Filling the Gap - Part 1

In my last post, “How Much Did Your Baby Cost,” as I commented on some attitudes toward the cost of adoption while admitting that the expense may indeed be a stretch (as it is for us). Not many people I have the extra cash lying around to fund an adoption. And yet, many people would agree it seems unjust for money to come between a child in need of love and parents who are willing to give that love. How do we fill the gap? Certainly there is no easy answer.

The gap has become a daily reality for us. Our story is not yet complete, but we hope our journey will bring encouragement to others approaching adoption. I'll start with the words from the bottom of our blog:

“Our road to adoption began long ago. Before we met, the desire to adopt was growing in each of us. We never considered financial obstacles a good enough reason to prevent offering our home to a child. We have moved forward in faith that God will provide as he sees fit….”

To elaborate, we began the adoption process in December 2006 when we first shared with extended family our intention to adopt. However, based on what we were learning about the shorter timeline of trans-racial domestic adoption in Hampton Roads, we had to put it “on hold” until we were more prepared to accept a placement in less time. For the next year, we kept our excitement at bay but made plans for funding our adoption. And at the end of 2007, we began the application process with Bethany (, submitting our preliminary application just before our holiday travel. We were so excited. We would return from the holidays, submit our formal application, and proceed with the approval process. As soon as it was possible, we put our condo on the market and sold a vehicle in order to make the adoption possible. So far so good, right? All our plans were moving right along.

Here’s the funny thing about thinking plans…

Just 7 months from our formal application and 3 months from our approval, we received the most important phone call of our lives. “There is a little boy…” the voice said, “he is 8 weeks old, and his mother has chosen you.” Even now, my heart skips a beat and I tear up as I remember that call. I remember exactly where I was standing and how I felt. My life was about to flip upside down. It was almost as if the room was spinning as a result of my joy. Our heart’s desire was coming true!
I called Mark immediately, and we could hardly contain ourselves. How in the world were we to act? What were we to do? How could we possibly wait another day? Our child had been born and would come home in just weeks! Then increased the caliber of “nesting.” I took it “to an 11.” One evening, Mark walked in to find the contents of our attic strewn about as I attempted to organize and label everything. A post on nesting to come…I digress.

Along with our elation came a predicament. The condo had been on the market for months and had not sold. This was not according to our plans, yet it’s the surest thing that God put adoption in our hearts. There’s no assured timeline with adoption, and we had done the best we could to estimate. Some people may call it irresponsible; some may call it a leap of faith. We moved forward without the means, and Hakon came home.

Just the other day, I was riding my beach cruiser with my loyal Weimaraner, Miles, running next to me-- some of my best prayer time. As I peddled along, breathing the fresh air, I began to pour my heart out about this practical aspect of the adoption and the unexpected situation in which we’ve found ourselves. I confessed frustration that our plans for funding had fallen through. I shared my fear of taking the adoption expense as debt. I confessed my confusion over why God would bring Hakon to us at the same time when other financial struggles would be mounting.

After pouring out the fear, anger, and hurt, God reminded me that the expense is small change compared to eternal value of Hakon’s precious life. And He reminded me that faith of a mustard seed can move mountains. And He reminded me that He works in ways greater than we can think or imagine. And he began to deal with me my pride-- wanting to be good enough, strong enough, smart enough, together enough that I don’t need help from God or anyone else.

As I prayed, the verse “You don’t have because you don’t ask” came to mind. I struggled with this as God’s answer. I always avoid that verse because it can be misused to suggest that God will give us anything we want. Furthermore, I’ve always struggled to pray specifically. I mean, who am I to tell the God of the universe what I need and when I need it, right? Surely God doesn’t want me to be so vulnerable as to ask him for something huge and set myself up for disappointment, right? “No, God, this cannot be your answer,” I thought.

But the words would not leave me. “You do not have because you do not ask.” I rushed home to "research" the true meaning of that verse in context. I found it in James 4. To my surprise, this verse is challenging our motives in asking. *It contrasts asking with pride and worldliness versus asking with humility. It contrasts desires which break broke down the community of his people with, presumably, desires which are of His purposes and bring unity to the body. So I began to think: If we don’t “have” because we ask for the wrong things for the wrong reasons, does that mean we would “have” if we asked for the right things with the right attitude? “Okay, God, what does this all mean? What kind of asking do you want from us specifically?

At that very moment, I just happened to get an email about an adoption grant that I wasn't familiar with. I began to work on our application immediately. Upon receipt of our application, that organization sent information to encouraging adoptive families to be open to support in a variety of ways.

Now, I'm not suggesting that this grant or any of their suggestions are necessarily the way for us. That is left to be seen. But I do know that God is teaching us something about asking, and He will provide. I’ve been convicted that I let fear of judgment get in the way of being open with our needs. I've felt convicted that I've let my pride get in the way seeing God work. We’re praying daily to put fear and pride behind us, and we’re praying continually that God would show us what it means to “ask.”

We hope that sharing our circumstances will encourage others with a heart for adoption to move forward in faith. As this aspect of our journey plays out, we look forward to sharing about the ways that God provides. I'm beginning this story with this post because I know it will have a happy ending. God always stands in the gap.