In our "Christmas letter" one of my final statements was: "there is much to come in our lives over the next year." I knew that statement to be true when I wrote it based on life with three girls. I also knew it to be true based on a decision that Eric and I made shortly before Christmas this past year. Below you'll find the text of an e-mail that we sent to our small group at church and some of our family members; it outlines much of the detail explaining our decision and how we arrived where we are today.
Over the next several weeks and months I'm sure I'll write more. I have the need for an outlet and, in an effort both to fill that need and to record what I think will be a significant time in our family history, you're bound to hear more. Please be sensitive to the fact that, because of their ages, we haven't discussed this with the girls.
For the past several weeks, Eric and I have been struck with the seemingly crazy things God asks his people to do. There are hundreds of examples in both the old and new testament. Several have been highlighted in our recent study of the book of Mark: the calling of the twelve, the dinner at Levi's table, the healing of the man with the withered hand. The Lord has used Charlie and Brian's teaching over the past few weeks to confirm something that we believe--crazy, though it may seem--he is calling our family to do.
Let me start at the beginning. Eric and I had the opportunity several weeks ago to enjoy a "date" (thanks, Liss & Rick). We chose Chili's and as we ate our chips and salsa, Eric laughed as he shared what God had laid on his heart. He laughed because he knew it sounded crazy. But, as he shared, I began to cry; because, as crazy as it sounded, God had also laid the same thing on my heart! We took this as confirmation that this was probably a "God thing" and agreed to pray and learn what we could...about what, you ask? We've been praying about adding another child to our family.
Our initial response to the Holy Spirit's prompt was to pursue international adoption. We researched costs, financial aid, organizations, stories, etc. We requested information from several sources--and, get this, got nothing in the mail. This was a frustrating time for us as we wondered if our conversation at Chili's was "just the salsa!" Though we have a tender heart toward international adoption, we don't feel like this is the direction God has for us at this time.
Over the past week we've been in touch with staff from Miracle Hill Children's Home and are in the beginning stages of becoming licensed foster parents. Understand, this seems completely crazy to us as we struggle with a stomach bug in our family, already busy schedules, three little girls, a small business, a Ph.D., etc. Our heart's desire is to "stretch out our withered hand" in surrender to God's will for our family. So, as Brian suggested, we are conveying our "need for surrender" to our dearest friends. We covet your prayers and accountability as we pursue this adventure. We love you all and are thankful for your part in our story.
Love, Eric and Mary Beth