Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Now?

One of the great lessons I learned in working with New Hope International Ministries was the “What Now Principle”. It was one of the most important elements of our “debriefing” of mission teams that returned from serving Christ in various places around the globe. We always pushed our team members to ask themselves, “Now that I have had this experience, what is the next thing that God would have me do in response?” The idea was that we did not want the mission trip to just be “something that we did that one time,” but a transformational experience that led us to deeper maturity in Christ – whether it be increased prayer burden, more financial giving, further service, change in lifestyle, or whatever God may be asking us to do in response to or as an extension of what we have experienced. In short – “What now?”

My first mission trip was to a children’s home in Guatemala. (I’ve blogged about the trip before - you can read about it here.) That trip was a very moving, life-changing experience for me. I began to think about God and the world in wonderful new ways. And it was then that I was first touched by the plight of the orphan. As I asked myself that important question – “What now?” – God began to speak to me about serving the least of these, and about adoption.

Fast forward several years to 2006 when we jumped into the adoption process, looking to fulfill both our dream and a passion that we believe God placed in our hearts. Through frustrations and two failed adoptions, we finally arrived in Ethiopia in March 2009 to bring home our beautiful twin girls. But first we were privileged to travel to our girls’ village near the Sudanese border to meet their birth family and see the orphanage where they had stayed. While there we met some amazing boys at the orphanage – bright, happy boys who had little prospects for being adopted due to a combination of factors that included their age, their gender, their remote location, and, perhaps, their skin color. As we returned home from that life-changing trip with our girls in tow, once again we began to ask ourselves that question that we had been trained to ask – “What now? Now that we have done this, what would God have us do next?”

Last month, we believe we received an answer. We found out that in Ethiopian adoption law, a family can adopt again within a year and use their same dossier from the first adoption. (Adoptive families can testify what an arduous task that can be to compile and submit.) So…we began to think about bringing home one of those boys that had touched our hearts. We wrestled with the decision and the excuses that arose – it’s too soon, it’s too expensive, we can’t afford it, we don’t have enough money, it costs too much. (Notice how many of those excuses revolved around money.) We decided this was an open door, and we should walk through it. We identified a 7-year-old boy and moved ahead.

When we told the girls they were getting a big brother, they were very excited. But Essie was concerned. “We are two sisters,” she said. “We need two brothers.” We began to think about the benefits of two - the boys would have each other, it is less expensive to do two adoptions together rather than one now and one later, we don’t know how long Ethiopian adoptions will continue smoothly, etc.

The same big question kept rising: “Can we afford to FEED and CLOTHE four children?” The praying and agonizing began again. After a night of fitful sleeping and stressing about our finances, I realized that I didn’t want to stand before God someday and say, “Sorry, Lord. I didn’t welcome that child into my home, because I was afraid it might make my life uncomfortable, and I like to eat out from time to time.”

So what now? We have started the process of adopting two boys, ages 7 and 10, from the same orphanage where our girls were. We don’t know where the money is going to come from, and we know that we are going to have to make some serious changes in our spending habits, but God has shown us the next step, and we are taking it. Please pray with us.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Matt & Amy,

We will most definitely be in prayer for you - what an incredible decision you have made in truly following God's calling on your lives. Blessings on this journey! We are so glad to have the chance to keep up with you on your blog - keep us posted. :)

Sarah & Matthew Ellis

Ashley said...

Can you tell me more about this law about one year dossiers???? Corrie is my sis in law and we just came home with Daniel from Ethiopia. We would jump all over that!!!!

Ashley Catlett

Marie said...

We will are praying for you! What an awesome decision. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!!! This is well written and challenging. It's so easy to think of our own comfort instead of the ministry God may have for us. WOW!!! I'm so excited!!! Can't wait to read more of your story of God's guiding and providing!!!

Julie said...

Hi Amy! I have been following your blog since you brought your girls home last year. We are currently working on adopting a little boy from Ethiopia.

I love how you both have tried to listen to what God has for your family. I will watch with anticipation as you begin the journey again. :)

Pam said...

