Now that all of you know a little more about God’s story in our lives, let me tell you how exciting it is that He called us to adopt. When we began the process we knew we wanted a little girl. Having three boys, this momma was excited to think about a daughter. We initially sought a domestic adoption of an infant girl. As we prayed and continued the process, God laid on our hearts to possibly adopt an older child or maybe even two – still domestic because the cost for international adoption was more than we thought we could afford. We prayed and asked the Lord to direct our steps and decided to be open to special needs.
Ok, so here’s what God does. Psalms 37:4 says: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Well, yes He does. However, if you’re His and those desires don’t match up with what He wants for you, then guess what? Those desires change. And that is exactly what He did with my husband and me. He continually changed the desires of two of His children to match those He ordained for us before time began. He patiently loved us and directed us to what He wanted in our lives and took “our” desires and gave us new ones. The new desires of our hearts became “Lord, make our desires match what you want for us.” So enough trying to decide what we wanted – we just said: “God, give us the child/children you want for us.”
A wonderful friend suggested that I become Facebook friends with the wife of one of her former school mates because she knew her to be a strong believer and advocate for orphans. My friend thought she would be a great source of information on the adoption process. So, I did the awkward thing of requesting a complete stranger to be my “friend” on Facebook. I noticed that this new Facebook friend did indeed advocate for orphans and had a website dedicated to helping people who were in the adoption process as well as sharing postings of waiting children in Ethiopia.I was packing for a trip to speak at a women’s retreat on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and stopped to look at this new found friend’s website. At this time she didn’t know what great friends we were, but I did. That may sound sort of ‘stalker like’ huh? Ok, moving back to ‘stalker talk’, I loved following her blogs and felt as if I’d known her for years. I can’t stand packing, so of course I took a breather and looked at her latest post and there they were, the three most beautiful little girls I had ever set my eyes on. I immediately called for my husband to come and look at these sisters in an orphanage in Ethiopia. He looked, I looked some more and we decided to pray that God would quickly give the girls a family. The girls were listed as special needs but not in the way you and I might think. Since there are three of them and our placing agency was trying to keep them together, their situation was a special need indeed. But then, isn’t every orphan?
The next morning I was off to speak at the retreat. I spoke to several ladies about these three beautiful sisters and asked them to please join me in prayer that God would quickly send parents to those three precious children. The orphanage would only keep them together for a short time before splitting them up making them more “adoptable”. I talked to my husband and we prayed together over the phone. They were constantly on my heart. Brian and I agreed that when I got home the following Monday we would call to learn more about them.
As soon as the sun came up on Monday morning I called about the girls. The sheer information about the process and amount of money that would be needed within a week to ‘secure’ the girls was way out of our league. Brian and I took time to pray and truly knew, as crazy as it sounds, we were being led to let others know about our desire to adopt these three girls from Ethiopia. Did you just notice that I wrote our desire? Yes, that would be how good our God is. He did that – He gave not just me, not just Brian, but both of us the same exact desire, and would later prove to us that it was a desire that was definitely His will for us. Sometimes those desires are so big that it seems impossible. But isn’t that where He wants us? At a place of knowing that without Him it is impossible but with Him anything is possible? I felt like Gideon – say what, God? You want me to lead 300 men to battle against several hundred thousand?
Well, He wasn’t calling us to battle against soldiers but He was definitely calling us to a battle – a battle to defend and care for three beautiful sisters, a battle to raise a significant amount of money in one week, and a battle against Satan who hates it when Christians go about God’s business particularly a call to embrace the fatherless and helpless with sacrificial love.As it was with Gideon when God reduced his army to three hundred men so He could make it clear He would win the battle, God began to lift us over the obstacles separating the Snow’s from the little sisters in Ethiopia. Yes, our obstacles were different – a huge amount ($23,000) of funding for an average middle class family to raise in one week’s time, the countless administrative roadblocks, the startling news that catches you off guard, the ‘no’s’ that we thought would be ‘yes’s’, and the spiritual battle being waged for the very souls of our sisters. He was calling us into battle – one that He alone could win. These battles that raged against us in our pursuit to be obedient to Christ were all for His glory. The battles came and He conquered so that there could be no mistake – He was the Commander and the victories were His. What a blessing to Brian and me to be entrusted and given three beautiful daughters by God. If I were to list all the many, and I do mean many, fires that threatened to destroy the pursuit of our girls, it would fill this entire Spiritual Herald. However, so would all the ways that God has drawn us closer to Him through this process. In Psalms 119:71 the Psalmist says: “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” When going through a trial, or I prefer to say ‘testing’, our flesh will cry out. But know that God can handle all our “it’s not fairs,” while our spirit is being renewed and polished to better reflect Christ, the One who suffered the most.
