I will never forget walking into the school that day. I looked around at hundreds of beautiful little brown faces. That’s when my heart started racing as I looked into this one pair of eyes. I knew these eyes. They were Vivek’s. My soul began to leap with joy and tears immediately welled up in my eyes. I just couldn’t believe it was him. I called to Steve across the room and pointed. I didn’t even need to use words. Steve recognized him too. We just hugged him and sat down beside him. He showed us his classroom, his desk and his drawings. We were so proud of him. I never could have imagined that we could share such a deep love for this little boy – a boy in another country, a boy we had never met before. It was then that God showed us how easily we could love a child who was not from my womb.
In the summer of 2007 my husband Steve and I were on a missions trip in India. Up until this trip my only connection with India was the picture of the little boy that hung on my refrigerator. His name is Vivek. He is the boy that we sponsor. The village where he lives was nowhere near any of the areas we were planning on visiting. But through a series of unplanned events our itinerary was drastically changed. We suddenly found ourselves heading right into the hometown of our sponsored boy. I was so moved when we got to meet him. God provided us with such a wonderful surprise.
Our adoption story begins with a stirring. It’s that feeling you get deep in the pit of your heart that doesn’t go away no matter how hard you try to dismiss it. This stirring led us to sponsor a child whose family could never afford to send him to school. This stirring led us to the country of India to add value to a forgotten people. This stirring is now leading us to the orphanages of Russia. We’ve already experienced the deep satisfaction and joy that comes from responding to this stirring. We desire to respond again.
A few years earlier Steve and I were flipping through the TV channels when we stumbled upon a special news report on human trafficking in Eastern Europe. I know that human trafficking goes on all around the world including the United States, but the documentary we happened to see was all about Russia. The film talked about how many of the children involved in the trafficking came out of orphanages or off the streets; children who were left without a home or a family.
I remember Steve and I sitting on the couch in tears, unsure of our emotions – we were angered by the injustice, saddened by the evil that people could come up with and frustrated that we couldn’t fix it all. It was at that moment that God put in our hearts a desire for justice for the children whose lives were being stolen by greed and evil. But, what could we do? We were just a young married couple, sitting on our couch in the middle of Akron, Ohio. The problem seemed so large. So, we began to pray and wait for God to show us what to do with these stirrings.
Steve and I have been married for a little over 6 years. About a year into our marriage, we learned that having a child biologically would be very difficult. We tried to conceive on our own for several years before we decided to see a reproductive specialist. After 9 months of grueling treatments and a constant wave of up and down emotions we were given the good news that we had finally gotten pregnant. We would soon learn the doctor made an error and informed us that the pregnancy he declared just a few hours earlier was not a pregnancy at all. This was the last straw for our frail emotions so we made the decision to take a break from the medical route towards parenthood. So again, we began to cry out to God and wait for Him to show us what to do.
Amidst our pain we just couldn’t shake this stirring that God had placed in our hearts for loving children like those in the news report from Russia. We had been a part of efforts to bring awareness of child trafficking and injustices into our community, but we just felt like we needed to do more. This led us to sponsoring little Vivek. After meeting him, the stirring only intensified.
When we got home from India, we began to seriously look into international adoption. We saw first hand how we can have an impact on children overseas. Our experiences in India coupled with the images of that news story about Russian children continued to bounce around in our hearts and minds. After some research, we were met with our first roadblock – a $40,000 price tag to adopt from Russia. How in the world could we come up with that kind of money? We continued to pray. $40,000 is a daunting number, but we continued to feel that our heart’s desire for a child, especially an orphan in need of loving parents, would not be discouraged by any roadblocks.
We decided to video tape our story and put in on a DVD and on a newly created blog. We sent the DVDs out to friends and family, asking them to journey with us through their prayers and/or financial support. We didn’t really know what to expect. But in the weeks following, we were blown away by the response. Everyone who got a DVD showered us with encouragement. Others discovered our story through word of mouth or by stumbling across our blog. They too felt the stirring and began supporting us financially. Money began to come in from all over the world; from Akron, to Ireland to the Middle East; from high school students to friends and family members. It has been amazing. While we still have a long way to go ($25,000 more), we are so encouraged by how many are in our corner and suddenly that $40,000 roadblock doesn’t seem so daunting anymore.
When I shared with a close friend about our decision to pursue international adoption she came up with an idea. She took me on a “remembrance journey” – a marking of sorts to help bring closure to my shattered dream of having a biological child. It was through this journey I realized that our infertility is not a curse or an injustice on my life. Instead, it is an opportunity for us to be a part of bringing justice to a child’s life – giving a father to the fatherless, love to the “unlovable”.
What Steve and I have realized is that our “dream” of having a biological child needed to be broken in order for us to see God’s bigger dream for our lives – a dream that includes international adoption. There is nothing more that we could desire. He is truly giving us the desires of our heart through this whole process. God is allowing us as a couple to experience the deep love we have for a child we do not even know yet; a child who has already won our hearts and brought us great joy as we wait to finally bring him home, into our arms.
We have followed God’s stirring and this is where we are now. We know God’s heart beats for orphans and He will give us the money and the opportunity to have an impact on one of them. So again, we pray and wait.