Sunday, May 3, 2015

Faith for a Farm... International Adoption {The Olsen Family}

I have been looking forward to sharing this post with you, and am so happy you're here today!
I'd like to introduce you to the Olsens. They have been close friends of ours for over a decade now.  When we first met the Olsens, Eric and Carrie had two children, EJ and Emilie. (Lucy Rose was on her way!)  EJ is now 17, Emilie is 15 and Lucy is 12.
It's been a blessing to share life together all these years! 

Last summer, life changed in a big way for the Olsens. They adopted two precious children from China. Along with being adorable, sweet and full-of-life, both children have physical disabilities that have required surgeries. (Stay tuned for a separate post on their medical treatment and what they are learning through the process.)


I asked Carrie to share their adoption story in her own words...

My husband (Eric) and I had talked about adoption on and off for several years, but honestly I really never dreamed it would happen. Then he left a very stressful job and began a new job that really freed up his heart. We talked a bit about it again because a good friend was quite passionate about praying for orphans. Eric really felt like he had more room in his heart for additional kids, so he suggested we start the journey to see what doors God would open. I was completely on board.

First, we had to decide if we would adopt locally or internationally. We did a lot of praying, researching, had a family time of fasting, and we interviewed several  friends who had adopted both ways. After God led us to international adoption, next we had to find an adoption agency and then begin the arduous task of paperwork. Then there was fundraising and waiting, and more paperwork, fundraising, and waiting. From the time we signed our first piece of paper until the time we came home with our two children from China, it took 16.5 months.
One might think the hardest or most stressful part was fundraising and coming up with the money, but that wasn't the case for us. The hardest part of this process was waiting and having no control of the paperwork process in and out of country - when it was out of our hands. We did a lot of praying and trusting in God's perfect timing. 

The other part that was somewhat hard was when non-budgeted expenses came up as we were trying to save money. We had strange dental issues, unexpected car repairs and house leaks, etc.; this was a major stress. But each time I stressed less and less as I trusted God that this adoption was his plan and He would see it through.



Not only did we experience God's peace through it all, we learned to trust Him more than ever as we watched money come in from unexpected people, donations be matched as invoices were due, all in the perfect timing. We never had an adoption related bill that we couldn't pay in quick timing. The cost of adopting two children at the same time isn't something we could've done on our own - it would've taken years for us to save up. But God brought people along side us that we never would've dreamed. It really was an incredible journey to be a part of. We have so many miracle stories! 



Meeting children you've been praying for for almost a year and a half, but have only seen in pictures and in videos, is hard to put into words. It was a hot and muggy day, the building was smelly and sticky, and we were so nervous. When we first saw them they were so tiny, but Carlee was almost 7 and Emmett was 4.5 years. There were many tears from everyone; tears of relief on our part (the day was finally here), but tears of anxiety and sadness on their part. But it felt right almost instantly.

Carlee had been found abandoned in a field about 5 hours northwest of Xuanwei City in the Yunnan Province. She was in an orphanage since she was about 3 weeks old – until last July when we brought our new daughter home. Emmett had been abandoned at the courthouse gate in Xuanwei City, in the Yunnan Province. He was about one week old; and in an orphanage ever since – until last summer when we brought our new son home.



All of us have been changed in so many ways. I should just write a book! We have learned that life is so much richer and rewarding when you put others first. Our  capacity to love, serve, and give is greater than we could've imagined. Saying yes to this plan that God put before us has taught us to trust Him even when we can't see the end result. It really put our faith to the test and grew us in dramatic ways. We are more patient, compassionate, and have experienced that God is not stingy with giving us more so we can give more. 

(I love this picture of the kids meeting their new little sister and brother at the airport!)

Life is crazy as a family of seven, but it's a crazy I wouldn't change for anything. Our kids are 17, 15, 12, 7, and 5, so we are quite busy too, but not in activities. We  have a few activities outside the home, but mainly we are busy emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. We know some of this will balance out, but for now we have a lot of family talks as we work through issues that come up. Our older kids are really learning the value of communication.
If you'd like to read more, I'd love for you to visit my blog, Refuse To Be Denied. Specific adoption journey posts are from March 2013 to July 2014. You will read stories of the processes and many of the miracles we experienced. If you are considering adoption, I hope our experiences will serve as an encouragement and inspiration for your journey. We also have a page dedicated to how we did our fundraising for the adoptions. 




Thank you so much Carrie for sharing your story with us.

I hope you all have a blessed Sunday!

xo






8 comments:

  1. That is a beautiful story! Those children are so blessed to have a family. We sure take that for granted. I can't imagine not having anyone. There is a prophet/teacher that I listen to a lot. He and his wife adopted 5 from China and they all have some type of physical need that requires surgery. (kimclement.com) Seems like every time I leave a comment here lately, I'm giving you an internet address. Thanks for sharing this! Diane

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  2. Such a sweet loving story and what a gracious family. Thank you for sharing. Jo

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    1. Indeed they are! So glad you stopped by Jo. Have a great week!

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  3. A really beautiful family and inspiring story.

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    1. Thank you Rebecca! They are truly that...

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  4. Oh Julie! Crying tears of joy! Your Idaho farm buddy!

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    1. So sweet of you... thank you for celebrating with us! It is remarkable how well these sweet kiddos fit right into their new family. Such a blessing for all!

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