“You’ll never be ready to adopt.” These were the words spoken by Blaise King at the end of my interview with him and his wife, Ashley. Blaise and Ashley did not begin their marriage with the plan to adopt. They waited a few years after getting married to begin trying for children, but when they began trying they noticed it was not working. Right around this time, a massive earthquake hit Haiti. Suddenly, Ashley found herself being confronted by the statistics of Haitian children who were now orphans and she found herself consistently praying for these children. These thoughts and prayers were seeds which planted themselves firmly into Ashley’s mind. She kept stumbling across blogs written by individuals who had adopted and everywhere she turned it seemed she was faced with the concept of adoption. The seeds had taken root and they would not leave her mind. She decided to approach her husband with the idea of adoption. When she did, Blaise wondered why. So, Ashley prayed. She prayed that if adoption was the path for them that the Lord would work on each of their hearts separately. The couple soon came to know that adoption was the Lord’s desire for their life. God pursued them. He called them. And they answered.
Before they began the adoption process, Blaise and Ashley only had a couple thousand dollars in their savings. Everything that helped with the costs of their adoption was raised and given. Reclaimed Project assisted monetarily through the grant they provided but they also provided support. Despite the limited interaction with the Reclaimed Project team, the couple felt as though they had another support system coming along and helping them. Ashley said that she feels as though she knows the Reclaimed team, despite not having much face to face interaction with them. She feels as though they are on the same road, same path, same team.
The Kings went to Ethiopia twice. On the first trip, they met their son, an experience that was simultaneously wonderful and strange. Wonderful because they were meeting their son. Strange because they had been longing and praying for him and now here he was in front of them with a language barrier and no understanding of what was going on. On their second trip, they began to see the wall between them crumbling and they brought their son home. Ashley says that she remembers when they were first united with their son, how he was a completely functioning three-year-old, completely used to doing things on his own. When she would try to do things like cut his fingernails, he wanted to do it for himself because that is what he was used to. He was so inundated in another culture and life. Ashely recounted a story from when they first brought him home. She looked into the backseat of the car and saw her daughter sitting in her car seat with sunglasses on and her son in the car seat next to her, sunglasses on upside down and just chilling out. Despite how their son was so accustomed to a vastly different culture, here he was looking like any other child. It was just such a clear image of how after a long adoption process of around three and a half years, he was here. He was home.
Now that their family is united, Ashely says that their life looks like nothing that she could have ever imagined. In fact, it is “so much better.” As Ashely and Blaise look at their “crazy” life, they see grace over and over again. They find themselves overwhelmed by the Lord’s love, provision, and timing. They tried for two years to get pregnant. Within a year of starting the adoption process they found out they were pregnant. They had their daughter and then six months later they were matched with their son. Within a year before travelling they had a miscarriage and after bringing home their son they discovered they were pregnant again. Their journey has been a reminder of God’s grace. Whenever they look at their family they see God all over it. His direction. His grace. His love. His blessings. Him.
For the Kings, adoption is defined as taking on something or someone as a part of yourself and caring for them as your own with no expectations in return. When you adopt, you take your child on and love them as part of you and your entirety. They say that adoption clarifies the picture of the gospel. It helps to show God’s love for us and His relentless pursuit of us.
Through the adoption process, Ashley and Blaise learned how great their need for God is. The waiting was hard. Knowing that your child is out there and that you cannot be with them is heart wrenching. They had to learn to be still and trust in the Lord’s timing. They had to rely on Him to spur them on and give them strength. The process allowed them to develop a clear understanding of how we do not understand God’s love and how He loves us perfectly, wholly, and completely in a way that we could never replicate. We are so imperfect and adoption creates a clear picture of what He has done for us.