"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Calling

This post may be long, but I want to remember these details forever.

I have always had a huge desire in my heart to have a little girl....ALWAYS. I love pink, love bows, and love anything girly. I always dreamed of having a daughter that Joel would walk down the aisle one day. But, God has BLESSED us with three incredible boys that I love with all of my heart. I am so thankful for his blessings and I am overjoyed. But, the desire to have a daughter remains so strong.

Joel has talked about adopting. It just never seemed like something I wanted to do. It was too much out of my comfort zone. After Elliot was born, we both knew we were done having children. I have no desire to be pregnant again. But, the desire to have a daughter still remained so strong. I couldn't get past this tugging on my heart. I kept praying, "Lord, please give me peace with being the mother of three boys." The peace didn't come. Joel again brought up adoption. At that point, I agreed, but still not there. So, I got on some websites and requested some information. Then, I received it in the mail and started looking through it. So completely overwhelming...the cost, the wait period, realizing I am going to have to fly overseas (I HATE flying)....I can't do this. So, I tossed the packet aside and decided not to tell Joel I was not going to do it. I was hoping he would forget! I was happy with the way our family was, happy that we are now debt free, happy that we can travel and maybe buy some fun things for ourselves. How much fun would that be to be able to actually go shopping and be able to buy myself some super cute outfits or buy some new furniture for the house, or even have some sort of savings account. I was comfortable. I closed the door.

Well, God had a different plan. The tugging on my heart continued until one day, I was reading a blog (of someone I don't know, just randomly read her blog everyday) and she posted this.
I fell on my knees....sobbing. "... once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act."(Proverbs 24:12) God called me at that moment...that exact moment. It was clear. We are going to adopt a child!! A daughter!!! "Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart."(Psalms 37:4) I commented on the girl's blog I was reading and this sweet woman commented back on my blog. She encouraged me to go through with this calling. I had no doubt in my mind that this was from God, but I was terrified of the journey that lie ahead...scared of the unknown. So fearful of stepping out. She stated that our comfort zones are often our prison cells...so true!!

I had no idea where this little girl would come from. There are so many options. I prayed...we both prayed. There are 147 million orphans in the world and she could come from anywhere. We wanted to make sure we made the right choice. I struggled over the decisions...weighed all our options. Well, if you are a blogger, you know how you get caught up in the blog world. You stumble upon someone's blog, then you stumble upon someone elses blog...etc., etc. After awhile, you know everything about people's lives that you have never even met. On the previous stated blog I saw the most precious face of a little girl named Lucy Lane.What a precious face!!! She was adopted from Ethiopia. I went to her blog and I knew right then and there that this was where our little girl would come from. I was shocked and saddened to read some facts about Ethiopia:
*there are approximately 5 million orphans in a country less than twice the size of the state of Texas.
*Between 60-150 million kids live on the streets
*One in six children die before their fifth birthday.
*One in ten children die before their first birthday.
*Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school; 88% will never attend secondary school
*In the 1980's one million Ethiopians died of starvation
*Some areas still practice female circumcision
*82% of the population survives on less than 1 dollar a day
*Only 24% of households have access to safe drinking water
*Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000
*Children and family are honored above all else
*1 in 3 people are HIV+, the average life expectancy is 37
Also, from Lucy Lane's blog, I found the adoption agency I wanted to use (All God's Children International). They have an incredible orphanage called Hannah's Hope that our little girl will be well taken care of while she waits to be taken to her final home...our home.

We are so excited for this incredible calling on our lives. We are confident that this is all an act of God. He placed the desire in my heart to have a daughter, he gave us three incredible sons, he put the desire to adopt in my husband's heart, he then called me to adopt. This is not something that we are doing on a whim, something we thought would just be fun. We have been very prayerful about this decision. God has been working on our hearts and preparing us for this journey for a long time. I know that it is going to be a long journey, but I am so ready for what God has in store. Thank you Lord for calling me to do such an amazing thing.

Please pray for our journey. Pray for our little girl (she is not even born yet). Pray for it to not be a burden financially. Pray for me not to nearly vomit everytime I think about being on an airplane for 18 hours. Just pray.....and if you any question on why we would do this, just watch this.

