The Joining and Growing
Updated: Sep 21, 2018
When we married at 22 and 25 years of age, we looked at the road before us, ready to walk side-by-side to realize our dreams! But, as most of us who have lived a few years longer know, life doesn't always turn out the way you imagine. Especially when you realize your dreams are not the same dreams!
We learned our dreams were not quite the same within the first 5 years of marriage. I dreamed of having my first babies and starting on the adoption of my little girl shortly after. My husband dreamed of moving to Nashville and signing on to a record label. But God sees things around the bend that we don't. Things we need to learn first, or people we need to know first, or even that some dreams would only destroy us.
In my family, my mom had my sister, and 4 years later had her tubes tied right after I arrived. Then my parents adopted my 2 brothers. So after our 2nd son was born, I felt it would be good for my husband to undergo surgery so we could start planning our adoption. I was in a very different place in my faith walk with God. I still believed that I needed to control things to make sure they happened the way God intended! Ha! I still had A LOT to learn!
My husband had never voiced strong feelings one way or another about how many children we conceived, and he was tentative about the idea of adopting another person's child. It was completely foreign to him. Then again, having siblings was a new experience, having been an only child. But he at least had more sense than I did that it may be too soon to decide definitely we would not birth any more of our own. It took me 6 months of giving him all my winsome arguments of why this plan was the right one. And when I finally had him worn down enough to comply, sure enough, I found out I was expecting son number 3. That's just how God works. He comes in the nick of time to save us from ourselves! But unfortunately, my stubborn heart had already determined that I was done having babies, so I made sure Matt went to the doctor when little C.J. was just 2 months old. Two months! You know I was all hormonal and tired! Oh, how I regretted that forced decision for years to come!!!
We named each of our boys after family members on either side of our families. Spencer Pate is two last names from his side and mine, Davis Jeffery comes from our two dads, and Chester Joseph from our two grandfathers. I'm not sure what prompted me to look into the meanings of C.J.'s names one day, but it was brought to my attention that Chester is a Latin derived name meaning "fortress; walled town" or is a military term for fortified fort. And Joseph means "God will add". That broke me. Immediately, the verse of three strands will not be easily broken came to my mind. (Ecc. 4:12). Without even realizing it, God used the naming of my son to send me a message! God will add when He sees fit, and He will take away as well. I heard Him loud and clear.
I need to back track here for a moment, because while this was not a time of my spiritual walk I like to brag about, God did plant a seed in my husband that was the reason he was finally convinced to make a permanent decision regarding our childbearing years. During those 6 months of me trying to convince my husband that we needed to "shut the door", so to speak, on biological children in order to have room to adopt, I just couldn't understand why he didn't get the need to take care of the children who didn't have a mom and dad instead of creating more of our own. I asked God to please turn my husband's heart towards adoption, and he did. We were watching an Oprah Winfrey episode where they were talking about how women in India were treated. It was horrific and broke both of our hearts. It was after that episode that Matt turned to me and said let's adopt a little girl from India. I grew excited and started thinking of names! Shortly after that, we ran into an old family friend of ours who was in ministry, and when we told him of our desire he said he knew someone who ran an orphanage in India and would connect us. I thought God is surely moving us in this direction. The seed HAD been planted, but it was not yet time, because C.J. was on his way.
I look back now and see that while God loved my heart for orphans, he wanted me to learn a deeper lesson about trusting his plan and respecting his authority over my life and others lives. It wasn't until C.J. turned 2 years old and his infant phase was passing away, that the reality of what I had done hit me like a ton of bricks. I mourned the fact that I made the choice to not see who all God wanted to give me. A friend, who's husband had had a vasectomy, once told me that the procedure was not 100% and she had conceived afterwards. That piece of information dangled over my imaginative head for Way. Too. Long! Even though I knew it was way past the reality of anything actually happening, it wasn't until I turned 40 that I finally stopped wondering if my cycle would appear each month. I know! It's really pathetic. But I was desperately sad. I asked my husband for forgiveness and I asked God for forgiveness. But it took a long time before I could forgive myself.
So when did adoption come up again? Read "Expanding our Horizon" to find out!