Wow, how ten years fly by. Ten years ago, would I ever dream that I would be at this place in my life??
Like many girls, growing up I had the "life plan"--go to college, get married, have children and be finished having kids by the time I was 28.....
Little did I know God had different goals for my life.
Twelve years ago, I was set up on a blind date with a shy young man from Perry County. On our first date I remember thinking "If it's like pulling teeth to get him to talk to me, this relationship isn't going to go anywhere." He came to visit me at college, and brought flowers almost every time he visited. He spent his birthday with me, rather than his family. On his birthday he asked if he could kiss me. (How could I say no to him on his birthday?!)
I remember the moment I knew Doug was the man for me. We had taken my sister Amy (who has Down Syndrome) out shopping. We stopped at Best Buy. Amy ran up to Doug after getting out of the car and held his had to walk into the store--she was 17 at the time. Here was this gown man, not afraid to show his love for my sister with a disability in a public setting. I followed them through the parking lot and knew in that very moment he was the man for me.
I graduated, started teaching, and a year after we had been dating, he asked me to marry him. I botched his proposal, and that is one moment I wish I could do over. Here I thought he was being silly and gave him a hard time. I realized he was serious when he pulled the ring out of his pocket!
We've been married 10 years. We have talked about adoption since we began dating. We thought adoption would be something we looked into after having our own children. On our wedding day, one of the groomsmen passed out. I should have known then that God had a sense of humor and was showing us our life would be different than "my plan".
We became foster parents in 2005 because I saw the kiddos I taught being shuffled around from home to home. Because it hurt my heart to see my kiddos, it hurt Doug's heart too. We did respite care many weekends for one of my students. In 2005 we hosted a Ukrainian orphan for the first time.
In 2006, Doug boarded a plane, something he had never done before, to go on a mission trip to Ukraine. We helped build a playground at the orphanage where the little boy we hosted lived. Little did that young man know, we had begun paperwork to adopt him.
In the summer of 2007, little man was here for another visit. During his visit we got paperwork and knew that our travel date would be shortly after he returned to Ukraine. That year, our goodbyes were easy....we knew we would see him soon, in his country, to bring him home forever. God had other plans.
2007 was the worst year and the best year. We bought bunk beds for our boy. We knew he would love having friends over to stay. His closet was full of boy toys. I remember laying in the top bunk of his bed, crying for hours, not understanding what God had planned. But knowing HE had plans, we boarded the plane in October and headed to Ukraine. God couldn't have orchestrated things any better. HE presented us with a sweet, 16 pound 3 year old with Cerebral Palsy. Upon meeting her for the first time, she looked at her Papa and said "Papa?"
It's amazing how quickly 10 years flew past. He's been at my side every step of the way. He's been there to wipe away my tears, mend my broken heart, be the level headed one when I'm ready to jump into a new adventure, and be the number one advocate for our family. He has made cross country and round the world trips for our children. Boy am I glad GOD had great plans for my life. My favorite place to be is next to him-- it doesn't matter where we go in life, as long as we're together, I feel safe and secure.
I can't wait to see where the next 10 years takes us!