Saturday, September 8, 2012

An Unexpected Gift

Normally I try to write blog posts that are specific to the blog, but this one time I am just going to post the exact same update we sent out to our email list. If you receive the email updates, this will be completely redundant.

Dear Friends,

Well, we finally have some exciting news to report. Please bear with me, as this is going to be a longer e-mail than many of our updates.

I realize the subject line of this e-mail might have caused you to wonder if God has given us a large financial blessing. The answer is no. Although He continues to provide for us, the unexpected gift we are referring to is a completely different kind of blessing. To explain, I need to back up a bit in the story. Some of this information might be familiar to some of you.

When Greg and I became convinced that we were supposed to adopt a second time, it was very difficult for us to choose a child. We never did have that moment when we looked at a child's picture and just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were looking at our daughter. So we gathered information and prayed. And prayed. And prayed. And during that long period of seeking and praying, we had wondered if God was calling us to adopt two children instead of one, and perhaps that was why we were having so much trouble deciding on one child. We asked our contact if it would be possible for us to adopt two, and she told us that it was not. Her answer was clear and firm, so we let go of that idea and went back to seeking God's council to find out which one child he wanted us to adopt. Finally God did make it abundantly clear to us that we were supposed to adopt Isabelle, and we have pursued her adoption with confidence and joy. Then, shortly after we were granted pre-approval from China to move forward with Isabelle's adoption, our agency added a few more children to their list. One of these was a two and a half year old little girl with Down Syndrome. I saw her picture first, and then Greg saw it a few hours later. We were both struck with the same powerful impression. We knew that Isabelle was the one that God was calling us to adopt, but we couldn't forget this little girl or get her beautiful face out of our minds. We wrote our contact again to ask if there was any way we could pursue two children at the same time. Her answer was the same as before: No. Time passed and no one else inquired about this child. We were so confused about that. She is such a beautiful little girl, we didn't understand how anyone could resist her. We continued moving forward with Isabelle's adoption and prayed that this little girl would find a family. Then, three weeks ago, we got an e-mail from our contact. She told us that based on the approval that China had given to a few other families, she thought that there was a pretty good chance that we could be approved for two children. Did we want to try to adopt this little girl as well? We were floored at this possibility, and confusion, fear, and excitement all settled into our hearts at the same time. We took the next day to pray and seek God's will, even though we knew there was really no way we could turn our backs on her. The more we prayed, the clearer the decision became. We wrote our contact back and told her that we would try. The first step was to get the permission of our social worker. Now we are so thankful that our home study wasn't done weeks ago like we had hoped it would be, because it was originally written for only one child. Because it hadn’t been finished yet, the social worker could easily change that to two if she wanted. After a few e-mails back and forth, she agreed enthusiastically that we could pursue the adoptions of two children. Then we had to get permission from the executive director of our adoption agency. As you all know, we still owe them a good bit of money for Isabelle's program fee, and we were concerned that they would not allow us to add a second child until we paid them all that we owed for the first. To our very great surprise, they agreed to help us pursue this little girl right now. We completed the paperwork for her pre-approval application, and they submitted it on Friday August 31. We are hoping to hear back from China some time early next week. Please join us in praying that they will approve us to bring this little girl home as well as Isabelle. We have chosen the name "Hallie Elizabeth" which means "unexpected gift, consecrated to God." Interestingly enough after we chose the name, we found out that using different etymologies for both names would give us the meaning, "My God is bountiful, praise the Lord," which is certainly true as well.

Our story is unfolding faster than we can report it. I wrote all of the above a few nights ago, but wanted Greg to look over it before I sent it out. In the meantime, we got word from our agency that China has granted us pre-approval for Hallie, as well as Isabelle! We are shocked that the answer came so quickly! Please join us in thanking and praising God for this answer to prayer. Now, we need to compile our dossier and raise nearly $60,000. This figure is huge and daunting, but we know that God is faithful, and He will give us the means to accomplish everything He has called us to do.

Please continue to pray for us during this process. We know that in our own strength, we could never adopt one child, and certainly not two. Pray that we will find our strength in Him, and that He will continue to supply all our needs.

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