“Do you know what you are getting yourself into?”, asked the salon technician.

Filipe and I were on a marriage getaway in Carmel, and I had dropped into a local day spa to get my eyebrows waxed. Soon the technician and I started talking about being moms, and the inevitable question (to a mom of three) came up.”So are you done having kids?,” she asked. Her tone implied the answer should be yes.

“Well, I think I’m done having them, but we are looking into adopting two more right now,” I responded casually.

She then proceeded to tell me of all the risks and difficulties that come with adoption. “Not to mention the cost of feeding five kids!” she declared. I reminded myself of why I don’t disclose much personal information to strangers, and figured she probably wouldn’t get it. So, with my eyes closed, I just let her give me her two cents while she yanked hot wax off of my brows.

I left that little spa that day with more determination we could do it- problems and all. Maybe those conversations are good after all.

The idea of adoption is something that Filipe and I have talked about since we got married. Whenever the subject came up, the first thing that came to mind was some day.

Around this time last year I sensed God calling me to do something quite out of the ordinary…for me anyway. I felt like He clearly directed me to lead Beth Moore’s James study and to take on her challenge to memorize the book of James. I had no idea then how much this would impact and change my life.

I recited James chapter one more than all the others, and something happens in your heart and your mind when you are repeatedly saying, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” (James 1:27)

This wasn’t the first time I heard this verse. A couple years ago I heard Kay Warren speak on adoption at Catalyst West and she talked about this verse. As I sat in my chair that afternoon rocking Efraim, who was three months old at the time, all I thought was, some day.

But one day last spring while reciting James over and over, I felt God whisper to me, “When is some day going to turn into today?”

I shrugged it off at first; I had plenty of excuses.

I want to pursue writing more.
I want my kids to be older.
I want more time to myself.

But the excuses didn’t hold as much weight anymore. All of my excuses were built around my own self-centeredness. I felt like God whispered, I just want you to care for them, as the words of James continued ringing in my ears.

Me: But we need a bigger house.
God: I want you to care for them.

Me: But we’re going to need a bigger car.
God: I want you to care for them.

Me: But no one will invite us to go anywhere.
God: I want you to care for them.

Me: But what about college.
God: I didn’t ask you to pay their admission to Stanford; I just want you to care for them now.

This conversation occurred over and over. And as quickly as an excuse came into my mind, I would picture the face of an orphan, imagine looking them in the eyes, and saying, “I’m sorry I can’t care for you yet, just wait until we get a bigger house first.”

And finally one day it hit me.

I can make them food (A little extra beans & rice wasn’t going to break the bank, and it certainly wouldn’t take up anymore of my time. They’re already cooking on the stove.)
I can give them shelter (We do have space- not a lot, but we could manage, plus it’s probably more than they have now).
I can take them to the park (I’m going anyway!)
I CAN care for them.

I could love them, if I was willing.
Was I?

I wrestled with that question for a few weeks before finally sharing it with Filipe last May. Of course, his first reaction was, “Yeah, let’s do it”!. I had always felt like I was the one holding us back in this area. Probably because it affects so much of my day-to-day life here at home.

I spent much of the summer processing it all internally. From managing our daily life at home to my emotional capacity to handle the needs of five kids (not to mention two with deeper issues that may need tending to). Then I read Katie Davis’s book, Kisses from Katie and a sense of urgency grew inside of me.

So, last July Filipe and I began looking at agencies together (I had already done a considerable amount of research). I thought making the decision would be a two-week process. It took nearly five months. But those five months only strengthened our desire and our clarity. Best of all, it allowed us to start the process with more confidence with the two agencies we are working with (one on the American side, the other on the Brazil side).

There are still a lot of unanswered questions, and unexpected issues may arise, but we’ve committed to one thing, and that’s to care for them. Those are the words keep me focused.

Care for them.

Right now the process seems daunting, the money seems out of reach, but I’m believing that God has called us and He will get us through it. I look at it as necessary steps to be able to care for those He’s asked us to. No amount of paperwork, or money, or government compliances will convince me that it’s not worth tackling to finally look these children in the eyes one day and say to them, “I will care for you”.

Mandy

 

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  • We are so excited for you guys! You are such awesome parents, and I know that you will care greatly for any other children you’re gifted with! Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  • Stacie Wood

    Tugs on my heart…