Throughout these past few weeks, many people have asked us How? HOW do you have SO much faith in what you are doing? It’s so risky – our time, emotions, savings, our whole lives are being given to this unknown pregnant person and her child. And the answer is a simple one: God is sovereign and we trust Him. He didn’t call us to this adoption in the middle of the night and through a phone call at work (for more details please see our adoption story) and then leave us by the wayside to figure it out for ourselves. He has led us faithfully through continual affirmations – I could write a book! I wanted to document a lot of them, and have done so in my own personal journal, and have felt compelled to share a few of them with you in hopes that it will increase YOUR faith and understanding about what a PERSONAL and INTENTIONAL God looks like in life. And hopefully at the end of this, you may find a little more trust in Him and in our decision for our family!
Once Hayes and I agreed that God was calling us to adopt, we had several barriers in our way that we needed Him to take down in order for this all to happen. I have listed them below and have included the ways God in His infinite power made this adoption possible:
1. Home – Our home is beautiful. However, it is small. We bought it when we were newly married eight years ago and at that point we were not thinking about a family. At the time it was perfect for us and our firstborn child, a dog named Duke. However, over the years we have discovered what a weird configuration of bedrooms and floor plan we have, and it is not ideal for a growing family, never mind one that includes more than two children. After Weston was born two years ago, and around the same time we felt God’s first pull on our heartstrings to adopt, we decided to start looking for houses, in hopes that God would lead us to the right decision – should we adopt first or buy a new home? After a few open houses and drive-bys we found one that was perfect. It was in a wonderful town, with beautiful schools, 20 minutes from both of our jobs, church, and both of our families. It was on more land than we had hoped for, and needed a lot of work – which is what we wanted, something at the bottom of our price-range with room to make our own in time. Could this be the answer we were looking for? Were we moving? We met with the realtor, walked through it, prayed silently in every room, and fell in love. We began the process of figuring out the financing and haggling the price when we got a phone call from one of the realtors – one that we hadn’t met before. She was lovely and told us the story of the old woman who had recently passed away after raising her children in that home for 30 years. Her daughters were willing to reduce the price if they knew that it was going to the right family that wouldn’t flip it and sell it, but would treat it with care and raise a family. YES GOD, YES!!! That’s us! And then…in my charming and friendly way I proceeded to tell her of our plans to expand our family through adoption, proving our case, that we ARE a respectable family, and that we deserved a discount. The realtor gasped and spent the next 15 minutes sharing HER testimony of adoption in HER life. Two of her children were born in Korea. She also has two biological children, but had taken several missions trips with her husband before they were born and always knew the need for orphans around the world, and then she added “do it as soon as possible – it was the most wonderful and amazing experience of our lives, and having the kids all close in ages, you will never regret it!”. OUCH. Our plan was to see if God was going to provide the house BEFORE the adoption and after this conversation we were thinking NO was the answer. What are the chances that this realtor would call us (not one of the ones we had met with) and lead me into a conversation to tell her of our decision to adopt before we had even shared it with our own families? And also be a person who had already adopted and understood the timing for our family? She even told me that she was going to pray for us! I mean, c’MON. God was just showing off. Two days later was our first phone call with a reputable adoption agency confirming what we already knew about the immediate need for families to step up and help – this was the phone call that I cried all the way through. A new house can wait, a baby cannot. That was the first of many signs from God that this is the right decision and that He would be faithful to direct our path.
2. FINANCES – The cost of adoption is vast. It’s hard to put a price-point on it because it’s different for every situation, but we are preparing for a $35 – $50,000 range of expenses. Knowing that we were going to adopt has given us the ability to plan for a couple of years and utilize our God-given earnings accordingly. Having said that, we did not save $50,000 last year. God provided it. We have had a few unexpected God-given bumps in income and resources, but also, our fundraiser. I mean, $12,889 has been raised by many of you who have known us our whole lives, and have been around on this journey for months, but to be honest with you – HALF of the money is from people that I have NEVER met. People that heard from a friend of a friend about our need and felt led to give. That doesn’t happen without a serious intervention from God. I cannot begin to express how powerful those emails are when we get a new donation – from $20 to $3,000 but when it comes from someone that I DON’T EVEN KNOW with a NOTE mind you, (a NOTE! From a stranger!) that God put us “The Murray’s from Massachusetts” on their hearts and that they too have a heart for the fatherless. You HAVE to feel God’s presence in that.
3. BABY GEAR – When we were presenting last week to the situation with a baby due six weeks out, Hayes and I had a serious conversation about what kind of gear we really needed to get before the baby comes. We have a lot of clothes, a bouncer, a high chair, etc. but there were two things that I told Hayes that we still needed. One of them was a new baby carrier. Brand new, they were expensive – well out of our means at this point, so the only way I knew I could get one was to find it at a consignment.shop. Last Friday after Eden’s dentist appointment we went to check it out and the store was closed. WHY?!? Annoyed I drove 20 miles south to the next closest store – Wes needed new pants anyway, and we had the time. We walked in straight to the back where the carriers were located and found nothing. I don’t know what I was expecting, specialty carriers don’t go on sale, and when available at these kind of kid’s consignment shops, they usually get scooped up quickly! The kids were preoccupied with some toys so I stepped over into the shoe bins to see if I could find any good deals for them for next Summer. Next to me was a woman doing the same thing with her two African-American children (she was Caucasian) and one of them called her “Mom”. A conspicuous family! Wait, that’s what I want to have! I smiled at her and she told me a silly story about her daughter’s feet growing too fast to keep up! I asked her if her children were adopted. Do I need to go on? OF COURSE THEY WERE!!! She adopted them from Florida eight years ago, using one of the same agencies we had applied to, and proceeded to carry on a ten minute conversation encouraging me on in our process. She even brought her son into the conversation asking him to tell me his adoption story – a beautiful example of how to parent an adopted child – it is afterall, his story to tell! “I was born in Florida and my parents have been with me since the day I was born.” It doesn’t get any more perfect than that! His name was Matthew. Ahhhh…Oh, and God wasn’t done with me yet:I turned around to check on Eden, she was playing with a toy kitchen set and I noticed something sitting on top. What was it? A beautifully packaged, never-been-opened baby carrier I had been looking for, 75% off! It’s even in a pretty color. I mean, does God get any more personal than that?!? I was a tad excited, so I took a picture of me wearing it that afternoon to send to Hayes at work. I was tempted to put one of Eden’s dolls in it and walk around awhile, but refrained. These things are NOT coincidences my friends, and we should get ZERO credit for anything that we are doing. It is ALL God. We are just happy to be in His will along for the ride!
4. FRIENDS – God has provided friends along our path all through our lives. We are beyond blessed with friends. Two friends in particular have been irreplaceable in my life this month, and they will remain nameless, but they are both gifts from above. One friend, I knew would be a person in my life ever since I met her 14 years ago. Adoption has bonded us in a way that has brought her close enough to me that I feel like she is my sister. She is always there to hear me out and not get offended, and she’s also wise. Having adopted before, and been through this journey, although it is different from mine, the link that connects us is the same. She has helped me and taught me and she will forever be one of my besties. God gave her as a gift to me so long ago and I can’t wait to see where He takes us (and our conspicious families!). Another friend that has blessed me on this journey is an unexpected person who I have yet to meet face-to-face, but has been an unbelievable source of encouragement and kindness. She too has adopted and is adopting again, and has a heart for the fatherless. She is a woman of strong faith and has wonderful courage and I am so thankful God placed her in my life for this very reason. I have no doubt that we will be friends for a long time and when we meet someday, I can already feel the tears from our embrace. Adoption is complicated, and yet God is faithful. We have only been a part of this community for short amount of time and from what we can see so far, it has been such a huge source of LIFE when this process can seem sad, dark, and impossible.
We plan and God laughs? Ya, He’s having a GREAT laugh with these “Murray’s from Massachusetts” and we love it!
My favorite song lately is by Meredith Andrews titled “Not for a Moment”. I’ve attached the song to the link at the bottom and wrote some of the lyrics below. Afterall, He is sovereign.
And every step every breath you are there
Every tear every cry every prayer
In my hurt at my worst
When my world falls down
Not for a moment will You forsake me
Even in the dark
Even when it’s hard
You will never leave me