Surprised by Joy

By THE EvE of our fourth wedding anniversary, we had wanted to have a baby, but without success. My husband asked me what I would like for our anniversary, and I sheepishly answered, “a baby.” He gently told me he couldn’t promise me that, but that we’d have a nice celebration of four happy years.

But an anniversary wish impossible for my husband to promise was not impossible for God! The next day, we heard that after waiting four months with an adoption agency, we had been chosen to parent a baby due to be born in two weeks! Miraculously, we were the expectant couple’s second choice of a family to parent their son. The first family selected had decided that adoption was not God’s plan for them, so they said no to the adoption match.

Although we were his birth parents’ second choice, we were God’s first choice for Erik. If we had become pregnant one of the months and years we hoped and prayed, we would not have pursued adoption. We wanted a bab; and we thought we couldn’t have one, but God put adoption into our hearts and then came Erik. Simple? Not really. Impossible? Not for God.

When Erik was 4 months old, after four years of infertility, we discovered we were expecting!

Our second son, Andrew, was born one year and four days after his big brother.

Erik is now 6 years old, Andrew is 5 and our “later in life surprise,” Jenna, just turned 1 year old. Although you hear about it often, it is really not common for couples who have adopted because of infertility to then conceive and have other children. But God’s plan will not be thwarted, and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). Praise Him.

GARY JOHN, RHONDA AND PAUL WODA

“I CAN’T DO THAT” are words I have repeated many times in my life. However, I have come to understand that it really doesn’t matter what I can do; it is what Christ, who strengthens me, can do! Our children were grown and we had our first grandchild when my husband said, “Let’s adopt a child.” Well, you can imagine my words: “I can’t do that.”

Several weeks later, I was listening to a Sunday morning preacher I did not know: Andy Stanley. He asked the question, “What is it you would do, but are not willing to pay the price?” When Gary came in for lunch, I told him about this comment. Simultaneously, we both said, “adopt a child.”

Some discouraged us and said it would be difficult to adopt at our age, but God had laid his plans for us and paved the way from finances on down to minute details for the preparations required and we found favor. We had this precious gift placed in our arms by his birthmother within six months — he was already in the womb when this began.

Our lives have been so much more abundant because of that bundle of joy that our Lord and birth mom had the faith to entrust to us. What if God had not changed my heart? We would have missed one of the greatest blessings and adventures of our lives!

Next time you think, ‘I can’t do that,’ ponder what kind of blessing you may be missing and just call on the one who can do it and let him reveal himself. Remember, Mary pondered all of these things in her heart as she raised her little boy, Jesus. God bless.

THE BOWRENS.

WE ARE THE BOWRENS, same time, the tsunami hit Southeast Asia and along came the thoughts of the children who lost their families in the tragedy. The combination of these events opened us up to the idea of adoption.

versus open adoptions. Once we completed all the research, we felt called to adopt a baby girl from China.

After two years of paper chasing and waiting, on the day before David’s birthday in 2006, we were matched, and our family has been blessed by both birth and adoption. David and Cam-mie married in 1995, and our sweet son was born in 1998. Shortly after our son was born, we began to try for a second child. After a few years, we realized it was not to be and decided — or so we thought -that our family was complete.

Then, a few years later, there came an opportunity for us to adopt the baby of a family member. However, this was also not meant to be. Around that

Before, we had spoken many times about how adoption was probably not an option for us — that we didn’t think we could raise “someone else’s child.” However, after these events, the thought of providing a home and being a family for a child never went away.

After much prayer, soul-searching and discussion, we decided to pursue adoption. We weighed many options such as foster to adopt, various countries from which to adopt and the requirements of each and private with a beautiful 9-month-old daughter from Gansu, China!

For a couple who thought they would never adopt who now believes that adoption completed our family, we are so thankful to know that our hearts embraced both our natural and adoptive children as our own. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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