Since we announced that we are adopting, we have had a lot of people ask the same question:
What made you decide to adopt internationally over domestically?
That is a really great question! Honestly, I don't know why we haven't posted yet on how we arrived at that decision! So, we thought we would take a bit of time to let you all know where our hearts are on this matter.
When we first started looking into adoption, my mind was set on adopting domestically. We actually talked a lot about starting in the foster care program. Being in ministry, we see a lot of kids in our community who are in need of families or have families and are just in need of love. We even preach to our students "Love and serve those in your community!! That is where it all starts!" And we do truly believe that!
It is funny when you make up your mind about something that you think is so firmly decided in your heart and then realize over the span of a few months that your heart is changing. It is like being in the ocean and one second you are in front of where you set up your beach chairs for the day and the next second you are all the way down the beach and can hardly see your chairs!
We use this analogy a lot with our students about drifting away from God, but I also think it can be a picture of how God changes our hearts for things without us even realizing it. Then, when we look up from our rhythm of life, we realize we aren't in the same place anymore.
I think that is kind of what happened.
One day, Erik was at church and I was at home. Separately, we felt God nudging our hearts (THE SAME DAY!!) toward something we hadn't considered before...International Adoption. Completely taken back by this whole thing...I decided it was just hormones and concluded to leave that feeling alone.
Ladies...can I get an amen to self restraint?
Little did I know.
We went for a walk that night and Erik quietly said "How would you feel about adopting internationally?"
Ok. For anyone that knows me...you know I can kind of be a spaz. So, obviously, I freaked out and started telling Erik all about how I had just felt my heart leading me toward that but was scared to say anything...for fear that he might ask me if I was having a "Sensitive Day."
We finished the walk with talking about different countries, different cultures, and even some fears in pursuing that path...especially financially.
Erik and I have both served in Africa, in orphanages, and with really incredible people that have opened our eyes to the need for loving families to provide homes to children ALL OVER the world. When we graduated from college, Erik was supposed to go on a Mission Trip to Ethiopia. The trip was rerouted to a different African country the day before they were supposed to leave because the Ethiopian Airport was bombed! As names of countries came up through Bethany Christian Services, Ethiopia seemed to jump off the page and scream "Hey Andersons...NOW I want you to go!"
There is a part of me that thinks the trip that Erik was supposed to go on wasn't just rerouted for the sake of the ministry they did in Lesotho, but in preparation for turning our hearts toward this place and our future family.
The long and short of it is this...
There are a million reasons to adopt domestically.
There are a million reasons to adopt internationally.
Neither one is wrong because both are a calling to provide a home to an orphan, which is what we believe God has set in place for us.
The truth is:
We love Jesus. And we will live our lives to glorify Him in every way that we can, including going where He calls us to go.
In John 14, Jesus starts off by saying "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." He continues on in verse 18 to say, "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you."
And as my great friend, Russ, said as they completed their second adoption, "There is not a more poignant picture of the gospel than adoption."
God is amazing because I really do believe that when you walk in the way that He calls you to walk, there will be challenges. But, I also do believe that when you walk His path...He gives you an unfathomable amount of peace and clarity.
So, Ethiopia...here we come.