*We both (Sarah & Beau) wanted to contribute to this particular post. Beau’s words are italicized, Sarah’s are not.
This blog was originally started to keep up with the adventures of the Cooper family. Since getting married in 2010, Beau and I have been to over 25 states together, countless National Parks, kept a running tally of the amount of Moose we’ve seen (5), kayaked on the Tennessee River, had 3 kids, bought a house, gotten a dog, etc. . .
Throughout all the adventures, we’ve seen God. We’ve seen his artistry and design in the beauty of nature. We’ve seen his faithfulness as he has provided for our family as we’ve grown and moved to a larger home. We’ve seen him answer prayer. We’ve seen him bring peace that passes all understanding when we’ve experienced the heartache of loss and the fear of possible loss. We’ve seen him take care of our children in a way no one else could; including ourselves. We continue to see his grace, salvation, and perfect love on a daily basis.
God has recently called us to embark on a new adventure in the form of international adoption. As we have been adopted into God’s family, as his children, we have been led to demonstrate this act, as much as is humanly possible, by adopting a child into our family.
Ephesians 1:5 says, “He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” What a glorious, beautiful gift God gave us! We were orphans; poor, dirty, helpless, hopeless orphans. The Creator of this beautiful universe CHOSE us. We didn’t deserve his inheritance, his love, his protection. We gave God no reason to love us or call us his children. Instead, God, in the most painful way he could, gave up his rightful Son to die so that we might also become rightful sons and daughters. Our adoption into God’s family required huge sacrifice, unimaginable pain (spiritually and physically), and he planned it all from the beginning of creation. He knew, before we even knew who he was, that he would make us his children. Simply put, we adopt because we were first adopted.
Beau and I believe earthly adoption is a picture of our adoption by God. We have been called to bring a child into our family. The process has already begun, and yet this child has no idea who we are and is possibly not even born yet. The entire process will take years. There will be piles of paperwork, many miles to drive and fly, decisions to make, deadlines to meet, unpredictable occurrences, emotional and spiritual toil.
There is of course, the Biblical basis for adoption which Sarah shared above. It is the first and foremost reason we both wanted to pursue it. I’ll also add that for me personally, when I watch the news, or keep up with what’s going both nationally & globally, it’s easy for me to feel completely helpless and overwhelmed. It’s easy for me to also feel like I’m not equipped or capable of doing anything to improve the world around me. Adoption proves, with God, that’s not true. While Sarah and I may never be able to affect change in the macro, maybe we can in the micro. Change starts at home.
Maybe it would be easier to ignore this call and continue life as it is. There would be no stress from an adoption process. There would be no strain on our pocketbooks and emotions. However, there would also be a child somewhere in this world who would not have a forever family who will love, support, and provide for them. There would be a child who might not be presented with the Good News of the Gospel.
We have an opportunity to glorify God by answering his call. God doesn’t call us to make easy choices or to be practical according to the world’s standards. He calls us to trust and obey. He calls us to do whatever it takes to further his kingdom, even if it appears absurd to everyone else.
We debated on whether or not to share any of this at all. We want to be very careful that the focus of this adoption – of everything we do – would be God’s glory. However, we decided we wanted our friends and family to know our hearts and our reasons behind this new stage in life.
We’ve just recently started the process, but in the last couple of months we’ve spent a lot of time in prayer. We wanted to make sure we let God lead every step of the way. If you have the patience to keep reading, I would love to share how we were led to the point we are now.
Our first step in the process was deciding what type of adoption we would pursue. After much prayer, we felt God calling us to international adoption. Specifically, we felt God leading us to a country in great need, both physically and spiritually. We began to pray for God to lead us to the right country. We searched. We made lists and marked off places. Very quickly God began closing door after door to country after country. Some countries are not currently open to international adoption. Some have certain requirements that did not line up. Some had age restrictions of children that did not fit with our family’s ages. The list goes on and on. There was one country, however, that always fit. There was every reason we should pursue this path. So, we put our trust in God and said “yes” to starting the very long adoption process with Haiti.
Adoption is something Sarah and I discussed early on in our marriage, even as far back as the first year. It’s something we knew we’d eventually revisit. Several months ago, we both felt the call. When we first started looking into what adoption would look like for our family, international adoption stood out to me specifically for several reasons. Many families who have trouble having children of their own often look to domestic adoption first. We feel we’ve been extremely blessed by having 3 of our own and didn’t want to stand in the way of any other husband & wife who are looking into domestic adoption as a way to start their family. We didn’t want to be another hurdle someone else out there had to jump over.
There are nearly 1 million orphans in Haiti (out of 10.6 million people). It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Over 70% of Haitians live in poverty. 1 out of 5 children die before they reach the age of 5 years old. Over 80% of the population do not have access to clean drinking water. The main religion is Roman Catholicism often combined with the practice of Voodoo (some estimates put 50% of the population as practicing Voodoo). We pray God will use us to help one of these children; to make a difference in one more child’s life for His Kingdom.
We know that, to some of you, this will not make sense. We know that some will not understand what we are doing and why; and that’s okay. Whether you are confused or excited by this news, we ask that you join with us in prayer. We are humbled that God would choose to call us on this journey. We pray he will equip us to carry out his purpose with our family.
I know that at time’s I’ve been an absolute trainwreck of a Christian. I will always be a work in progress. I also know that as much as this will change the life of a child, it will change me. It’s also very hard for me to describe why I think adoption is so important without sounding like I’m on a soapbox. I think we’re all called to a mission field, whether it’s in church, abroad, at work, at home, etc., we’re all called. More than just expanding our family, we see adoption as a mission field. We may not be able to pack up and move to Haiti, but maybe we can pack up a piece of Haiti and move it here.
John 14:18- “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”