not on this journey alone

I wanted to let the lovely Kayla post about the story God is writing for her family. It is too great not to share.

I’m an ordinary, 23-year-old girl living in the middle of Iowa. I went to college and I work an entry-level job. I’m married and I have a dog.

I’m also adopting a baby.

Rewind five years, and you’d hear 18-year-old me flippantly saying something like this: “Oh, I’d love to adopt someday!” But I didn’t take it very seriously. And I never thought I’d adopt my first child.

When Jonny and I got married, I began to take my relationship with Jesus a lot more seriously. And the more Scripture I read, the more my understanding of the God of the universe began to radically change.

I started to uncover the story a King who lived and loved on Earth without abandon. I began to catch a glimpse what mattered (and matters) to Jesus.

With new eyes, I began to see that He asks a lot of His people. To welcome the forgotten. To love without agenda. To give generously. To forgive freely. To trust completely. To walk humbly. To live radically.

One year into our marriage, our life goals and priorities began to be shaped and molded into something we could barely fathom. We realized that in our short 20-odd years, we had lived really comfortable, if not lazy, lives. We began to realize that we never had to ponder what it meant to be a disciple of Christ because we hadn’t immersed ourselves into the world like Jesus had. We didn’t know an orphan or a widow to love. We lived in an ivory tower, not among the world. We couldn’t define what the “least of these” were.

So we began to pray something very difficult. We asked God to break our hearts for the people who broke His. A friend told me that when genuine, it’s a prayer that will always be answered. I can attest to that.

We were expectant and a little impatient. We felt God was doing something awesome in our lives, but we didn’t know what.

For whatever reason, I began to feel baby crazy. I didn’t want to freak Jonny out too much (for goodness sake, I was only 21 and married for a year!) so I kept it to myself. I pondered it in my heart, if you will. 😉

I wanted to become a mom—badly. But I began to get a super uneasy feeling when I thought about becoming pregnant. Not about being a parent, but about being pregnant. I don’t know how else to describe it except that I knew that God was telling me, “Not now.” I began to have dreams of abandoned children. Every time I flipped on the TV, something about orphans or adoption was on. I’d log on to Twitter to see someone tweeting about adopting. God was speaking to me. Clearly.

About a month later, Jonny and I were on a late-night road trip to visit family. “Kayla,” Jonny said, “This week in school, we watched a video about political unrest and genocide in developing countries. It wasn’t about orphans, but all I could think about was, what is happening to the children of the men and women who are being killed…?” He paused. I turned down the music.

I knew exactly what he was going to say. I let him finish.

It made me think…I think we should adopt our first child,” he said, eyes on the road, glancing up to gauge my face for a reaction.

Seriously?! God had prepared both of our hearts individually for adoption. That night, we knew. We knew that God was leading us down a path that ended with a child He had intended for us before time began. We knew that we didn’t know a lot, but we knew that we didn’t have to. We weren’t on this journey alone.

We laughed at the thought of Jonny being an embarrassing dad. We giggled at the fact that I didn’t want to wear “mom jeans.”

That was a year ago.

As I write this, I’m looking at a photo of our future son, Joseph. He’s four-months-old and I already love him beyond words. He currently lives in Nigeria and we’re planning on meeting him in the first week of February. We hope to bring him home in the late summer of 2011.

With fear and trembling, and an inexplicably crazy peace, we jumped on the international adoption rollercoaster. While the ride has always been extraordinary, it hasn’t always been smooth. We have had a few hopes dissipate and a handful of dreams dashed. We became attached to a few little ones who weren’t meant for us to adopt. We’ve experienced judgmental quips from acquaintances, and even family members. We’ve faced staggering adoption fees. And for a planner like me, the waiting and the unknowing that comes with international adoption have been unbearable at points.

Adoption isn’t easy. But it is worth it. And if we can do it, you can do it.

We’re just ordinary people. We make entry-level salaries and our parents aren’t wealthy. Joseph won’t have a matching Pottery Barn Kids bedroom. But our son will be adored, treasured, and loved. Million of miles away, he already is.

Kayla and her husband, Jonny, are currently in the process of raising money to bring their son, Joseph, home from an orphanage in west Africa. You can buy a ‘Rooted in Love’ T-shirt here: http://www.journeytojoseph.com/buy-a-shirt.html Learn more about their adoption at http://www.journeytojoseph.com.


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2 thoughts on “not on this journey alone

  1. Ah, this post totally made me cry.

    Kayla & Jonny, you two sound amazing. I’m embarrassed to admit that my relationship with God got more than a little sidetracked over the years, but I’m trying to remedy that. Your story makes me so excited about getting back on track. Your strength inspires me.

    Good luck with everything. I’ll be praying for you three! 🙂

  2. I don’t know what else to say, other than you guys make me believe in God. And I don’t usually feel like that. At all. Looking forward to hearing about your journey. xx

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