We had a plan that we thought best for our family regarding adoption. We would adopt domestically an infant and then adopt international. We felt lead to adopt a son first. We had many friends who had adopted and from what I could see, I wanted to plan out what made sense for us with 3 small children. But little did we(I) know that our story would unfold differently as we(I) had planned. Here is what really happened.
Our youngest daughter was turning 2. My husband and I went to dinner on a date, the evening of her birthday, June 23, 2010. We both had had a conversation about adoption and had decided that we would start the journey when our youngest was 2 years of age. So at dinner, we pulled out a map of the world and asked the question, “Where is our son?” I remember looking at the map at each country. America, Africa, China, Russia all came across my eyes. My “plan” seemed so small in comparison to the world. That night, we prayed and surrendered our minds, hearts and resources to the adoption of our son. I also surrendered my “best plan”. We asked God to make our journey in such a way that when we looked back, we could only point to
Honestly, when time came to say “yes” to the journey, we were afraid to make decisions apart from Him. We were afraid to choose a son among all the boys in the world. We were afraid because we did not know how to find a son, but we knew the One who did. In fact, God's entire work is about adopting sons and daughters. And so that evening, we trusted the LORD. We asked, we waited and we moved forward day by day.
Three months went by where we prayed and waited. We looked at agencies that had a lot of experience, b/c it seemed that would be “safe”. I looked at their costs. We attended a small adoption conference. We looked at websites. I looked domestically and internationally every day. We looked at the places all of my friends had adopted from, researching the country statistics which made the decision seem only more difficult. But each night, we rested in asking the question again, “God, where is our son?” and we rested in knowing that He would show us.
Late September 2010, my husband attended a meeting with some leaders in our city. At that meeting there was a man who was starting an adoption agency. When asked what he needed, he simply said, “We need families to adopt”. Everyone looked at my husband as they knew we were praying about where to adopt. My husband said, “We will be one of your families, where do we start?”
October 1, 2010 we attended Together for Adoption conference in our city. We had not yet met with the new agency. I went to several breakout sessions on Ethiopia. I told my husband I was sensing a leading towards Ethiopia. And was surprised that our son could possibly be in another country. Perhaps we would adopt not domestically first, but internationally. October 4, 2010 we met in our home with the new agency. We told her about our story and looking for our son. We mentioned Ethiopia to her and she simply responded, “We only do adoptions for Haiti.” And it was in that moment that we came to realize that our son was in the country of Haiti.
For us, the question of “how do you know WHERE to adopt?” was not as much of an obstacle once we understood to whom we should ask the question.
Our son's name is Kelly Josiah Stewart. He is not an infant but is 5 years old. When we found him, he was 3 years old. With our new agency, we were not matched right away, but had to literally go to Haiti and find him. As we searched for him in Haiti, we prayed the same thing as before and abandoned all of our own understandings. The Lord taught us about Himself in that time of searching. And on February 22, 2011, God showed us that Kelly was our son.
We have visited him every 3 months since we found him. Kelly is still in Haiti and we are continuing to trust that the Lord will bring him home. I can look back and see that from the very beginning, God was preparing us for the journey. This question for us represents the beginning of us learning to pray and trust. And as we look back, even in all of our journey thus far, all we can do is point to our LORD.
Kimberly Stewart lives in Austin, Texas with her kids, and her husband, Michael Stewart, who is Strategic Pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church and Founder of Verge Network. She loves good conversation, gardening & Austin TexMex! You can connect with her ontwitter, facebook, or read her blog: www.stewartfamilylife.blogspot.com