We are so thrilled to share that we are beginning the adoption journey to welcome our first little Denlinger into our family! We are at the very early stages of the process to adopt from Uganda. In fact, just this week, we submitted all the home study paperwork we’ve been collecting for the last 2 months so we can begin the interview process. We’ve been working hard gathering all sorts of info on our lives…covering finances, medical info (be sure to ask Jeremy about his blood work), references from people who know us well, training documentation, clearances, etc. Whew! We are certainly glad to have that first step accomplished. Now for a moment to bask in the joy of this adventure we are embarking on.
As the news of our adoption has been spreading, we have been receiving lots of questions. We love this because it shows that people care and are curious. I (Lea) love opportunities to educate on adoption and to share how God is working in our lives. This decision to adopt is certainly a result of education we’ve been receiving since I began working at Bethany, as well as God stirring…even harassing sometimes. 🙂 We hope this blog is a way for you to learn a little bit about international adoption, a little about Uganda and a whole lot about God’s heart and His faithfulness. This will also be an easy way to stay up to date on how our process is going.
Today I’ll tackle one of the bigger questions we hear sometimes directly, or through subtle, awkward comments: “So why are you adopting?” I must first say that as an adoption worker, I really wish this question was not asked so much. Why adoption? Well, frankly, that’s a private decision for most people. So please, refrain from asking those adopting and let them share if they want to. For us, we are eager to share because it has been one of the biggest moves of God in our hearts. It’s really a story of Him leading and us trusting.
The first one to bring up adoption was Jeremy. When we were dating, we discussed our future family (we were pretty committed early on) and how many kids we wanted to have. I remember Jeremy saying that he thought we should adopt some of our kids because why procreate when there are plenty of children alive, without parents and needing families. He is always so logical and sensitive (two of the million reasons I love him). Little did we know then that I’d be taking a job my last semester of college at Bethany Christian Services in their international adoption program. As I mentioned earlier, this job has been such an education on the needs of orphans and God’s call for us to meet their needs in various ways. Beyond an education, this job has been unbelievably fulfilling. It feels like exactly what I was created to do.
Fast forward to December 2010. We’d been married for a mere 6 months and were not at all thinking about children. Not even a little. We were volunteering at YouthQuest, the youth conference Jeremy helps to plan and lead. During a night of worship, God interrupted my thoughts (not related to children, mind you) and spoke very clearly…”you need to adopt your children.” It’s kind of hard to explain, but there are definitely moments in my life I can identify God speaking by putting a very clear thought in my head far from what I’d ever think of on my own. Because I was loving newly married life, I ignored Him, even wrestled with Him for a solid year. “Adopt? Not us. Not now. People will wonder what in the world we are thinking.” After a year of this kind of nonsense, God very clearly woke me up and planted a dream in both of our hearts to adopt. (I think while I was wrestling, God was planting this dream in Jeremy’s heart, and he was, of course, much more compliant than me). Jeremy and I spent this last year praying about this dream, talking a lot, reading a lot, consulting friends and family, and enjoying married life.
In March 2013 we learned of an opportunity to begin the adoption process through Bethany’s Uganda program. It’s hard to explain, but we both finally felt that the time was right to get started. Since then, we’ve been researching, applying, submitting paperwork and planning. There’s lots more work to be done, but we are launching into the roller coaster adventures of adoption and parenting. So, “why adopt?”. Well, though I’ll first tell you it’s because I have no interest in ever being pregnant, I don’t really enjoy infants, and I love exploring other cultures….you’ll really find that it’s a dream God planted in Jeremy and I to become parents for a child who has endured much more than we can imagine and needs two people to accept and embrace all that they are. We know that with God’s grace and guidance, we can be the family for a little person living in Uganda right now who needs a Mom and Dad.
Lea & Jeremy