Here’s one of our more remarkable stories of God’s faithfulness in our adoption process. Originally posted almost 6 years ago.
I know there are some of my occasional readers who don’t believe in the providential hand of God working in the course of our lives. If you happen to fit into this category of reader kindly remove the words “providence,” “Miracle” or any other work that implies that God has something to do with this and feel free to insert the words “coincidence,” “results of hard work and determination,” and “freakish dumb luck.”
I am one who believes in the hand of God and so with that as the backdrop, I would like to take a few moments to recount the numerous answers to prayer (coincidences – you get the idea! You’re doing great!) connected with our Journey to Joshua, the story of our adopted son.
It all started with a 7 iron and a prayer. My brother, father and I were in a foursome together for the Cal Poly Pomona golf tournament. My wife, Jen, was at home praying that one of us hits a hole in one. Why? Because God is able. And if God is able to do that, he can provide the monstrous sum of money required to adopt.
We had been thinking about adoption for quite some time. When we started to earnestly look into it, I knew it was going to be expensive. I had about $20,000.00 worth of faith. But at our first meeting, the adoption agency was throwing out 28-30k and I was clutching my heart. Are we just dreaming here? Are we being presumptuous with God to step out on such a long high limb? So we gave it great thought and though neither of us believe in testing God, I suppose that’s what we were doing here.
A real prayer of faith would have had me hitting the hole in one and I don’t think even Jen has that kind of faith – I suppose she could have started by praying for my swing. But no, Jen was praying that one of us would hit it.
My brother is a very good golfer. Much better than I. He hits it straighter, longer and more consistently, but I look better in a golf vest so I’ve got that going for me which is nice. Many of you have read in my earlier blogs that Pete took out his 7, thought again and grabbed his six. He hit it straight and it was in the hole. It was his golf swing and generosity that got us started on the road to adoption.
Now Pete, I say is a good golfer but that was his first hole in one and it happened on a hole that awarded an expensive car to anyone who hits it. The odds of Pete hitting a hole in one are not great (infinitely better than mine, but how many thousands of shots had he hit before that one?). The odds of Pete hitting a hole in one on a car hole is astronomical. The course pro said he’d never seen anyone do it in the 10 years he’d worked there. It is in the hundreds of thousands to one against it ever happening. That’s why the insurance companies offer these cars!
That got us started, but we still had a long road ahead of social workers, government red tape and a bunch of money which we had no idea from where it would come. We had friends show up along the way with surprising timing and generosity. We had our first significant payment due to the orphanage and received a check that day from a friend for the exact amount. We received gifts from unlikely sources. A missionary we know gave us over $1,000.00 saying they were certain that God was calling them to be a part of our adoption in a significant way. I was leading a student group at a conference and we were talking about decision making. I mentioned our decision to adopt as an example that we continue to face big decisions throughout our lives. A couple of weeks later, I received a very generous check from one of the students (who we hardly knew and a very nice note saying that she wanted to invest in bringing an orphan into our home.
We had some scares along the way – we felt like we were making headway with the finances, when we found out that they now required 2 trips and their estimated costs for us increased by about $8,000.00 as a result.
Since then we’ve received 2 separate grants to help us with our adoption cost. We had a friend open up his cheese-steak restaurant and offering half of the proceeds. He put a note in the church bulletin inviting everyone to come and help with the Berk adoption and more than 100 people poured into that little store during a 2 hour stretch. It was amazing. I felt like George Bailey, the richest man in town! There were so many others who gave generously, and now we find ourselves within a few hundred dollars of our total cost.
We have been praying for Joshua before we knew his name (remember Stan?). About a year before the hole in one coincidence, Joshua was conceived to parents who for whatever reason were unable to care for him. He was born in February of 2006. When we met him, there was no doubt that he was a Berk. God brought these Kyrgyz people together to help produce a child that would one day become part of our family. Weird.
We were able to go visit him. God provided us with the means to do so. He took care of our needs, even with long layovers to have an amazing jet-lag and tummy trouble free trip. Before the trip we were told that it was likely Joshua would be home with us by the beginning of August. While on this trip we learned that it was more like the end of August. This seems like a small difference, but with school starting for Hannah and me starting a new position, we really needed those few weeks together as a family. And so as much as God has been answering our prayers, we have thrown another big one his way.
We were told that this was impossible. The Kyrgyz officials would never sign off before all of the official documents were signed.
We were offered a chance to have the Kyrgyz bureaucrats stamp our papers more quickly if we pay them an extra $2300. We said no trusting that either God would make it happen anyway or give us the grace to handle the more difficult schedule. And besides that, they offered no guarantees that they’d actually get the paperwork done in time. And so the only alternative was for our Kyrgyz adoption coordinator to take a bunch of unofficial papers in to the judge and have our adoption approved on spec. This has never happened. Until today.
Pending the arrival of our official documents (and money) we have completed the 11 month gauntlet of international adoption. We are likely going to be in the air by the end of July and home by early August!
God’s faithfulness is great. His mercies are new every morning. I wonder what’s in store tomorrow!