The last five years of my life could be described as one leap of faith after another. Our family grew from two to four children overnight when my husband and I adopted siblings from West Africa in 2012. The process of getting them home took some time and many prayers, but once they were here, we hit the ground running. We were parenting two 7-year-old boys and two girls, thirteen and three. To answer the call to adopt was easy, it was something we had desired to do. But returning home from Ghana, we knew our hearts were broken for the ones left behind.
It was no surprise when seven months later we saw the picture of our daughter, a little girl who had multiple medical conditions, we once again felt the call to leap. No funds to speak of and already parenting four children, we fully trusted God to provide and He did.
In only 10 months, we traveled to Ghana three times and brought our daughter home. A flurry of surgeries and medical appointments followed as she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, hearing loss and epilepsy. We entered a brand new world of special needs parenting and found God right there with us. A doctor just returned from West Africa was randomly selected as our neurologist, and our other doctor had been to orphanages in Ghana. Details too amazing to be coincidences.
These three adopted children were faith builders, and we felt at any time God might have us leap again. Two years passed, and we found our hearts tugged a fourth time. A little girl, in China, waiting for someone to say yes. Her body ravaged with tumors and following seven surgeries, she was paralyzed from the waist down.
Some doctors we consulted thought we were crazy to even consider adopting her. That we would be planning a funeral before long. Others said she could have a long life if carefully managed, but every month that goes by without medical care lessens the odds.
The truth of her future is most likely somewhere in the middle.
We spent a month in prayer, seeking God’s plan for our family. We wanted to do nothing without Him. So we took our first hesitant steps in adoption, and then a few more. Before long, we found peace. The kind of peace that passes all understanding. Others around us thought we were fools or heroes, but truthfully, we were just obedient. We already loved this little girl but would not do anything without God’s prompting.
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We will likely travel to China this summer. I still don’t know where all the funds will come from, or how long she will survive. But the good news is I don’t have to know. I just need to remain obedient while living out this journey. The middle of a leap of faith can be scary, but as I’ve experienced before, the end destination may determine the outcome, but the middle determines character. We can worry and fear and doubt, or we can assume a position of trust as our Father has us covered.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
Jenni is a mother of five (soon 6), married for 20 years to her high school sweetheart, Eric. Her children range in age from preschool to high school by birth and adoption. Jenni is an advocate for orphaned children with special needs and is passionate about making our world an inclusive place for all. When she is not driving her minivan to various activities and appointments, she can be found writing at Joyful Journey Mom.
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