Fairly early in the process, my wife and I had to get our fingerprints taken for our background checks. My son went with us and they took his fingerprints, too, just because he wanted to experience it with us. Then, one of the detectives, took him to another room where they analyze the fingerprints. All along the wall were large photos of different types of prints (loop, double loop, spiral, bifurcation, ellipse, and so forth) and Benjamin examined his and identified what type they were. He was thrilled and he looked at the sheets with our fingerprints on them and told us what kind we had. It was also interesting to learn that with the exception of twins, no one shares the same genes since there are variations in the DNA. This creates the ridges which make up our fingerprints and makes each person's unique. Learning facts like that just makes me more in awe of a God who creates us unique in such details.
Throughout this adoption journey, I have been constantly been amazed by how often God's fingerprints could be seen as He reminds us again and again, "I am here. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will provide."
The first fingerprint we saw was how He opened my wife's heart to adopting. For years, I have wanted to adopt but Danelle wasn't ready. Since I felt that God was pressing on me this call for our family, I gave it to Him, praying, "If this is truly Your will, Lord, then open all of our hearts to adoption." This was a prayer that was not answered immediately, but after quite a few years. Then, this year, she said, "I think God's calling us to adopt." And with that, we started this amazing journey but the first, and most important step in this journey, was doing so out of obedience. As 1 Samuel 15:22 tells us, "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice . . ." This doesn't mean that this adoption hasn't and won't ask us to make sacrifices, but we did all of this out of obedience to God's call and, because we have, He will provide. When we have made sacrifices, they weren't really since selling things we owned or giving up things were hardly a sacrifice when measured against bringing our child home.
Another way we have seen the fingerprints of God in all of this is through His using others and brought them to us to be part of this journey: family, friends, coworkers, and people we hardly knew before this process.
I work for a toy company and my job requires that I call on accounts like Wal-Mart, Target. Toys R Us, and K-Mart in the area. When I was calling on one of my Wal-Marts, I was talking with a department manager who I speak with every time I'm in there. She knows all about our adoption journey and she was asking me about where we were in the process and if there was any new news. I was telling her how we were in the waiting period and how we were still raising money to pay for the travel costs and the adoption itself. She stopped right then and there and began to pray with me. She prayed that God would open the hearts of people to partner with our family in adopting a child and that the financial needs would be met. After she had prayed, she then asked me to pray for her, in that through our conversations about our adoption journey, how she has felt God moving on her to adopt a child and to pray that her husband's heart would be open to it. I prayed with her. The very next day, I came home from work and got the mail. Along with the circulars, junk mail, and bills was a check someone had sent us along with a letter telling of how God spoke to them through this blog and they felt led by God to donate.
So often God has used others to not only provide funds, but encouragement and prayer, which are also extremely welcome. Part of how God has truly blessed us is through the church we attend. We are truly blessed to belong to a church that has an adoption and foster care group to go to and be a part of. My wife and I love to see how God is working in the lives of these families who are adopting or have adopted. It feels us with joy to see the children who were adopted and to know that not only are they in loving families, but they are learning about how to be adopted into God's family.
God has also provided Danelle and I with jobs and bosses that are understanding and encouraging. When I told my boss of how I might be leaving for Ukraine in November, I did so with trepidation. Working in toys, we aren't allowed to take time off from October through December. Yet when I told her how, more than likely, we won't be going until November and how we'd be gone for a minimum of 2 1/2 weeks, she responded with, "Do what you need to do." Thank you, God.
When I started this blog I did so prayerfully. I wanted this blog to glorify God. He chose us to undertake this adoption, not because there was anything special about us but because we made ourselves available to His call. This blog has been an extension of that obedience and my hope is that God's fingerprints are all over it as well. Certainly when I began to blog I didn't expect the response that we've gotten. I thought maybe a few family and friends would read it, but now, in it's sixth month, we have had over 16,000 hits and have reached over 85 countries around the world. There are people who follow this blog that I will never meet and never know. We are grateful for those who have let us know how this blog has touched them or encouraged them. This is completely God and not me. When we have written each blog we have tried to do so out of humility, honesty, and a real desire that God be glorified. And we have seen as perceptions about adoption have been changed in people. There are those who thought us crazy who now tell me, "Through your blog I have seen that God is behind all of this."
There are times this process really does seem overwhelming and we wonder, "How are we going to do this?" we are reminded that we aren't doing this alone. There have been those moments when He has used someone or even a song to speak to us and encourage us when we needed it most. We are thankful that we have three wonderful Christian stations in this area (His Radio 98.3 FM, New Life 91.9 FM, and 106.9 FM The Light) because each one of them has been there when we needed it with a song or even interviews with Christian artists like Steven Curtis Chapman and John Waller, as well as ministers like Russell D. Moore and Rick Warren about adoption.
We got word yesterday, that the Ukrainian government was reviewing our dossier. If they don't find anything wrong with it, then they will issue a registration letter tomorrow and then, in a week from Thursday, they will issue us a letter of invitation. Can it really be that close?
When we finally do travel to Ukraine, I'm sure we will continue to see God's fingerprints. Deuteronomy tells us, "The Lord Himself will go before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged." We will see that He is with us and has gone before us to make a way so that we can find the child He has chosen for us so that we can bring this child home. We will see His fingerprints after we're home and adjust to having another child as part of our family. When the difficulties and trials come, as we know they will, God will be there. There may be times when it will be difficult to see His fingerprints but they will be there because He will always be there.