WOW!!! I CAN'T WAIT TO FOLLOW THIS JOURNEY! Amazing!!! We will be praying for you guys. WOW. WOW. WOW.

Anonymous said...

Amy- that is wonderful! Best of luck to you all!
Melissa, Andrew, Kate and Meredith

Meli n Pat said...

Oh my! What a beautiful decision! I've been watching from afar and couldn't help but comment. I love that God has moved you to continue. He will provide all the money you need - I've seen it many times!
God Bless your wonderful Adventure!

Jim and April said...

how exciting! what big hearts you have!

Charlie and Bonnie said...

Awesome! SO encouraging to know about the dossier! We did not know that! We are about to adopt 3 from Ethiopia, in fact our court date is tomorrow (today in Ethiopa). We too have walked out in total faith, not knowing where the money was going to come from. God has been faithful and we are praying for the rest before we travel. Thanks for your encouragement. I feel like we are not finished either. We need more boys!

Charlie and Bonnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Matt&Amy,
You don't know me, but I've been following your blog. Like yourselves, God has also placed the dream and passion to adopt in my heart since I was 14 yrs old though I am still single. I think that you and your girls are an amazing family. I will be praying for you and the adoption process often. I work overseas in a closed country. When I go home on furlough in August I may be able to give you a financial gift to help with your adoption.

Jocelyn

Rebecca said...

Amy, so excited that you have made this decision. Praying for you. Hope to see you at the library Friday.

Laura Ferry-Jimenez said...

awesome! I'll be praying for those big brothers. :) your thoughts sound just like the ones I've had, too. we're hoping to adopt two boys from Ethiopia, too. getting ready to send out paperwork soon. sigh. wish it could all go so quickly!

Kathryn said...

Wow! What an amazingly, selfless journey you guys are on! How you have set an incredible example to others, about trusting in God, and not yourself. Absolutely AMAZING!

These children are so blessed to have parents such as you, with full hearts for Gods work, and living in HIS trust. If only everyone would adopt with this kind of faith and trust in the Lord!

AMAZING! And God Bless!

~Kathryn

little said...

Matt & Amy,

What a great post. Thanks for taking time to listen to God's guidance for your and your children's lives. Sometime when you have time I'd like to talk with you more about this process. Nothing urgent. Email me if you need my contact information - it's on facebook as well.

God Bless,
Skip & Sarah Little

nakiru said...

Oh, I'm praying praying praying. I'm so excited for you all.

Shauna said...

That is so awesome! I'm excited for you guys and I'm confident that God will provide. You'll be in my prayers.
-Shauna Burr

Leighann said...

Yeah! What an awesome opportunity. Can't wait to follow your journey.

Heather said...

We are praying for you guys! God is so good at providing where He leads! I know he will provide for you!

Ethiopiana said...

Hi Matt and Amy,
I've been following your blog for quite some time- since it was a Ugandan adoption blog. I love reading about your beautiful girls and their adventures! How wonderful that they will now have 2 big brothers! I will pray that your boys are in your arms soon.
Lisa (mom to 4, including 2 from Ethiopia)

www.niedermeyerblessings.blogspot.com/ said...

Amy, I am so happy for you! I had read on CCI Yahoo group about you adopting again, along with this link. As soon as I got to your site, I said to myself, outloud...Oh that is the lady with Essie and Chloe...I love your story from when you picked them up! Now I have to find what orphanage......

Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

♪~Jenn~♪ said...

lol...I always read from top to bottom...I really should scroll down and read all missed posts first!! WOW! I have goose bumps...tingles all the way down my spine. I'll tell you this beautiful mama, money comes and goes, but family is forever! faith is the key and your love/family will be the glue that holds you together through the tough times.

We have a made the same decision...to adopt a sibling group and expand our family with FAITH, because we have the love...the money will come:)

congratulations!!!!

xo

Anonymous said...

Hey! I'm just now (Feb. 28) learning this great news! Heather, adopting from THOGL in Taiwan, told me this evening on Facebook. Congratulations to your family!!! I am so happy for you. Many blessings from the Fleenor family.