I Never Wanted to Adopt, But…

“I’m so glad I have a mommy and a daddy,” my oldest said from the back of the car.

“Me too, Baby.”

“I’m so glad that I have a place to live and food to eat.”

“Yep,” I mumbled, trying to make a mental note to not forget the dishwasher detergent at the grocery store.

“I’m so glad I don’t have to live in one of those places with all the cribs and the wood and no mommy and daddy.”

Wait. What?

I don’t know whether she’d seen me looking at pictures my cousin posted from an orphanage overseas where they adopted or if she heard me talking about it on the phone, but clearly she remembered.

And God used her words move my heart toward adoption.

Adoption is something we’ve talked about in our family for years. But, our talks were mostly my husband saying, “I want to do this so bad,” and me stretching my arms out saying, “NOOOOOOO! THAT’S NOT FOR MEEEEEEEEE.”

Of course I’ve always thought adoption is a beautiful thing.

Paul Wessel, former SWAT guy, current doting grandfather, and all around wonderful man, adopted me back when I was a bratty little five-year-old who really needed a good daddy. You’d think that being adopted by Superman, and later by God Himself (Galatians 4:5–7, Romans 9:8, John 1:12, 1 John 3:1, Romans 8:14–19, Psalm 27:10, Galatians 3:26, John 1:13, Ephesians 1:1–23) would compel me to at least be open to adopting an orphan into my family. But, see, I am very talented at shielding myself from uncomfortable things.

So, Brandon has wanted to adopt for a long time, and I’ve been resistant. In the past five years, I’ve had a baby rupture an internal organ nearly killing me. I also had another scary pregnancy that doctors thought might be a cancerous tumor (it wasn’t). Then, I had the world’s worst pregnancy with my Brooklyn. It was way worse than your pregnancy was. Cross my heart. :) So, until this past spring, I felt like I was still in childbearing recovery mode.

In fact, I got so tired of Brandon talking about adoption that last September I said, “Please don’t bring this up for one year.”

Brandon’s great, so he really didn’t. He just put a note on his checklist for September 2016 to try to bring it up again.

But, God loves Brandon and God loves orphans and God is powerful enough to soften hard hearts.

Leading up to this conversation in the car with Ever, I was beginning to get creeped out about how many adoptive mothers were being put in my path like chess pieces in yoga pants. It was unnerving. Every woman I met, talked to, or brushed past going to and from the grocery store and ballet classes and soccer and church, had either adopted, was in the process of adoption, or was thinking (and talking) about adoption.

Then, this car conversation happened.

I responded the way I normally do.

“You know, Ever, it’s a really beautiful thing when a family has what they need to be able to adopt and give a child a family. It’s just like the Gospel. God adopted us into His family, making us His sons and daughters so that we can live in His house and be with Him forever…”

I imagine God looked down at my silver Sentra rolling over the speed bumps and smiled as He snapped his fingers and exploded my heart. That’s the only way I can describe it. He snapped His fingers and my heart exploded. I couldn’t stop crying.

God moved mountains to pluck me out of hopelessness and make me His daughter. God adjusted His life in awesome ways to adopt me and give me “joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8).” In that moment, God moved in my heart to want to give an orphan a home and a family and a chance to hear the hope of Jesus.

I called Brandon as I drove our girls in the car and I told him everything. He cried. I cried.

We started the long adoption process the next day.

That was several months, several challenges, and several more tears ago, but we finished the first major phase in the process this week. I’m sure I’ll share more in the future, but now we start waiting for China to give us their approval to adopt a little girl from their country, and we keep praying God will send us the girl He wants us to love.

We are filled with hope.

The day we decided to pursue this, we were standing in the kitchen and Brandon said, “What would we name her?”

Before I even had the chance to give it a thought, he said, “How about Joy?”

Yep. Joy it is.