“My husband and I found ourselves in the middle of a major life declutter in the fall of 2016. He had just left his job of four years and took a pay cut to be home with our family more, and we moved from our larger house to a smaller one to pay off some debt. The plan was to allow our responsibilities to recede back a bit and just enjoy a simpler life. And then something remarkable happened. The Lord got our attention!
I can only describe that season of our life in a metaphor. It’s as if we were on the shore of a great ocean. We had both the desire to swim and the desire to stay on the shore but God was calling us to dive in, no conditions, no agenda. It was this odd mix of fear and wonder. Part of us felt like God was preparing us for something big but we also felt afraid because, honestly,
we were unsure if we could handle it. In the midst of this, the idea of adoption was growing steadily on our hearts. It was through our restlessness and in our attempts at backing away from the ‘more on our plate’ we found God calling us on an adventure. Strangely, and surprisingly, this stoked a fire in us that we never knew was there. He couldn’t get the idea out of his head.
Through much prayer and many confirmations, we made a $300 sacrifice and applied with an adoption agency, having no idea where the other $30,000 to $40,000 would come from. After signing up for the Philippines program in the late summer of 2017, we began completing our paperwork, training, and home study.
Wisdom said to adopt a child younger than your youngest (to keep birth order) and avoid children with special needs because you didn’t want to get in over your head. That kind of logic would be enough for most people but we knew better. Without emotion, he passed the computer to me and simply said, ‘Look at this little 10-year-old girl,’ as if trying to hold something back so my response would be genuine. When my eyes focused on the screen,
I saw a small child whose picture somehow made you think more about what she possessed rather than what she lacked. You see, this little girl was born without hands, feet, or a mouth opening but it wasn’t feeling sorry for her that made my heart come alive. It was her joy. We traveled in August of 2018, by way of South Korea, to the diverse and congested city of Manila, Philippines.
I remember getting on the shuttle at the airport to travel to our hotel and being in shock. I saw children not much older than our son begging for money, barefoot, in pouring down rain in the middle of the road. To combat this horror, I remember the vibrant culture and hospitality of the Filipino people, always honoring you with every encounter.
It was a polarizing country, but what country isn’t? I thought deeply about what our new daughter’s life would have looked like without the wonderful ministry she had been a part of since birth. Since bringing Melanie home, she has changed a lot. She became more confident, taller, and even her accent changed. She thrives in our church community, her school and our family.
She is a great sister and a great daughter. Surprisingly, since he returned home, his medical care has been minimal. She received a new prosthesis and underwent jaw and oral surgery in June 2020. We are very grateful to God for leading us deeper and beyond our comfort zone and allowing us to call this precious girl our own daughter. . “