Psalm 37:5


We’ve sensed a more muted excitement over this adoption from many loved ones. People are very kind and encouraging. Not one word of warning has slipped their lips. But we can see the look of concern in people’s eyes. And we can imagine what worries must be in people’s minds: worry that we’re overstretching and just making our lives too difficult.

In an odd way I can understand, because I’ve also been on the other side looking in, wondering if a family might just be getting too big. But here’s what John and I have seen happen over the past few months. Some of it I’ve already told you, but I’m going to say it again, because it is amazing to me to see His providence so clearly.

First of all, in March John and I decided we wanted to adopt again sometime in the next year or two. We decided it would be a sibling group this time. We decided we’d be open to older children. This agreement was the first miracle. This was a huge decision for both of us, and to have come to the decision with zero argument and perfect unity was amazing.

We agreed we’d wait and see when the money came. A couple weeks later, my book sold. The book I’d been working to sell since November. Coincidence that it sold AFTER we decided to adopt? I think not. Coincidence that it sold for as much as we’d need to pay the agency for our adoption? I think not. Another major portion of the expense to adopt from Ethiopia is the airfare– tickets can run $2000 each in the summertime. But to have all the agency fees accounted for was enormous.

Then at the end of March two sisters clutched at both our hearts in an illogical way. We looked at each other and realized that now was the time. Again there was that sense of perfect harmony and a joined purpose. We leaped into a mound of paperwork with a sense of urgency that we did not quite understand.

That is, until we heard rumors that Ethiopia was considering barring large families from adopting. We pray for the children’s sakes that the final version of these new rules will make some exceptions, especially in the case of older waiting children. But because we’d roared through our paperwork so fast, we were one of the fortunate large families ‘already in process’ and we would be allowed. If we’d waited a couple weeks longer to begin this adoption, it would have been too late. When we found out how close it had been, we felt breathless with relief. God could have closed that door on us, but instead He urged us through it just in time.

Last week my husband mentioned to a coworker that we were thinking of adding another bench seat to our 12 passenger van to make it seat 15. We priced this little addition, learned it would cost nearly $1000, and decided to wait. John’s coworker went home and told her husband about this, who promptly remembered a shed at his workplace, full of seats pulled from vans modified to transfer wheel-chair-bound clients. Yesterday he pulled out two of the appropriate-model seats out of the shed, brought them home, and called us to say we could choose whichever one we wanted for free.

We’d also been wondering where we would put coolers and bins of clothes on trips once we had that extra seat in the back of the van taking our storage space. We’d talked about adding a hitch-mounted rack on the back of the van, but weren’t sure how much it would cost. Yesterday morning when I was walking out the door to go yard-saling, John told me to keep my eyes open for a rack. “Sure,” I agreed. But I doubted inwardly that I’d find such a specialized item.

I should not have doubted.

At the third yard sale we visited, I found our rack. $50. New-looking and 1/3 of the retail price.

Did we really NEED a bench or a luggage rack or a book contract? Maybe not—we might’ve been able to cram duffles and sleeping bags under the seats and underfoot. We could have put people shoulder to shoulder in every seat. And plenty of people finance adoptions on credit cards alone.

But as we step out with our family to do this unusual thing, here’s what we do need. We need God’s affirmation that we are on the right path, that this is the journey He has mapped out for us. And so He’s leaving us signs along the way. To others these things might just look like a book contract or a bench seat or a cargo rack. Mere coincidences. But to us, these are beacons illuminating our path, leading us on, bolstering our courage, and quieting our fears.

Yes, this is an unusual journey. But we are being led every step of the way.

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Playing on the iPod: Jeremy Camp ‘Trust In You’

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  1. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  2. As I was reading about your adventures and your answers to these seemingly small questions, money, cargo, space, I too was seeing God’s guiding hand. I was thanking Him for the amazing way He lets us know we are on the right path.

    As you mentioned, sometimes friends and family around us don’t quite understand the path we take and are afraid to offer encouragement. But God steps in and offers just the encouragement we need to know His grace is sufficient.

    Sure there are hard times ahead, it happens to everyone. Raising children is not without struggles. But when the struggles come and you hear the unspoken doubts, you can come back to these assurances that God indeed is with you.

  3. Wow Mary, what an awesome story of God’s love and provision for your family. This is such an encouraging story to me. We are looking to adopt through the foster system in our county and our desire is to go where God wants us to go. We know that He will provide what we need (and yes, desire) as we trust in Him. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I never doubted that you knew what you were doing, Mary. God has ways of stopping us in our tracks sometimes, and clearly He is not doing that. I am praying for your girls who are waiting for you, and for all of your family as well. You are wise to believe what He is putting right in front of you. He doesn’t make mistakes!

  5. He is Good!!!!

  6. Wow!

  7. You know where I stand.

    God rocketh on!

  8. tamatha says:


  9. This kind of thing happens to us every now and then, too — where God provides exactly what is needed, sometimes even in exact amounts, to confirm that we’re on the right path. I love when that happens.