Our eyes have been opened. We cannot stand here and do nothing. We are called to save a child from this, to give her a life, to give her three big brothers, a mom and dad, 4 incredible grandparents, 9 awesome cousins, 9 aunts and uncles, 2 godparents, and even 4 great-grandparents. Also, we will raise her in home that loves the Lord.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."John 14:18

"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed." Psalms 82:3

At the end of my life, it will not matter how much stuff I have accumulated, how big my house is, or how comfortable I am. How meaningful is all of the "stuff". To me? Not at all. I will have saved a little girl's life. She will be a part of a family. She will be loved by many.

Our prayer journey has already begun, the adoption process will start next Spring. We will hopefully bring her home Spring 2011. Elliot will be about 2 years old by that point. She will be 6-12 months old. For now, we will call her "Annie" which has been my girl name through all of my pregnancies. It may change, but for now, that is her name. If you have any questions about the process we will be going through, go to www.allgodschildren.org.



Rachel H said...

So well-written, Erica. You know we are thrilled for you all and are already praying for Annie's birth mother as she carries your daughter through her pregnancy. We can't wait to follow you through this journey and welcome Annie home!

vdshellito said...

Erica-I am speechless. You and Joel are the most incredible people I know. I can't think of two people on this earth that could bring more love to this little girls world. I kill keep you both in my prayers through this process. Remember if you have any question my firend Kelley who is on my blog adopted and little girl Emily from China and I am sure she would be glad to talk to you about any questions or fears you might have. God bless you both! Oh, love the name by the way!!

Stephanie and Jeff Stovall said...

Erica, what an amazing story. Your family is such an inspiration. From the moment I read your blog to watching that video, tears were steadily streaming. I wish your family the best of luck, full of prayers! You are giving this special baby girl a world of opportunity and love she may have never otherwise had. What a blessing! Please keep us updated!!!

Lainey-Paney said...

there is another blogger...a mom of all girls, who just started the process of adoption from Uganda...
She just got back from meeting him for the first time.

What a wonderful addition this new child will be for your family...I'm sure of it!

Hannah said...

God is so good! I am so excited for all of you. I just love how God is so persistent, and how He prepares our hearts to accept His will. We will be in prayer for you and for Annie, and all of the orphaned children across the world.

The Morgan Family said...

I've got tears in my eyes! What a story! We all look forward to and celebrating this adoption process with you! And we will pray alongside you too! Blessings!

Greg C said...

Erica, "WOW" doesn't really cut it, but Michelle and I are excited for you and Joel beyond words!!! We are extremely partial to little girls, so i can promise you that "Annie" will absolutely bless your entire family! Prayers are underway. Your brother-n-Christ.

Justin said...

Erica, that is so exciting! Thanks for sharing your heart We really need to catch up with ya'll. We have started the process to become foster parents, and we are hoping that one of our foster placements will turn into an adoption. It is so interesting to me how the call to adoption can look so different for families, yet the heart is the same.

Leslie Pruitt said...

Well, the only problem I see is that you are going to have to change your blog name!!! I loved reading your post. I started to watch the video, and had to stop....maybe later. I remember talking about the name Annie way back when you and I were pregnant w/ our firsts. I love that you are finally getting to use it.

Sandi said...

Brings me to tears! Can't wait to see beautiful little Annie!

Brandie said...

This is so incredible! I would love to become a foster parent but Jason isn't having it. It's neat to see that transformation you went through, with much prayer. Thank you for sharing your story and I look forward to following this journey with you.

Dionne Fawcett said...

Wow, Erica! This moved me to tears. I think it is beautiful and wonderful that ya'll are going to share your love with a child that desperately needs it. My mom happened to forward this to me this morning...strangely enough I had a dream last night and Joel & Jeremy were in it - and that was definitely out of the ordinary. It's like your family was already moving onto my heart! You all will be in my prayers and I am in complete awe!

PointerFamily said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm so excited for you and the entire family!

Chuie Wu family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Haley Kim said...

I just read this and I am beyond words... what an incredible journey you have been on... one that is not yet over. Yes, God is so good... Good luck and you, Joel, the boys, and ANNIE will always be in my prayers.