In 2001, two 21-year-old missionaries took turns holding a precious little girl who had been orphaned as a result of an epidemic in Kenya.
Although we could not physically take this little lady home with us, what we took home spiritually was more significant.
Simultaneously birthed within both our hearts was the dream of adoption. At age 25, we were married at last, and when it came time to pursue children of our own, adoption was most certainly an option.
In the spring of 2013, we officially began the long, unromantic, flat-out hard work of becoming parents by adoption. When our caseworker first met with us, she questioned where we were going to get the finances needed to adopt. Without flinching, we told her that was not a concern. God had called us to adopt, and He would finance it. We immediately sent out our grant and fundraiser applications. And then, we waited. [Insert the sound of crickets chirping here.]
One day in the spring of 2014, I was in the kitchen when God impressed on my heart, “Things are about to start moving really fast.” Later that afternoon, we opened an envelope from Lifesong. Inside was a matching grant for $2,000.00! That $2,000.00 matching grant was truly the catalyst for all of our fundraising efforts.
This is where it gets crazy.
Due to the incredible excitement it created amongst our friends and family, we had to call people and tell them to stop giving us money!
It reminded us of Exodus 36 when the Israelites were told to stop bringing offerings to finance the building of the temple. In verse 5 it says, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.”
So, now that we had the money, we assumed that we would get a phone call from our agency at any moment telling us that we had been chosen by a birth mother. Insert more crickets, here. An army of crickets. Who chirped for what seemed like forever.
3 months passed, then 6 months, then an entire year.
We were so discouraged.
Why would God provide more than enough resources to fund our adoption, and then leave us? Everyone kept saying, “God will bring you just the right baby at just the right time.”
That phrase got old very quickly. We heard it so often that I was about to embroider it on a pillow so I could throw it at the next person who said it. (Not really.)
Our home study expired, and we begrudgingly made the long drive to our agency for yet another interview with the director. I didn’t want to ugly cry on her couch. I did anyway. That was on a Thursday. The following Monday night, my phone rang. It was the director–
“Could you be at the hospital in Charlotte tomorrow at 10:30 to pick up your daughter?”
Suffice to say, we didn’t sleep much that night, and it wasn’t until we walked into the hospital room that my stomach officially unknotted.
Even now, it still feels very much like a dream. A beautiful dream. Where a sweet and smiling little girl is sleeping in the crib that was empty, where a giggling toddler is riding in the back seat with her big sister, and where life and light are filling the parts of our hearts that had begun to lose hope.
And though we call her Nora, her first name is really Eleanor: “bright light.” And so she is.
So, here we are. The phrase on the imagined embroidered pillow has come to pass. And in the end, we have learned far too many things to share in one testimonial.
I will say that adoption is in many ways a game of perseverance.
Waiting for Nora was long and painful. It was a pain that was for me more difficult than labor and delivery because it had no scheduled end or certain result. To be waiting for so long when we thought we would have been chosen so much sooner was embarrassing.
But Romans 5:3-4 says that “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame.” So we lived in hope that we would not be put to shame. Instead, we hoped that we would receive the opposite of shame, which is honor. And we received Nora. And Nora means “honor.”