Katie later came to me later that day and said, "Mom, I really don't understand why you and Dad don't adopt. We have a great family. We have a big enough house. We have enough love.
I replied, "Katie, you have no idea what it takes to raise children. It's a lot of work and commitment. I just started on a walking program with my friend. We just bought a boat. We just got to take you kids to Cabo San Lucas. Children require a lot of money. People with lots of children can't do all these things."
Mom, we're talking about kids with no family and no home." And then the clincher, "And how do you know that this is the only chance this child will hear about Jesus and one day go to heaven, all because you adopted him."
Oh, stab me in the heart!
I told her that everything she was thinking and saying was 100% correct. But I also told her that as a potential mother to this child, my heart had to be in it. I had to want it and I didn't anymore. The stress of the past several months had taken so much out of me.
We began talking with friends about taking a cruise with them. Boy, if anyone deserved it, it was us! A cruise it was.
Just a few weeks later, it happened. I had a dream.
In my dream, I am on a cruise to Addis Ababa, Africa. I'm shopping in the outdoor market, my arms full of bags. I'm alone but having the time of my life. Then I realize that I forgot what time to get back onto the ship. Finally, I find an English speaking man on the beach and ask him. He tells me he's in a hurry and runs off towards a small boat. I then realize he's going back to the cruise ship, as well. I then put my hands down and take the hands of two children. I never see them but I tell them, "Come on you guys, we have to go now!" That is the end.
When I awoke the next morning, I immediately told Blaine about this dream. I just thought it was so weird. Addis Ababa, Africa? What was that? Why did I remember that name so clearly?
Blaine asked me if there was a place called Addis Ababa and I told him that I had heard of it but it was probably in Saudi Arabia or Iraq and possibly I'd heard about if from the war. It was late March, 2006. I also told Katie and Blake that morning and I told Lisa, my friend who we were planning the cruise with.
The dream didn't mean anything to me at the time. It was just so clear and striking.
A couple weeks later, we found ourselves at the funeral of Blaine's grandma. At the luncheon afterward, a woman was showing the pictures of her adopted grandchildren. Blaine stood behind me, looking at the pictures and commented, "They are beautiful!" Then he leaned down and whispered in my ear, "Get the name of their adoption agency."
WHAT? I almost fell off my chair.
We talked about it the entire drive home and I realized that my husband was serious about this.
Less than a year ago, he had said that adoption could ruin our perfect family. What had changed?
It was the accident. He said that he realized that life was short and precious. He learned that it was not all about us and how early we could retire and have 'us' time. It was about eternity and how we could effect it.
Wow. Ok. I'm on board now. If this is where the Lord has led my husband, I was now listening.
As soon as we arrived home, I called my friend...the one with the cute little 4 year old who sat across the table from Blaine just a week before. She knew about adoption and was the only one I knew who could help me.
She was of course excited when I told her how serious Blaine was about this. We talked, she gave me phone numbers and details but then I remembered something. Each of her 3 adopted children came to their family at the age of 3 weeks old. I quickly told her that I really was interested in adopting an older child. Blake and Katie were 16 and 14 years old. I just couldn't handle a tiny baby at this stage of our lives.
"Oh, if it is an older child you are thinking about, you need to check out Adoption Advocates. I've had them on my favorites for years. They do a great job with the kids. They do adoptions in Ethiopia."
I'm thinking, "ETHIOPIA?? Huh??"
She gave me their website and told me to check them out, telling me that these kids were loved and wanted but for various reasons, their biological parents couldn't parent them. I told her that we were leaning more towards domestic adoption and thanked her for the information.
By then it was 10:00pm and Blaine was getting ready for bed. I stopped off in the office to check out this website quickly.
I can honestly tell you that if I'd ever seen an Ethiopian person before, I didn't know it. I wasn't even sure what they looked like, other than they had brown skin. Now I could pick out the Ethiopian person in a crowd! They have a very distinct look. But then I had no idea!
I read about Ethiopia on this website, looked a the pictures and read a little about the orphanage they ran. Paraphrasing, it said, "AAI facilitates adoptions between children and American parents. Located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia..."
There it was...my dream!
I called Blaine in and had him read it. He remembered, as well. We both agreed that God wanted us to do something with Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa...wherever that was!
We went to bed, silent for a while, while trying to take it all in. What did God want from us? Clearly, He was telling us something.
I told Blaine that I didn't want to be like Jonah from the Bible. God clearly told him to go to Ninevah and he didn't really want to go, so he went the other direction. Well, we all know what happened with Jonah. He got swallowed up by a fish who God directed to take him to Ninevah and spit him out there. Not so pleasant. I didn't want to disobey God they way Jonah did.
So we decided to pray every day until God gave us confirmation about what he wanted us to do. The very next day, it started.