Aaron and Stacy Reeves are one of our wonderful YWAM families adopting a little baby boy from Ethiopia. They've begun a small home adoption group that meets regularly for fellowship, great input from Empowered to Connect and discussion of many of the issues surrounding adopting internationally. What a great idea for any family who is in process of adopting or who have already brought their children home! I asked Stacy if she would write a post about their group - how it started, what they're doing and how it's been a benefit to those involved. We really encourage you to consider something similar! Stacy's blog is: Fun Times With The Reeves Family
A Team of Support
by Stacy Reeves
Throughout this whole journey of adoption, Aaron and I have felt that God wasn't going to stop there with this passion He has laid on our hearts. We have always felt as though there is something more that God wants us to do, in addition to adopting our son. Thoughts of starting an orphan-centered ministry within our church always seemed to pop up in our minds, until we heard one day...."why don't you do something with that?" So we talked and we prayed about what it was that God was wanting us to do, and Aaron felt as though starting an adoption-centered home team would be the best place to start. This way we are in community with other family's with the same passion as us, and we can establish relationship with them on a weekly basis.
And so that is what we did - we put the information out there and had 3 families who were willing to jump in with us. So for this last year, we have met every Wednesday night in our home, and discussed and prayed and have gotten to know each other's stories and hearts and visions, and have really learned so much from each other. We have in our group me and Aaron who are in process of our first adoption from Ethiopia; Trent and Stephanie, who adopted Evie from Russia, and are now praying for their next step in pursuing adoption again; Jason and Kendra, who brought home sweet Eleni from Ethiopia in July of 2010, and Bruce and Patty who adopted Sarah from India, and have been YWAM missionaries and orphan advocates for many years now.
At the beginning of our meeting times, we really didn't know where to start. We honestly didn't feel as though we knew what we were doing, but also knew that was ok. God knows exactly what He's doing and that was enough for us.
Not too long after starting, Kerri and Dan (some leaders in our church, who also happen to be in the process of adopting 13 year-old, Sasha, from Russia) gave us a DVD and study guide that they suggested we start watching as a group. The DVD/study guide was "Empowered to Connect" by Dr. Karen Purvis. "Empowered to Connect" has been a great learning tool for our group.
With their permission to share, when we first started the study, Kendra and Jason were struggling with their adjustment to bringing 2 year-old Eleni home. Eleni didn't want anything to do with Jason, and wouldn't let Kendra leave her side. Jason took a month off from work to help with bonding to Eleni, and struggled having an understanding of why Eleni wouldn't give him the time of day. It was heartbreaking for him as a dad, and strenuous on Kendra and Jason's marriage. To top it off, Kendra and Jason also have 2 biological sons and their youngest son, was also having a hard time adjusting to his new sister. It was a hard time for them, but they pressed on and today Eleni is well-adjusted, has 2 brothers that adore her, and has a strong bond with both her mom and dad. Kendra and Jason enjoyed "Empowered to Connect" and mentioned that they wish it was something that their agency would have suggested as a tool for them. Kendra mentioned that while you are in the process of adopting, you do all this reading and preparing for your child to come home and you think you are ready. But then when reality sets in, and you are in the midst of a difficult adjustment time, she feels that Empowered to Connect could serve as a great time of learning and walking you through those first months of adjustment.
For Aaron and myself, this time for us has been a huge time of growth and learning. Before meeting with this group I guess you could say we were oblivious to the realities of the possible difficulties we could face with our adoption. We weren't really prepared. Listening to everyone else's testimonies and difficulties they faced, at times scared us half to death. There were moments, when we would hear something from someone in the group, or Dr. Purvis would start discussing a hard reality, and I, more so than Aaron, would freak out, and say..."Oh my gosh, what are we doing? Are we really up for this?"
This is when I realized that adoption is for sure a calling. Caring for the orphan and the widow is something all of us as followers of Jesus are called to do, and that can come in MANY forms. Adopting a child, however, is a specific calling. Aaron and I would always have to remind ourselves of the clear call we received, and the many confirmations we received along the journey to keep us moving forward.
Without our group and without having "Empowered to Connect" as a learning tool, I don't think Aaron and I would be ready to bring our son home. I can say with confidence that we are for sure called, we are prepared, and with the help of this team of wonderful people around us to pray for us and lean on for support, we are ready to go get our son. We can't wait! We are so grateful that God led us to do this. I am convinced that without it, we wouldn't be in the place where we are now, this place of growth, and peace and pure excitement. Community is so important.
(Eleni and Aubrey, little buddies, and...Kendra and I joke...future
sisters-in-law, because Eleni and our son are going to get married..lol)