So how did we get seven children, anyway? I get asked variations of this question often and thought I would share how one led to another, to another, and then another!
Luke, our firstborn, came after years of infertility and was an in-vitro baby. Because John didn't want me to go through that again (and I heartily agreed) we started looking into international adoption.
Before very long, we had settled on adopting through the Gladney Center. I was looking at a comparison of their different country programs one night and remarked to John that it was too bad we didn't want to adopt from China because it was less expensive and we could get a girl. He replied, "Why don't we want to adopt from China?"
"Well, I would love to." I fell in love with China first by reading "The Good Earth" in 4th grade and later by going to China after I graduated high school.
So....we made an appointment with their China Program coordinator and began the process. It took about 6 months to get our homestudy and dossier together and sent to China. We were told to expect a wait of at least one year before receiving a referral.
The next month we received our first Gladney newsletter. In it were pictures of waiting children, including a little boy 4 months older than Luke who was described as "healthy and happy. Needs a family to love him." I just knew I was looking at my son.
We called Gladney and were very eventually told that if we wanted to adopt the little boy we would have to stop our Chinese adoption. We were devastated, but once you have a child in your heart, rather than a potential child, it is nearly impossible to stop. Our China Program coordinator (Charlotte) tried to ease our hurt by saying that she would simply wire the Chinese and tell them to put our dossier on "hold" so that if we wanted to start the process again soon perhaps we wouldn't have to start from scratch.
Alex's adoption took around 6 months and we got him at the end of 1998. A few months later we got a call from Charlotte telling us that we had a referral from China. What? We were on hold! Apparently, China didn't put us on hold. In fact, we received our referral even earlier than we would have expected.
Days before the call, during my quiet time, I was reading my Bible and came across the verse:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
That verse hit me in a fresh way that morning: If you delight in the Lord, He will put the desires into your heart and then OF COURSE He will give you those desires. So I prayed that the Lord would reveal the desires of my heart. I immediately thought, "daughter in China." I stopped, frustrated, knowing that it was just my desire after all and wishing God would reveal His desires for me. I prayed again, and the same thing popped into my head. I still dismissed it.
So imagine my joy when God did, in fact, give me the desires of my heart! The same desire he had planted there months ago!
Two weeks after receiving Song's referral, I found out I was pregnant with Anna. Yippee, we thought, our first free child! Anyone with children knows how silly that really is, but at least there was no money required up front.
Anna was born four months after we returned from China, which meant we added 3 children to our family over 12.5 months. It was a busy, crazy time, so imagine our shock when I found out I was pregnant with Emma when Anna was only 4 months old. After having 3 years of infertility before both Luke and Anna, I guess I never got over the mindset that I didn't get pregnant easily! Oops!
What a wonderful oops, though, as Emma being born with Down Syndrome led to Vera and our relationship with The Shepherd's Crook, and that led to Ella, which leads us to today. Seven children connected like pearls on a string, each one leading inexorably to the next.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:20-21