The night we took our official first step toward adoption, Grant drove his car into a light pole. The roads were icy, but more than anything Grant was distracted with excitement. He’s wanted to adopt a little brother for as long as I can remember.
Grant must have been a toddler the first time our hearts were stirred. I remember a photo of a scared little boy. I think it was Sudan. The picture showed destruction and war, and one little boy with big brown eyes alone in the middle of all the devastation. We talked about adoption then. Grant was so little, too little to remember. But he asked questions, his own eyes big and brown, too. And a seed was planted.
Years later the five of us went to Ukraine. Before we left our neighbor who is an adoptive mom told us, Be Careful. You’ll fall in love with an orphan. We said, not likely. We’ll be working at a family camp, teaching English. The kids at the camp will have moms and dads.
The first day of the English camp we met Katya. Katya had a mom, but lived on the streets of Odessa. Her story was horrible, but her smile could light up a room. Katya loved Kyle, adopted him for ten days and rode his back everywhere with arms wrapped tight around his neck.
After Ukraine we spent a few days vacationing in Switzerland. Driving our speedy rental car across the Autobahn, Kyle asked a question. What if Katya could be adopted? From the back seat Luke burst into tears. Katya had been too much for him, that wild girl hanging around his dad’s neck.
A couple of years later a friend from church spent a year teaching in the Philippines. When she came home she told us about three brothers at the orphanage. Our family saw their picture in a newsletter. One of the boys was named Anderson.
We called a family meeting at Olive Garden, and talked about three boys who needed a home. We prayed, and we said yes. We took the first steps, made some phone calls. Then we found out the three brothers were already being adopted. They already had a family. But we tucked away the memory. It was our first Yes.
Around the time we met Felipe and Jimmy, Kyle was reading Bob Goff’s book, Love Does. Bob describes love that drives us to do wild things. Like driving cars into light poles. Kyle brought Love Does to our small group and he read a chapter out loud. The chapter was called, “Just Say Yes.” Kyle told our group about how he’d been wrestling with God. How he’d been up all night walking around our neighborhood, thinking about two boys who wanted a family, and our family being a great place for boys. Kyle cried as he told our group – God’s telling me to just say yes.
And we did.