Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gilbert . . . Party of Five?!

Yep. We are adding another little one to the Gilbert family, but it will most likely take longer than 9 months. :) We are adopting!!!

I'll explain a little bit of our journey so far and then add posts later to fill in all of the amazing details that our God has already written into our adoption story. This is a long one itself, but gives the background of what got us here. At the bottom I have a few details of what God has told us so far . . . I understand if you want to just skip down there, but you'll be missing the good stuff!

We started talking about adoption from the very beginning of our relationship, but it was always a "down the road" idea. We supported Shaohannah's Hope (a non-profit that gives grants to families for adoption costs) for 3 or 4 years because we felt God telling us to be involved in adoption that way at that time. Once we started having kids, the idea was there, but still at the back of our minds. The last few months have changed that completely.
All of a sudden it seems that tons of people we know are adopting or have just adopted and we have been encouraged and challenged by their stories. Some of our best friends have become foster parents to four children in the last year. We have some great friends from Doulos that have adopted and we were able to help financially and prayerfully in February toward their second adoption. Chad went to a pastor's conference in February and most of the speakers have adopted and shared much about their experiences and about the theology of our adoption in Christ. At that point we started talking about it more as a real possibility. We read Adopted for Life and Orphanology, two great books about the call on the Church to be involved in adoption and orphan care.

Most importantly, we really started looking in the Word about how we have been adopted into God's family. Believe me, once your eyes are opened to this reality, it is amazing to see this truth all through the pages of Scripture. For example, I recently read Genesis 12 in a new light as I realized that God was essentially calling Abram to become an orphan . . . "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." The beautiful thing is that Abram wasn't left an orphan. He was adopted by God. He was given a new name, a new identity, a promise and a purpose by his new Father. Amazing, isn't it?! Thousands of years later, we were given the hope of being adopted by that same Father because of Jesus' death and resurrection. Ephesians 1:5-6 tells us that "In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." We were orphans, but through Christ we are adopted as sons . . . with all the rights, benefits and inheritance of a firstborn son. What a blessing that God didn't leave us in our fatherless state!

We've also seen in the Word that God's heart for the fatherless is something He desires and calls His Church to demonstrate. Over and over God tells His people to care for the orphan (Duet. 10:18, 24:17-22, Psalm 10:16-18, 146:9, plus many more). The verses that stick out the most are Psalm 68:5-6 "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families . . ." and James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Because of these truths found in the Word, our question changed from "Does God want us to be involved in caring for the orphan?" to "God, how do you want to demonstrate your heart for the orphan through us?"

In March, some friends asked us to pray daily for them for two weeks as they considered pursuing adoption. As we prayed for God to direct them and for God's heart for the fatherless to be displayed by His Church, God really started speaking that the time for us is no longer "down the road", but now. After more talking, studying and praying, a few weeks ago we prayed and just told God "yes" to whatever He has for us. We had no clue what that meant, but knew we were called to obedience.

My first instinct was to research options, get advice from others and make a plan (no shock to most of you I'm sure!). But I knew that I didn't want to be in control of this process. We know it will be a hard journey and we want to be able to look back and know that we heard God speak and were led by Him alone. To combat the desire in us to figure it all out and to pursue options that would be quicker, cheaper, etc., we committed to just spending time in daily prayer asking God to teach us, refine us and show us our next step.
Boy did He speak! In the last week, God has given us some clear answers. These came in awesome ways, but this post is already too long so I’ll save those stories for later.
What we know for now is that we are to adopt a son from Africa!
Just typing that sentence gives me such excitement and yet overwhelms me at the same time. We are already being attacked by the evil one so we know we are on the right road. We are choosing to focus on what we know . . . that God knows our future son, loves him more than we could ever imagine, and WILL make a way for him to be a part of our family!
We covet your prayers as we embark on this journey, not knowing what is ahead, but trusting that He who calls us is faithful and He will do it!


  1. I have never forgotten that Steven Curtis Chapman concert when y'all first started supporting Shaohanna's Hope :) Yay!! I'm so excited for you guys! That's awesome. I know it will be a long and probably frustrating road at times, so know that we are praying for you guys through it all and can't wait to celebrate with you when you bring your son to his forever home with you.

  2. This is such a blessing, Cole! I'm excited to see what God has in store for you.

  3. Yay Cole!!! So excited for ya'll! I can't wait to hear all the stories and pray alongside ya'll as you wait to bring your son home. :)

  4. I am so excited for you! We will be praying! I identify with being attacked by the enemy when beginning the adoption process. He does NOT want children in families. Thankfully we serve a mighty God who desires for His children to be adopted, loved, and cared for. I'm so excited to follow your journey to the son God has for you.

  5. A little boy will be so fortunate to be part of your family. We will be praying for you all.