Yesterday was Madeline Grace’s fourth birthday. Her story starts in 2007. We came back from our first mission trip to Belize and thought “Ok that’s off the bucket list, now let’s start a family” A nice little progression for sure.
We thought it just “happens.” Ya know? Off birth-control, get pregnant, start a family, etc. Not so fast. There were a few more turns in there.
It took several months but May 2008 we found out we were pregnant. We were ecstatic! Obviously, we told EVERYONE we knew (shocking, I know). Anyway, a few weeks later we go to the first ultra-sound and the little screen isn’t blinking like it should. That’s when the tech went to get the Doctor and it’s then that I knew things weren’t according to our plan. Miscarriage.
We were shocked saddened but relied on The Lord. We knew that this was the Lord’s plan. We left that appointment and immediately I called up my friend Tony to get a spot for Amy on the mission trip in August 2008.
We traveled back to Belize in August 2008 and felt very convicted that adoption is the Lord’s plan for our lives. On fire, we voraciously devoured all the information we could about adoption in Belize. It didn’t take very long for us to hit another wall. We were told adoption from Belize was not possible.
Limping along, we prayed and felt that domestic adoption was the direction that the Lord was directing us. Undaunted, we found ourselves sitting in an office in Raleigh, NC talking about the process of becoming adoptive parents.
Note: Also, during this time, we were still “trying” to get pregnant. And every month, it was more of the same…maybe pregnant, oops no not pregnant. It was this trial of frustration that brought the darkest times in our marriage.
November 2011 we decide to pursue domestic adoption. The next couple of months was a blur of reading, reading, reading, home-studies, and building a book of our family to show what “life would be like” with us as parents.
Then came the waiting. And with the waiting, more disappointment. Disappointment that now we were not only NOT pregnant BUT that we weren’t CHOSEN to be adoptive parents.
Then one day in July 2009, our phone rang. It was the agency and they had someone decide that we were going to be the parents of their child. What followed was frantic scrambling. Getting the nursery ready, car seats in car, diapers bought, clothes washed, showers had.
And more waiting.
Monday July 20-something, 2009 we get the call that the mother had the baby. I call Amy tears streaming down my face and share the news. She walks into her principals office and informs him that the week was her last week of work.
Tuesday (next day) – I get a call in the middle of small group from the agency director. I will never forget her tone of voice and my shock “Josh, there’s been a change of plans. She has decided to keep the baby.”
A few moments of silence pass and I just stare blankly. We finish the phone conversation and I go back inside to our small group and lose it. I am talking full blown sobs with snot bubbles. They pray over us. Matt and Faith stay a little longer and everyone leaves.
Shocked I go upstairs lay down in bed and immediately unleash the most guttural, swear-laced prayer to God. Mostly if I remember correctly, it went something like this “God, why the ______ did this happen? I need to know why right now?!!? Was this not your plan God?!? What are we supposed to do with all this baby stuff?? How is Amy going to get her job back??”
That was Tuesday. Fast-forward 3 days from then Friday July 20-something. I get a call from Amy after morning basketball.
Josh: “Yes, why are you calling me? It’s early”
Amy: “Because I took a pregnancy test this morning”
Josh: “Why on earth would you do that? We aren’t going to have kids any time soon”
Amy: “If you let me finish, I didn’t fail”
Josh: “You didn’t fail….wait….if you didn’t fail….that means you passed…if you passed…that means that you ARE PREGNANT!!!” (insert more snot bubble tears)
Amy was pregnant with Madeline. 4 years later (roughly) we celebrated her birthday yesterday.
The Lord’s timing was perfect. He knew that in 2008 we weren’t ready to be parents. He knew that Amy needed to come back to Belize in 2008 because without that trip in 2008, we wouldn’t be living as missionaries in Belize now. He knew that Amy couldn’t stay at home in 2008 but because a requirement of the adoption was for her to stay at home, she was prepared to stay at home with all the kids after we had Madeline in 2010.
The Lord knew that adoption wasn’t for us then but He also knows that adoption is something that He has placed in our hearts and with living in Belize the barriers previously placed in front of us, may be removed.
