My sunflowers are in full bloom this week….they make me so happy. They are truly tangible sunshine, joy radiating down from their tall stalks.
They make me think of Bulgaria. When I was 18, I visited Bulgaria on a mission trip, and as we rode on a bus from Sofia to Varna, we passed sunflower field after sunflower field. I remember never having seen so many flowering giants in all my life–a blur of yellow as we drove by.
How beautiful that we find ourselves in the midst of adopting from Bulgaria 12 years later. A few months after the birth of Cora, we began to think about if we wanted to expand the family again. We have never been a couple that determined a certain number of children that we would have. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t plan on having 20 kids, but we always had the desire for a big family. We still didn’t feel that our family was “complete” after Cora was born, but I also continued to have the feeling that I might not give birth to our next child. While doing bills with Andy late one night, we began discussing our future financial plans, and I mentioned that I wouldn’t want to rule out planning for adoption. Andy responded, “Yeah, I always thought we would.” You what? We’ve been married 9 years and have both wanted to adopt without every discussing this together?! Ha! We decided to wait until Cora turned one to begin pursuing this journey. Knowing that it could take 2-4 years, we decided to begin the journey to our next child. We found a great adoption agency with All God’s Children International, and based on our pre-application they found that our best country match based on our current family situation would be Bulgaria. Let me tell you how the Lord moves in mysterious ways…
The summer I graduated high school I begged my parents to let me go on a mission trip…I mean, there were tears and gnashing of teeth involved. (Bless them.) They finally agreed to let me go through our denomination to Bulgaria because they knew one of the other ladies going on the trip. This sent me on my first time away from home, first plane ride, first time oversees, first time to see God move in a mighty way in my life. It was an evangelism trip–to be fair I’m not sure we accomplished much on that trip, but God was preparing great things for me. Through that trip I made friends from around the world that are a source of encouragement and love daily in my life. I became acquainted with the culture, the land, the people, the language, and those beautiful little “gyspy” Roma-descent babies.
One of the days of the trip, we found ourselves at the gates of an orphanage in Varna, and I desperately wanted to go in those gates and love on babies. The orphanage wouldn’t allow me to go in due to my age. They were afraid it would be too difficult for a teenager to control their emotions in front of the orphans. I sat on the sidewalk while the older mothers in our group went in. My heart ached for the unseen orphans in that brick building. But God didn’t leave me on the sidewalk…..He had a perfect plan all along. Twelve years later, he picked me up off that sidewalk with the words, “You are best matched with Bulgaria….” Thank you Jesus.
“The Lord is the Father of the fatherless and protector of widows in His holy habitation. God sets the lonely in families!”