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Site created on January 21, 2006
"COME AND SEE WHAT GOD HAS DONE!" Psalm 66:5 This adoption adventure of faith started as simply an acquaintance with the name of an orphan girl who longed for a family. But it grew into a calling that wouldn't let go of us. By the way, did you know that "VERA" means "FAITH" in Russian?
VERA'S STORY will introduce you to our adoption journey. The JOURNAL holds the record of our journey.
You may contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We can see how God had been preparing us for this journey for a very long time. In the present, He is our constant provider, leader, and encourager. For the future, we know He is faithful. So then, our story is really His, the story of His working in ordinary lives, revealing His heart and His glory to the world.
God is always “before”, shaping our histories with His perfect wisdom. We are continually in awe; He equips us for whatever He calls us to do. “Not that we are adequate to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” II Corinthians 3:5. It is not we who are extraordinary, but He is! You, too, may find yourself called to some purpose you never would have dreamed.
For years, God had been training our hearts to be available to share His love with precious people who were often overlooked. My heart (Carol writing) was drawn to the elderly in the nursing home, in an Adopt-a-Grandparent program in college. And one Christmas break, at a missions conference, I was assigned to a small group with only one other native English speaker; all the others were foreign students who struggled to communicate. I admit that my heart sank, and I dreaded the “work” of attempting to communicate. But God changed my heart, as I experienced the sweet fellowship of those dear girls when I was forced to make the effort to seek to understand them and patiently speak in ways they could relate to. Some of my dearest friends over the years have been from other cultures.
As a young married couple, we thoroughly enjoyed our friendships with foreign students at the University of Iowa. Once our children were born, we were challenged to tend carefully to the needs and concerns of children with severe food allergies. Again, God used our experiences to open our eyes to needs of others who are often overlooked.
We began to see in Scripture, everywhere we looked, it seemed, how God cares so much for orphans, widows, and the aliens (foreigners). All our rituals mean nothing to Him if we don’t have mercy and compassion.
A PENPAL AND A PRAYER...
When the parents of our friend, Michelle, let her take a year off from college to teach in a Ukrainian orphanage, God alone knew the impact! Michelle saw lonely hearts and envisioned penpals surely brightening their lives. Our niece, who had the joy of Michelle’s mom for her Bible study teacher, was connected with a girl named Vera as a penpal. They told us about Vera, and asked ideas of us for gifts since Vera is about our Megan’s age. One day, after hearing that other families who had little Ukrainian penpals were asking whether adoption was an option for any of these children, we began to pray about whether God might want to add an orphan to our family. Our children ( Megan & Ben, then 12 &8) were a tremendous joy to us, and there was enough love to share with another. Megan was the first one to be convinced. Eventually, our prayer became, “Lord, we’re willing to adopt Vera, or whoever else You show us, if that’s what You want us to do.”
He called, orchestrated, and provided. We corresponded with Vera for over 1 & 1/2 years and grew to love her sweet spirit. When Michelle had first met her in 2003, Vera told her that a Mom and Dad from America were coming to adopt her. God must have placed that hope in her heart.
GOD IS FAITHFUL!
We left Feb. 5, 2006 from Chicago for Zurich, Switzerland, then flew on to Ukraine, where we spent 31 days. These were our prayer requests at the time; we keep them posted for we are still in awe of God's answers!
· God’s continued sovereign hand on the entire process—direction, protection, provision. Psalm 68:6 “The Lord makes a home for the lonely.”
· God’s enabling and comfort for our children and for us, as we were apart for about a month
· God’s strength and wisdom for Carol’s parents who stayed with Megan and Ben
· God’s hand on our growing relationship with our new daughter, Vera, and that He would draw her to Himself
So many people have said to me, “Oh, but I couldn’t do what you do!” I usually reply, “That’s exactly how I used to think.” The truth is—I can’t do what I do. It’s not my strength, my creativity, my resourcefulness, or my anything. It’s God’s power in me; He lives his life through me.
My friend, Kathy, was explaining to me the extraordinary effectiveness of a Bible teacher under whom she had the privilege of learning. Interestingly, the woman’s appearance was part of it. Kathy said the teacher wasn’t so totally together so as to be distracting. She was so real and ordinary that she didn’t get in the way of her message.
I don’t think Kathy knew how much her little story inspired me. It was a significant step in my growing realization that God does intend to encourage others through people like me. You see, God purposely chooses to show Himself strong in the lives of ordinary people who will depend on Him. He means for me to tell His story in my life, precisely because I’m not someone extraordinary, but because He is. And He never intended for me to put it off until my life is so flawless that I feel ready to be an open book. Sadly, people who look perfect, seeming to have every aspect of their lives together, are often a distraction. Undue attention is on them, and not on the amazing God who enables their every breath. Besides, the rest of us have a really hard time relating to them anyway.
It was comparing myself to others and indulging in feelings of inadequacy that kept me from homeschooling for several years. I greatly admired the mothers who were homeschooling their children, and secretly wished I could do it, too. But their lives seemed so together, so enviably organized and tidy. In contrast, I never even got fully unpacked between moves, let alone ideally organized. Each of those moms looked like Superwoman to me. Clearly, Superwoman I was not, so there, I couldn’t do it.
Wisely, the Sovereign God doesn’t ask us to approve His plans before He sets them in motion. He wasn’t at all intimidated by my carefully thought out treatise on my inadequacy. Instead, I was exactly where He needed me to be—honestly facing up to my own inadequacy. That is exactly where we need to be for Him to use us—so His power and His adequacy can be clearly seen in our lives. Then nobody watching is confused at the source of our strength and He alone gets the glory.
Take David, for example. His match-up against Goliath was a joke, humanly speaking. David was a little pipsqueak who rejected Saul’s armor because he was swimming in it. Goliath was an experienced and extremely intimidating warrior, evidenced by the fact that he had already psyched out the entire Israelite army. But to David, these blatant facts were irrelevant, and he wasn’t ashamed to say so. Even as Goliath jeered him, David advanced toward the giant with these words on his lips, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts…this day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands…so that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or spear, for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” (I Samuel 17:45-47) We all know the outcome. Goliath was permanently silenced, dead, in fact, and his Philistine army retreated in defeat.
The outcome in my life, by God’s grace, is that we are reaping immeasurable rewards in this, our seventh, year of homeschooling. By the way, I had no idea, either, at the beginning of our homeschooling adventure that homeschooling would be the only viable option for educating the orphan we would be adopting more than four years later. Adoption wasn’t even on our radar screen at that time. But, you can be certain that God knew what was coming…
And David wasn’t the only one who found himself in the middle of one of God’s unusual plans. Jeremiah was sure he was too young…Gideon seemed hardly the valiant warrior the angel was addressing…then God told Gideon his army was way too big, he had way too many guys…Moses was wanted for murder and convinced he shouldn’t speak in front of crowds…
So, if you’re quaking in your boots, rehearsing in your mind every reason that you’re not up to the particular job God’s calling you to, congratulations, my friend. You are in the perfect position to be used by the Lord to show Himself strong in your life, if only you are willing to turn your eyes to Him for the source of your strength and comfort.
“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” II Corintians 3:5
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20