Our home was full and busy with trucks, dinosaurs and every piece of sports equipment known to mankind. We had been blessed with four boys, each boy enhanced our family in a very unique way; yet my heart longed for a daughter(s). I longed for pink lace, bows and dolls. I gave this up to God many times but the desire would always come back. After years of prayer, God gave me the Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8). God told me to keep praying not because I desired a little girl, but because he wanted it for me. Meanwhile, my husband was wrestling with my desire to adopt. He loves children, but as a father, he was concerned about another mouth to feed, not having enough time, and having enough energy to love and nurture a fifth child.
As the months passed our hearts were broken for the orphans of the world. On November 20, 2006, we both felt God leading us to adopt and on that day, we decided to start our journey down that road of adoption to our princess in Vietnam. It was thrilling; the joy we had at the conception of this child in our hearts. We filled out the paperwork and waited and watched as we joined the waiting list for our referral. In January 2007, we began to hear that the Memorandum of Agreement between the United States and Vietnam may not be resigned by September 1st. This was quite scary but we always hung onto the fact that God was directing the journey. As the communication between the two countries became stressed, it became clear that we needed a miracle. In the adoption process, just like in our walk with the Lord, we had to come to a point when we are willing to surrender to whatever His will is for our lives. Our fairytale adoption dreams had come to the realization that it was our job to be obedient to the call God had placed on our lives. If God required us to start our adoption journey over with another country we would, even after the investment of 16 months, because being in His will was our ultimate goal.
On June 13, 2008, God called our family to fast for our precious daughter. God spoke loudly with his peace that day and we were so encouraged. That fast was an amazing experience (“So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty. What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground” - Zachariah 4:6-7). Once again, God had heard our cries for intervention and God was moving this mountain onto level ground. The morning of Monday, June 16, 2008, I told a friend that if there was ever a day to get a referral, it was today, after such a powerful weekend of prayer and fasting. That afternoon, the phone rang and I saw the caller ID, it was our agency. The only thing I could do was to smile. God’s heart had been moved! On June 16, 2008, we were sent the picture of a little girl that was halfway around the world, that we had been praying for, for 17 months. We found out that she was in an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We accepted Lydia knowing that God would have to continue doing a miracle. September 1st came and went and Vietnam officially closed its doors to United States adoptions. As of September 1st, Lydia’s referral was not official but we decided to wait on God’s plan. In the wake of the country closing, our caseworker called us and told us that we most likely lost our referral (our Lydia), we felt like God was still saying to us, just wait in faith and so we did. On September 8th, our caseworker called us to let us know that Lydia’s referral was made official on August 26th, 2008, 5 days before the country closed. God moved that paperwork mountain and got it declared official in 2 ½ months when on average it was to take four to seven months. Psalms 103:6 says, “The Lord works righteousness and justice for the oppressed.”
On December 3rd, 2008, we started our physical journey to bring our daughter Lydia Lan Adams home and to conclude our emotional and spiritual journey, to complete our family. We held her in our arms for the first time on December 7th and brought her home to the United States on December 13th, 2008. When we introduced Lydia to her new family, her Grandpa said,” Now the family is complete.” Even though we had just brought our fifth child home, that statement sounded too final for me. I wasn’t sure I was ready to say “complete.”
“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations,” Psalm 33:11. While we were trying to bring Lydia home, God was already working on his next blessing for us. God was preparing our hearts for a privilege we didn’t know we would receive. It is always amazing to look back and see God’s hand working in our lives. In the fall of 2008 we started to hear about a beautiful teenage girl in our church named, Ashley who was in the foster care system. We had not met her yet, but started to pray and talk to people about her in hopes that she would be adopted. Indeed, a family in our church came forward to begin the steps to adopt her. At some point, we had the opportunity to meet her and she was no longer just a name but a pretty face with a contagious laugh. Over the next few months, we were enamored and intrigued by her. I felt always drawn to her and found myself asking about how she was doing whenever I had the chance. At the end of May, we started to question if we had a more personal responsibility to Ashley. My heart was so burdened for her, I remember crying and longing for her. My heart was so heavy for her, it was like I couldn’t breathe. It was the Holy Spirit that impressed her on my heart. If she was to be our gift from God, we did not want to miss this awesome opportunity. We prayed for discernment over what our role was in her life and if she was the child to “complete” our family. God would always bring Ashley to Nate’s mind in prayer. God was revealing and preparing our minds for the blessing he was about to give us. While we waited, the other family who had committed to adopt her, ended their pursuit of Ashley. We also learned that her group home that she was living in was going to be closing in less than two weeks. Was this the door opening for Ashley to be ours? Ashley needed to have action taken in her life. Nate wanted us to pray specifically for confirmation from God regarding opening our hearts and lives to Ashley. We became aware of a state program called Supervised Independent Living, where the state allows foster children who are older and more responsible to live with a specific family. This would give us the ability to bring Ashley into our home before her group home closed without the lengthy wait of foster care licensing. We now included the boys in our prayer over Ashley. God had used Lydia’s adoption to also break their hearts for the orphan. They had never met Ashley, yet they were on board to allow Ashley into their hearts and home without every meeting her. On July 7, 2009, we asked Ashley if she would like to come and live with us. Again, God had conceived love for an adopted daughter in our hearts. We spent the next week with paperwork and court appearances. Ashley came to live with us on July 17, 2009, 3 years to the day of when her birthparent’s rights were relinquished. God is a God of renewal and restoration. I think He loves to wow us with taking a day in our lives that should be remembered as sad and repurposing it with hope. In November 2009, we began the process to officially adopt her. She had been part of our hearts and our family since God gave her to us on July 17 but we desire to give her so much more; to give her the permanency of being forever included in this family. Now, we are busy learning how to adopt domestically. We remain hopeful in God’s provision as we wait for Ashley’s paperwork to be finalized. So sometime before Ashley’s 18th birthday, God will make her legally part of our family.
The journey to these precious girls was an amazing strength builder of our faith and display of God’s power and sovereignty. He taught us so much through this process. God grew a love for Lydia and Ashley in each family member. The spiritual bond God created between Lydia, Ashley and us is far stronger than the genetic bond. We are in awe of how God stitched our family together. I know that as He designed our family before the foundation of the world, He choose to bless us biologically with four wonderful boys. Then as an example of his redemptive plan for all believers, he handpicked two beautiful and unique daughters to be adopted as part of our family to “complete” us. It was with far more creativity, love and intention then we could ever have imagined fashioning on our own.
“O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1