Sometimes when God wants to show us something big or teach us something new that we may not be ready for He brings us along one tiny step at a time. That's what he has been doing for Chris and I.
Let me tell you about my sweet husband. He takes providing for his family very seriously. He is a wonderful husband and father. When he met me he got a package deal and I have been so amazed at how he so easily transitioned from being the neat, clean, routine, all alone, single guy to a never gets a moment alone husband with a crazy wife, a wacky daughter and 2 weird dogs. He has handled it all so well and 3 and a half years into our marriage I'm still kinda amazed by it. A lesser man would have run for the hills a long time ago.
About a year ago we decided to become foster parents. This was after finding out we couldn't get pregnant, grieving over that for a while, looking into all our options including fertility treatments, domestic infant adoption and international infant or toddler adoption. But being very practical my husband voted no on those ideas and being kinda practical I agreed. We knew the need for more foster parents was great. We prayed alot about this because we knew that the goal for foster kids is to be reunited with their parents. But we also knew that some kids end up being available for adoption. So we decided to go that route. We thought we could love on and minister to children and eventually one or two might get to stay and become a part of our family permanently. It was the safe, practical choice. We went through the whole process. We took the 10 week class. We filled out mounds of paperwork. We started the home study. We planned on taking in a baby or toddler. We bought a crib and lots of other baby stuff. Then something happened and our foster care plan got put on hold. Maybe in a year or 2. But not right now. God has another plan. But we did not waste our time. We learned so much. The foster parent class was invaluable and we can re-join the program later.
I asked Chris if he would write about our hosting experience:
A lot has changed up to this point with us adopting Andriy. I can remember anticipating Christmas. How excited I was. My wife and I had no plans to host an orphan during Christmas. We never even discussed it. Everything was normal.
Once we found out there was no back up family to host Andriy my daughter came to talk to me about hosting him. Then my wife and I discussed it. We had to give our decision right away, either yes or no. We said yes not knowing what to expect.
Well it was an amazing experience. It was the most fun month we've had as a family I think. Andriy has a great personality and kept us laughing. We did so many fun things together and we really wanted him to experience Christmas from our Christian perspective.
God provided everything we would need to host Andriy: Time, space, money just to name a few. He did not want to go back to Ukraine when it came time. He begged us to adopt him and not let him go. We could not say we wanted to adopt him though as that is one of the rules. So it was very hard. He didn't think we understood what he was telling us, because he would tell us again every day.
Well we got him and the other orphans off to Ukraine at the airport mid January. I think that afternoon we knew we had to adopt him. We knew he was going to be our son some day. We wish it was now to be honest.
It's a strange thing to think life was normal before he arrived to stay with us in December. Now with him gone our home feels incomplete. Not normal. We so look forward to the day we can go get our boy and bring him home for good. Hopefully this summer. This is a once in a lifetime journey for my wife and I. And to think God gave us Andriy is an absolute blessing. Entrusting us with his life and future needs is a huge gift. To actually live out God's will for Andriy's life is amazing. We are just so excited to be doing this. We thank you so much for all the help and prayers and support we have received. It is all going towards rescuing this one little boy to bring him home for good and be in our family.
So we have come full circle in a way. From the beginning of our marriage we knew we wanted more kids. We went from wanting so much to get pregnant, to grieving together very early in our relationship when we found out we could not, exploring all our options, choosing one, following through and doing everything required so that could happen. Then this 14 year old boy walks in and changes everything. I just don't know how we weathered going through all that in such a short amount of time, but by God's grace we did. I am amazed how God has protected our marriage and made it even stronger with all that we've been through already. As all this was going on it seemed like chaos was going on all around us and some even to us (struggles for our teen daughter w/ learning disabilities, death of a close family member, tornado hitting our house and a divorce in the family are just a few).
We've learned alot about how to protect our marriage when the struggles and heartaches come. Praying together and for each other, recognizing the spiritual attacks when they come, trusting each other, carving out time just for the two of us, staying connected, talking (not yelling) through the misunderstandings, learning to parent as a team & making decisions about money together. We've both seen other couples who have gone through this stuff and given up. We've seen some go through it and come out stronger. That's the kind of marriage we strive to have. And by the grace of God we will.
God has been teaching us so much in our short time together. We can honestly say that we are so thankful that we met each other in the 2nd half of our 30's. We both know we would have made a mess of things if we had met when much younger. We have seen enough bad examples to know what we don't want our marriage to look like. We have had enough good examples to know what we do want our marriage to be like. We cherish each other and never want to take each other for granted.
I didn't set out for this post to be about our marriage. It just kind of happened. I guess that's appropriate for today. It's Valentines Day. A day I used to resent but I would go through the day with a smile on my face anyway. I would try to be happy for all the people who were in love, but inside I was pretty lonely. Now I get it. It's not about getting love, it's about giving it.
I feel so incredibly blessed to be going through this life with Chris. He was totally worth the long wait. I can't imagine life without him now. It's a privilege to go through life, parenting and now adoption by his side. Just as I know God prepared him all those years to be my husband and Danielle's Daddy I know that God is preparing us to be Andriy's parents.
So Happy Valentine's Day Sweetheart. I love you. Thank you for going on this adventure with me. Thank you for desiring God's will in your life and following His call to adopt along with me.