestly, Jack and I joked that we wished the Lord would send us an email, DM on Instagram, etc. telling us what to do! We talked about Gideon putting out the fleece, requesting a sign from God, but how that probably wasn’t a good thing he did. Did we have faith to truly trust and obey the Lord? Or did we want him to make it easy on us and give us a sign? God doesn’t always call us to easy. So often, we know what God wants us to do, but instead of relying on the Spirit and stepping forward in faith, we come to a stand-still. I’m not saying God would never give a sign, but I am saying we need to trust the Spirit he’s given us. We need to obey, even when it doesn’t make sense, we don’t have all the answers, etc.
As we came closer to a decision, Jack and I both called her “ours” without even realizing it. We knew this was our daughter. We waited for so long, it almost didn’t feel real. The next day, we had to let our agency know ASAP about our decision. After all, our 30 days were up! I had to teach that morning, but I could barely focus. Calling our agency was so fun! Our deadline was literally up at about the time I got home from teaching, so they got it extended for us. I rushed home, and Jack and I signed off on her paperwork, making our match official! We spent the rest of the day telling the boys, our family, and friends. What a joy!
There’s still so much ahead for our adoption process. I’ll get to all that later. But for today, I wanted to recount this story for myself, our daughter, and our family. But most of all, I wanted to recount it for God’s glory, and I pray this encourages you in the Lord. Our sweet girl is no longer a file. She’s a daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter… praise God!