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God calls the willing

Sometimes God just takes my breath away when He moves on the hearts of ordinary people and calls them to do something extraordinary–something they never saw coming.

Something that will change their lives completely.

I met Andrea at a swimming pool in Richmond, Virginia, in 2010.  Hailee and Harper had just come home from Ukraine, and we were adjusting to our new normal.  I think it was the first or second time that we hung out at the pool together when she insisted that we use their vacation home at the beach for a few days.  I was blown away by her generosity toward a virtual stranger.  But I was soon to learn that that was just the way Andrea is.  A kinder, more giving heart is hard to find.  Andrea has become one of my dearest friends over the years. What a blessing she has been to me!

As our friendship grew and her love for my children grew, the topic of adoption never really came up.  God calls us all to different things, and I loved the fact that Andrea just felt called to help other families to bring their children home–a calling she answered with absolute faithfulness and passion.  With every fundraiser that I did, she was right there to share on her social media and to sow financially to help the child come home.

Until the day that a friend posted an appeal on my Facebook wall.

And Andrea and her precious family faithfully answered a different call.  One they never imagined they would ever walk.

I know that many of you will be encouraged by her story as you too, perhaps, feel called to bring home an older child.

Because sometimes God writes a story that is so redeeming, so beautiful, and so inspiring.

Praying for every older child who longs to know the love of a family today.

_________________________

Shared by Andrea Edmunds

Let me start off by saying that neither the word “adoption” nor “orphan” were in my vocabulary prior to November of 2012.   I always thought it was great for other people but never, ever thought we would ever join that “club.” We already had three amazing children (16, 12, and 9 at the time), demanding careers, and a very full life. We didn’t think we had one more minute in the day for one more obligation.  I could barely keep up with homework, meals, sports, etc., with the three kids we already had.

Little did I know that God had other plans for the Edmunds family!

In November 2012, my then 12-year-old daughter and I were looking at a post on a friend’s Facebook page (actually, Adéye’s page) when a picture and story of two young boys from Ghana caught our attention.   The caption read “Brothers Waiting for Much Too Long,” and then read, “I promised these boys I would help them find their Forever Family.” It went on about these two brothers who had spent their entire lives (since six months and three years of age) in an orphanage.

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This was the day our lives changed forever. As I read their story, Emma looked at the tears streaming down my cheek and said, “Mom, we gotta go get them. They belong in our family.”   That was the beginning.   Over the next couple of weeks, God tugged at our hearts and He really and truly spoke to us. My husband and I like to say God pretty much hit us over the heads with two-by-fours because we both really tried to think of every reason why this was a crazy, bad idea.

We started the process shortly thereafter with the agreement that when an obstacle presented itself that was too difficult to overcome, we would know that it just wasn’t meant to be, and we would abandon this adoption mission.

With each step, God continued to open doors, and we continued to go through just as we had agreed and as we were led.   The two-year process was not always easy. It did take two years after all!   Had someone told us in the beginning the process would take that long, I’m not sure we would have had the confidence to pursue it.  But like I said, we began this adoption journey on blind faith. We relied on our faith and all along, God continued to reassure us that He was with us and we were doing His will.

That was reassurance enough for us.

On November 23, 2014, Andy and I arrived home from Ghana with our two newest sons – Joseph (16) and Askia (14).   Here we are – a family of 7!

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It’s now been almost four months since these two entered our lives and changed them forever…and for the better!  I could not love these two any more had I given birth to them. None of us can imagine life without these boys in it.   They are a gift, and I thank God for them everyday!

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Has it been easy? I can honestly say it really has been a very smooth adjustment for all of us. The hardest thing we dealt with initally was figuring out foods they liked. That was an adjustment for both of them getting used to American food.

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They are both enrolled in a great school and doing well – making friends, playing on the soccer team and soaking up all the American culture they can. They love their sisters and little brother. And the feeling is mutual on both sides. Their sisters and little brother adore them too!

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Before the boys came home, I did read all the books trying to prepare myself for potential attachment issues, food hoarding, sibling rivalry, and just about anything negative that could present itself.   We all hoped for the best but tried to prepare for the worst. I just had no idea what may arise from such a huge transition for two “young men” leaving the only home they had ever known and coming to a foreign country and moving in with a crazy American family who had no idea what they were doing.   It was a brand new playing field for all of us!

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As I write this, I keep trying to come up with an “issue” we’ve faced or problem we’ve encountered. I really can’t come up with anything worthy of even mentioning.

These two are so much more than I ever could have imagined.

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I’m no expert on adoption, orphans, foster care or any of those things. I am an average mom who was called by God to adopt two brothers from Ghana. I was called to adopt older boys – older boys who had spent their entire lives in an orphanage. Although the orphanage was a very hard place to ever imagine living, the children there were raised by loving “aunties” who provided love and structure to them.

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Because they were older, my two boys understood what adoption was. They wanted a family of their own and I believe that because they were older, they were more appreciative and grateful because they got it!! They saw younger children get adopted and go into loving homes, while they were overlooked due to their ages. They still never lost hope and they never stopped praying to God for a family. They will tell you today that God answered their prayers.

And I am so, so grateful He chose this imperfect, ill-equipped woman to be their mum!

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