I am beginning a brief blog series on adoption. Several families at Metro East have either adopted in the past or are currently in the process. Below is my interview with Aaron and Laura Strode. The Strode’s are new member candidates at Metro East and they are currently seeking to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia.
Here is their story.
What led you to consider adoption?
Before we were married we discussed adoption and we thought it would be part of our plan to grow our family, we just didn’t know how it would come about. The first four years of marriage were a blur, filled with Air Force pilot training, deployments and multiple moves. But after four years we believed it was time to start a family. We tried to have children for more than a year before we were able to celebrate…Laura was pregnant. Just one week into what we thought would be a great time of rejoicing we learned it was a tubal pregnancy and Laura required emergency surgery. A week after the surgery Aaron left on another four-month deployment. After Aaron’s return, we had high hopes of getting pregnant again, but all the while the Lord begin to place on our hearts a desire to adopt sooner rather than later.
During this time we moved to Oklahoma and Laura began a round of fertility medication, and after six months of failure we visited a specialist. Throughout this time adoption was still on our minds and would be discussed in passing. With the results back from the fertility specialist, we were shocked to learn we were both healthy and there was no clear reason for not having children. Here again the Lord brought adoption to the forefront of our minds and we felt a conviction to that end after hearing Dr. Russell Moore speak about the gospel implications of adoption and his own experiences that are shared in his book Adopted for Life.
How long have you been in the adoption process?
To be exact, we’ve been in the process for 2 years, 2 weeks, and four days.
How has this process changed your relationship with each other?
The process hasn’t been easy, but it has been a time of great growth in our marriage and our walk with the Lord. We have learned more about our individual strengths and weaknesses and we’ve challenged and encouraged one another through times of rejoicing and times of frustration. It’s been another great reminder of the need to place Christ at the forefront of our marriage.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced/facing?
Waiting on God’s perfect timing has been the greatest challenge we’ve faced. By nature we are both impatient and there were times it was difficult to watch friends experience the joy of parenthood while we still waiting for a child we know nothing about. The Lord has taught us much about rejoicing with others and finding joy in sorrow.
What is God showing you through all this?
Three areas have really jumped out for us. First, the process has been a continual reminder of the sovereignty of God and how His perfect plan far surpasses and satisfies our desires. Second, the avenues and events God chooses to reveal His glory often aren’t what we are expecting or thinking they should be. Third, we are continually reminded of the gospel and the beauty of our adoption through Christ.
What is the current status of your adoption?
Just over 3-weeks ago we accepted a referral for a 9-month old baby girl. Laura is traveling to Ethiopia for a court date on July 30. If we pass court, Laura and our baby will stay with some missionary friends in Ethiopia until the U.S. Embassy issues a visa for the baby to enter the U.S. We hope mom and baby will be back in the States in mid-September.
How has this process impacted your view of the Gospel?
Adoption paints a beautiful picture of the Gospel and the amazing work Christ completed to call us His own. The loving act of adopting a child is a wonderful example of our adoption into the family of God. Russell Moore explains it best in his book Adopted for Life:
The sonship we have in Jesus applies to both men and women, to both slaves and free, to both Jews and Gentiles (Gal. 3:28). But it’s important that we see why that’s so. We have, as Paul writes, ‘put on Christ’ (Gal. 3:27) and thus share his identity as Abraham’s offspring. We are all then ‘heirs according to promise’ (Gal. 3:29). The Galatians–and all of us in Christ–have received adoption as sons.
Our Ethiopian daughter will share our identity. She will be our heir. She will be a Strode, belonging to us just as we belong to Christ. More importantly, we pray fervently for the day she will experience the joy of adoption through the Gospel.
What can you tell us about the child you are adopting?
We are adopting a beautiful 9-month old girl. Beyond that we aren’t at liberty to share further details until the Ethiopian court declares she is legally our daughter. We hope to be able to share more in just a few weeks.
What most excites you about adopting?
Adoption became our first choice, the best and only option for us right now, and we have been blessed to be on this journey. Throughout the process we began to feel the love for our child taking root in our hearts. We don’t know what her personality is, or if she will even like us when we first meet, but we can’t wait to see what God has in store. The pure mystery of God’s plan for our family is thrilling. Our children will not look like us in any way, and they may not even have any of our personality traits, but that makes it all the more exciting to see how God is going to work.
What most scares you about adopting?
The normal fears of becoming a first time parent, traveling and spending an extended time in a third world country, the first meeting, will she go to us or will she cry, how long will the bonding process take.
What would you tell other families considering adoption?
DO IT!! No matter how difficult the process, how long the wait or even the unknowns, when God leads you, He will show himself to you in amazing ways. Because there are so many options when considering adoption, commit your desires to prayer and seek the counsel of other families who have been through the process. As He has for us, the Lord will open and close doors as you could never imagine. When it seems that things aren’t going as smoothly as you had envisioned, keep moving forward.
How can Metro East pray for you over the next few months?
Aaron just left for a 3-month deployment and will be unable to participate in the travel to Ethiopia, so that jumps out to us right away, but several areas for specific prayer include:
- Meaningful communication for us as were separated during these final weeks of the process
- A smooth transition for our daughter as she moves from the orphanage and we begin the bonding process
- Safe travel and opportunities to minister in Ethiopia
- Most importantly, pray that this process will point others to the gospel. This process isn’t about Aaron and Laura, its about our daughter and the amazing work the Lord is doing in bringing her to our family.
Finally, we can’t say enough to thank the amazing people of MEBC for welcoming us with open arms over the past two months. We have been amazed and challenged by your prayers, encouragement and offers to help. We are blessed to share this journey with all of you.