When my husband Leif and I first started dating, he was studying architectural design at a tech school in Wisconsin, and I was overseas, teaching English and sharing about my Christian faith among Asian Deaf communities. We were active type people. I loved hiking and running, and he was into basketball and slacklining in parks. Before I flew eight thousand miles away for two years, we would sit by campfires with our friends and play baseball in my backyard. Needless to say, we ran out of things to talk about on Skype. Often.
The benefit to this problem is that we were forced to dig deep. We took notes throughout the week about things that crossed our mind to tell the other, and we’d flip through our notes when we got back on Skype. We went through favorite everythings (though he complicated it often with his routine answer, “It depends…”) and childhood memories. We covered dreams and dreams and more dreams.
And that’s perhaps when this first came up. Adoption, that is.
Adoption is one of those things that it seems every Christian has considered at some point. I’ve been accused of being a bleeding heart, and growing up, I jumped on all the save-the-world trains there were. Even after I decided that childhood education and family therapy weren’t for me, I could not wait to start my own family, and holding anyone’s baby was the automatic highlight of the day. I remember holding my friend’s Dora and S’s baby during church time in the sweltering heat of a Thai house, and I could not get over how snuggly he was, how badly I wanted one of my own, and how surprised I was by the force of my feelings.
It turned out to be one of the first things we disagreed about. Not in a “spittle-flecked anger festival” but in a quiet, “that’s not for me” kind of way. I figured it was just another one of my save-the-world hopes, meant for another person and another place. Not me. Not our future family.
Jump forward two years, we got married on a crisp December morning in 2017. The room smelled of sage and evergreen, and we promised to love and honor and commit to one another until death parted us. Candles flickered around the room, and our favorite people smiled and cried with us. He was the family I had always wanted, and I was his.
…and I thought, “Everything is perfect.”
Little did I know what work the Lord would do in our hearts, only months into our marriage, and how much Leif’s faith would lead me, when I faltered looking at the obstacles ahead.