April 19-May 19 is what we refer to as “Boss Your Heart Month”, the anniversary of our Princess Chrissie’s 31-day hospital battle. Last year, our first anniversary of Chrissie’s Boss Your Heart month, I advocated daily for various families, and I focused on sharing Chrissie’s story daily as well. This year, due to time constraints, I’ll be advocating here and there for various fundraising families and orphans in need of families. Today I’d like you to meet my friend Kelsey, who is in the process of adopting a special needs orphan from Eastern Europe. I continue to be amazed at ways God has used and continues to use Chrissie to change lives and unite orphans with their forever families. Today, I’m honored to share with you Kelsey’s story, as written in her words.
We started talking about adoption many years ago before our first child was born. We had difficulty getting pregnant and talked about adoption many times during the three years before we were able to conceive. God used this time to start to prepare our hearts for the journey to come. Fast forward a few years and after having 4 children in 8 years we were not thinking about adopting, we were just trying to survive! J The Patterson’s were in our Sunday School class at that time and God used them to introduce us to the idea of international adoption when they brought Meribeth home from Colombia, and then started working to bring Chrissie home from Serbia. We marveled at the way God worked in each of their adoptions and wondered if we would ever see God working in our lives that powerfully. Little did we know the adventure He had planned for us!
In the beginning of 2010 when Chrissie was preparing for her heart surgery we started to pray for her as a family. Our daughter Ana is only 5 months older than Chrissie and she was really affected by the idea that a little girl just her age had to go through something so scary. We continued to pray and follow the Patterson’s blog all through Chrissie’s fight. During that time Ana started asking a lot of questions about how Chrissie had become part of their family and we showed her the Reece’s Rainbow website and all of the children who were “waiting for their mommies and daddies”. During that visit to the RR website God started to put adoption on Kelsey’s heart in a big way. God used the Patterson family to lead us to the Reece’s Rainbow website, and open our hearts to the idea of adopting a special needs child internationally.
One of our main concerns (as with many families considering international adoption) was the money needed (why does adoption have to be so expensive anyhow?). As part of our home school group, each mother is assigned to assist with a particular area each week. One week in the fall of 2010 Kelsey was assigned to help with cleaning up the pre-school classroom. She was a little early getting there and started looking at the literature that the church pre-school makes available for parents and was drawn toward an article about adoption. As she read it she realized that it was an article about how to raise the funds for adoption! God orchestrated Kelsey’s service in that area at exactly the time that article would be available to reassure us about the fundraising possibilities. Can you say God Nod?
Then that same night at bible study we were talking about going into the “promised land” (the place God has prepared for us where we will receive all he has for us in a way that we just can’t even imagine) and how we sometimes get stuck wandering in the wilderness for 38 years just outside Canaan like the Israelites did because they were too afraid to go into the land God had promised them. They thought the cost of obeying God and going into Canaan would be too high. At that point in the video we had an overwhelming feeling that God was talking to us. We really can’t explain it except to say that we felt very strongly that he was challenging us to obey, even if the costs might be great.
Then at the end of 2010 Kelsey was planning an annual women’s event at our church. The morning of the event several things they had planned fell through and she arrived at church and discovered that the Mothers of Preschoolers group was set up to meet in the worship center where she needed to work. She decided that since she could not accomplish what she needed to, she would sit in on the meeting. The speaker that morning “just happened” to be Lorraine Patterson! So many little details had to fall into place for Kelsey to be there on that particular day, and have the opportunity to attend the meeting that it could not be anything but God. I know that getting up in front of that group and sharing their story just a few months after Chrissie went home to Heaven must have been excruciating for Lorraine, but once again God used Chrissie’s life to His glory. God absolutely used Lorraine’s words that day to convict Kelsey’s heart toward adopting.
Very soon after that we had another heart to heart discussion about adopting, and we committed to pray about it over the coming weeks. Just a few days later Eric confirmed that he was also hearing God’s calling to adopt and said “Let’s go for it!” After many evenings looking at the children available for adoption on the Reece’s Rainbow website, one little boy in Eastern Europe stole our hearts. “Allen” has a rare genetic condition called Kartagener’s Syndrome that affects his lungs causing him to have frequent infections and poor lung function which has negatively affected his growth and development. We formally committed to adopt A.J. (“Allen”) about a month after we decided to adopt. It has been a long journey, but our dossier is complete and we are waiting for a travel date to meet our little guy for the first time. We are excited for the day that our son will be home! You can follow our adoption journey on our blog at www.four-more.blogspot.com.
We are so very thankful that the Patterson’s were willing to step out in faith to bring Chrissie home. Without Chrissie’s life we would not have heard God’s calling to adopt and A.J. would not be joining our family. Chrissie is definitely hunting for orphans in heaven. Thank you Chrissie!
Please spread some love in memory of Chrissie and donate to help bring Allen home! Thanks!
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