So, here the journey begins to find out what the Lord has in store for our family by way of adoption. Liz and I have mentioned adopting a child for years now. We have always thought it might be part of God's plan for our family. By providence, God has placed us in a church and environment where adoption is emphasized. Last year Liz and I attended an adoption conference at Southern Seminary and began to get some questions answered about adoption. We have not intended to rush the process, but wanted to be prayerful and deliberate about the steps to take toward adoption. The adoption conference last year, at the very least, was where the Lord began to soften our hearts toward the desperate needs of orphans around the world. After the last session of the adoption conference, one of my good friends left me a voicemail that said he looked forward to meeting the adopted Howell baby in years to come. That small thought brought tears to my eyes, to think that God may ask us to be a part of his plan for orphans as we seek to bring a child into our family. Whether Liz and I complete an adoption or not, we will always seek to care for orphans even if that only means giving to and encouraging those who are adopting.
With the resolve that God has given us to care for the orphan, our family is ready to begin the process of adoption to see where exactly the Lord will take us in the wild journey called "life." The road has already been a little bumpy. We have delayed the process for over a year now because of my schooling. The Ph.D. is rigorous and sometimes overwhelming, and we decided that to try to adopt during the thickness of the Ph.D. would not be wise. However, I recently completed my comprehensive exams for the Ph.D., and we are now in a position where the flexibility of writing a dissertation will allow us to move forward with an adoption. We have been chomping at the bit for the last 5 months to begin this process, and now that exams are over, we are excited to look more closely at God's plans for our adoption.
Another bump in the slow road involves the place from where we want to adopt. Internationally, we have had our hearts set on Ethiopia. However, recently, Ethiopia has decided to drastically reduce the number of adoption cases they review each day, which will at the very least lengthen the process considerably. We are not counting out an Ethiopian adoption, but realize that the process could be more difficult if we go that route. We have some dear friends who are in the middle of an adoption from Ghana, and they have already been helpful to encourage us in the process. In addition, the stories of their Ghana adoption have caused us to begin to think about adopting from Ghana. Liz and I also kick around regularly the idea of domestic adoption rather than international. So, this bump in the journey is not necessarily problematic, but it has already proven daunting to figure out from where the Lord would have us adopt. We have had friends tell us that you "cannot go wrong" with the location from where you adopt as long as you are adopting with right motives. So, we want to be driven by a desire to see the Gospel portrayed in the composition of our family rather than the prestige of an adoption location.
So, although we are in the preliminary stages of the process, we are excited about the journey. We are scared, prayerful, trusting, thankful, and wondering. The mix of emotions and excitement is hard to describe accurately, but we are delighted to be in a place where we must trust God for his provision and direction. We have much to "figure out," but that too is part of the journey. We would love for you to pray with us for our adoption journey. We have a couple of things set up where you can follow our progress and thoughts on adoption. This blog is the first place, so if you have a blog reader you can subscribe to this one and we will post things here from time to time as they are helpful. Also, we have a Twitter account @howelladoption for those of you who are in the Twitter world. Hopefully we will set up a Facebook page for those of you in that world. We will definitely be in touch as the journey continues, and we are excited to see how the Lord will work in all of our lives through the process of the Howell Family Adoption. We give all the glory to our risen Christ for the desire of our hearts to adopt, for the progress that is to come in the adoption, and for the outcome of the journey, whatever it may be.