Last summer when we decided to add another to our family, we realized that we would have to get a new vehicle. Our minivan fits seven and we were going to become a family of eight. This meant we would have to get either a suburban or a big van. The suburban was more appealing to me at first, as it was the most “normal” option. I was not wanting to be the driver of a big van. How embarrassing that would be. The girls were not too keen on the idea either. But a suburban will fit nine at the most, and this is actually not enough. We want to be able to have my parents ride with us, and that will take us up to ten. Big vans pretty much have no cargo space. So when going on a trip, the back seat will have to come out to create room for luggage and such. The back seat typically holds four people. So if we were to get a 12 passenger van (which seemed crazy big), there would only be room for eight people on a trip and we need to be able to take ten. This meant we would have to be on the lookout for a 15 passenger van. RIDICULOUS.
Regardless of what kind of large vehicle we would get, we knewit would be expensive. So we decided to start praying. Each day at breakfast, we prayed as a family for God to provide us with the perfect van. Peter got especially into praying for the van and felt perturbed when other people (who didn’t even know about it) didn’t pray for it too. We have been praying like this for over a year, asking God to do something that only He can do, to show us His hand in the process, and to just put it in our laps when it was the right one.
During the year, Steve kept his eye out. He researched vans and we went to look at some. Who knows why, but these vans seem to be pretty popular. There aren’t tons of them sitting around, and whenever they popped up, they went fast. Mostly they were out of the area and often they were sold before we could even get a look. So it seemed we were going to have to pay more than we were hoping, unless God did a miracle. And on top of that, it was going to be hard to even get to one before it sold.
So the past year has been one of waiting. We are, of course, waiting to see our little one’s face, but we have also been waiting for God to bring us a van.
Last Saturday marked eight months of waiting for a referral. It is discouraging to just wait and wait. It feels like it will never happen. But we went out for root beer floats to celebrate Elijah John Day. This ice cream tradition is a good way to remind us that we are going to see our little one’s face in God’s perfect timing. And of course it is always a good thing to go out for ice cream.
As we drove home, thinking about making pizza for dinner, we caught a glimpse of a sign on a big van parked in front of a church. We turned around and went back to take a look. Sure enough, it was a 15 passenger van for sale- the Emanuel Lutheran Church van. The asking price was around half of what we were expecting to pay, and it was fairly old but had amazingly low mileage. It looked to be in near perfect condition. We called the number on the sign. The pastor answered and said he could meet us there in about five minutes. We took the van for a ride and prayed as a family while we drove, asking God if this was the answer we had been waiting for and knowing all the while that it was. The pastor dropped the price even more, prayed with us, and we left feeling amazed and thankful for the miracle God did for us.
By the way, over the corse of the year, God did some changing of hearts. As we prayed and time passed, the girls and I came to realize what a blessing a big van would be. So rather than feeling embarrassed, every last one of us was ridiculously excited about the massive 15 passenger van God dropped in our laps. Now the challenge is just learning how to back up in it.
Back in May we started to prepare for Elijah by fixing up the boys’ room. We painted the room and bunked the beds. While Mom and Dad and Hannah painted, I took the boys outside. Our neighbors had a wedding for their daughter in their backyard, so we couldn’t stay outside for too long. It was a little chaotic having the boys inside when they couldn’t go in their room. They slept in Hannah’s room that night because their room smelled like paint. They woke her up. We also set up Elijah’s crib. It makes us happy to see it in there. The boys like to put stuffed animals in there for Elijah.
Sunday was a beautiful day. We had our Orphan Awareness and Adoption Fundraiser, and God blessed it as only He can do. Two days before the event, our friend who was planning on doing most of the baking for the bake sale ended up with four kids down with the stomach flu. The girls and I kicked it into high gear and started baking. The stress level jumped up a notch, and just then we got an email. Unaware of the situation, a woman from church was wondering if we needed her to do some baking. That’s how God works. He provides just what we need, right when we need it. And it turned out, the woman who offered her baking services is an amazing, trained baker. Some people came just to buy her pies!
