Saturday, October 17, 2015

4 years ago tonight...

Four years ago tonight, our journey to Kate began. When people ask, I usually say we started the process in February 2012 (and we did actively begin pursuing our adoption that month)... but the truth is, God began moving our hearts toward our daughter long before.

We knew before we got married that we wanted to adopt internationally; we discussed it the night we got engaged. We talked about adoption throughout our marriage, always thinking that we'd probably have a biological child (or children) 3-5 years into marriage, and then adopt. But on this night in 2011 - God turned our plans upside down.

Thank you to our friend Meredith who made this sweet print for Kate's room! 
If you're interested in ordering a custom print, check out her Facebook page.

We had gone to the Church of Brookhills to hear Katie Davis speak. I'd been reading her blog for years, but I wanted Rusty to hear her stories (and I wanted to hear her in person too). My parents, brother, and sister-in-law (then just my brother's girlfriend) came too. The night was wonderful. I'd read all the stories she shared on her blog, but I enjoyed hearing them again. I was so excited about her upcoming book and I was planning to pick up a copy. As the night came to a close, one of the church leaders came up to talk about adoption and foster care, and my ears perked up. "Someday that will be us!" I thought. Then he began to pray over the adoptive and foster parents, and he asked them all to stand... and I felt an overwhelming desire to stand up too.

I remember feeling panicked right after I felt the [very strong] desire to stand. "Why on earth would I stand up?" I thought. "We're not adopting YET! I can't stand up! My family will freak out. My husband will freak out! Why do I feel this pressure to stand?!" I fought it through the whole prayer. I cried as I fought it. As the church leader prayed, I felt God begin to speak to my heart:

"What if you ARE supposed to be adopting now? Why aren't you? What are you waiting for?" I could hear the questions as clear as if someone was asking them aloud. I thought through all our "whys"... we planned to have biological kids first... we want to be married for at least 3 years (it had only been 2 and 1/2)... our lives are crazy right now with the work we do....we travel all the time... it's scary to think about taking care of a child!... we're still newlyweds... I don't think I'm ready to be a mom! --- these are the thoughts that ran through my mind.

And then God asked, "But what if there's a child out there waiting, right now, for you to be their mommy. Is "I'm not ready yet" a good enough reason to wait? Or are you just being fearful and selfish? Do you think anyone is ever ready to be a mom? Can you trust My timing instead of yours?" I was sobbing by the end of the prayer.

I knew that I had to talk to Rusty about what God spoke to my heart during that prayer... but it couldn't be in front of my family. So I dried my tears (my family is used to me getting emotional about orphan care stories) and pretended everything was fine until we were alone. As soon as we got home and my parents went to bed (they were staying the night), I pulled Rusty into our bedroom, shut the door, and sat him down. I blurted out everything all at once as he sat silently across from me on our bed - so anxious about what he would think or feel or say. I knew my heart was ready (even though I was afraid), but I had no idea how he would respond. When I was done talking I took him by the hands and said, "Please say something! Are you freaking out? You're freaking out aren't you? I know this wasn't the plan..."

To which he replied... "I'm not freaking out. I felt like I was supposed to be standing too."

I thought my heart would burst! I began crying again, but happy tears this time!

It wasn't our plan, and it wasn't our timing - but that night, God spoke to our hearts about our daughter. It took a few more weeks of praying [and God showing us some undeniable, extraordinary signs to confirm what we'd heard] before we announced our new plans to the world. But four years ago tonight - October 17th, 2011 - God showed us that His plans are better than ours could ever be, and our journey to our little girl began.