Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Beginning of our "Leap of Faith"

This first entry may be pretty long but I'm going to cram a few months into one blog. So just bear with me. I have several reasons for starting this blog: A) so that family and friends can keep up with what's going on, especially when we are overseas B) to chronicle this experience so that one day my child/children can have a good understanding of how they came to our family C) the most important, I want for anyone reading this to see how much that God is and has been in this whole experience. I want this blog to be my testimony and I want anyone reading to see and know that we are not in this alone, God had guided this whole process.
Let me begin by introducing myself. I am Shanon. I am 26 years old and am married to the best man that God could have ever paired me with....Benji. We met in December of 1997, we officially began dating in January 1998, then I was blessed to marry my best friend in January 2002.
We were married for about 2 years when we decided that we were about ready to start a family. When dating we had discussed that we wanted to adopt at some point. It was always my thought that I have a baby naturally then down the road we would adopt. Well, God clearly had a different plan for us. Things never progressed with having children naturally so we looked into adopting. Our first thought was definitely a domestic adoption. I just always thought that we have so many children here in the U.S. that need homes, why go over seas? Either way, adoption was just too expensive for us. Money is tighter than ever so I just thought that if this is what God wanted from us then he'd put the money in my account and then I'd know he wanted us to adopt. He had to make it happen first.
Now to whole the taking a "leap of faith" began. Back in May (2008), Steven Curtis Chapman's adopted daughter was killed on a tragic accident. Then next day, my mama called to tell me what happened and that she had seen that he had an adoption fund set up "Shaohannah Hope". She just asked me to get online and check it out. Okay, sure, whatever, I thought. Then, within the hour my friend Melanie called and told me that she was reading about the death of Maria Sue Chapman and came across an adoption fund that the Chapman's had started "Shaohannah Hope". She said, "I thought that it may be something that you need to looking into." So I thought to myself, okay, that's two people in an hour calling to tell me the same thing, maybe I should just look at it. So, I get online and look up this sight and in it I came across the scripture Ephesians 1:5. I never saw exactly what it said so I thought that I'd just look it up later. I was quite interested but know that there is simply no way that we can afford this. Needless to say I never looked up the scripture when I got home. I just thought that we can't afford it so why bother looking into it anyways.
Two days later, my papa suffered a stroke. My mama and I took off to the hospital with my nephew, Nathan. We were in a hurry so I just grabbed some books out of my mama's car and took them into the hospital with us to keep Nathan entertained. At one point all the family was in the ER with my papa, so just Nathan and I were in the waiting room. I pulled out the books to read to him and the book was titled "A Gift From Above". I didn't think much of it. Then as we got to reading the book was about a kangaroo that wanted a baby so bad and couldn't have one. One day a baby bird fell out of it's nest in into her pouch because there wasn't enough room in the nest for the baby bird. The kangaroo adopted the baby bird and they lived happily ever after. I'm already thinking to myself "Man this is weird". Then the very last page of the book had written: Having predestined us into adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. Ephesians 1:5. I was utterly speechless. Even more, mama had never seen the book before. She didn't know where it came from. God is telling me something, I am just going to have to listen.
The next few days, I was glued to the internet researching. The more that I looked the more that I was drawn to international adoption. Then I really began to feel in my heart that God is not country specific. We are all God's children. If it's his heart to adopt, he doesn't care where you go to adopt. I felt a strong pull towards Russia, but Russia is the most expensive. The whole time I just kept thinking "There's no way we can ever afford that, this is just never going to happen". Over the next few days I just kept feeling in my heart "Trust him". I felt like God was speaking to my heart and saying "Take this leap if faith, you show me that you trust in me and I will provide". I felt this very strongly in my heart. However, because my ears didn't hear the words spoken I was having trouble believing it. For days I just kept feeling in my heart that God wanted me to trust in him. I felt like he really was wanting me to take this huge leap of faith. So, Benji and I decided to just send off to an agency and just see what happens. If God was wanting us to trust him then trust him we will do.
On June 30,2008 we sent our application to the adoption agency that we chose. I thought, if this is right and if this is God's will then we will be approved. On July 9 the agency called and said that we will more then likely be declined because I take blood pressure medication. I was devistated. I didn't understand how I could feel something so strong and be wrong. So we sent info on my meds to the agency and they said that they double check and get back with us. I was crushed. I told God, "If this is really what you want for us, if this is really your will, then get us approved. If we get an approval then I know that we are following God's will and I will stop at nothing until I get my child." Then on July 14 we got approved! I knew right then that I was following God's plan. Just a little tidbit to show how God works....I talked to my mema, she told me that she and a friend of hers were at the mall walking and she asked her friend, Gloria, to please pray for us. Gloria stopped right there in the mall and she and mema shared a prayer for this adoption approval. I asked her when that was because I knew that mema and papa were at the mall pretty early. She said that they had said the prayer between 10:45 and 11:00. We got the phone call from the agency with the approval at 11:06. Is that not just amazing??
Now here we are in late September and the money just is not there to begin this adoption. I have had some days were doubt has almost consumed me. Benji constantly reassures me that God is going to provide (he does real estate on the side so just a couple of real estate closings and we can be where we need to be). None the less the past month has been really hard. I have really let doubt almost destroy my vision. I began to pray for another sign (or confirmation) that we are on the right path. Then one day it hit me. God has done enough confirmation that we are doing the right thing. So I changed my prayer to this, "God, I'm going to continue this adoption process because I feel that this is what you want for us and I feel that we are following you. Instead of you sending me confirmation that I am doing the right thing then please send me confirmation only if I am NOT doing the right thing." So basically I decided that I'm not going to doubt anymore, when the timing is right, God will provide! So until he stops me I will keep pushing forward!! With this attitude, I have been feeling so much better. My spirits have been lifted.
This is where we are today and how we got here. I hope that soon things will start happening and I will post frequently. But until then I am faithfully waiting on God to get us to our next step.