Adoption: South Korea

26 08 2013

southkorea

Wow! A lot can happen in two weeks!

Many of you have been keeping up with our adoption process. Over a year ago, we made the decision to adopt internationally from Russia. Most of you know that Russia closed its adoption program to US citizens last December. After praying, we decided to switch programs to Ghana, West Africa. Shortly after joining this program, they closed as well. We were very discouraged. We were feeling like I always do when I change traffic lanes, because one lane looks faster than the other, only to come to a complete standstill and watch my previous lane speed on by. We had some good friends at that time ask us if God was maybe wanting us to adopt domestically or even if God was shutting this door completely. These were good questions, and we diligently talked about them and prayed through them. When it came to it, though, we still felt a strong calling from God on our lives to adopt internationally.

About three weeks ago, we just got desperate. I remember when we were talking about having our first biological child, and we knew that we were ready. That is how we felt. We were just ready to have our child. We began to look at other agencies, websites, and waiting lists. I was even willing to adopt a 12 year old girl at one point! (Now that’s desperation!) About two weeks ago, we were on vacation at the beach when our Ghana program director contacted us to let us know about some possible referrals from South Korea. We emailed back saying that we would be interested in taking a look at the referrals. Our social worker called us about 2 hours later, still at the beach, saying that there was a specific boy from South Korea that they wanted us to consider. We were surprised that they would give us a referral from a country program that we were not even in, but they felt like it would be a good fit. After praying for two weeks and seeking medical guidance, we felt sure that this was our baby that we have been waiting on. We knew that if we did not accept this referral, we would regret it. We can’t help but wonder if God brought us to this place of desperation, because he had this child waiting for us. If this referral had come a couple of months earlier, we might have said no to wait on the Ghana program.¬†God has definitely given us peace about this decision.

Our fourth son’s name will be Samuel. My wife, Jennifer, felt like God gave her that name, and Samuel appropriately means “God has heard.” He has just turned 10 months old, and he is a cute one. The hardest part for us is yet to come as we have to do tons of paperwork and walk through government red tape, raise the finances for this expensive process, and wait 14-18 months before we can go get him. Please be in prayer for us that everything will continue to work out. Pray that the paperwork and needed approvals from a thousand different government agencies will go smoothly. Pray that we will be able to get him sooner than expected. Pray for Samuel’s continued health, safety, and development. Pray for his foster family.

We want to thank all of you that have been praying for us and will continue to do so. We also want to thank those that have given to us financially. Being a pastor is not the most lucrative of professions, and this is a very expensive process. If you would like to help towards bringing Samuel home, we are raising funds here at Adopt Together. We would greatly appreciate any gift large or small.





Open or Closed Doors

16 05 2013

opendoors

A number of months ago, I announced here on my blog that my family and I were going to start the process of an international adoption. We began to pray about where we wanted to adopt from, and God began to soften our hearts for the orphans of Russia. Many of you know that in December of last year, the Russian government closed its adoption program to Americans. We began to pray again and felt like God was leading us to adopt from the country of Ghana in West Africa. Well, just about a week and a half ago we found out that the government of Ghana closed its adoption program completely. Basically, we are back to square one and have already spent a chunk of money. This has been a very frustrating turn of events. Our ideal situation in our own minds was to be able to adopt as quickly as possible, mainly because I am no spring chicken any more! I am guessing that God has other plans.

This brings me to my topic. I have had a number of people that I love ask me if this might be God’s way of shutting the door on adoption for us. I believe that in our situation it has certainly given us reason to pause and reflect on God’s plan for our lives. I believe that God can and does use circumstances to help guide our paths, so when He shuts down the two adoption programs that we are in, it would behoove us to stop and listen. I believe that we have done so and feel very confident that God is not closing the door of adoption for our family.

In the same way that God uses circumstances, Satan can orchestrate events that present obstacles or opportunities to keep us off track. Therefore we need to be very cautious when it comes to reading into circumstances too much. I believe that Christians too often run into a closed door, call it a door closed by God, and so stop. I see this all the time when it comes to missions. People would like to go on this trip or another, but “God” has the door closed because they don’t have enough money or time. I think that we are raising a generation of soft Christians that value comfort over anything else. As soon as an obstacle is put in our way, we back off couching it in spiritual terms to justify our disobedience. What we are doing is placing circumstances as the most important determining factor rather than the Word of God. Jesus clearly commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations, but we like to add “if” clauses to this statement, for example “…if you have enough money,” or “…if you can learn a different language.” By doing this, we prove our lack of faith in Jesus’ authority and power to accomplish what he has commanded through you.

I graduated with a degree in coaching. I love sports. I now have three boys that are playing on three different baseball teams in three different leagues. Needless to say, my family and I are living at the ballparks this summer. If you asked any of my boys, especially the two older ones, what the most important thing for them to do is, they would say, “Be aggressive.” As a coach, I understand that talent and ability makes a difference, but I love those kids more that try hard. I would rather have a team with no talent but gave 110% every play, than a team full of talent that didn’t care. When I coach a team, I tell my players that I would rather them be aggressive and make mistakes, than be afraid to make a mistake and so hold back. Maybe it’s just my personality, but I would rather make mistakes or fail God falling forward. So when it comes to missions or adoption, which are both close to the heart of God, my tendency is to blow through the closed doors. I think that this should be our leaning rather than the other way. I realize that in the book of Acts, God closed a door for Paul to go to an area. When God closed this door on Paul, he didn’t tuck tail and quit the mission. He simply went to another place. In another instance, Paul was stoned until people thought he was dead, but he got up and went back into the city. We would be screaming at Paul that it was a closed door, but Paul would be shaking his head at the lostness of the city.

This is a tricky topic, because ultimately we all must hear from the Holy Spirit personally and should not judge someone’s decision when they feel a distinct call from Him. My point is that when faced with a closed door, we don’t automatically shut that direction down until it is also confirmed by God’s Word either through the Bible, the Holy Spirit, or other Godly people.








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