"Will you adopt again?"

I think Arie was home for just over one month when someone asked me this question for the first time.

"Will you adopt again?"

It didn't catch me off guard because I'd asked myself this question a lot. During the fundraising. After the home study. After the first trip. In the middle of our court trip. When Arie came home. A week after he came home. Two weeks. Three weeks. A month.

But asking a new mom if she wants to adopt again when the adoption is in progress or shortly completed, is sort of like asking a new mom if she wants more kids when she's in the middle of labor. Or those long, sleepless night with a colicky baby.

Theoretically she'll probably tell you yes, but it's also a lot to get her head around.

The process of adoption is hard. For us, the fundraising, home study, paperwork, and of course the travel was almost all-consuming. When we remember that very long year, it's hard to imagine doing it again.

But then of course, we think about our son...

...and the way he wakes up from his nap and waits for us to come and get him.  I think about the cautious look he wears when he sees me peeking in the door, wondering is it time to get up? Am I allowed to be awake? And the smile he wears when instead of it's nap time now I say, wakey wakey! Did you have a good nap? 

I think about that timid, obedient little boy we met at the orphanage and then I see our little Arie- still obedient, but walking around with a new swagger. And lounging on our furniture like he owns the place. Like he belongs here. Like this is his home at last.

I think about the little boy we knew in Moscow who rejected almost every food we gave him but scarfed down whole bananas in three or four bites, struggling to control something in his strange new life.  And now I watch with total delight as he digs his hands into the cookie dough to pull out as many chocolate chips as he can grasp. He eats them with a sly grin on his face and a sparkle in his eye and I think to myself that these are the simple gifts of belonging to a family. 

I remember holding him in July when we first met him and I remember the way his body flopped out and away from me. He'd been walking on his own two feet for so long, he didn't know how to be carried. Then I watch as he climbs onto the couch with his stretched out papa, imitating what he sees with endless giggles, and then falling into his father's chest.

I remember that endless paperwork. I remember the giant doses of stress. I remember the long flights. The home study. The fingerprinting. The being-on-a-first-name-basis at Fed-Ex. The feeling like it was too much and that it would never end.

And then I look at Arie and I think about how immensely blessed I am. Not just to be a mom at last, but to have been used by God to change a life. I think to myself that all my angst-filled questions about what I'm going to do with my life have been laid to rest because I feel like I've done something. I can't imagine anything greater in life than to receive a divine calling and to answer it.

I was really hard but it was worth it.

When I think about that, I think that yes I'd like to adopt again, if God calls us. And honestly? I'm praying he does.



Today's lenten prayer is part of my lenten series: 40 prayers for Russia's orphans.  Won't you join us in lifting up some of the most vulnerable children in our world today?

Day 24

Dear God,

Today we pray for all the men, women, and families who you will call to adopt Russian children. First, we thank you for putting this call on their hearts. Though it may seem like a burden at first, we know it will turn to joy. We also pray that during the difficult times, you will sustain them. Give them certainty about their callings. Give them peace as they endure uncertainties. Give them wisdom as they move forward. Give them joy as they say yes to you.

We ask these things in Jesus' name, who showed us how much you love your little ones.



PS: I shared this video on my facebook page but for those who aren't on facebook, I was showing Arie some video clips we took in Moscow to see how they jogged his memory (he loved them!) and I came across one clip of our car away from the orphanage. It quietly but so perfectly captures the paradoxical emotions of a gotcha day: happiest day for me and one of the scariest and most overwhelming for Arie. Very surreal to watch this almost four months later!


  1. beautiful.

    I've loved following your story. and I love seeing Arie grow <3

  2. Beyond lovely Jill. How lovely to be part of a family, yes..a lovely gift of the heart.

    The simple act of stealing chocolate chips because you belong stole my breathe away.

    1. Stole my breathe away in real life too. :-) Thanks Leanne!

  3. Anonymous3/13/2013

    Oh, this makes me so teary. Arie is the best blessing I can remember. And you know I mean it, because I have cats and they're up there too, ya know.

  4. I was asked if I would have a home birth again LITERALLY 3 hours after Ezra was born. I mean, for pete's sake, let a girl have a sleep before she thinks about it! Oh, people. When they don't put themselves in your shoes, wacky things can come out of their mouths. KWIM?
    I'm so glad you responded to God's call on you to adopt. Obedience is beautiful... and so is your son. I always come here when I need a little light at the end of the tunnel.

    1. The light at the end of the tunnel is so bright once you're in it! Keep moving that way Michelle. And yes I KWYM about the wacky questions. Can't believe someone asked you that so soon!!

  5. Beautiful post! I really enjoy your blog and your seeing Arie grow.

  6. <3 LOVE this!

  7. I did it again! 2 years later we were in Russia bringing home "brother". I barely remember it the second time around!

  8. It's just amazing, to see how closed off he was then, and how open he is in your photos and descriptions. Poor little man had his defenses up, going out into a new and strange environment.

    It's funny - my dad was in the Canadian Armed Forces, and we lived in Moscow from 1977-1979 and honestly, I hated the experience. I was a stranger in a strange land. Your story of bringing Arie home, of the kind people in his baby home, are showing me another side. Now I'm half-wishing I could win the lottery so I could afford to bring home someone from his baby home.


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