Friday, February 25, 2011

When A Stop Sign Means “Keep Going!”

     I know as Christians many of us sometimes feel that when things get difficult, or we hit a wall, that it is God’s way of saying “stop!” Whatever it is we’ve been pursuing we toss it to the wayside, and decide it just wasn’t meant to be. I have been guilty of that a many a time! Something I constantly try to remind myself of though is that sometimes it is not a stop sign at all. Instead, it is one of God’s obstacles he uses to create strength, character, and a closer relationship to Him. I am going to share just such an example, through the adoption of our first son, to let others see that even when things seems bumpy, or you think you’ve hit a wall, that you would be encouraged to first pray, and then persevere through your difficulties, because such amazing blessing can await you on the other side!

     My husband and I first started the adoption process when he was 19 and I was 20 years old. When we told our friends and family, they all thought we were crazy. Everyone kept saying “You just got married, enjoy married life,” or “Don’t you want to travel?” We had both been praying about it before we even met, and knew this was God’s plan for us since the beginning. We met with our small group leaders who knew and understood our hearts, and they did nothing but guide and encourage us.
     We immediately started our education program and home study. The process took quite a while, but before we knew it we were nearing the end. We had only a couple of meetings left with our social worker before our home study was completed and we were looking forward to being an “open home” waiting for a match! During one of those last meetings our social worker sat us down and proceeded to tell us the bad news. She went on to say that the majority of the adoption team thought we were too young to be adopting, and that she was going to put our home study on hold for a couple of years, so we could return to it when we were older. Although she believed in us and knew our passions, she was the only one who had personal experience with us, had the chance to know us, and she knew that anyone reading us on paper would not see everything we had to offer. After all, we were barely out of our teens, had low paying jobs, rented a tiny basement suite, and didn’t have much child care experience. I guess we did sound kind of nuts! She told us after a couple of years we could return to the wait list, and by then other social workers would hopefully be more on board. We walked away from the meeting discouraged, but trying to reconcile everything to the fact that is just must not have been God’s plan at that time. He was giving us the “stop” sign!

     Thinking we had a couple of years, we decided to spend it getting more prepared. That same weekend we went out, purchased our first condo which would be ready in 6 months. A few days later my dad lost his job, so we gave notice where we lived, and made plans to move into his 2 bedroom townhouse with my parents, and younger teen sister, to cover the rent until they were back on their feet. The following week, we went back to our social worker’s office to finish things up with the home study. She sat us down with a very concerned look on her face. I quickly ran through my mind trying to figure out what we had done wrong.
She proceeded to tell us they had found a match for us; a two month old baby boy to be exact. My jaw dropped, speechless as to what to say next. We weren’t even an open home! We had just been told we were crazy, were going to be put on hold for two years, and furthermore, had been told there were only toddlers and older children available for adoption. Not babies! We didn’t know how to respond! She continued to tell us that his birth mother had chosen 3 other families whom had all turned him down because of the drugs and alcohol he was exposed to prenatal. She also told us we would be bringing him home in 3 weeks. THREE WEEKS!

     Now of course you know we said yes to him, HOW COULD WE NOT??? But lets remember we were about to move in with my parents, into a 2 bedroom townhouse, with 5 adults! Not to mention, we didn’t have ANYTHING for a baby! In fact I had only changed a diaper once prior to that, and even phoned a friend to walk me through it! (I know, it’s embarrassing) We quickly realized this was the path we were being sent down, and purchased books about babies, baby furniture, clothes, diapers, wipes, and everything else we could think of! A lovely woman from our church offered a whole whack of baby items to us, which helped immensely! When we did our home visits at the foster mother’s house I remember watching SO closely as how to feed him and change his diaper! I don’t think I have ever been so terrified!

     Three weeks later, after being told we were too young and too crazy to be adopting, thinking God had raised his stop sign to us, we brought home our first son, Mathieu. Even his name Mathieu, which means “gift from God” makes me appreciate how truly blessed we can be when we persevere through the hills, even when it looks like we should stop, because you never know what amazing miracle God has awaiting for you at the other side.

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