“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” (Psalms 127:3–5 ESV)
Ashleigh and I haven’t always wanted a large family. Early in our marriage she took birth control, and we figured we’d probably have two kids, three at most. We enjoyed our independence. Waking up when we wanted. Going where we wanted, whenever we wanted, for however long we wanted. We knew children were a blessing from God, and we would have a few…eventually. And so, after 5 years of marriage, along came JP.
Talk about change! In case you’re wondering, having a newborn is not easy…I remember many nights when Ash and I were beside ourselves. What do we do with this little person disrupting our sleep and schedules! I mean seriously, do you really need to eat every two hours?? And is it really necessary to scream if we we don’t get there fast enough? But all of these frustrations were outweighed by one simple fact: we both loved this little boy more than we could have ever imagined.
It wasn’t long before Ash and I began to try for another baby, but it didn’t happen. After a year, we decided to see what was wrong. We made an appointment with a fertility specialist and found that, thought it was still possible to have children, it was highly unlikely. Most likely this was do to the strong medications I was on at the time. It was at this time that we decided to move forward with something we had talked about doing at some point in our lives: adoption.
And so we did. We did the research, filled out the paperwork, picked Haiti as our adoptive country, and completed our home study. We have found that adoption is an expensive, time consuming, and difficult process. Yet the more we got into the process, the more we fell in love with the child God would give us. We do not yet know this little child, but God does.
Then something happened. Soon after we finished submitting our home study, Ashleigh comes home from work with an unexpected announcement. “I’m pregnant!”… ”wait, what..?! I wasn’t sure if I was entirely awake…perhaps I was dreaming. But I wasn’t. We are pregnant…and we are thrilled and thankful to God!
Upon sharing this news with others, certain appropriate questions began to arise. What about Matt’s health? Are you sure you can handle three kids? What does this mean for your adoption? These are important questions, and I’d like to address them.
I’ll start with the last one: what does this mean for your adoption? It only changes our adoption in that it makes the process that much more sweet! Instead of adding one to our little family, the Lord has seen fit to add two…and in a completely unexpected way! Some have suggested that perhaps we should not go through with the adoption. While we appreciate the concerns of those who certainly care for us and desire our well-being, and we welcome the thoughts and advice of friends and family, this thought has not crossed our minds. The child the Lord has for us in adoption is as much our child as the one growing Ashleigh’s womb, and unless the Lord closes the door permanently, we will continue to seek to adopt this child. Adoption is nothing less than a picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We who were once strangers and orphans were adopted into the family of God by the death of Christ. We don’t deserve or have the right to be sons and daughters of God, yet by faith we have received his gift of adoption. When we take care of orphans by adopting them into our family as true children, it is a beautiful picture of what God has done for us. We believe the Lord used our period of infertility to lead us to adoption…why would we back out when he graciously grants us the miracle of life? Wherever that little child is, we are so thankful to God for him or her, and we love him or her as our own, just as God loves us as his own.
Another question…are you sure you can handle three kids? Honestly, we’re not yet sure we can handle one! Especially the little Tasmanian devil living in our home right now! While there are certainly good intentions behind this question, I don’t really get it. Of course three will be more difficult, of course it will stretch us. Doesn’t God stretch his children? What if we found out Ash were having twins? It’s no different. You do the best you can, praying continually, and the Lord gives you the strength to handle those difficult seasons of life. But the blessing far outweighs the hardships, and as the Psalmist says, “blessed is the one who fills his quiver with children!”
A final, and more difficult question…what about Matt’s health? This one is hard in the sense that from our perspective there are so many unknowns. Will the current treatment continue to work? How long will my borrowed immune system hold up? What if I die soon…would Ash be left to fend for herself with her “quiver full” of children? Add to these the troubling fact that I couldn’t get life insurance to save my life! These are hard and serious questions; questions that Ash and I have wrestled with. Here are our thoughts. First, our family has been dealing with similar questions my whole life. When my brother was diagnosed with SCIDS in my mom’s womb, the doctor’s recommended abortion. The reasoning was simple…the future of your child is unknown, he could die young and it would be really hard on you. Abortion would make it so much easier. I’m glad my parents loved the Lord more than their own comfort. I couldn’t imagine life without my little brother…and I already can’t imagine life without the child we will adopt.
My life has been full of question marks, and it is a miracle I am living and breathing today. In college I became deathly ill and spent 4 years in a wheelchair. My Junior year I weighed 92 lbs and could barely function. Yet the Lord brought me through and gave me the gift of marriage and children in the process! Recently I was diagnosed with severe lung disease and have had a 2 year long struggle against the pneumonia causing CMV virus. This struggle is still going on, and while current treatments are working, the problem is not gone and the future is uncertain. But there is one constant in both mine and Ashleigh’s life: the faithfulness of our God. This faithfulness will continue no matter what comes of my health…weather I am healed or not. This faithfulness will continue if Ashleigh is left raising children without me around. God’s faithfulness never changes and His mercies are knew EVERY SINGLE DAY! All we can do is obey Him today, and trust Him with the future.
We have some dear friends, Tim and Jaime Gray. They have one sweet adoptive child, and are in the process of adopting another. The thing is, Tim has Cystic Fibrosis and is 10 years post double lung transplant. Tim is well passed the life expectancy of those who have undergone such a transplant. Their decision to adopt two children in the midst of such uncertainty is certainly foolishness to the watching world, but to those who have Christ as an anchor for the sole, it is a wonderful example of faith and trust in our Savior who holds us all in His firm grip. What shall separate us from his love? Nothing. At what point should we cease to trust Him and rely on our own wisdom? Never.
We are very grateful for our families, and those who care enough to ask difficult questions. We are certainly not saying that such questions should not be asked and prayerfully considered. What we are saying is that we have prayed through them, and believe it is God’s will for us to move forward in faith and trust in His provision. And so we will adopt, we will have as many children as the Lord grants us, filling our quiver with little blessings from God. Our Lord is sovereign and his providence governs all things. We will love and serve him no matter what our future holds, because all our days are already numbered by the ruler of the earth, who always does right.