The day before, we had many wonderful friends work together to set up and decorate tables for the event. We had beautiful centerpieces for each table, amazing craft items, and fabulous baked goods for selling, all made by friends and family. God brought many people and we were able to share all that He had put on our hearts. We pray now that God will move people to act on behalf of the little ones around the globe.
This Sunday we will have an opportunity to share what we have learned about orphans and adoption. We are going to serve lunch at 12:00 at Galt Bible Church in the gym. We will show some videos, look at some statistics, read Scripture, and discuss our response as the church. There will be lunch and an opportunity to donate, as well as a bake sale and craft sale. Donate or not, we’re hoping people will come to learn about something that is near to God’s heart.
We still do not know if we are getting a little boy or a little girl, but we are pretty sure it will be a boy. And if it is a boy, we will name him Elijah. No, we still do not have a referral, pictures, or info for who the next member of our family is. But since we’ve been waiting for so long (over seven months) we decided to make a tradition that we call Elijah John Day. We started this long wait for the referral on Dec. 12. So on the 12th of every month, we go out to ice cream. We have done this three times so far. We thought of this tradition once we had been waiting for four months and we’ve done it for our 5th, 6th, and 7th months of waiting. We thought of this because of an adoption video we watched. The family in the video went to ice cream 18 times because they waited 18 months! I can’t imagine waiting that long. But they were adopting from Ethiopia and it takes much longer to get a referral from there.
Last week was a really hard week in our adoption journey. On Wednesday we got news that a thirteen year old girl named Allie Jo is about to age out of China’s system. In China, children are no longer eligible to be adopted once they turn fourteen. We had first seen Allie Jo months ago on a blog post that was published by our agency in hopes of finding her a family. Her story touched our family and in so many ways we wished we could adopt her. But she has cerebral palsy and we didn’t feel that this would be a wise choice for our family. A few weeks later, we read that someone had begun the process of adopting her. We were so happy. But now for some reason or another it has not worked out, and Allie Jo only has three weeks left to be adopted. Our hearts ache for her as we can only imagine the fear and anxiety that she must be feeling. She so desperately wants a family and time is running out.
We spent the rest of Wednesday and Thurday morning praying for Allie Jo and wondering again if we should think about adopting her. We knew it would not be best for our family and God did not give us peace about going for it, but we felt (and continue to feel) horrible. We feel desperate for her to have a family. What is no one else steps forward? She just has to have a family. Of course this happens all the time- children age out of China’s system and can no longer be adopted. But Allie Jo’s story touched our hearts and made it real to us.
And just as we were consumed with her story, we got the call we had been waiting for. Our adoption agency had a potential referral for us. The cutest little boy with PKU was needing a family. PKU was not on the list of special needs we were prepared to review, but Sarah and I decided to take a look at the file . We couldn’t help but feel excited. We spent the rest of the day researching PKU, contacting doctors, going over his file, and discussing how his need would play out in our family. By the end of the day, we knew that this was not our little boy. More than him not being a good fit for us, we knew we would not be a good fit for him. But we felt horrible.
After all, each of these children needs and longs for a family. If we birthed a child with cerebral palsy or PKU, we would not question whether or not the need is a good fit for our family. Why is this so different? I have wrestled with this question with each of our adoptions. I don’t have the perfect answer. All I can say is that adoption is different. You choose the age, sex, and special need for each child that is adopted. This choosing is difficult for us, but that is how it is done. In saying no to one child, we are saying yes to another. Each child needs a family, and we are saying yes to the child God has created to be a part of our family. With each adoption, He has guided us perfectly. When He provides His perfect peace, we know to proceed. And when He doesn’t, we stay put and continue waiting on Him. But it hurts to say no to any child. We long to hear that Allie Jo is adopted. We want to see our little PKU fellow in the arms of a mommy and daddy. But we have to leave that to God. He loves them so much more than we do. We know that He is in control. He sees the whole picture, while we see only a part. And so we will continue to wait for our sweet little one, and leave Allie Jo and each of the others in His hands.
