Monday, August 31, 2009

Our Leap of Faith

It’s funny how you can be cruising along in life with plans made, working towards your goals and then BAM!!...everything changes. That is what we’re experiencing in the Applin household. We have jumped on the “Russian Adoption Rollercoaster” and we’re in the process of adopting a little girl who just turned 5 and a little boy who is almost 5. Some of you may recall that we already have four children between the ages of 3-8. So this will give us six children in a 5-year-span! How did we get to this point? What are we thinking? Well, let me explain…

I posted below about the Russian orphan hosting program we were participating in this summer. Through a local charity thirteen children between the ages of 4-14 were hosted by ten different families for almost three weeks. We were matched with a spunky little girl who turned 5 just two days after she left (we initially thought she was already five). We also got to spend time with the other Russian children, including a sweet little boy who will be 5 this fall. The purpose of the program was to provide a sort of vacation and adventure to children who have only known abandonment, rejection and loneliness in their short lives. Like most orphans the statistics for these Russian children upon leaving the orphanage is heart-breaking. Only about 10% are able to make anything out of their lives. They are literally kicked out around the age of 17 lacking adequate resources to survive (money, food, job, housing, family support, etc.). The other 90% turn to a life of crime, drugs/alcohol, prostitution/sex trade, or commit suicide. Through this program we wanted the children to see that there is a world beyond the orphanage doors. Through ongoing communication we wanted them to know that there are people who care about them and hopefully they could strive to “make it.” For our family, as well as some of the others, this hosting experience turned into something entirely different. To put it simply, we fell in love! They are already a part of our family in our hearts and now we’re trying to make that official and bring them home!

This brings me back to my point about changes. While we had been looking into adoption for a while we figured we'd be adopting from our local foster care system. Coming up with the money to adopt internationally just seemed impossible! We didn’t plan on adopting two children from Russia (one of the most expensive adoption programs). We didn’t plan on needing a bigger van this soon because ours only seats 7 people. We didn’t plan on growing our family this quickly to the point that it would be very difficult for me to work (at least until they are all in school), as we deal with adoption-related issues and meeting the needs of all of our children. But that is where we are. We said yes with our hearts, not sure how to work this all out. I guess that’s why they call it a “leap of faith!” As we considered the possibility of adopting these two we initially talked ourselves out of adopting both of them. We felt we just didn't have the necessary resources. Most of those resources needed are financial to pay for the adoptions and bigger van, as well as allowing me to take the time off from writing to be the mother these children need. But after a lot of discussion and prayer we realized that we needed to trust in God to handle those provisions. If it is His will it will be done. We realized that just because we don't have those resources now doesn't mean they won't be there when we need them. Even as I type those words, though, that walk by faith is still the hardest thing we've ever done. There is so much at stake-most importantly these two precious little lives.

Right now I’m busy working on the massive list of adoption paperwork and working as much as possible. My husband is taking on all of the extra sides jobs he can. As I write this he has returned home from work and has headed off to earn extra money by cutting down trees (I just hope he remembers that he’s 38 and not 28!). He doesn’t complain. As he puts it he’s a man on a mission to bring home his children who are half-way around the world.

So those are the big changes at our house! Are we crazy? Well,…yes, but I'd prefer to say obedient! More importantly we’re just excited to start this new chapter in our life. Through research I’ve learned that globally there are over 143 million orphans, and this number increases by the thousands daily. I know that when it comes to the orphan crisis we can’t change the world. But I am hoping that at least for these two children we can change their world, and they’ve already changed ours.

We know we can't do this alone and we already feel so blessed by the offers of help we've received! If you'd like to help would you please consider:
-Praying for us and the children! As with any adoption there are many obstacles to overcome. Prayer is the one thing that is bringing us peace and keeping us from feeling panicked that something will go wrong and we won't be able to adopt them.
-Letting me know about any programs that help with adoptions (grants, fundraisers, etc.).
-Making a donation to our adoption fund. I hesitated even putting the button on the top of this page. I'm not very good with asking for or accepting help. But I am learning that this is bigger than "me" and my comfort zone. Any donation would be a HUGE blessing!

So that's the news about our exciting leap of faith! I'll keep you posted. :-)