Our Adoption Story: I Knew It Was You
Each adoption story is as unique as the families and child, or children involved in the adoption. Each step, from recognizing the call to the type of adoption to the legalities, paperwork, and time of waiting is unique. But in all things adoption, God takes a life story that starts in grief and makes beauty come from it. It’s the perfect example of God’s promise within the words of one of my favorite Bible verses.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” -Romans 8:28 NLT
A handful of people know they are meant to adopt from early on in their lives. They dream about it, plan for it, and have a sense that this is a part of God’s call on their lives. Others are surprised to find themselves compelled to adopt at a certain point in life. And yet others were once so opposed to the idea of adoption that it took years of wrestling with God before they realized that adoption was exactly what they needed … and wanted. A little of each scenario fills the pages of our family’s adoption story.
I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to adopt. On the first day of Kindergarten, I met a little girl from Korea. I was intrigued by her at first, but she quickly became my best friend that year. Growing up in a northern small-town Minnesota, there weren’t many people who didn’t look like me. I was sensitive to those who were different, though. My mom, originally from Germany often struggled with English. As I watched her insecurities take root, my empathy grew. It upset me that someone could feel an outsider simply because of a difference. It felt as wrong to me then as we now know it to be today. I didn’t like that my new friend felt as though her ethnicity, family story, and affliction with severe scoliosis made her an outsider.
As our friendship grew that year, I learned about international adoption for the first time. It was then I believed that someday adoption would be a part of my life story.
However, the other half of my equation, my husband, didn’t have the same ideas about adoption. I think a picture of him might just lay alongside the definition of logic in the dictionary. I always laugh and say God brought us together so that he could be the logic to my emotion and I the emotion to his logic.
When we married, I told him how I dreamed of adopting someday. He laughed. Not a “yes” or a “no”. Just a chuckle and he went on about his way. Secretly, I called it a win, though, because he didn’t say “no”! Over time, I’d bring it up and each time receive the same response. A chuckle. Apparently, he thought I was being funny because in his mind it just wasn’t a logical option for our family.
The years passed and we became more involved in our church where of course adoption was talked about. I’d try to take over for the Holy Spirit by nudging my husband each time it was mentioned. He began to realize I was serious and much to my dismay told me he had no interest. He was content with our two children and didn’t want any more debt or responsibility.
I learned two important facts at this point.
1. The Holy Spirit doesn’t need my help.
2. My husband can’t be “talked into” anything. He actually pushes back harder the more I push.
So, I had no choice but to surrender to God my dream of adopting. However, we serve a faithful God and He did what He always does when His children surrender. He writes our story His way. He does the miraculous when we surrender to Him. This time, that meant He would soften my husband’s heart toward adoption and our family would embark on the journey.
Fast forward one year and we completed all the paperwork for what is called a dossier. We were waiting for a referral from, Bulgaria, the country God had led our family to adopt from.
I’ll never forget that morning. I was settling down in my chair to check email after getting everyone off to school. With a cup of coffee in hand and a quiet house in the background, I opened the email from our adoption agency. Periodically they would send a list of available children out to all their current families. Agencies are allowed to in a sense advertise for children with special needs because of the difficulty in finding families for them. Typically, I would see their sweet faces, pray for each child, then move on about my day.
However, on that January morning, something different happened. I opened my email and saw her face. In an instant, I knew she was the precious one God had woven into my heart years before. As tears poured from my eyes and my body began shaking, the Holy Spirit made known His presence.
Sparkly brown eyes, chubby cheeks, crinkled little nose, and a sweet little curly head of hair. I was looking into the eyes of my daughter. She may have been born halfway around the world, but God meant for her to be a Schumaker.
I knew it wasn’t the match we were waiting for nor was I even sure why she was on the special needs list. But I knew she was the one. I prayed my husband would believe the same.
A year and a half later that little girl become a Schumaker. It wasn’t easy, but it was so very worth it. Obstacles lined our path and at one time for a heart-wrenching six months, we grieved the loss of our sweet girl. All the facts said she would never be our daughter.
In a story only He could write, He brought us together proving that, yes, this little one was the one He handpicked for us.
Today, you may have a story like ours. Or it may look different. Maybe you aren’t sure if God is calling you to adopt at all. Or maybe, like my spouse, you can’t get past the logic. But I want to tell you this:
Once God calls you to something, you cannot avoid it. If you run, the wrestle will continue. And if you deny, you will never find peace. Peace comes with surrender. We trade God’s will for ours. We trade what sometimes looks illogical to the world for what is irreproachable with God’s miraculous power. He makes beauty from ashes and writes stories far better than the ones conceived with our human limitations.
And who knows? Maybe you, too, will experience a day when your heart explodes with a one-of-a-kind type of knowing and you can say, “I knew it was you.”
Written by Lori Schumaker, Christian Author, Public Speaker, & Adoptive Mother