Last Saturday, we had a garage sale at our old house. All of the money went towards bringing Baby Eby home. We had some friends who donated things for us to sell. The boys loved playing with all of the toys that we had set out for sale. My sisters and I made lots of homemade treats. Hannah baked muffins and prepared coffee for the morning hours, Emmy made cupcakes, and I made three different kinds of cookies. We earned a good amount of money selling our baked goods. We have had many garage sales over the years, and my sisters and I have never made that much on our baked items. Hannah and Emmy drove over to the old house with Dad at about 6:30am. Mom, the boys, and I went over later, at about 7:45am. We stopped getting steady customers at about 1:30ish. My mom had taken the boys home by then for their naps, so my sister, Dad, and I closed everything up. Here are some pictures of all the fun we had:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
There is a sweet little person living in China right now. And this person is a part of our family. He or she is an Eby. And even though we have never seen his face, we miss him. We have been waiting to be matched with him for four and a half months. When we began the wait on December 12, the trends at the time showed that we would most likely be matched within three months. This was also the case when we were waiting to be matched with Peter and Nathan, but we only ended up waiting two weeks with Peter and one month with Nathan. So we were pretty certain it would happen quickly this time around too. We even thought there could be a crazy chance we would be matched before Christmas.
So for the past 20 weeks, we have been a bit on edge. The activity in our house comes to a halt every time the phone rings. We all wonder if this could be it. At first this was fun and exciting. Any day could be the day we would find out who we are adopting.
After we were matched with both Peter and Nathan, there was a really long wait for the next approval- about a three month wait. And then there were other shorter waits, making it five and a half months from being matched with Peter until we could go get him, and it took four and a half months with Nathan. This wait was long partly because we were matched so quickly. Our paperwork in China had not been translated yet because it had just arrived there. So as the last few months have passed, I have been consoling myself with the idea that the wait after being matched will most likely be shorter than it was with the other boys. The long waits for Peter and Nathan, after having seen their faces, were really difficult for me. There aren’t words to describe how my heart hurt for them and longed for them during those times. It was painful to have to just wait while our paperwork took months going through all the appropriate channels. It was hard. So this time around, as the wait to be matched has stretched out before us, I figured that it was probably a lot easier to wait to be matched than to wait after the match.
But as the months have passed, our excitement has faded and we are just plain discouraged. A few weeks ago, I decided that waiting to be matched is just as hard as waiting after the match. Maybe harder. I am ready. We are all ready. We are ready to love our little one. We are ready for the hurt and longing that come after seeing his face. We are ready.
Last week our family coordinator at our adoption agency said that the trends are getting longer, and we may end up waiting six to nine months total. It could be shorter, but it could also be longer. Nine months would take us to September. This was a big disappointment, but a turning point in my heart.
We are big planners, Steve and I (and the kids by default). And we have done a pretty good job mapping out just how we thought things should go. Being the third time around, we thought we had a pretty good handle on this whole adoption situation. But God has shown us that we are maybe just a wee bit too planned out. And now we find ourselves with no choice but to wait. We are not in control. He is. And I have come to realize that this is exactly where we need to be. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I want to stop planning and let Him work. His plans are always much better than mine anyway.
This Easter was fun, but not as fun as it could have been because we don’t have Baby Eby yet. We still don’t even have a picture of who this little one will be. But I can tell you that we did have fun on Easter. We went to the sunrise service at our church, Galt Bible. It was at 7:30. After, there was a breakfast and then the normal Sunday service. We stayed for all of it. It was really fun. And we even had time to play on the church playground in between breakfast and the normal service. Then we went home and did some cooking for dinner. Next, we went to Fairmont Convalescent Hospital, like we do every other Sunday. I prepared a chapel, and my sisters and I presented it. We really enjoy doing that. We went home and finished making dinner and ate after that. My Grandpa bought a prime rib, I made potatoes, Hannah made hot cross buns, Emmy made jello, Mom made strawberry pie and prepared the asparagus. It was a really yummy feast. Here are some pictures: