Have you ever watched the movie Top Gun? There is a scene where Maverick is, “bringin’ them in closer,” to which Merlin replies, “You’re gonna do what!?” That could have been my line to God with the same wild look of disbelief and the same almost panicked tone of voice if he had just laid out his plan all at once! Thankfully and mercifully, that is not what he did!
A few years ago, adoption was not on my mind as Jenni and I had two beautiful, amazing little nuggets of joy and we were feeling like our family was complete. Little did I know that Jenni had always felt drawn toward adoption and that God indeed had it in his plans for our lives. Over the course of those couple years, God profoundly changed me and revealed to me his heart for the orphan. Eventually, I found myself in a position where I could no longer think about the fatherless without getting a knot in my throat – I knew that God had allowed me to feel just a fraction of his love for the orphan. God reminded me that through Jesus' sacrifice, he had adopted me into his family. And he revealed to us, in ways that only he can, that he was calling us to adopt.
So, in December of 2015, we signed paperwork with Bethany Christian Services to begin the process of completing an international adoption. Over the next few months, we powered through piles of paperwork and were nearly done with our home study. At that point, we still had not landed on a country for our adoption but were exploring every option from China to Nicaragua. Then, right before we had to make a decision on a country, Haiti unexpectedly opened up again after being closed to international adoption for a few years! In reality, Haiti had been one of the first countries we felt drawn to and put it out of our minds with the news that it was not really an option at that point, but God reopened that door at the exact right moment!
Today, we are in the “waiting place” ala Dr. Seuss. We have done all the paperwork that we can on our end, compiled a nine-pound dossier, and sent everything to Haiti. We have requested to adopt a little girl between the ages of 0 and 5, but we are also open to adopting a sibling group. Our children are anxiously anticipating the day when they will get to meet their little sister as they hatch up wild plans about how to make that day come sooner and praying for her every night before they go to bed. Meanwhile, Jenni and I are praying that everything will go faster than predicted. Haiti is a very impoverished nation and the government is doing their best to work on arranging adoption placements while caring for the children that remain in the country – all of which was made more difficult after Hurricane Matthew hit in the fall of 2016. We have been told that it could be 1 to 2 years before we get a placement and another year after that before we are able to bring our daughter home. But, we know that God can do miraculous things and that he does not abide by our timelines and predictions.
You see, in our eyes, we have a little daughter in Haiti already. God has set her apart and has great plans for her; only part of which involves us bringing her to her new home with us. But right now, she’s still in Haiti. So, I think about our other two children. If one of them were in another country apart from us, what would I do…or maybe a better question would be what wouldn’t I do to bring them home?
Until we finally get to meet our little girl and welcome her into our family, we are continuing to pray and raise the funds that we need to complete the adoption – you may have heard that it is rather expensive! We are putting together what we can personally contribute to this calling, but are ecstatically thankful for the financial support of others as we know that we simply cannot do this alone. Through Lifesong and our church, North Way Christian Community, we have been awarded a matching grant up to $4,000. We sincerely appreciate your prayers and financial contributions!
Where do you see yourself in five years? If you had asked me that before this journey began, I wouldn’t have even mentioned adoption. And if you told me that we would be in the process of adopting I might have stared at you like you had lobsters crawling out of your ears! Yet here we are, a living testament to the changing power of God’s love, excitedly waiting for our Haitian daughter to be united with us, her new family!
See more at our website: http://gebhardtadoption.weebly.com.
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