As you know my amazing wife has a passion for writing and this is my turn at blogging...oh boy.
When I think back at "my" plans it did not include the current path we are on.
Rewind 10-15 years-
During college I had aspirations to be a musical performer. I had my first piece of music published when I was 16 and thought the 'Polish Cowboy' was the next biggest thing to hit Nashville. Laura teases me still after all these years but is still my biggest fan. Nashville wasn't as excited about "the Polish Cowboy" as I was and didn't have the welcome wagon out for me I learned quickly that the door was closed for me.
Then in late my late teens and early 20's this awkward frame of mine started doing things with a baseball and bat that garnished a future with a certain motor town team and I was headed full steam until that door was closed for me with both ankles requiring lateral collateral ligament repairs. Door closed again.
Still passionate about baseball and those I played with, I took the education I received and started a sports management business. A few years of success and being one of the youngest agents out there, I was out to show the world what "I" could do. But, the lifestyle that goes with the off-field activities crept into me and too soon I found myself with a gambling problem, drinking problem and partying problem. Living by "worldly" standards I found myself searching and lost. At that time I met my wife, and I accepted Christ. Well, God and Laura weren't too thrilled about the sport's management business and that door was very quickly closed.
Laura and I married in 2006 and we began our life together planning our future. We were blessed with Tommy in 2007 and felt the calling to adopt NOW and not AFTER we were done having our "own" children. (note I cringe at using the word "own", as Noah, and any of my children, adopted or not ARE, my OWN) I tell the story all the time of the day in January 2008 when Laura called me at work and told me we needed to be in Russia in 2 weeks, which was completely out of the blue as our paperwork wasn't even completed yet; then she called me ten minutes later and told me she was pregnant. We looked to God and asked "do we continue with the adoption or do we only pursue one child at a time?" We were reminded in scripture in Thessalonians 5:24 "He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it." It gave us comfort in knowing we were not alone in this and His plan was unfolding. A few weeks later and many flights to Russia, Noah arrived, shortly followed by Audrey being born healthy and no issues during the pregnancy.
It seemed like everything was going full steam until we decided to drive our future again. We drew plans for a 4500+ square foot house and even called it "Rustic Elegance". Then as many felt the bubble pop on the housing market we were left with two houses, one that someone got a great deal on and one that a renter destroyed. Of course, the destroyed one is the one we ultimately were going to tear down and build "Rustic Elegance" but with two mortgages, overseas many times and now 3 young kids under 3 we now live in the house that has both a golden harvest AND a rose colored tub! I know you are jealous! We had been provided and blessed abundantly and when we tried to steer our future; you guessed it-someone closed the door. (On a side note, I pause and thank God that during this time he sent my cousin Scott from Nashville up to help and for 6 weeks, he repaired the the inside of the house for us. He felt the need to be there and help, and I think we would have lost our minds without him.)
You may have read the other posts regarding our craziness at that time and during that time our growing family of five in the 1800 square foot house with lovely harvest gold and rose colored bathrooms welcomed Laura's brother and sister in law into our home and their new baby as they needed a place to stay for 6 months... 2 1/2 years later they were able to move out into a home 10 minutes away so the kids can still see each other weekly. They sure do love each other like brothers and sisters instead of cousins. We decided taking care of the immediate need was more important than our future ones. Now, we look back at 8 people, 2 dogs, 1 cat and 1 fish tank that cohabited in our house, and kinda miss it!
Crazy and hectic it was, but you know something? That door was NEVER shut for us. Everything fell into place, and anything we tried to do other than live together and keep things the way they were just didn't work. Doors shut, and doors opened.
One of my closest friends taught me early in my walk with the Lord that sometimes it's good to not pray for doors to open in life, but to pray for doors to be closed that God doesn't want us going down. Odd; this lesson was being taught to me only recently however in application the "doors" all along were being shut. Doors that I look back on and wonder if I did go through them what unknowns lay ahead, frighten me.
So, we are back in February of this year and I met with my two friends that met everyThursday morning to encourage each other, read scripture and seek wisdom for our lives. I shared with them Laura and I felt our hearts being called to a door of adoption again, and honestly we just weren't sure. We prayed that if this was to be, or not, that God would close this door if he didn't want us going down it.
It was at this time we were looking at special needs children. Were we prepared for this? Again, we prayed for God to close the door if he didn't want us to go down that path. But, with my employment, healthcare is provided readily and with Noah, and having 3-4 different therapists in our home weekly we just couldn't seem to close the door on special needs, it just seemed to be very loud and clear to us that we REALLY DO have the resources to take care of these children. Then regarding children... I remember on our first trip to Russia sitting in the orphanage directors office; seeing the conditions and being so moved by the Spirit, I blurted out I want to adopt two instead of one. It was too late in the game to call an audible so I told Laura if we were ever called down this road again, we would look at potentially adopting two. Again we prayed for God to close the door if he only wanted us to adopt one. The story of how we arrived at our two children is an amazing one, but another story in and of itself. Needless to say, the door remained very very open for us to adopt two.
In general our adoption process was quick and had no barriers or obstacles that MANY if not most adopting families encounter, Our door just kept staying open. Every single time we second guessed ourselves, faithfully God reminded us each and every time this door is open and for us to go down.
We have struggled with where we have been led. (remember, we are still sinners living in a fallen world) Five kids under five? In fact, Tommy will still be four when they arrive home from China; so technically five kids under four?
Are we crazy? (don't answer that)-
|The kiddos... reminding us of how blessed we already are!|
Who in their right mind "chooses" this. Already blessed with 3 children, who elects to take every penny found in the house and bank, and go out and bring home a child that is deaf and one that may never walk? Who does this? Who wants the stresses, the bills, the unknowns; who chooses that. Each time we have been led to this door and we have many times had the chance to close the door on our own, it remained not only open, but it seemed there was a giant shove behind us into it, and we have faithfully entered.
So is this how it is supposed to be? If the doors haven't been shut, the answer is clear, for us.
We hope and pray that with God much needed grace in our lives we can faithfully do what God wants of us, to one day hear..
Matthew 25:21 "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Master"