When I was in 8th grade I took a class where we had a parenting project that consisted of having "egg babies". We had to care for these egg babies for a week and treat them like they were our own little children. There were people in the class who left their babies in their lockers, who lost their babies, who pawned them off on their friends. Then there were some of us who dreamed of our future families and embraced the idea of playing Mommy even though it was just a project. Some of my friends were so excited about the project that they had "twins" and even "triplets". Then there was me...I had sextuplets. Yep. SIX babies. I remember caring for those little stinky eggs like they were my own babies. I also remember at the end of the week we turned our eggs in. I don't know what I thought my teacher was going to do with them but I soon got wind that she was going to just throw them away. I was heartbroken. I ran from my bus line back to my class to try to catch her but she'd already gotten rid of them. I'm not sure what I thought I would do with them. I couldn't have kept them for long without my own Mother making me get rid of them. I just knew that my heart was breaking for the loss of my babies.
Silly story, I know. But my point is that I've always wanted to be a Mother and not only that but a Mother to many. I don't know why but I always wanted a large family. I had dreams of being a famous actress someday, I studied Japanese, I thought I would go to law school and become a judge. But when it came right down to it, I knew my biggest calling was to be a Mom. I was married in January of 1994 at the age of 20 and by that August we were expecting our first child. It was unexpected but we were both thrilled and just 9 months after Madilee came along we were expecting again. Elijah was born in August of 1996 and we were a happy young family. Brad was done having kids, we had a boy and a girl and they were healthy and beautiful. I of course wanted to have more. After lots of discussing we decided to have just one more child and in June of 2000 we welcomed our little Y2K baby Sadie. I was going to have my tubes tied after she was born but had some serious health issues while I was pregnant with her and so at the last minute because of some concerns of me going under anesthesia Brad suggested that he'd just get fixed. He did. But not until after Teagan arrived in 2002.
Over the years it's been a big joke that we would have more kids by now if Brad hadn't had the surgery. It's no secret that I'd love to have more children. I've felt in my heart for a long time that someone was missing from our family. I've researched vasectomy reversals. (Too expensive.) I've prayed that Brad's vasectomy would fail. (It's not gonna happen.) One thing I've never really thought about is adoption. Why would we adopt if we can have babies ourselves? That makes no sense.
Then about a year ago my brother-in-law and his wife adopted two beautiful baby boys. I was able to see the absolute joy that these children brought to our family. My selfish thoughts of "how could a family love a child who wasn't biologically theirs" were totally smashed. These boys ARE our family. Their biological Mother was unable to care for them and they were able to join a family with a Mom and Dad who had prayed for them for many many years. Still, being around them didn't have me yearning to adopt. Shortly after that I found out that a friend from church was going to adopt a child from Rwanda. Whoa. Scary! I thought it was a great thing that they were doing but that was so not for me. Little did I know, the seed that had been planted long ago was starting to sprout.
A few months ago while having a discussion with Brad he asked if I really wanted more children. I told him I did and he said, "Maybe we should adopt." What?! Are you kidding me? First of all...who are you and what have you done with my husband? The fact that I knew we would NOT be having more children kept me safe in asking for more because when I really thought long and hard about how that would affect our family I wasn't sure it was the right thing to do. Now if he's on the bandwagon too things were going to have to change. I couldn't be selfish anymore and get everything I wanted if we were going to add to our family. That made me pretty uncomfortable.
We decided we would pray about it and just see what happens. Initially I thought that perhaps we would adopt a newborn from the US. That would be easy enough right? But the more I've prayed about it, the more I am being led to adopt internationally. I've followed the stories of the two families in my church who are currently adopting from Ethiopia and Rwanda and my heart is being pulled to adopt a child from Rwanda. If I sit and think about it too much I get pretty overwhelmed with the idea. So I pray. And then I am overcome with a feeling of peace in my decision. This past weekend I woke up just knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was to pursue this. I don't know how it will all end up. I have no idea if in the end we will add a child from Rwanda or anywhere else to our family. I think we will but I know that sometimes God puts things on our heart to lead us in a direction that will take us somewhere completely different.
So for now I continue to pray and have faith. Francis Chan, author of "Crazy Love" says, "Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy." I'd say that we are going to get a whole lotta "are you guys crazy?!" Know what though? I'd rather have people think I was crazy then to be disobedient to something He is calling me to do.