This is what I want to really penetrate your hearts – adoption isn’t easy, adoption isn’t cheap, and it can be one of the most difficult processes known to humankind. The journey can be long, tiresome, stressful, and heart aching. You’ll grey early, you may lose or gain weight (Ok, let’s be real, you’ll probably gain), your kids may wonder if their real parents have been abducted, your faith will be tested, your house won’t get cleaned for days (Ok weeks), your eyes will shed more tears than you ever thought possible, you’ll face doubts, Satan’s army will be on your heels, and many sleepless nights should be expected. However, things that are easy don’t always cause us to be humbled by a merciful God. No, adoption isn’t cheap, but when God calls you to something you must trust that He will provide. Remember that $23,000 that I said we had to have in one week’s time or we wouldn’t have the girls ‘secured’? Well, God not only gave us the $23,000 but added $2,000 more the day before it was needed.
We still have funds to raise to complete the adoption, but oh how we trust Him to provide. The process can be difficult, but He’ll guide you each step of the way and give you brothers and sisters to help carry the burdens and rejoice with you in the victories. The adoption process can be long, but He’ll teach you to love more like He loves and therefore patience will be a fruit that will be more evident in your walk. You may go grey, but Clairol is cheap. You may gain some weight, but then you’ll realize and be grateful for His provisions. If you already have children while trying to adopt, they’ll see parents who are real. You will be given opportunities to share with them God’s relentless grace and be given many opportunities to pray – I mean prayers that bring you to a much deeper communion with a Holy God. And yes, perhaps their real parents did get abducted and replaced by ones that love God more than they did before. Not because He showered them with wealth but because he showed them their need for His lavish grace and mercy.
Ok, and about the house, who are we kidding? Was it really spotless each day before the adoption process? It will eventually get cleaned, and in the meantime you may realize all the things that are scattered about prove that you are blessed. The tears that are shed are worth every box of Kleenex you went through. Those tears will strengthen you and help you realize how you’ve grown in your trust and dependence on a Sovereign God and give you more compassion for others.
Now, about the doubt, that’s weak flesh creeping in. However, you’ll be in God’s Word more than you were before. His Word is His very breath meant for us to inhale. The more we inhale it and hear Him speak through it, the more we desire to give Him glory, and that is truly why we were created, “for His glory!” Yes, believe that when you are called by God to walk in obedience the enemy doesn’t like it. He’s out to keep the orphans just that, orphans. Oh, and he especially doesn’t want children raised in a Christ-following home. God sent Christ so we orphans could be adopted into His kingdom. Didn’t Christ suffer the greatest to accomplish the will of His Father? Being about the Father’s business and caring for orphans enables us to become the hands and feet of Christ. And yes, you should expect that Satan will try all of his schemes to keep you from obeying God’s call to adopt. Be ready for this battle and be ready to allow God to win it. Trust that when you are weak, He is strong!
If you’re still with me this far, well then: “bless your heart.” Know that I have prayed for you. I prayed that the Lord would encourage you not to just see the needs orphans have but that you would seek ways to meet those needs and to care for these helpless souls. You may be called to be a forever family, to sponsorship, to support an adoptive family, to donate to an agency, to foster care, or take a mission trip. There are countless ways to support orphans. I am praying that He would give you the courage of Gideon to be obedient in whatever way He is directing. Make no mistake, He is calling His people. If you are His, then He is calling you to care for orphans.
To share what God has been doing in the lives of the Snow Bunch overwhelms this grateful heart. We are now on the ‘patiently waiting leg’ of our adoption journey, learning to trust in His timing and not ours. Each week we get updates on our beautiful girls and with every picture our love grows. We hope to have our daughter’s home for Christmas but if not yet again we’ll trust in His plan not ours. We would love for you to keep up with what God is doing in the life of our family. Here is our blog address: www.mel-snow.blogspot.com.
Truly, from a very grateful heart, thank you to all who have prayed and supported us during our adoption journey.