It looks like we'll need to wait until early next year to pursue our adoption plans. We don't qualify at this time, but they suggested we check again early next year. We'll wait and see what God has in store for us until then.
There's a scene in the first Larry Boy adventure from Veggie Tales where Larry Boy and Alfred are playing Candy Land. Alfred draws his card and excitedly moves his piece ahead while Larry Boy's piece sits mired in the Molasses Swamp. On Larry's turn he draws his card and disappointedly declares, "Still stuck."
That's a little how I feel in our adoption process right now. I'm at a crossroads of faith as it were. Do I venture forward trusting that God will supply the means for the adoption and risk further financial burden or do I wait and try to build up equity before going further in the process? I have two agencies that I'm working with in limbo right now. We have some of the paperwork ready and some other paper work that still needs to be done. The next step would be a home study that would run around $3000 and have a two year validity limit. If we weren't able to get approved for the adoption in that time then we would basically be out $3000.
So here we sit, contemplating what we should do next. Our children are looking forward to having a little sister, and we are looking forward to having another child in our family. I'm simply struggling with whether we are to take a step of faith that would look financially foolish or use the wisdom God's given and wait until we have the necessary funds.
Anyone who has looked into foreign adoption understands the expenses involved. Not only are there home study fees, agency fees, and country fees, but you also have the costs of travel and lodging in country, required vaccinations, passports and other miscellaneous fees. All in all it adds up to twenty thousand dollars plus depending on the country you adopt from.
Fortunately, there are agency that provide grants and interest free loans to help with expenses, but it won't cover all the expenses. We know that ultimately God will be the one to provide the funds for us, but we also want to do what we can to raise the necessary funds. God has already shown His hand of provision by providing us with a much larger tax return then we expected. We thought we might owe something this year, but actually received a substantial return. Praise the LORD!
One way we are trying to do our part is by selling a children's fantasy novel I have written. The title of the novel is Daniel and the Sea Serpent. It's an exciting adventure filled with the elements children love and the values parents want to instill. You can find it on Amazon and at Createspace. Here's a link if you are interested: https://www.createspace.com/3445205
We plan on using the proceeds to help fund our adoption and look for other creative ways as well. I have a feeling though, that the LORD will surprise us with provisions that were completely unexpected. He often does that to reveal His glory.
Emotions can take you all over the place and at times can even impact your faith. They shouldn't, but they can. I have felt the LORD calling us toward adoption and knew that we would face roadblocks in the process. However, when those roadblocks came, I thought I would be better prepared. As of right now, we do not qualify to adopt internationally because of our negative net worth. There is nothing we can do short term to change that reality. So adopting internationally in the near future falls into the 'impossible' category for us.
For the past couple of weeks, that reality didn't bother me. I know I serve a God of the impossible. Last night however, the question of whether God had truly called us to this endeavor entered my mind. I believed He had, but what if I misunderstood. Obviously, we can't adopt internationally right now. So maybe He was trying to tell us something else, because what I thought He was calling to can't be done (humanly speaking).
This morning, as I mulled over other possibilities to care for children in need, I got on my computer and noticed the verse of the day. I have a verse of the day application posted on my home page when I web surf. So what verse was it for this morning?
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (New International Version)
Just when I'm questioning God's calling, because of external circumstances, God hits me with that. If God calls us to something, He will act to make sure it happens. External circumstances are irrelevant to the power of God. He enjoys calling His people to the impossible, because in those situations He is glorified the most.
Later that morning I did a little Bible research on God displaying His power in impossible situations. I looked up Numbers 11 about God's word to Moses that the Israelite people would eat meat for a month. Moses looked at God's word from a human perspective and said, "Impossible!" Even if all the livestock were slaughtered, there wouldn't be enough meat to feed all the people for a month. Listen to how God responded to Moses' doubt. "Is the Lord’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you."Numbers 11:23 (NIV)
Is the LORD's arm too short? Who am I to question the power and provision of the LORD? I'm not one that should tell God what He can and can not do. If He calls us to adopt internationally, He will make it happen. I still don't know how, but neither did Moses have a clue how God would feed the people meat for a month. But God did, and that's the point that matters. He will provide.
If God used a real hammer, I would have a splitting headache right now. Ever since Christy and I felt His leading to pursue adoption, we have been bombarded with this emphasis on orphans. Shortly after deciding to do this, another couple in our small group shared that the LORD had laid on their heart the burden to adopt a child. We had never talked to them prior to that about what God was doing with us, that was just a burden God placed on their heart. Then I heard about a couple of other people in our church having a burden to care for the orphans of the world. Just recently, I received a call from someone in our church who asked if a man from Africa could share a little about his ministry on Sunday morning. What was his ministry? Caring for orphans and the needy in Mozambique.
