We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A New Normal

I believe that God is very creative.  Besides the fact that He created the entire universe, His creativity extends beyond actual creation, to the creativity of interacting with us - the ones He created.  God finds very creative ways to introduce us to His ways.  I don't think my God is a God of "shock value".  I mean, sometimes it's the only way to get our attention, but when we are living for Him, I feel like, at least in my life, He has introduced His plans to me in reasonable, bite-sized chunks that are capable of being swallowed voluntarily rather than Him shoving them down my throat (which I'm fully aware that He could).  

A month ago we were going to Ghana to adopt a four year old little girl.  If you look back in the archives of this blog, or if you check out my F@cebook page, you will see it written MANY times.  Isabella would be our LAST adoption.  There would be no more.  I would be a mom of four.  Not five.  Not six.  Not more than four.  Four was the magic number.  I would proclaim it on F@cebook and Tim would confirm it.  He was DONE.

Here's the funny thing though.  I think God was preparing my heart for more - and using me to prepare Tim's heart for more.  We were sitting around this weekend and as I was cleaning up the kitchen I said to Tim - remember when we were sitting at the dinner table and you said we were done (with adopting)?  Remember how I said - "What if God tells us we are not done?  Will we tell him no?"  I remember the conversation.  At the time I had zero intentions of adopting another child.  I was still adjusting to the fact that we were adopting a child that was older than Sara, instead of the intended child being younger than Sara.  I certainly wasn't thinking about more.  I mean, I ALWAYS think about more, but I know that in my life, there will always be orphans, and I can not just continue to adopt child after child.  In our case, it's not responsible to do that.  There are other things to consider.  If nothing else mattered, that is what I would do though - just keep bringing them home....but at the time of those words, when that question came out of my mouth, I was thinking we were done as well.

That was the first bite-sized portion that God fed us.... just the thought, the consideration of what we would do if He knocked on the door of our heart again with an adoption.  Would we open the door and say come on in, or would we say the house is full, we have no more room?  Go find another place?  Of-course we would not do that... but we weren't prepared at that moment to say yes either.  God knew at that moment that we were not ready, but He knew He got us thinking.

So, when we were ready to leave for Ghana and two additional children were introduced into our adoption picture, it came as a surprise, but not a total surprise.  We knew that God was up to something.  When we went to Ghana, we were not prepared to say yes to two more children, but we had not officially said "NO" either.

When we arrived in Ghana we met Isabella's siblings at the same time we met Isabella.  The whole time we were there Tim and I were going back and forth in our mind - can we take more, can we do more?  TWO seemed like it would be doable - but THREE?  Had God ACTUALLY knocked on our door for THREE?  Were we sure he knocked at the right residence?  Of-course He knocked at the right residence  - God makes no mistakes.

We fell in love with these three children in Ghana - but we were not prepared to say yes to all three.  Not just yet.  There were things to consider.  Things that we needed to be responsible about.  

Get this - here was one of my biggest concerns.... we didn't have room for everyone at the dinner table.  I know, it sounds stupid, but it's what was bothering me most.  We had only one empty seat.  That was to be Isabella's seat.  Maybe we could take ONE more though (In addition to Isabella).  Isabella's oldest sibling would be hardest to place.  She was the same age as Anna.  She would fit into our family puzzle well - but still, she had nowhere to sit at the dinner table.  Then one day I came up with the idea of a bench (like at a farm table).  I could get an unfinished bench and stain it the same color as our table.  We could sit three on one side.  Perfect.  And yes, this is what made me comfortable with two children.  I know it sounds silly, but sometimes I think God unlocks puzzles for us to give us a measure of comfort.  This was my measure of comfort.  EVERYONE would have somewhere to sit at the dinner table, even if we got TWO kids.

But what about Nate.... how could we not take Nate?  We wrestled with that as well!  We had bedroom assignments made without the additional two kids.  I had to go back to square one.  I know this sounds silly, but logistics mean a lot to my brain (the dinner table....).  I had to make sure everyone had a place to sleep, that they had a place to sit in the car, that we could afford the school tuition for all of them, that we could provide for each of them emotionally and physically, that they had a place to eat :-) and that they could in general, be provided for.  I mean trust me when I say that finances  had to be considered.  So, I went to the drawing board again - I did some room rearrangements, spoke with the kids about how their lives would change, thankfully it didn't take my simple mind long to come up with the fact that we could put a farm table bench on EACH side of the table and everyone would have a place to sit, and then it was down to finances... could we manage financially with SIX kids in our home.

This is where trusting God really began to come into play.  God knocked, we answered and were going to say yes - God would surely provide the means after knocking on our door.  I firmly believe that while we will need to work hard and make some sacrifices to make this adoption happen, that God will provide financially no matter what.  I think He was even preparing financially prior to the revelation of the additional children.  He was providing a way for me to care for the kids in the home... He was preparing us!!!  He will provide for us!  Not only that,  but He will bless us for our obedience.... much more than we ever will sacrifice.

Look at how the story unfolded.  God presented it all in bites that we could manage.  God is loving.  God does not want to force us to do what is in His Will for us.  He wants us to choose it.  He presents it, at least in this case, in a way we could easily digest.  In smaller, less shocking (not completely without shock) portions!

I think we've finally reached our new normal.  A new normal of soon to be six kids.  A new normal of a family of eight.  A normal where dinner may be a little more noisy, mornings may be a little more hectic, money may be a little more tight, the vehicle may be fully outfitted with children - but our love will be more, our blessings will be more, our testimony will be greater - because I am positive God will provide through it all and that will be a testimony only to Him.  

All that being said - I really think this is it.  I caution myself when saying that, because God may be laughing right now, but really, I think this is it.  My heart was never at peace with calling each adoption our last.  There was a piece of me that was not comfortable with that.  Just as God prepares hearts to accept more children into a home, I think God is preparing my heart to say "this is it".  This is what your family can manage and this is what I'm asking of you.  

I don't think I'll ever be done with the cause of the orphan - but remember when I said I was waiting for my mission - praying for it to come - I think this is it.  I think my mission has turned from around the world to into my home.  A part of my mission field has always been in my home, but now even more so.  Together this family of eight can be a testimony to others.  We can be a reminder of diversity, of God's love for each of us regardless of skin color, hair color, eye color or origin... He loves us all.  This family of eight can go out together to help others.  And I pray, this family of eight will inspire others - to adopt.  To adopt domestically, internationally, sibling groups, older kids... anyone and everyone in need.  

I am so thankful for the blessing God has given me through all of the children He has blessed me with - both through childbirth and adoption... I am blessed.  

Our "new normal" will change.... of that I'm sure.  For now, I'm just waiting for the new normal in my head to come to fruition... for the children abroad to come home, for our life as a family of EIGHT to start together!

Never in a MILLION years would I have thought that I would be a mom of SIX - Only God..... ONLY GOD!

Hurry Home....
Mary Grace Roach
Nathaniel Gilbert Roach
Isabella Hope Roach

Your mom, dad, brother and sisters and waiting patiently for you to join us!  Until then, we'll talk to you each Sunday, pray for you daily and count the days until we see you again!

In Christ,