Sara is my fun and lovely sister-in-law. I know you’ll enjoy hearing her story and her heart for adoption.
In middle school, I attended a youth service at a Baptist church with a girlfriend from my dance studio. The message was about making peace with God and it was the first time I heard that I could be saved by accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. At the end of the service there was an altar call and although I did not physically go to the altar, my heart did and I prayed for Jesus to become my Savior.
But I can’t say my life changed much. My high school and college years were all about me — my wants and desires were first and foremost. Being a planner by nature, I was convinced I could map out my life, and things were actually going pretty smoothly. After college graduation I obtained a great job, had many wonderful friends and parents who loved me unconditionally. My relationship with my Savior was on the back burner and I only looked to Him when things weren’t going quite as I had planned.
A few years later I began dating my husband, Tom. Attending church with him helped me to understand what a real relationship with my Savior could look like. I re-committed my life to Jesus and was excited about a renewed sense of being and purpose. Tom and I began planning our lives together and enjoyed dreaming about where we’d live and all things we’d do.
Just sixteen months after our wedding, we were blessed with a healthy and beautiful baby girl, Olivia. Being a mom gave me a whole new joy in my life and my joy doubled when our second daughter, Sydney, was born two years later. Our hearts and home were full and life was good.
With two healthy biological children, we began praying for God’s clear direction for our family. We wanted to have more children and were open to the possibility of adoption. It was during this time I remember watching a clip of Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries on the Oprah Winfrey show about her adoption of two boys from a Liberian choir. TerKeurst’s friends and community were inspired by her actions and ended up adopting the remaining 44 boys from the choir. Her story moved me to tears and I knew then and there that we would adopt a boy from Africa.
Our adoption research lead us to America World Adoption’s Ethiopia program. Once we were accepted, I tackled the massive paperwork head-on, determined to get it completed in record time. But God quickly reminded me through the ups and downs and twists and turns of international adoption that He is in control. Our adoption would happen in His perfect timing, and I was learning to trust His sovereignty.
I remember seeing our son’s picture for the first time and being overwhelmed that this child would be joining our family. Despite knowing we were led to adopt Silas, there were times when I wondered about the changes ahead and how the unknowns would impact our already “perfect” family. Yet God has shown me so much through our adoption journey. I have the gift of looking back and seeing that His timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I am struck that submission to His will is the only way. Silas completes our family (at least for now!), and I can’t imagine life without him.
In addition, our time spent in Ethiopia, meeting and bringing home our son, was
life-changing. God opened our hearts and eyes to the “least of
these” (Matthew 25:40). And as Proverbs suggests once we see the need, we can’t act like we do not know. Tom and I recognize that we are responsible for acting (24:12). My prayer is that I will never forget all that we saw and experienced in our son’s birth country and that God will use me to be a voice for the over 147 million orphans in the world today and encourage others to “look after orphans in their distress” (James 1:27).
Adopting Silas has given our family a whole new perspective. We’ve been given a platform for sharing our faith and for adoption advocacy. When I look back on my life thus far I am continuously reminded that when I put my wants and desires aside and surrender fully to Him, His blessings always overflow. My hope and trust remains in my Lord and Savior and I know as long as I’m seeking His will for my life I don’t need a plan.
If you’ve ever considered adoption or would like more information on adoption,
visit our blog at www.soontobejackson5.blogspot.com