God is at work in our lives even when we can’t see exactly what he is doing! Thankfully we can have hope in His promise:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans
to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope
and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Our journey to adoption started two years ago, when we were hosting a weekly meeting of Christian couples in our home. At that time we were reading Radical by David Platt. After reading chapter 6 “How Much Is Enough?” we began to talk about what adoption might look like in our family.
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will
listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12
We began looking at what was required and since we are already living outside of the United States, we began to lean towards an international adoption. During the next months, we decided to check with the local German department for families and youth to see if it was possible to adopt a child in Germany. In the following weeks we learned that because of the status given to us as U.S. government employees, we could not adopt a child using the German system, but we could be enrolled in their foster care program. We decided to complete the process to become foster care parents in our local area.
Sometimes God’s direction is a little different than what we envisioned for ourselves. The threads of our life seem to be sporadic and don’t make a lot of sense. This is when we have to trust that God is making something beautiful!
We waited for almost one year before we received a phone call asking if we would accept a 2-year-old girl named Georgia. Stephen remembers the moment when Kelly called him at the school in late August to let him know a child was available. We said yes and met the family the next day. The family was from Romania and the older brother, who was 4-years-old at the time, was undergoing treatments for cancer. The family left Romania in search of better medical care. The children’s father had come to Germany and found a job which allowed him to receive German medical insurance. The rest of the family soon joined him. The mother was going to be living at the hospital with the son during the treatments and the father was working night shifts. The family had no one to watch Georgia. The mother spoke some English and both parents knew a small amount of German. The children had only been raised speaking Romanian. At the end of our first meeting, we determined to provide all the help we could to this family. The next day, the brother went to the hospital where his right leg was amputated above the knee. The little girl came to live with us on Monday.
It was an eye opening experience to have this new child in our family! There were many tears the first day Georgia was dropped off, but she adapted to the new environment very quickly. Within a couple of weeks, the little girl was able to follow simple instructions in English. She started feeling more at ease in our family. The toughest part for our family was when she would go to see her father on the weekends. The transition in and out of families was hard for all of us, but we soon found a rhythm and God’s grace covered our families. After 6 months, the little boy was released from the hospital and our foster daughter was able to live full time with her biological family again. It was hard to see Georgia go, but it was much easier knowing her family loves and cares for her. During this time of fostering, we realized that our family wanted to provide a forever family for a child. When our responsibilities with our foster daughter were complete, we began looking into agencies that facilitate international adoptions and would work with American families living overseas.
We settled on an agency and began looking at the countries that they work with. While searching, we found that many agencies provide a list of “waiting children” who meet special requirements by their countries. Normally, the list is comprised of children with multiple disabilities or sibling groups that wish to be adopted into the same family. We were given access to a list of children from Eastern Europe and we were greatly impacted by the photos and stories of all the children. We felt almost paralyzed seeing all the faces and names of these children longing for families.
“Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your
name lead and guide me.” Psalm 31:3
However, during our research we came across a little boy who was about 2 years old. He was born without a lower leg on one side, he suffered from cleft palate and lip, had some developmental issues with his toes and fingers, and is deaf. He had beautiful, bright eyes and we began asking for more information. We soon found out that this little boy is living in a country in which we have not had any previous experience*, and we were provided with some more photos and a video of him. After much prayer and seeking God’s will, we felt that this was the direction He wanted us to take.
“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your
heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”
We submitted our dossier paperwork to the country in November 2018. At the end of January 2019 we accepted a referral for the precious boy from the waiting list, our soon to be son! We have had many ups and downs on this adoption journey. Sometimes, we feel like we are working a 40-hour week just for the adoption, while other times we have to learn patience while waiting for the next approval to be granted. We know that God’s timing is perfect.
Although it seems like this journey is all tangled up and filled with knots at times, we were reminded through the book Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom, that God is still working. Amen! “I held up the backside of the embroidery. ‘Your life is like this. See how dark it is. See how the threads are knotted and tangled, mixed up. But when you turn it around then you can see that God is actually weaving a crown for your life. God has a plan for your life and He is working it out in beauty.’”
It is such a blessing that we get to participate in something that is so dear to our hearts and God’s: adoption. Because of our salvation through Jesus,
“The Spirit we received does not make us slaves, so that we live
in fear again; rather, the Spirit we received brought about our
adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”
In addition to all that God has already done, we have been blessed with a generous matching grant from the JFRH Foundation through Lifesong for Orphans for $3,000. We are reminded that since the creation of man, God has been partnering with us to build and extend his Kingdom. As we have traveled through this journey of adoption, we have experienced countless moments when God has used people to support, provide and encourage us. Will you partner with us in the work God is doing?
We greatly need your prayers for our family, our new son, the adoption process, our upcoming travel to pick him up and meet him for the first time, as well as his transition to our family!
We have calculated that our adoption will cost us around $34,000. In faith we have already paid more than half of that up to this point. We know God is moving, and He wants to give you and others the opportunity to be a part of His story. The money donated through myStory and Lifesong will be able to reimburse us for those costs, as well as the upcoming costs to pick up our son. This would be a great blessing to us as we foresee many future medical appointments, operations, and therapy that cannot be reimbursed. Will you please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us meet our matching grant and cover the remaining amount needed for our adoption expenses to bring this little boy home? Our fundraising goal is June 1, 2019, but funds will be accepted towards our adoption until the child is in our home and/or our adoption is complete.
Your financial support will be directed to our account when you use our family account number 8216. All of the funds donated through Lifesong for Orphans will be used to support orphans and families in the adoption process. By sharing the resources that God has given you, your tax deductible contribution will be used to transform generations to come. You can help provide Christian families the means to raise orphaned children in the ways of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are excited to see how God will use this adoption to continue to mold and shape all of us into the image of his Son, Jesus.
As we wait, we pray and trust that our heavenly Abba (Father) will bring about His will, and that He will be glorified in and through our adoption!
* We are unable to release specific country information.
STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Choate 8216”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.
Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.
- In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
- Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.