I’ve been reflecting the last couple days on our journey this past year.  It was one year ago at the beginning of September that I first started thinking about the possibility of our next child coming into our family through adoption.  Peter and I talked and prayed about it for several weeks.  Toward the end of September we read There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene (which I highly recommend) and by the first part of October we decided to pursue an adoption from Ethiopia. 

But because of the teenyness (I’m sure it’s a word!) of our house at the time, we knew we needed to expand our living area for our homestudy to be approved.  So we punched through this kitchen wall:



And turned this:



Into this:



In as short amount of time as possible!

The space used to be a shop/garage adjacent to our house and we remodeled it into a living/dining room to free up square footage for additional bedrooms in the main part of the house.  It worked out really well and I love the way it turned out (and upstairs, too) — but, whew! it was a lot of work that we squeezed into five little months.  We certainly had strong motivation to get it finished!  It was kind of a messy time of our lives, since we were living in the house while the construction was taking place.  I’m sure those of you that have built/remodeled can relate to the crazy mess and the strange way things seem to get worse and worse and then all of a sudden start looking better! I sort of gave up trying to keep things clean and just covered everything with plastic.   At the end of the fourth month when we started the upstairs construction, I finally had enough of the craziness and we moved into my parent’s for several weeks.  Looking back, I think we should have moved out sooner.  Peter tried to talk me into it, but I reasoned that we would get done faster if we could put Jo to bed and keep working late at night… so we did.   It was actually a special time of our lives — one I’ll look back on fondly, I’m sure.   It was “bonding” (to say the least! 🙂 ) And I can add “drywall experience” to my resume!

Anyway, after that hurdle, our homestudy was approved and we then went through several country and agency changes until we felt led to Liberia. We had a picture of a baby from one of the agencies and were told she was our referral, but things were very questionable and we made the difficult decision to step out of the process and release the baby due to our uneasiness about it.  We were then disqualified from the next agency after we were in the program due to a new guideline.  It was very obvious that doors were shutting; so we followed the open ones… that led us to AoH.  The funny thing is: back in October of last year while researching countries and agencies, I spent some time reading and praying about Acres and Liberia… but we didn’t pursue it at that time.  God had a road He wanted us to walk down first because He knew there were some things we needed to learn before ending up right back at the beginning.  

We would have never guessed last year where our adoption journey was going to lead us.  I don’t think we realized at the beginning just how life-changing this process would be — in so many more ways than joining a child’s life to ours.  It has been deeply challenging, heart-wrenching at times and full of awakening…  It has expanded what we thought we were “capable” of and given us a tremendous opportunity to step out in faith.  It has shaken us and challenged us to look at our lives and evaluate what is really important and what is worth our passion.  It’s triggered some radical shifts in our perspective and awareness.  We have been inspired to read and research like crazy and educate ourselves on the plight of the “fatherless and widows” worldwide and our responsibilities to care for them.  It has prompted us to become advocates not only for Henry, but for the millions worldwide like him.  It has deepened a sense of global responsibility that is heavy at times.  We are as sure as we’ve ever been that we are right where God wants us, doing exactly what He wants for this season (and that alone is priceless!) and we are dedicated to following Him wherever He leads in the future. 

I’ve also been privileged to meet some incredible people through this adoption.  It has been an huge, unexpected gift to look beside me and find so many others on the journey as well — others that have inspired and challenged me… and who have become dear friends.  What an added blessing!  Thank you Lord!