This is a post I hesitate to write because in our culture one does not discuss personal finances with anyone. BUT, one of the reasons we have kept this blog going is because we have witnessed how at least 4 other families have decided to adopt or switched to special needs adoption after reading Jonathan and Leo's journeys. If God can use our written words to encourage someone to adopt then we will continue to write.
Anyone who has investigated adoption at all will know it is expensive. This is often the biggest excuse people make for not adopting. Early on in the process of adopting Jonathan, Jeremy and I decided that we would not take out any loans to pay adoption expenses. We stuck to that and watched God provide. We received grants from organizations, we cut back our own spending, we had a huge garage sale, and we depleted our savings. The most humbling thing was receiving money from individuals who told us that they felt led of God to give to our family. Sometimes we received anonymous money orders or cash in the mail. God provided.
Now fast forward to Leo's adoption. When our Leo story began, we were still in the process of building up our savings. We were thinking that we would have at least a year before we had to pay for any adoption fees or travel (initially we had begun the international process). Here's the thing: God had a different plan for us. His plan involved us adopting Leo. Here's the surprise: because Leo came to live with us right from his birthmom and never entered “the system”, his adoption went through the healthy infant program. We quickly learned that adopting a healthy infant can be expensive. We were upfront with our social worker and told her that we didn't have the money to complete the adoption. Her response? The important thing is that Leo has a family that loves him. In the end, we did receive two grants from Bethany, a number of their fees were waived, we received another grant from SHOW HOPE, we once again depleted our savings, and once again God provided in unexpected ways. This time God used individuals who provided clothing and toys for Leo. (We had gotten rid of all things baby as we were sure our adoptions would be of toddlers or older!) God used at least 1 individual to send us a gift card at just the right time that I needed go go buy some things specifically for Leo.
Leo's adoption is still not final. We are still waiting for paperwork to be completed and for our day in court when a judge will introduce Leo Shafer for the very first time. We will have to pay the lawyer at that time. Do we have the money to pay him just sitting in a bank account waiting to be spent? I would love to say that we did, but the fact is we don't. God knows how it will be provided. In the end I believe God will provide as long as we do our part. Our part is saving what we can, and cutting back spending.
Why do we share this? I believe that often we limit God. We believe God only wants us to do what our finances will allow. If we had waited until we had enough money to adopt Leo he would most likely now be in the foster care system. I am not saying all this to pat ourselves on the back, because we know just how flawed we are. We hardly have it all figured out. We have so many areas that we need to grow in! Some may call us irresponsible, but we believe that God called us to adopt Leo and and that He will provide. He has provided so much already! This brings Him glory. Don't let money be the one and only obstacle between you and whatever He is calling you to!