Nate and I have always wanted to add at least one child to our family through adoption. Our desire to adopt does not come from infertility (we have been blessed with an amazing set of fraternal twins), rather it comes from God’s call to His people to care for orphans (Isaiah 1:17; James 1:27) and our personal desire to help children who are suffering overseas.
In July 2011 Oleg came to the United States through a sponsorship program. For various reasons things did not work out with the family who were hosting him and Oleg ended up staying with Randy and Natalie, a couple from our church. Randy and Natalie work with Russian orphans through the non-profit organization, Shore of Hope. Over the course of a couple weeks they saw something special in Oleg and set out with the determination of finding him a family.
Nate found out about Oleg in a staff meeting at the church and asked me if I would be willing to pray about the possibility of us adopting Oleg. I told him I would pray about it, but I didn’t think it was the right time for us to adopt. For one week we prayed about it without telling anyone else. It’s hard to explain, but even though adopting Oleg seemed crazy we couldn’t shake the feeling that this was something God wanted us to do. We know that God sometimes calls people to do crazy things and if He really was calling us to do this we didn’t want to run the risk of being talked out of it by human reasons, or worse, human worry. So we kept things quiet and tried to quiet our personal fears as well.
After a week of praying we felt like it was time for us to meet Oleg so we called Randy and Natalie and set up for us to meet him that Sunday morning at church. I only got to see Oleg for a couple of minutes before I had to bring Wally and Lucy home for their naps (I’m pretty strict about not messing with nap schedules!), but it was all I needed to know we weren’t about to walk away from this sweet child and leave him without a family. My heart was going crazy, the only thing I can compare those emotions with is the day I found out we were having twins. I was overwhelmingly happy and scared at the same time. Nate stayed at the church and spent some more time with Randy, Natalie, and Oleg. He said Oleg was scared at first, but then he started to warm up and inch closer to Nate. He even worked up the courage to tell Nate that he liked Sponge Bob!
We set up to have a play date the next day with Oleg and the twins, but then Randy and Natalie got the call that Oleg was leaving to go back to Ukraine in two days! The following day would be filled with packing and last minute errands so we needed to come over that night if we wanted to see Oleg again before he went back. That’s when I made the awkward phone call to my poor mother (who was still in the dark) asking her to come put Wally and Lucy to bed (again with the strict sleep schedules!) so we could go spend time with a child we were considering adopting! The thing that sticks out to me the most from that visit with Oleg was his playful nature. In the comfort of Randy and Natalie’s home he was no longer the super shy kid we saw at church, he was silly and joyful, and I felt reassured that he would fit well with our family.
At that point I was ready to take the plunge, but Nate said it would be wise to let our emotions settle a bit and ask other people to pray about it with us. So we filled all our parents in on the news, as well as some close friends, and asked them to pray with us for another week.
That Sunday morning at church the choir sang the song “Voice of Truth” which talks about talking a step of faith when God calls you to it. And the scripture reading was the story of Peter stepping out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the water. Both were confirmations of what we already knew… God was calling us to take a crazy leap of faith and adopt Oleg. That evening we told Randy and Natalie, as well as our parents, the news.
It has been such a long process filled with paperwork and lots of waiting, but we are finally about to make our first trip to Ukraine!