Sometime around January 2011, a friend sent us (and many others) an email with 5 photos attached. The subject line was "We need a mommy and daddy". I remember Scott and I looking at that e-mail and thinking about how beautiful the kids were. And I even thought, "Someone rich should adopt them". And then life went on. Laney had her first birthday that month. We had a 17 year old doing high school life. And we were living like "normal". Then in March, I went to Guatemala to visit a friend from college. The week in the orphanage was hard. 120+ kids that because of some things going on with the government may never get families. I spent several days with babies the same age as Laney, yet Laney has a mom and dad and these kids don't. My journal said: "It was a rude awakening to see what hard, tiring, emotional work the people at the orphanage do. They don't get breaks. When do they have time to talk to their spouse? When do they have time to themselves? How do they recoop? But I also saw some things I hope to never forget. I saw an entire house of teenage girls receive letters from sponsors and you would have thought it was Christmas! The girls would open letters, some completely in English that they couldn't read, and hold them to their chest as if it was the greatest treasure! The sponsor was someone that belonged to them. Was theirs to love and be loved by. I left, knowing that the week had been hard and trying to process all that I had seen and learned. I didn't allow myself to fall crazy in love with any particular kid--knowing that the US can't adopt from Guatemala right now. But what was I supposed to do with all this stuff in my head? So I just kept processing..."
On March 29th, at a meeting with some friends, the 5 kids got brought up again. It was the first time the discussion of those kids potentially being adopted was discussed by Scott and me.
And we knew something was stirring in us. We were willing to talk about things that didn't make logical sense to us. How do you afford the adoption of 5 kids? How do you feed that many people on a regular basis? How do you pay for weddings and college? But God was laying groundwork in us that we could not have imagined. I can't speak for Scott. But I explained it like this in my journal at the time:
"For 14 months after Laney was born, my faith has been motivated by fear, comfort, safety...As a new mom you're so nervous something will happen to your baby. That you have to protect every move. But even more than that, it was motivated by financial security, having "enough" in reserve, having the best things. My faith had always been a little wilder than that and I didn't like being so fear driven. After Guatemala, I knew I wanted to find my wild faith again. The Lauren that really believed God can do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)...I mean REALLY believes that. Then Laci Thurn sent me a book called Reckless Faith to read while I was traveling. It spoke my language! The author reminded me that God is capable of so much more and that going out on a limb with Him is worth it. If we move forward with the 5 kids--I might actually be able to say the book changed my life".
It's funny to read that now because I guess I should say it did. That book changed our lives. But really God changed us. He asked us to do something that didn't necessarily make logical sense for us. And on Easter Sunday 2011, Scott said outloud that he was willing too. That day began the ball rolling. (Ask me sometime why Easter Sunday is a big Sunday for us Sterlings in general).
And now here we are. Almost a year later. And LOTS of details that I haven't typed. Shut and re-opened doors. Walls God steamrolled through! What a story!