Yep, you read that right – we are adopting! We are so excited for our soon-to-be family of six and all the excitement that will come with a new brother and sister in our home!
Aaron and I have always been open to adopting but we had never really mentioned it to anyone. I’m not exaggerating at all, up until this spring we had only ever discussed it with four people!
Needless to say, when I started making phone calls to tell family they were completely blindsided.
I want to share the story of how we found our kids and how God brought our family to this point but that means that this post will differ from my usual posts in two major ways:
- It is very religious. I know this is a farming and food blog but I’ve always shared a bit of my faith here as well. I can not tell this story without sharing the bold ways God has moved in our lives.
- It is incredibly long. I really wish I could condense this story but as I’ve prayed over how to tell it God has reminded me over and over that someone out there needs to hear the entire story and all the little things He did that added up to such a big miracle. If that’s not you, I hope you’ll forgive me for being so wordy.
They say its best to start at the beginning, which for me was 2013.
I’d gotten in the habit of using a bible app on my phone that served up random bible passages for me. For a week or two, I kept getting passages about orphans. It seemed orphans/adoption kept popping up in my life, from random conversations with bank tellers to news segments to blog posts I’d run across on Pinterest.
As the days went on, my heart began to ache for an orphan and I was overwhelmed with the need to pray for him. We’re talking about crying myself to sleep, heartbroken prayers.
All day I’d feel this heaviness in my heart. It was a strong, relentless aching.
At first I thought it was hormones. I had just finished breastfeeding Lorelei and I knew my hormones were still out of whack. The idea that there was a baby out there like my own little girl without a family is absolutely heartbreaking so maybe I was just too hormonal to handle thinking about that?
One of my best friends was a missionary overseas at the time. I sent her an email, pouring my heart out and asking that she pray for me and this orphan, wherever he was. She assured me that if God calling us to adoption that she’d be praying for us every step of the way.
About a month later, my cousin Lauren mentioned that she and her husband felt called to adopt. I immediately assumed that God had been calling me to pray for their adoption journey and didn’t give it much more thought.
Fast forward to 2015, I was hit with another round of the overwhelming feeling that I needed to pray for an orphan.
The heaviness was back and for a week or so the aching was relentless. This time I knew I was praying for a girl, which I thought made sense because that was what Lauren was hoping to adopt.
Again, I assumed that God was calling me to pray for Lauren’s daughter so I dedicated myself to supporting them in any way I could. Every time I’d talk to her I kept waiting for the news that a birth mom has chosen them. I had no doubt that when I met their baby it would make the heaviness in my heart go away.
Life moved on.
Lauren’s book was shown to several birth mothers but never chosen. We tried to buy several farms but they all fell through for crazy reasons beyond our control. In 2016, we were blessed with Landon. Lauren found out she was miraculously pregnant with another baby boy.
Despite all the happiness of adding Landon to our family and Lauren’s surprise pregnancy, I still had this heaviness in my heart. I wondered if Lauren and her husband decided not to pursue adoption again if that feeling would ever go away.
Aaron brought up the idea of us adopting over and over but every time I blew him off. It wasn’t the right time. It was too hard. It was too expensive.
In March of 2017, Lauren told our whole family that she had found her daughter in an orphanage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A friend of hers was adopting from this orphanage and showed Lauren a video of her son dancing. Lauren saw a little girl in the background of the video and immediately knew that was her daughter.
(Their entire adoption story is AMAZING! You can read all about on Lauren’s blog).
While we were all completely shocked at the way this had happened, we were ecstatic for them. They’d been waiting for their little girl for years and now God had brought her to them at the most unexpected time!
Aaron came home talking about us pursing adoption too and yet again, I completely blew him off. After all, I was just supposed to be praying for Lauren’s kid and clearly this was the proof that I had been doing a fantastic job of it!
The first time I saw Lauren after she had announced her adoption, I was so excited to see the video. Here it was – the moment that this heaviness in my heart would go away and I would get to celebrate the miracle that God is working to bring this little girl home to her family!
She showed me the video and nothing happened.
Sure, I immediately loved her little girl. She is beautiful and I can not wait to hug her and watch our kids play together.
But that heaviness was still there… in fact, it got even heavier.
As I was driving home I asked God why He didn’t take this feeling away. Suddenly I realized that this heaviness wasn’t the “aunt love” I feel for Lauren’s kids… it was the same “mom love” I feel for my own.
My heart was heavy for MY orphan.
To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement!
For four days I stewed over this realization. How would we pay for this? What do we do to prepare our other kids? How do we pick a country or an agency? Where do we even begin?
I finally worked up the nerve to tell Aaron what I was feeling, only for him to smile at me and say, “I’ve been waiting for God to get you here. My only question is, how many?”
I laughed and said that I knew in my heart that we didn’t have three kids, so I guess that meant we were adopting two.
He said that he knew they were siblings and we both admitted we’d suspected for a while that Landon was our last newborn.
When we finished our conversation, we felt at peace with it all. We’d take notes while Lauren completed her adoption, buy our farm and when the time was right we’d pursue our own adoption.
You know what they say, “Man plans and God laughs.”
