It was at an outreach conference at our church that we heard the call. A weekend full of horrific truth about the world’s child trafficking problem. A reminder that here in America we live so well, so full, so blessed. The conference was coming to an end and we were all seated, in circles, heads bowed, praying for how God would stir our hearts for the people of this world. The world outside our church walls and our middle-class homes. The Lord spoke so clearly to me during that prayer. “The Lord is my refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Bring your daughter home and name her Everly.” I am one who truly believes God cares about small things, even baby names and I knew, in my heart the Lord was speaking to me that cold afternoon.
Let me back up a bit and say that I never really knew when I would adopt but I knew I would. We had a few friends growing up with adopted children and it was always something that intrigued me. It was something I shared with Joe early on in our relationship. I wanted to adopt, even if God gave us biological children. It was a weight, heavy on my heart, for a long, long time. He agreed that we could pursue it when the time was right. We had a few seasons where the time was right for me, full steam ahead, and the sensible side of him said to hold back. One of those seasons we got pregnant with Lorelai and one of those seasons I was diagnosed with cancer.
But that weekend, the Lord spoke to Joe as well, through the speaker we heard. He told us that God doesn’t pursue the equipped or prepared individuals who have a full bank account, time in their schedules, and a dozen bullet-points on their resume. God calls the willing and if you are willing, whatever it is, to pursue His kingdom, He will lead the way. We had a great conversation that night about adoption and fostering and I shared my heart with him and he looked at me and said, “let’s do it!” That was all the invitation I needed.
There are so many pieces to this puzzle and it’s so amazing to see how God has put these pieces together. One major piece to this puzzle is our family friend Stephanie. She is the daughter of one of my wonderful friends, Kelly, who allowed me to accompany Stephanie to China a few years ago. Stephanie spends months at a time teaching preschool and loving on the orphans at New Hope Foundation. A few of us flew with Stephanie to China to help her get settled at New Hope and spend some time sightseeing in this amazing country. We got 2 whole days to love on these babies and learn more about orphan care. It was then that God planted another seed in my heart for international adoption.
Stephanie and I on our way to China – May 2013
David and I, a little boy I fell in love with in China who was adopted by an amazing family but who now resides with his heavenly Father.
Shortly after this trip I was diagnosed with cancer and grieved the idea that adoption may not happen for us. Some agencies won’t allow you to adopt for 5 years post cancer or you have to get special permission from the Chinese government based on your current health and Doctors’ letters. We put it on the shelf and I did all I could to survive that long year. Thanks to God’s grace, this May I will be cancer free for 2 full years and we are ready to bring our daughter home.
Last summer, while Stephanie was in China again we were messaging each other and she sent me a picture of a little girl at New Hope who she thought would be a great fit for our family. I commented on how cute she was and that I would pray for her forever family but we weren’t ready to adopt yet. God was stirring… Then in February when we attended this outreach conference I was just compelled to pursue this little girl. We started making inquiries as to what agency she was listed with and couldn’t find much information. Stephanie put me in touch with an orphan advocate who was able to do some detective work and track down her Chinese name, date of birth and which agency had a partnership with her originating institute. We spoke to the agency, they told us to submit a request to proceed because of my cancer history and the Chinese Government gave us the go ahead. What a praise!
So here we are, praying that this little girl will be ours. Praying that she will fit into our family, a family that prays for her at supper every night. And if God wills it that she is not ours our prayers are not fruitless. They are prayers for her soul, prayers for her forever family, wherever they are, prayers for her to be loved, cared for and healthy.
Please join us in prayer that little Everly will be a Taylor in God’s timing.