God had touched all these different people to bring this unique and vital emphasis of caring for the orphans of the world. When God wants to make a point clear, He sure knows how to do it. And I'm glad He doesn't use a real hammer.
Well, I found out that there is the possibility of still receiving approval for adoption even if there is a negative net worth. That was encouraging, because the LORD keeps emphasizing the urgent need to love and care for the orphans. One agency I talked with mentioned that since our negative networth comes primarily from school debt that there is still a possibility we might qualify.
We certainly need to intensify our prayers. My wife feels that Satan is trying to hinder our efforts, which would certainly make sense. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy. He certainly woudln't want to see children find loving families where Christ is taught. We've just had some strange things happen in the past couple of weeks: a couple of odd health issues and we found two large dents in our van that we don't even know how they got there. We certainly would appreciate your prayers in this matter. Thanks!
It sounds so clear and matter of fact in the Old Testament, but what if you felt that phrase ended with your name? What if the LORD’s voice challenged you to do something specific?
That’s where I believe I find myself. I feel the LORD has challenged me and my family to provide a family for an international orphan through adoption. You might say we’ve been challenged to take Hebron, a fortified city defended by giants. Those of you who have been listening to my sermons know where I’m coming from. For the rest of you, you can read the story of Caleb in Joshua 14 or listen to my sermon "Courageous Faith" online. Caleb believed in a God who could overcome any obstacle, even a well-fortified city inhabited by giants. He refused to allow obstacles thwart him from God’s calling.
Adoption lies close to my heart, because I was adopted. For years, I have desired to bless a child with a family even as I had been blessed. Though the desire has remained dormant for the most part, the tragedy in Haiti jolted it to new life. The LORD used passages like James 1:27 (…look after orphans and widows in their distress…) and Psalm 68:6 (God sets the lonely in families…) to stir my heart to action.
Throughout scripture you discover a God whose heart yearns for orphans and who has himself modeled adoption. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ, then you have been adopted into God’s family. It seemed that pursuing this calling of adoption was following the example of my Heavenly Father.
Yet, was God truly calling me to this life changing mission? Couldn’t God plaster a billboard with “SCOTT, YOU MUST ADOPT A CHILD INTERNATIONALLY!!! THUS SAITH THE LORD” just to make sure? As you know God doesn’t seem to use billboards to speak to us (though I wouldn’t say He couldn’t), but He does speak to us through His word, His people, and even circumstances. So God, in His grace, confirmed His calling.
Last Tuesday (February 2) I was preparing to have a little devotion time with my two boys. Every morning I try and read few verses from Proverbs with them and pray to start the day. This particular morning we were running late and gathered in the living room instead of their bedroom. Christy and Abby were sitting on the couch and asked if they should leave, but I figured they might as well listen also (NOTE: I do pray with my wife and daughther as well. I don't have some odd belief that forbids me from having devotions with them. It's just that I use the morning time in the Proverbs to encourage my sons to grow into Godly men).
We had all the application paper work completed and in an envelope next to me as we prepared to read from Proverbs 3:27 (our passage for the day). We planned on mailing the paper work that day. I opened to Proverbs 3:27 and read, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to act.” That verse might as well have been plastered on a billboard. The LORD’s voice seemed to boom at me through that verse. We could certainly provide a family and home for a child who needed one and orphans certainly seemed like those whom God would say deserved good. So we needed to obey God's word and act. We mailed the application that day.
Our love and prayers for a new little girl coming to our home began stirring since then, but we have also discovered the walls of Hebron are well-fortified. I understood most of the costs involved in the adoption process, but I didn’t know all of the financial requirements for international adoption. A positive net worth is one of them. For various reasons like school debt, medical expenses, and admittedly some foolish spending earlier in our marriage, we have a negative net worth. So at this time we do not qualify to adopt internationally.
What do we do? When Israel saw the fortified walls around Hebron, they told Moses they couldn’t take the land and should simply turn around and head back to Egypt. Caleb, however, believed he could take the land with God's help. Eventually, Caleb did just that! He took the fortified city inhabited by giants and demonstrated God is able. We are choosing to follow Caleb’s example and trust God to overcome the obstacle we have encountered in this process. How will He do that? Right now, I have no idea. We will do all we can in trimming expenses to pay down our debt and move to a positive net worth, but we know that ultimately God will have to do a miracle. I believe He will.
I invite you to join me in prayer on this journey and I will keep you posted on how God moves. To HIM be all the Glory!
Joshua 14:12 “So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.” NIV