Sunday, December 30, 2007

Application Has Been Sent!

Today we finished gathering all the info AWAA requests for application to adopt through their agency. I filled the app. out on-line and it has been submitted! That's step 2 of 1,000,000 steps to Aria (well, not really - but it feels like it.) - C

P.S. Billy was a real trooper as he gathered all the finance info for the application. He's the best!

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Beginning of the Story

A little over a year ago I was corresponding with a mom (J. Portis) of 3 biological children, one Chinese son, and 2 Ethiopian girls on the way (http://www.portis.org/). She was just a couple of months away from traveling to Africa to bring her girls home. As I shared this family's story with my dear friend Cristie Martine the Lord completely surprised me with an overwhelming sense that I too was called to adopt from Ethiopia. I had only been home with my Chinese princess for a few months and had not once thought about adopting again. And in an instant that changed!

I shared this new desire with my husband the next day. It was quite overwhelming for him to even think about taking on another adoption journey. So I put the thought away for a while until I felt like it was appropriate to talk about it again. Several months later I started conversation again about adopting from Ethiopia. It was obvious that he still was not ready and I found myself walking that fine line of being honest about my desires and yet not putting pressure on him to do something he wasn't ready to do. It was clear to me that this would have to be a work of God. I had already been praying over the matter. Now it was time to pray more.

In May 2007 we discussed adopting once again. After that conversation we decided to wait until the end of the summer to make any definite plans. It seemed like Billy was starting to come around. This was also the month that I gave Aria a name. After a little research I came across the name "Aria" which I already knew was a Latin word for "song" (which was cool b/c "Song" is Libby's middle name). But I also discovered that "Aria" means "lioness of God" in Hebrew and since Aria will be from lion territory I thought it was the perfect name. Hope just seemed like perfect middle name for an adopted girl. She will definitely be given an abundance of that! So, that's her name story.

I waited all summer before I seriously brought up the adoption subject again. No go. Still not the right time, apparently. I just decided to lay low for a while to see what God might do. Billy was soon headed on a fly-fishing trip so I began to ask the Lord to give him dreams/visions that confirmed it was time to adopt again. After he returned from his trip with no such confirmations I felt discouraged.

I kept praying for the dreams to be given and several days after Billy returned home from his trip he shared the most wonderful information with me! The night before Billy slept upstairs with Libby b/c she was having a rough night. He woke up at some point in the night and could see Libby laying there, but he was frantically looking for our other child. He said he started to panic because he couldn't find her and that he must have been dreaming about having another child before he woke up.

I told him how I had been praying and he agreed this was a dream given by God. You see, he had NEVER shared any dream with me in our 8 years of marriage prior to that day and it was exactly the kind of dream I was asking the Lord to give him.

However - Billy still struggled and just felt that he needed more time. To his defense I will say that we were making some other big decisions at that time concerning our ministry and it was all a lot to take in while traveling and taking care of a toddler.

So - I was quiet about it for a couple more months until one day this month Billy asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I listed 3 items - boots, a pewter platter, and a baby from Ethiopia. He told me to write them down for him and I took that to mean he was cooking up a special surprise for Christmas day...

Of course - I totally set myself up thinking that Billy would say to move forward with the adoption as a Christmas gift. As I opened my gifts from him I really did love the gifts, but there was nothing in those boxes saying we could adopt. I was crushed inside and had to hide it. UGH! The day proceeded and nothing was said about adoption. After Libby went to bed Billy said, "I'm sure it would have made your day for me to give you the go ahead to adopt, but I just couldn't do it." It must have been on his mind all day that he had disappointed me. I immediately told him "if you're not ready, you're not ready," trying to take the weight of that off him. Nothing more was said.

That night everyone else went to sleep while I took a bath and cried out to the Lord - truly sobbed! I knew now more than ever that I was ready to move forward and I desired to adopt another baby girl. But I also knew that Billy was obviously not at peace about it. I was determined to pray more and trust God with what He had put in me - the Spirit of Adoption I have come to know so well.

The day after Christmas we returned to San Antonio and after Libby went to sleep I started taking down the Christmas tree. Somehow adoption came up again - I can't remember how. But I felt the freedom then to express to Billy in a short/simple way that adopting again was truly important to me as I have realized how much I LOVE being a mom and I desired for Libby to have a sibling. He shared a little too and then that was the end of it.

I went to bed that night completely certain that it would be MONTHS (AT LEAST!) before Billy would feel any different. And I was asking the Lord to take away my desires if this was not His will for our family.

The next day, Thursday the 27th., we checked the mail and I gathered all the Christmas cards to read for myself. I opened one from a couple who lives in Villa Rica, GA. Billy and I led worship there one weekend in Oct. I'm really, really bad at remembering names and faces from week to week so I didn't recognize the name on the card. When I opened it the couple had written inside, "Hope to hear good news from you soon" and there was a check inside made out to the Foote Family. I sat there trying to think of what they were writing about and they only thing that I could come up with was that I spoke with this family about my desire to adopt from Ethiopia. I was nervous about showing it to Billy bc I didn't want him to feel bad about not wanting to adopt. But when I shared the card with Billy he was really sweet about it and said it was okay that I talked about it with this couple and he told me not to worry about it. I was relieved that he wasn't sad or upset but I also wanted to cry bc this sweet card was a reminder to me from the Lord that adopting was His will - in His time. The day went on as usual after that.

Until....We headed for Red Robin for some dinner later that afternoon and pulled into the parking lot at 4:45 when Billy, out of the blue, sweetly and calmly said, "well, Cindy, I think we should move forward with adopting from Ethiopia". WHAT!!!!!!! I was in complete shock - as in - speechless! I had tears in my eyes immediately, but at this point I couldn't believe what I was hearing! I calmly said - "I could really, really cry right now, but first I need to know where that came from. That was the last thing I expected you to say today." He said, "I haven't been able to stop thinking about it over the last few days and I also can't ignore what Scripture has to say about rescuing orphans. But mostly, I know it will make you happy and I want to make you happy." I still wasn't sure how to take those words. I needed to make SURE that he was really okay with this decision and that he wasn't just doing what I wanted to do. Besides, while adopting again would make me happy - I am already happy - happy with him, with Libby, with all the Lord has given me.

He assured me he was ready. To be REALLY sure I said to him, "It's almost 5pm. I'm not going to call anyone or fill out any application to AWAA for the next 24 hours. No one will know we had this discussion. You have 24 hours to change your mind. At 5pm tomorrow, if you're still sure about this, we'll move forward.

That night we talked about all that adoption entails and we talked about how careful we need to be financially bc of the changes we are making in our ministry/job and the adoption is definitely expensive. I found myself forgetting that God has always provided for us - the enemy is so quick to put doubt in our hearts. But when I walked down stairs the Christmas card from Villa Rica was sitting open and the check stared me in the face. The Lord was quick to point out to me, at that moment, that the very card that prompted Billy's heart to make the decision to adopt was also a reminder of God's amazing provision! Worry, worry, Go away - don't come back any other day!!!! Nothing is too difficult for my Father!

At 5pm Dec. 28, 2007 our journey took it's first major step to finding Aria! We began gathering all the information we need to fill out an application to America World Adoption Association (http://www.awaa.org/). Paper Pregnancy here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aria, you are my little Ethiopian Princess and I can't wait to bring you home!!!!!!!!!!!!!