This month is National Adoption Month, and I’m excited to bring you the God Story of Julie Crum. Julie is one of my friends from Oklahoma City. I treasure her friendship because she is a God-fearing prayer warrior, who earnestly seeks after God and encourages others to do the same. I hope you are as blessed by her God Story as I have been. You can read more from Julie at her blog: True Love brings True Beauty.
 
November is National Adoption Month, which is the perfect time to share our family’s God story. The Lord built our family through adoption, and we are so very thankful. I have always felt blessed through adoption, but I cannot tell you how many times others have spoken negatively to us about not having biological children. Regardless of my own feelings of blessing, those words are hard to ignore. Once as I was praying about this, Jehovah spoke to my heart that I am not barren; I am chosen. We are not barren. We are chosen ~ chosen to be parents of these precious ones through adoption.
The foundations of our adoption story were established many years ago while my husband and I were just children. My family did a lot of mission work in orphanages, and my husband’s family fostered. I remember working in orphanages in Jamaica and Africa as a young adult and having a deep KNOWING in my spirit that God had adoption in my future.
When we decided to start a family, we thought we would have biological children first, then adopt. When that didn’t happen easily, we discussed fertility treatments, but neither of us really wanted to do them. My husband said, “The most important thing I can pass down to the next generation is not my genes but my faith.” That clinched it for us, and we started the adoption process. I believe this is a gift God gave us. Neither of us felt the desperate longing for biological children that I know many feel. We don’t take pride in this. It is just a sweet gift God gave us because He knew His plan was to bring children into our family through adoption. We thank God for allowing us to be unified in this.
Adoption is an amazing gift, but it is also laborious. It is difficult. It is expensive. It is a commitment. We had to make about a million decisions.  We had stacks and stacks of information packets from various agencies, and I even made a spread sheet comparing wait time, cost, age of children available, etc. In the end, though, it came down to faith.
We prayed and asked the Lord to reveal where our child was. I purposed to fast for 24 hours, spending focused time in prayer for clarity. As the end of the fast drew near, I felt drawn towards a certain agency and country, but I asked Jehovah to make crystal clear to me. My greatest fear was that I would force my own will, and in doing so miss the child God had chosen for us. Fifteen minutes before my fast was over, the phone rang. On the other end was a lady from one of the agencies I had called for information. She said, “You’ve just really been on my heart, and I wondered if I could answer any questions for you. Are you interested in our Guatemalan program?” This was the agency and the program I was drawn to, and here was confirmation!
As we went through the process, I was surprised by the emotion. When you are in the midst of a “paper pregnancy,” you feel a desire for your child that is hard to explain. I dreamed about a little brown-eyed, brown-haired boy, and I would wake up praying we would soon be matched with a child. You are helpless, however. You just wait ~ and wait ~ and wait. You pray, and wait, and pray some more, and very few people understand what you are going through. Friends sometimes forget that you are, in your heart at least, expecting. You hear of pregnancies and attend baby showers and rejoice for others. And you wait. 
When we finally got the call from our agency and saw our son’s picture, he was firmly lodged in my heart. He was mine, even though I had never held him. Then there was more waiting. For six months, we were sent videos and pictures and medical reports while we waited to go to Guatemala and bring him home. That time was the most painful for me, and I physically ached for my child. The joy of bringing him home when he was seven months old was incredible! Ian was an easy baby who rolled with the new circumstances. He smiled and laughed and waited patiently while it took us an hour to feed him one jar of baby food. He was precious!
Just like with our first adoption, God continued to clearly direct our steps. When Ian was nearing two, we decided to adopt another baby boy from Guatemala. Andy and I both quickly felt this was not God’s plan, however. It was what WE had in mind, but we had no peace about it, so we stopped the process and waited for clarity. During the month of praying, we kept running into families with daughters from China. It seemed like everywhere we went, there they were. After much prayer, we knew the Lord had a daughter for us in China, too. Nine months later, Annalee Faith joined our family! She was a tiny, beautiful package of insecurity. At eleven months, the transition was much harder for her, and we struggled through the first six months. Eventually, she settled into her forever family, and it has been amazing to watch her blossom into a confident girl.
When Annalee was four, we felt God drawing us toward adoption once again. This time, He led us to apply for a sibling group in Ethiopia, so we got approved for up to three children. While I was praying one day, the Lord spoke to my heart that He was going to give us twin boys.  We waited for over a year and half before we finally got the call introducing us to our 6-week old twin boys. We traveled to Africa twice to adopt the twins, and they have been a wonderfully wild addition to our family.
When we first took custody of our boys, they were not impressed with us. In fact, they were very upset to suddenly be alone with two strangers who looked very different from their former caretakers. Two and a half years later, I am the center of their world. My husband jokes about the “mommy magnet” because if I am around, the boys are next to me. Guess what won them over? LOVE! We are all made to love and be loved. Their precious spirits reached for the love of a mommy and daddy. Fear of new people and new surroundings couldn’t hold on in the face of love.

Sometimes people will ask me if I feel sad that I don’t have any children of “my own.” What I hope people will understand is that our children ARE OUR OWN. With all that we are, these children are ours. We would fight a lion or a bear or travel around the world ~ twice! ~ to hold these children in our arms, and we would not trade our family for anything. Just as God adopts us into His family and sees us as HIS, we know these children are OURS, and we are THEIRS. As Psalm 68:5-6 says, “Father to the fatherless, defender of window – this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families….” Through adoption, he kept our children from being lonely, but He also saved us from loneliness. We are blessed beyond measure and praise God for choosing to build our family through adoption. We are not barren. We are chosen, and so very, very thankful. 

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Everyone has a God Story to share. If you or someone you know have a God Story you would like to share with my readers, please contact me: tlcole@overacup.org. Every month I hear how readers are encouraged by the stories shared here. Click here for submission guidelines.  Thank you in advance for sharing your story!