Monday, January 23, 2012

Adoption Update: The First Step - 1.1.2012

“Doth not he see my ways and count all my steps?” –Job 31:4

We hear the encouragement of our pastor almost weekly to take “steps in our faith” during his Sunday morning sermons.  Sometimes he takes baby steps behind the pulpit to illustrate, and sometimes he makes great, dramatic strides as he shares the truth in God’s word.  Charlie and I hang on every mention of such “leaps in faith” as we encounter the task we believe the Lord has set before us this year: To adopt. 
The process begins February 4th and could likely take up to a year before any children are placed in our home. However, it could also be as little as a few months and the whole legal process could be completed before the end of the year. Either way, may God’s will be done.
We are adopting through the foster care system and do not know who or how old the children are that the Lord will bring in to our lives (we must complete licensing classes, pass home visits, meet with social workers, review case files….before we even meet any children). , but we are praying for his protection, guidance, and wisdom.  We know our family and friends will have fears and concerns about “the dangers” of taking in children with rough backgrounds, but we are not going in to this blindly and have our trust in the wisdom of the Lord for making appropriate decisions to protect our family. 
Although it has been on our hearts for a long time, the decision to follow through has been fairly recent.   We are entering the process with both courage and vigilance.  As the devil tempts us with doubts, I find my resolve strengthening.   After discussing our plans to adopt recently, someone commented, “Tessie is so perfect…she is so smart and so sweet and she always listens (a slight exaggeration). Your home is always peaceful and positive…even your dog is well behaved and easy.  Everything is so great….Are you sure you want to ruin it?”   I passionately responded, “No. We want to share it.”  This is truly the sentiment of our hearts.  The Lord has blessed us abundantly.
Why are we adopting? Why are we “risking it”? Why are we taking this step?  We enjoy a peaceful home…and know some children have never known peace. Tessie has two dedicated parents…and we know some children don’t have any. We have the financial, practical, and tangible means to provide for those who have nothing…and an open heart to love those that have nobody. We have supportive friends, a church family, a fun yard, a spacious home, a sweet dog, a full pantry, and the gospel to share….so, why not?
Charlie is sure that my teaching experience and parenting instincts will be enough to offer to the children the Lord brings in to our home.  But, I believe that the solidarity and security Charlie provides as the leader of our home will be the bigger blessing.  I know from experience that a little stability can go a long way…especially for the hurting hearts we will soon encounter.  Tessie is strong and resilient. She continues to show the compassion, cooperation, and courage that we believe will aid in the transition of her new siblings in to our family….no matter their age or gender.
We will, of course, keep everyone posted as the process continues as we have done with all the previous steps, leaps, and stumbles in the past.  We ask for prayers of peace, a guiding hand, and lots of patience.

                                         The Priest Family

“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” – Psalm 119:133

A little testimony:

When Charlie and I first met one of the first serious conversations we shared was about adoption.  He shared his intentions to adopt to avoid handing down the adversity, torment, and insecurity he endured with his cleft palate surgeries (18 over 18 years) and I shared my unexplained (and sometimes unharnessed) passion for the injustices of this world that left me wanting to teach, heal, and help the helpless.  
We kept the topic on the table after we were married, but were soon consumed with surviving the California economy, a retail work schedule, and the trials of the transition in to married life. With Charlie’s cleft palate fears and my longing not to start a family among the tension, we both defensively responded to the baby questions with, “I think we’ll get a dog first.”  We were surely unprepared for parenthood and thankfully the Lord honored that.  By God’s grace we found ourselves in Texas, purchasing a home, starting new jobs, finding instant friends, and within 2 months…adopting a dog.  We were grateful for the time God allowed in our relationship for “getting situated”, but were still fearful to take the step in to parenthood and just hoped for more time.  When the baby questions came our new response was, “Well, we haven’t finished the house yet (it was a stripped foreclosure).  We need to at least install all the light fixtures…”  And I’m sure the Lord smirked when I found out I was pregnant just a few weeks after Charlie installed the last ceiling fan.   The irony was not lost on us and we had to concede we had run out of excuses and postponements and God had decided it was time we take a step.    Even with the assurance of a healthy pregnancy and several clear ultrasounds, Charlie carried his fear until the minute Tessie came in to the world and he could check for himself.  She was strong, healthy….and no cleft palate.  Tessie has been a beautiful blessing in our life and a constant reminder to be open to the Lord’s leading, since he surely knows better than us.
Almost a year ago, amid all the changes, career transitions, financial struggles, and other unknowns, we felt a prompting to prepare our hearts for a larger family…another step.  But, this step was different….bigger.  Charlie and I both felt that we should look in to adoption.   We did a lot of research and although our hearts were in it 100%, we had doubts about the timing.  We were hunting for a church at this time and were trying to get a bearing on our core beliefs.  We agreed that we would not continue to pursue adoption until we found a church.  The Lord directed us toward Tri-County within a month.  Our new church family provided the godly friends, the challenging guidance,  the discipleship, and the  support system we will surely need as we face the unknowns ahead.
We teetered on the fence for the second half of the year, loving the idea of going forward with the adoption process, but unsure about a lot of things including the financial burden it would require.  We went to an information meeting and were newly inspired to “deliver the poor and needy” and “defend the poor and fatherless” although we weren’t sure how it would be possible, since Charlie had been seeking a promotion for 4-5 months and was beginning to get discouraged.  When the year came to a close, he was made aware that he would not be allowed any Saturdays off during Wells Fargo’s “Jump in to January” sales month, so we figured the licensing classes (held on 4 consecutive Saturdays) weren’t going to work out and that this must be God’s will.  Although, when we heard from the DFPS agent she said, “I’m sorry, there are no classes available until February.” A blessing in disguise!   Charlie said, “I want to do it, but I would just feel a lot better if I got a promotion first.” We reluctantly signed up for the classes and continued to pray for a job opportunity for Charlie. And as the Lord had provided so many times before, Charlie was offered an interview for a job that hadn’t even applied for and eventually offered the position – a promotion- just two weeks before our first licensing class is to start!  Amen.  So, here we stand. Behind us we see the path that brought us here, clearly lit with miracles. And ahead we see the path we have not yet traveled, dark and obscure, but surely strewn with miracles, as well.  There is only one way to find out: We must take a step!


1 comment:

  1. The Lord opens windows when doors close. Praise the Lord.