    We can sometimes know what we’re supposed to do and, in trying, put our own timelines on them while considering the obstacles, the usual hurdles. But then God comes along with his own schedule and shakes out the wrinkles for us — smoothing all those hills and valleys — and it’s just the coolest thing. To us, our life is this mountainous topography or this rockwall with these sometimes insurmountable steep climbs and promises of challenges to face, while, to Him, it’s just a sheet to smooth out, just a brush of His hand over the circumstances to put things right where they should be.

    I know just what you mean. 🙂 I love stories like yours.

  10. Jennifer says:

    The way God provides for us is often unknown to others; it’s part of what makes our relationships with Him so unique and inspiring. 🙂 I’m glad that God is providing for your adoption–it certainly is affirming.

    I must have missed the announcement that the book sold–CONGRATULATIONS! I can’t wait to see it in print 🙂


  11. Oh Mary. Tears are streaming down my face as I read this. Dear friend….There is no one in the world you should ever have to justify wanting to open your home to more children. As you have said over and over, God will provide. And God does. You and John are some of the most amazingly loving and generous people I’ve even met. When I learned you were adopting again, I said to Chris “Well, if anyone can do it and do it well, it’s John and Mary.” Those precious girls are so lucky that they have parents like you. And a family like yours. We are just so excited to meet these beautiful girls and rejoice in the fact that two more children are brought home to the family God has intended for them.

    Blessings to your family today…..

  12. Breathless.
    Just totally thrilled for you and so completely in love with a God who would pick you to be parents of those two special girls in Ethiopia.


    God totally rocks.

  13. As one of my Rabbis once told me:
    There are no coincidences.
    I understand other people might doubt, but that is ok. You are the ones who will be doing the hard work, and I hope you will not feel that if you do need to ask for help that you can. Just because something is difficult does not mean it is not completely worth doing. It takes a village, and I am sure you have one!
    Thanks for sharing the coincidences! 🙂

  14. Yes, there are no coincidences, only God instances!

    Every time I catch myself saying how “lucky” I am, I rephrase and say “how He has blessed us!”


  15. Sophie says:

    Awesome! The Father of the fatherless wants His precious little ones cared for! 🙂

  16. That is amazing!!! Selling the book paid the agency fees, the royalty checks will pay for airfare and college!!

    This is such exciting news! I can’t wait to see how you incorporate these older children into your family. It just goes to show that there is always something to learn. Your kids will be so great with the new sisters! AND…. just think of how fun it will be to have two more experienced hair braiders in the house? 🙂 Whenever I see the pictures of the older kids on the waiting child list, I am amazed and impressed at how great all their braids are…. 🙂

    They are beautiful girls…

  17. Thank you for this encouraging, faith-building post. One of the wonderful things for us has been to be able to look back on God’s miraculous provisions for our adoption and find in them today the courage for the challenges we face now that our girls are HOME!

    I often find myself looking at an insurmountable difficulty and saying, “Yeah, that’s tough but look what God did back THERE!”

    The blessings from God just keep on giving….


  18. Rachel says:

    I have goosebumps. Wow.


  19. Amazing! It is so powerful to see God’s work in action. Thank you so much for sharing!

  20. Goosebumps, indeed. Those beautiful girls.

  21. “muted excitement” is such a nice way of putting it. When
    Grandmother was told of our adoption plans, she remarked, “Now why would they want to do that?”

  22. This was beautiful to read Mary. I am so, so, so excited for your family. God is AWESOME!

  23. As always, you’re giving me goosebumps and making me cry 🙂 LOL!!!

  24. Thank you for sharing these details. God is SO often in the details; I find that amazing. And I love how you shared that while you maybe didn’t need those things, you did need God’s guidance. That same sentiment has been so very true in our lives and in our adoption. I hope when the time comes that you will share this with your girls, that they would understand all the things God put in place for them! They are precious and loved!

  25. Marian says:

    I’m so glad that you decided to record all of those events in one place, all insuccession. God’s greatness is magnified even more! Again, his tender, deliberate care in ushering young ones exactly where he intends them to go… awesome!

  26. God is mighty.
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  27. Happy, happy tears for you and your beautiful girls!!!


  28. Follow indeed…and perhaps you are helping God lead others along this path.

  29. I love it when God does things like that! He did many “signs” like that when we were seeking His will on getting a reversal. He provided the room for more kids in our van before we even got the reversal. Our van was my “rainbow” in a hard time. I knew it was a promise from God that I would have more children. I held fast to my rainbow, and I can’t imagine how I would ever be able to give up my van in the future.

  30. I agree that is just how God provides when you are in His will. On a more minor scale, we too have been shown many times that we are currently where we need to be! I love that affirmation.

  31. Thanks you for your testimony, it strengthens mine.

  32. and don’t forget the whale stuffed animals!

  33. I love encouraging stories like this.

  34. I love how God has His fingerprints on things so that when you look at it there is NO DENYING. Praise God for his provision as you open your hearts and home to these precious girls. Your lives will be forever changed and blessed because of it.

  35. God is so good, the way he makes things clear for us. Congrats! Your new girls are beautiful and I’ve enjoyed the story thus far.
    You’ll need to re-do your header 😉


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