We are so excited and honored to welcome the Evans family back to our blog for Part II of their powerful fostering and adoption story, "Faith Is a Muscle" (read Part I if you haven't already!). This Mother's Day, we are not just celebrating moms or moms-to-be (although obviously moms are awesome!) but all families, everywhere, that come in every shape and size. We are so moved by the Evans' story, and want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts for sharing it with us.
The following summer, God began to remind Sara and myself of the adoption calling He had placed in us long ago. As painful as it sounded to re-enter this arena, we knew God had confirmed it again to us through His word. My wife was given “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.” (Isaiah 43:5 ESV) This time, we were led to inquire about adopting from China!
"International adoption... that's insane, Lord!?!? Do you have any idea how much that will cost?!?" These were my most holy of prayers at the beginning. I had never traveled outside of the United States, we had no passports, no significant savings or assets to sell.
But something an old pastor said kept ringing in my ears, "God doesn't call the equipped, but He equips the called." All of that faith-stretching we had been through with our lives and foster care increased our faith just enough to say, "Yes, Lord. Your will, not ours," so we could start this adventure.
My wife inquired with Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI) about the "Waiting Child Program." These are kids that have special needs. Many need surgeries, therapies, long-term care. They are typically considered outcasts. Most of them have been abandoned and left at the orphanage; but this gives them a chance to be adopted.
They directed us to fill out a medical checklist of conditions and issues we would be willing to accept in a new child. That may sound like a simple task, but I can assure you that a third of the list was unpronounceable to me, and we spent what seemed like a month googling some of the terms to decide if we could manage to care for a little one with these issues. We finally turned it in along with some basic family information.
In the fall of 2014, we received an email from CCAI with a potential child match. His name was Guo Hao Tian, 18 months old, diagnosed with poor brain development and delayed development and an abnormal CT scan. Then we opened the picture file:
They gave us two or three days to decide whether to move forward. We sent his medical file to our pediatrician and asked him to tell us what he thought we would be facing, medically-speaking. We enlisted a few faithful friends to pray for us and with us. If we said, "Yes," we would have to start an official application and send it in with the first program fee. The fee was more money than we had in checking and savings combined. If this was of the Lord, He would have to provide.
Ultimately, we decided to proceed. In the following couple of weeks, we prayerfully completed our application.
Then I received an unexpected email from work. The CFO explained that under the terms of my employment agreement, I was supposed to get a raise after the first 90 days, which had never happened, and I had been completely unaware. They decided to pay me everything in one lump sum on my next paycheck. It was enough to cover the first program fee! Praise God!
We were convinced and determined to continue walking this path...God was going to see this through.
Along the way, so many people (family, friends, and even strangers) came alongside us in this journey. Several of them banded together to pull off the most incredible art auction / coffeehouse-style fundraiser, which drew the attention and support of the vast majority of our church body.
There have been numerous uncertain moments with paperwork, qualifications, timing of funds coming through, but God has stretched our faith at every turn. He has shown His faithfulness.
We finally made it to China and back last month...with our new son!
There are many more stories to be shared from our adventures there, but the fact is, God is finishing what He started. We are humbled to be used.
We named our son Isaiah.