A tiny glimpse into the past before we can look at the present:
Kevin and I were only teenagers when we found out that we would be parents. My husband still remembers very vividly a conversation he had with his dad saying “Dad, how will I ever be able to provide for my child? Will I ever be able to even buy that first bike?” At the time of this writing, I am now 35, Kevin is 33, our son is 14 and we have a 10 year old daughter. We can happily say that over the years, we have been able to provide bikes for both of our children!
We’ve been married for over 13 years now and together for over 15. No need to sugarcoat things – life at times was extremely difficult and being teenage parents certainly added to it. We’ve had to overcome a lot of struggles over the years. The incredible Billy Graham once said, “Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.” It has been through some of the most difficult times in our lives, in our marriage, and in our family that our perseverance has sprouted the most fruit.
In those early years, even before we knew God, He knew us and He guided our steps. With God, anything is possible and we have experienced the ways in which he can move seemingly impassible mountains. After all of these years, it’s incredible to say that we are not only happily married, but also the best of friends! Our family of four – we are truly Team Joy!
But what now? Looking back on our life we see that we really have been blessed so much! So what do we do with all that has been gracefully given to us? As Christians, we believe with all our hearts that it is certainly more of a blessing to give than receive. Our walk with Jesus has stretched our hearts in directions we would have never thought possible. As parents, we also embrace the huge responsibility we have to teach our children through our actions and behaviors. We want to be examples for them to learn through our compassion, our giving hearts, our hope and faith and mostly our love for the people of this world. We truly feel this is what God is calling us to do. As a family, we are united in the decision to share the joy we have in one another with a child who may never know what it means to have a family.
We knew that adoption may always be an option for us. Over the last year or so, we’ve continued to have more regular discussions as we have started to wonder what life would look like being young with grown children. As we’ve spent time in God’s word, we simply could not ignore how much emphasis there is on taking care of the orphans, the poor, and the needy. So, we step out in faith and move ahead, trusting that the Lord knows what is best for our lives. And we collectively feel that our call is to adopt a little girl from China. 🙂 We cannot help but smile big as we write this.
Having been involved with Gospel for Asia for many years and sponsoring children and missionaries through their organization, we initially hoped to start our adoption journey in Asia through an India adoption program.
As we researched our options and started to become more educated on adoption requirements, we came to realize that some of the new Hague (adoption law) requirements have made it more difficult for Westerners of non-Indian descent to adopt from that region. As we continued to research and consider our options, looking at the many choices available, we were slowly led to China through various circumstances and relationships. As we discussed some of our plans, we came to find out that a friend of ours had a best friend that worked for Lifeline Children’s Services and was a social worker for the China program. So, China was the next place we researched and it seemed to fit well in every area. It felt like a perfect match.
Why a girl?
Our involvement with Gospel for Asia and the brothel outreach ministry I (Marta) am involved in has opened our eyes to a view of women that is far different than we have ever experienced in the United States. The oppression and objectification of women has has grown heavy on our hearts as we continue to realize the ongoing threat of human trafficking and exploitation. The reality is that many young kids remain in an orphanage and at some point “age out” and end up being exploited.
It is easy to get caught up in the mindset of “why a boy” or “why a girl.” Or question whether international or domestic is the right option. The parable of the “starfish story” has always struck a chord close to our hearts:
We found ourselves asking “how do we make an difference?” And so we begin to walk this path, taking a step of faith in adopting a little girl from China – our little Joy.