Feb 16, 2012

New Year, New Miracles

NOTE: The following testimony is written by Sarah of Minneapolis, Minnesota.Sarah's husband Sam is the lead pastor Bethel Christian Fellowship in Minneapolis

“About seven years ago, right before our one year anniversary, we were super excited when we found out that we were expecting our first child. However, a few months later, very unexpectedly, I miscarried our baby.   That was one of the hardest things that we have ever gone through. Over the course of those next two years I miscarried two other children. After the third miscarriage we were at a place of deep surrender to God…the pain was too great to carry on our own. It was during that time that God gave Sam and I both a heart to adopt. 

One of the ways was through Isaiah 54 which says “ 1 “Sing, barren woman,  you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman    than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD.  2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.” 

Among many other things that God did was to give us His heart for adoption.  Did that mean that we wouldn’t have any biological children? No, we felt that our family heritage was going to be a wonderful mix of both. God miraculously brought healing and hope. In May of 2008, a friend prayed for us that in 9 months I would give birth to a baby. Nine months and one day later, our daughter was born! Then along came our son a few years later with no complications. He just turned 1 in December. We are SO thankful for these amazing lives! 

When we moved to Minneapolis we were extremely excited to be surrounded by so many people that had a heart for adoption. And during 2010, the theme at our church was the year of Restoration. We felt God bring us back to that Scripture in Isaiah 54. It was also early that year that our friends, along with their four children, were in the midst of making a decision to open up their home to a sibling group of three children. These children were related to them and had just entered the foster care system. I remember sitting with them in their kitchen as they asked for prayer in the direction that they felt God leading them, to open up not only their house but also their hearts to these precious little ones. It's almost been two years since they opened up their home and their hearts and during that time we have felt God speaking to us in many different ways to be a part of their lives and the lives of these kids. To help in any way that we could since having seven kids seemed like no easy task even though our friends made it look so easy!

We got to know the kids  (ages 7, 6 & 3) and our hearts grew. We felt that God was leading us to help out in their situation in a long term way. We wanted to be available to adopt them if the need arose. We became licensed for foster care this past summer so that we could help out even more. Then it happened…the need arose this past November for these precious kids to have a mom and dad. It was an emotional process of praying through things with our friends as we were all extremely connected to the kids and wanted the best for them. It wasn’t a matter of “if” the kids would be adopted but “who”? We knew that no matter what, these kids would be loved because they would forever have both families in their lives. It was an extremely hard decision but God spoke through his Holy Spirit to both families clearly. The decision was made that Sam and I would move forward with our family adopting the kids. And in the next 2 weeks we will be making the transition to having 5 kids in our home! We are so humbled, honored, and excited! Wow!

The popular question throughout the past months when we would talk about this to friends was…”Are you guys able to fit that many people into your house?” Inside, I probably got a little defensive and thought, “what's wrong with our house? It may be small but it will be filled with love!” I knew that our house was small but with Sam and I’s organizational gifts we thought out every nook and cranny to make it work! We even figured out a way to move our refrigerator a few inches which would enable all seven of us to squeeze, I mean, sit around our kitchen table. In this whole process I knew that by becoming a family of seven it would change our lifestyle too. I thoroughly enjoy opening up our home to others but in this season caring for these kids and having a secured seat for them at our table would be the most important thing. 

Well, a little over a week ago we met with the social workers to finalize plans. All that was left was to share the news with the kids. During that time, our friends sent an email inquiring about the status of a house that was for sale right across the street from them. A two story colonial home with plenty of room. Sam and I had actually thought about that house over 2 years ago, but it wasn't for sale at the time and we knew it would be out of our price range. We had also actually already walked through the home this past summer when they had an estate sale. It was beautiful…way out of our price range…but beautiful! I remember at that time thinking about the teal shutters that were on the house. Teal shutters might be your thing…they just aren’t my thing. I thought, if that was my house I would put black shutters up. Not too long after the estate sale as they were preparing the house to officially go on the market they made a few changes…one of which was putting up black shutters. For the past six months I have driven by that house on a regular basis thinking of what it would be like to live there with our growing family. It wasn’t about living the American dream but about the dream of having a dining room table with room for our family and others. About bedrooms that could fit beds AND dressers…About a kitchen that had lots of room to gather in and talk about how school went that day…and about plenty of open walls for family pictures.

Because the house was overpriced in this market it remained un-sold and the owners continued to drop the price slowly. After our friend received a response from the owner that the house was still for sale we looked into some options of owning the home but didn’t get anywhere. Then unexpectedly as I shared with our lender about how we wanted to do this because of our plans to adopt she mentioned an amazing “exception” to one of our options. Because of our growing family we could qualify to have two FHA mortgages at the same time. Allowing us to not have to sell our current home in this down market and qualify to purchase this one. Awesome news! But then there is still the fact that the price just dropped and tons of people have been looking at the house all along. Of course, there is also the fact that we serve a God who is GREATER than any of that! So we submitted an offer, much lower than the asking price, which had already dropped significantly, and we waited.

All of our focus was now on the most important thing…this past Tuesday night when we would be sharing with the kids that we wanted to be their forever family. We gathered at our friend's home. Together the four of us shared the news with the kids. We gave them some special gifts with pictures and expressed how much they were loved by so many! The night was so special with lots of hugs and ice cream sundaes to celebrate! Right before we were about to head home we got a call from the realtor. He informed us that…we got the house!!!!!!! The four adults gave out a big shout and then excitedly gathered both families in the living room. “We have some great news: Our family is going to live across the street!” Not only do we get to begin a new season as a family of seven, but we will begin this new season in a new home for everyone. 

The number seven means a lot to me. Through the process of having our two biological children I struggled with how to express that even though you could only see two children we were supposed to have five. Five…three children that would have been older then our daughter. Really God? Can you really be THAT Good?!?! This past week I have been completely….COMPLETELY overwhelmed by the goodness of God! 2010 & 2011 have truly been years of Restoration and Return: Five children…a home that they can grow in across the street from a family who loves them as much as we do…two miles from the church…doing what we feel God has called us to do in life, ministry and our family? I will be forever grateful for the couple that sat in their kitchen almost two years ago following the prompting of opening their hearts and home to three very special kids. Thank you! The truth is…God REALLY IS THAT GOOD!”

No comments:

Post a Comment