A few days later, Lauren and I took our kids for a play date at the park. She filled me in on a lot of the details of their adoption process and I asked a lot of questions.
Eventually, I admitted that I was so inquisitive because we were planning to adopt someday. I didn’t really know when or how, but all we knew was that they were siblings and neither of them was an infant.
Immediately Lauren teared up and said, “I think I know where your kids are.”
Of course, I thought she was crazy.
I could get on board with the idea that she immediately knew her daughter but Lauren often talked about how boldly God spoke to her. That has NEVER been His style with Aaron and I.
A few texts later, Lauren had two photos of a brother and sister at the same orphanage as her daughter. The photos had been taken by the same person who had taken the video in which she found her daughter.
I looked at the photos and nothing happened.
Sure, they were cute kids but I didn’t have a magical “angels singing” moment or anything.
All I knew was that the heaviness I’d been feeling on and off for years was back and it was stronger than I had ever experienced before. I thought I was going to throw up, the weight on my chest was so heavy.
I told her to send me the photos, find out their names and ages and we’d pray about it.
As I drove home, I was completely freaking out.
This was too fast. It didn’t make sense. I had just realized that we were supposed to adopt, we hadn’t had any time to do research or save money or make a plan.
These kids are in Africa, what on earth did we know about Africa?! NOTHING!
How was I supposed to know if they were ours or not? How was I supposed to know what to do next? And if they were ours, how on earth were we going to do this right NOW?!
When I got home, Lauren texted me their names and ages. I immediately realized that they were born in 2013 and 2015, when I had been overwhelmed by the need to pray for an orphan.
When Aaron got home from work, I told him about the photos and he was obviously just as blindsided as I had been. We decided to take some time to pray that God would show us definitely if they were our kids and if so, clearly tell us what to do next.
After all, we still hadn’t bought a house after 3 years of serious farm shopping. Adopting before we found our forever farm just didn’t make any sense at all.
We spent five days agonizing over these kids. I cried myself to sleep every night. It was all we talked about, all we thought about, all we prayed about.
We kept finding ourselves staring at their photos. It was like an ultrasound photo, it doesn’t really tell you much about your child but when its all you have you can’t help but look at it over and over again.
On the sixth day, Lauren called and said that all week God had been telling her to call me and give me a message but she had been fighting Him on it. She said she felt like it wasn’t her place to tell us this because she knew that it was crazy and not at all what we’d want to hear.
“God wants you to pursue your children. If you pursue your children, He will provide.”
When Aaron got home, I told him what she’d said. He said that all week he’d been praying that God would speak clearly and tell him what to do next. No matter what it was, he would be obedient.
So that night, in our tiny two bedroom rental house, only one week after realizing that adoption was definitely in our future, we filled out an adoption application for our kids.
As the pages of the application slid through the scanner, I felt that heaviness lifting and being replaced with peace.
We had spent a full week agonizing over what God was calling us to do because it seemed so crazy, so illogical. But in that moment, we both felt such confidence in answering His call.
I won’t lie and say we haven’t freaked out about the logistics of it all since then.
Its a LOT of money. We still haven’t moved into a larger house. The paperwork seems endless. There are days that I’m completely overwhelmed with worry about our kids’ health and safety.
But all of that worry and stress is NOTHING compared to the agony we were feeling as we tried to pursue our plan and instead of God’s.
Most of all, nothing compares to the love we have for those two precious faces we know only through photos and our dedication to do whatever it takes to bring them home.
So now what?
Now we throw ourselves into paperwork, moving into a bigger house and lots of waiting.
Three weeks ago we were able to move our kids out of the orphanage and into a foster home in Congo. They are now living with a wonderful Christian family who can love on them and provide them with healthy living conditions, medical care (when needed) and bottled water. We are able to contact the foster family whenever we need and they will send us regular photos of the kids.
Most meaningful to me, they now know that we will be adopting them!
For a month we had been loving them so hard from the other side of the world but they had no idea. Now their foster family has started to explain everything to them and showing them photos of our family. Now they know that we are working as quickly as we can to bring them home!
Still have questions?
I’ve done my best to answer them in this FAQ post.
Want to read all of my adoption related posts? You can browse the Adoption category.
How can you help?
We are currently selling t-shirts, featuring the lyrics to a song that God used to comfort us when we answered His call. Click here to order a t-shirt.
You can also donate via our YouCaring page. We’ll post updates there as well.
Most of all, we appreciate your prayers.
Please pray for our kids’ health and safety. We know that we can’t do anything to protect them right now so we have to keep reminding ourselves that God has them in His hands.
Pray for our foster family, who has so lovingly opened their home to our kids.
Pray for our house situation. We are hoping to close on a house in the next few weeks but we know these things are often delayed. We have done everything we can on our end so now we just have to pray that nothing comes up between now and closing! (We have to move into our new house before we can make any more progress in the adoption process).
Pray for the government both here in the U.S. and in the Congo. That they will act in the best interest of these kids and the immigration process will go smoothly.
Pray for Aaron and I. That every decision we make is guided by God and not our personal worries and fears. That we do what is best for all four of our kids.
From all SIX Harned’s, thank you for your prayers and support. It means so much to us!