Meant to Be – by Carrie Stephens

I sat on the porch and chatted with my friend who is twenty-two weeks pregnant with her second child. She told me all the details women love to hear from pregnant friends. Sleeping (lots or not at all), cravings (sweet treats or salty snacks), when she feels precious baby kicks (at night or all day). 

“The other day I was trying to remember if I felt all of this when I was pregnant with Jackson,” she said.

Then we both burst out laughing because she hadnʼt carried her first child in her womb; Jackson is adopted. He is so much a part of her it seems he must have been born of her own body.

Some children are born into our families from our wombs and others are carried in our hearts for years before we hold them in our arms. Either way, the miracle is one of overwhelming grace. God trusts us with His children despite our inadequacies, weaknesses, and selfishness.

Once they are ours, it seems like they have always been there. It is nearly impossible to imagine life without our children. It all just seems so “meant to be”. The love we share forever weaves our hearts and lives together.

When I think of Brett and Melissaʼs babies in Ethiopia, I wonder if they know that their destinies are meant to be woven into a precious American family. I pray for the hands that feed and care for those sweet children as they wait for their forever home.

In my mind I can see the moment Brett and Melissa will walk on a plane and bring them home, promising to love them for real and for true for all their lives. I think of the day that Kiley, Ethan, and Landon will reach out their arms and hug their sister and their brother. Five little lives meant to learn friendship, sharing, and life together.

Our church family will be forever different with these two new loves running down the halls. How many children will find new friends because Brett and Melissa brought their children home? For all my husband and I know, one of our children could be about to meet a lifelong friend or a future spouse when those sweet Ethiopian feet walk into our lives.

Someday, we will not be able to imagine the Millican family without two more faces in it. Until that day, we all will carry hope in our hearts that God will bring them home very, very soon.

After all, itʼs meant to be.  

Carrie Stephens, and her husband Morgan, are some of our dearest friends. We so appreciate their love and support in our adoption journey. You can read more from Carrie on her personal blog Carriesburnttoast.blogspot.com
the Millicans & Stephens at our kids' birthday party

What It Took To Make You Mine

Honestly, adoption is costly. Not only from a financial perspective, but from a life perspective as well, and…we’re just getting started. We’re 4 months into an (approximately) 18 month process, have completed three of our four home studies, and have already sent in thousands of dollars with many more thousands to go. There is certainly a cost to adopting.

But, you know what? It’s worth it. If this is what it takes to bring home our children, it’s worth every dime, every second, every drop of sweat. It’s worth it because they are worth it. I look forward to the day when I get to tell our children the story of how they came into our family. I look forward to telling them how we spent weeks praying for God’s direction, how our church family so passionately prayed for them and sacrificed to help make their adoption possible. I’ll talk about all the work that went into fundraising, the hours that went into paperwork and the hundreds of tears that were shed because of the longing in our hearts to finally meet them.

I want them to know this because I want them to understand that there was no obstacle too big, no amount too high, no demand too steep, to keep us from loving them. I want them to know that there was nothing but joy in our hearts with every step of the process. I want them to feel that kind of limitless love because I know what it’s like to feel it, and it is life-changing.

You see, one of the biggest truths we are learning in this whole process is just how deeply and passionately God loves us. Every step in this process that demands more time, more money and more energy simply reminds us of how much God had to go through in preparation for our adoption. I mean think about it…the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ made our adoption possible. Which means the immortal God had to be able to die. So, He had to plan and prepare a body. He needed cheeks for Judas to kiss, a back for the soldiers to flog, a brow for the crown of thorns to press down on, hands and feet for nails to be driven into, a brain and spinal column so the pain could be fully felt and endured, and a pericardial sack that could fill with water to crush the heart and finally bring about the death He certainly didn’t deserve. Our adoption was the result of preparation and planning that cost Jesus everything

In the way we have set our eyes on the day when we call our new children our’s, and have begun following that plan set forth to make it happen, so God, in His infinite knowledge, looked forward to the day where His Spirit would grant us the gift of adoption, and knowing what it would cost Him He willingly walked out that plan of redemption. It was a plan that would demand His life, but there was no obstacle too big, no cost too high and no requirement too steep to keep Him from loving His sons and daughters.

My prayer is that our children will know the security of a love willing to lay down its life, not only from parents who were willing to give finances and time, but from the God who was willing to give His life.

“In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the
purpose of his will.” – Eph. 1:5

 

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Rom. 8:38-39

 

Let The Journey Begin

What if our lives were meant for so much more than what we are living?

What if the standard of success according to God is not based on how big a house we live in, or how fancy of a car we drive, but instead was based on how much we demonstrate His love to others?

What if the point of life wasn’t how much we can get, but how much we can give?

Are our lives reflecting what our hearts know to be the right answers?

These are some of the questions that Brett and I began asking ourselves and one another at the beginning of this year. We have our wonderful American life: 11 years of blissful marriage, three beautiful healthy children, a crazy poodle, a comfortable house, two cars, our eventful (and often crazy) homeschooling life, a fruitful and busy career in full-time ministry, amazing friends and family. What more could we desire?

Glad you asked. We desire to know God’s will for our family. We desire to hear His voice and to allow Him to direct us as to how we can better glorify Him and make His glory known. So, when God spoke to us a few months ago about doing something big for Him, we had a choice. We could either come up excuses as to why God wouldn’t really ask us to do that and disobey, OR we could obey Him and completely TRUST in our big, sovereign God to carry us through, to be our Provider and our Strength.

What did He open our eyes up to? The estimated 163 million orphans around the world! Orphans that God loves passionately, that Jesus died for, and that need a home. God’s heart for the fatherless is evident throughout His Word.

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
– Isaiah 1:17 

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
– John 14:18 

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
-James 1:27 

What can we do? We can respond to His calling. We can act in obedience…

So, it is with great joy and excitement that we have begun the process to adopt a little GIRL and a little BOY from Ethiopia!

We have three beautiful children. Kiley is now 8 years old and such a sweet “little mommy”, Ethan is almost 6, all boy and such a sweetheart, Landon is 3 and full of life and craziness. In looking at our precious children, and how God is moving in their lives and revealing Himself to their hearts, we know we want more. Our hearts can sense that our family is not yet complete.

We have a son and a daughter half-way around the world who belong to us. They belong to us in the same way that Kiley, Ethan, and Landon belong to us. They belong to us in the same way any child belongs to a parent. They are out there with no mommy or daddy to call them by name. And, they have a family…here, with us, our family. They have a sister and two brothers who draw pictures for them and who pray for them. We do not know their faces or their names… yet. We do not even know their ages. But already we love them. Already our hearts ache and long to hold them and call them our own.

We do not know how long this journey will take, nor do we know all the places this journey will lead us, but we do know that we are not alone as we go. We have the grace of a loving Father. A God who has adopted us into His family, and we have that family. Brothers and sisters in Christ who are just as excited about this journey as we are. Friends who are willing to sacrifice with us. Friends who are praying for our little ones as we are. A community of faith who sees the bigger picture, the picture of the Gospel that adoption so beautifully paints on the canvas of our hearts.

Friends. Family. Church.

So this is where our journey begins. This is where we come to the end of ourselves and find the “abundant” life that Jesus promised we could have when He becomes our greatest pursuit. We invite you to join us as we take one step at a time, trusting God through it all, and see His glorious grace lead us and keep us the entire way.

Our children are out there. Let’s bring ’em home.