When we found out we were pregnant, I immediately began begging God to have this pregnancy be a girl. Girls, many of them, if not all of them have a terrible view of God the Father because their relationship with their dad is horrible. I wanted the challenge of growing Madeline to understand that my love for her will never end BUT that God’s love is so much more. I want Madeline to know that she has a Heavenly Father who is WAY WAY WAY better than her “super-dad” here on Earth.
Now we have Madeline. She is the most extroverted person I have EVER met. She even has to have someone sit with her in the bathroom while she poops…I don’t even do that! She is full of life, creativity, and determination. Oh man does she have determination (the good kind and the bad kind).
Madeline is also full of compassion that if she hears someone cries, she starts getting teary eyed. She cares from the hurt, for all the poor and powerless. Whether it’s a gift of a flower she picked, getting help, or singing a song, Madeline is full of compassion.
With her compassion and determination, we know the Lord has great plans for her. She will be a world-changer caring for the least of these. I pray Amy and I can grow her in her pursuit of God’s will and then get out of her way of pursuing the direction He calls her.
The Lord’s Timing – He knows. That’s all I can say. He just knows. He prompts and pulls through His Holy Spirit to direct our steps to fulfill His Will. The Lord’s timing is perfect. My prayer for our family and for you all is that you pursue God’s Will and then pause and wait patiently for His Perfect timing. You wont be disappointed!
- Spring Fruit – This spring has been full of FRUIT. Literally, over 50 people have surrendered their lives to Christ. Medical clinics have happened. We had our first trip ever on Caye Caulker. People are being freed from lives of dealing drugs or prostitution, into a full life in our Lord. Praise God for what He has done! Praise God for your involvement in the ministry this spring.
- Teams returning home – We had a great trip with our friends from Mt. Bethel UMC last week. I miss my family from Marietta. Join us in praying for their re-entry as they all go to school this week.
- Family – We are going on VACATION for A WEEK on THURSDAY!! Pray that this is a restful time. Pray that Amy and I can spend time together and with The Lord! Pray that the kids enjoy the beach and the pool! We are so stinkin excited!!!
- Men’s Conference– We have two events from our church this week to reach out into the community. The first one is a men’s conference tonight (Monday). Pray that I can have the right words to say if asked to speak and that the Lord would put people in my path to befriend and encourage.
- Prayer Vigil – Violence and drugs and alcohol have a grip on the young people of Hattieville. While most of the activities are petty and silly, it can escalate from time to time. Our church has organized a prayer vigil for Thursday night at the basketball court. We are proclaiming freedom for our village from the chains that are binding the youth. We are proclaiming revival. Join us, stand in agreement, and proclaim Jesus over our village.
For your enjoyment
We did an “interview with Madeline.” Here are her responses to the 4 year old questions. Enjoy the humor of her youth!
1. What is your favorite color? purple
2. What is your favorite toy? ummm my legos
3. What is your favorite fruit? oranges, bananas, fruit loops
4. What is your favorite tv show? Sophia
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? peanut butter and jelly
6. What is your favorite outfit? princess, tangled outfit but my snow white dress is a little too short and I am growing out of it
7. What is your favorite game? fancy nancy game
8. What is your favorite snack? granola bars
9. What is your favorite animal? umm let me think. Ellie has white balls in him to make him comfy and he is so fluffy
10. What is your favorite song? frozen songs
11. What is your favorite book? Frozen Book. I will tell you in one second (she had to look for her Frozen book to show me)
12. Who is your best friend? well my mean girls are nice so they are my friends. Vanesa, Richard, Peppa and they live right on that tree
13. What is your favorite cereal? fruit loops
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play on my swingset
15. What is your favorite drink? water
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas Eve and it opens in 3 days
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? my Frozen book
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? we said that already. i know i know. Sandwiches
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? blbl…cake. I want a cupcake for each of my friends and a team can even get one too. And I get 3. and one For Shelly and Hailey and Kayley.
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be when I am a grown up is astronaut. How do you spell it. I thought you spelled it b-i-b-l-e oh wait that is bible.