In 2008 we began submitted the first of many, many papers that would completely change our lives. One of the questions asked of us was, "are you open to adopting siblings?". I thought, "Yes, of course." And began to pray that Kevin would agree that we should be open to adopting 2 children at once....2 sisters, I thought, because every little girl needs a sister. Even after months of praying for God to change Kevin's mind, the answer from hime was no - "one at a time". I was somewhat disappointed, but I have learned over the years to trust my husband because he can often see reality in a way that my emotions tend to cloud over. As time rolled on we knew exactly why we needed to adopt just one... because Faith was just one, born to woman who had no other children. However during our entire adoption process of Faith, Kevin and I both felt like this would not be our final adoption. After we traveled to Ethiopia to meet Faith and bring her home, that thought only continued to grow. Only a week home and Kevin looked at me and said, "we are going to do this again someday." Thinking about it now, this statement sounds totally crazy.
We thought maybe in a few years God would allow us the privilege of adopting again. So we prayed, we prayed daily for our children yet to come home and that God would show us when we were supposed to start looking again. This summer, way before we had expected to start the process again, God told Kevin and I both that the time was now... look now, your child is waiting for you. It was very clear to both of us that little Judkins #4 was on a Waiting International Child list. These lists hold precious children from countries all over the world who wait for a forever family. They wait because they do not match the requirements for any of the waiting families. It is usually because they are older, have some type of medical need or emotional need...their are in situations totally not of their doing and have no way to become what most families are looking for. So we began to look. We first looked at many different waiting children in Ethiopia - all those doors closed. Next we printed off the list of all the waiting children through the adoption agency we used to find Faith, CHSFS. We placed their pictures all over our kitchen and prayed daily for direction. One by one the doors closed for the children on the list. The ones we felt called to we were not accepted to pursue and others we just did not have a peace that they were meant for our family. It was a strange time. I couldn't understand what was happening. We knew God had told us to pursue a waiting child, but how could it be that we had no peace about seeking to adopt any of the ones shown to us. We came to the end of the list empty handed and back to square one.
The next day God pressed upon me to check the list again. And there she was, her face jumped off the computer and into my heart. My stomach began to turn and the room began to swirl. I showed her to Kevin and he agreed that she might be the one. Kevin decided we would take a week and pray about it. A few days later I was standing in the kitchen making dinner and praying about this little girl whose picture and paragraph description had captured my heart. We had printed out her photograph and written her Chinese name underneath the picture. I kept looking at the picture then back to cooking, then at the picture, then back to cooking.
At this point in the story I need to rewind about 8 years to the summer of 2003. Kevin and I attended a local adoption information meeting and met some amazing people, including two adorable little girls from China. We decided after that meeting we would pursue adopting a little girl from China and we would give her the name, Ellie. A few months later we found ourselves in the the center of a tragedy and our plans of adoption came crashing down. However God still had the same plan - His timing was just a bit different then what we had expected. Brick by brick He build our faith and our children's stories. We discovered that I was pregnant with Kody and the light began to shine through a very dark time. God blessed us again with another pregnancy, our bundle of joy, Tyler. We knew after Tyler's first birthday that the time had come to start the adoption process again. The door to China was closed for us at that time and God turned our hearts to Ethiopia to bring home our precious Faith.
Okay, now fast foward back to 2011 and my little kitchen..... as I looked at this little girl's Chinese name, I saw this in the middle of her name for the first time "ELIAN". Our friend from China had told us that many times when Chinese people come to the U.S. they will take an American name that is similar to their Chinese name. All this was swirling around in my head when it hit me like a weight being thrown on my chest. Elian...we could name her Eliana.... and call her Elie. Now I am sobbing, unable to see anything around me as I realize that God has answered the prayer of our hear from so long ago. I turn around to face Kevin walking in from work.
"Kevin, she is ours...she is our daugther."
and Kevin's reply, "I know."
Isn't that just like our Heavenly Father? That He would tell Kevin and I at the same time to adopt again and then at the same moment reveal to both of us separately that this little girl in China was to be part of our family....our Elie. So we are adopting from China, a little girl named Elie, with a sister named Faith and two brothers named Kody and Tyler..... and we hope someday the list will hold more names as well.
There is a quote that I wrote in my Bible years ago when I was at Cedarville. Unfortunately I have no idea who said it because I failed to make note of who was speaking, but it has spoken volumes to me over the years.
~ The Bible says in Ps 37:4 "Commit your way to the Lord and He will give you the desires of you heart." Sometimes your "loves" may be put in the background for God to work His will in your life. But by committing to the Lord, in the end He will use your "loves" in amazing ways that you couldn't have even imagined before.
When I penned this in my Bible, I could never have imagined the story God has written for my life thus far.... I am completely humbled that He has given me the role of being mama to these amazing children and wife to one incredible husband.