Every day, I break one of the cardinal rules of “executives” who work in an office setting. I check my email like a bazillion times. The experts, whomever they may be, tell you not to, but only once late morning, and once more 30 minutes before you head home. I fail miserably at this rule. So, like normal, as soon as I shot the website contact off to the agency listing the sibling group of four I had just inquired about, I checked my email.

The tinging of my outlook is nothing significant. but the email I received from the agency to which I had previously sent an email was. The case worker who had received my email was very kind in responding to me. She said that her agency, Children’s House International, would be happy to help us on our journey to adoption and recommended a couple of country programs into which we could look. Then she said something to the effect she knows we’re only looking for two kids, but she had a sibling group she couldn’t help but share with us. If the four siblings in the attached picture did not find a family soon, they would be split up and adopted out separately……I popped open the picture she had attached. Staring back at me were the four faces of the very same children I had just found and inquired about on the photolisting website. I couldn’t believe it. Literally in the same moment I received another email from another case worker at CHI who had received my inquiry from the photolisting website about those same children. It suddenly dawned on me, I was talking to two different people at the SAME agency about the SAME children!

I had yet to say ANyTHING to Amy…..

So I took a picture of the picture on my email and texted her. I said something like, “Hey! Check out these four kids. I think maybe we’re supposed to bring them into our family.” I’ve learned a lot in 14 years of marriage. One of those things is the fact Amy moves much sssssllllllllloooooowwwwwweeeeerrrrrrr than me. I was ready to get on a plane, fly to Eastern Europe and bring these kids home. As far as I was concerned they were already our children. God had said so.

Amy texted back one word……..”FOUR?!?!?!”

I don’t remember the rest of our text conversation that day. I began to chat with the two ladies from CHI via email. As I asked a MILLION questions and they so graciously answered, my heart continued to be drawn to these children. Finally I asked them what was weighing on me. We have four biological kids. I’m a pastor. How would the adoptive country feel about that? Would they be OK with it. “Oh, yes!” was the reply. “They’ll love that you’re a pastor and have no problem with big families!” This was excellent and welcome news! But then the bomb dropped…..”How old are your kids?”

Not thinking this would matter at all, I shared the ages of our kids, which is 10 down to 4. I remember getting the reply from both ladies sitting at our dining room table……The country would not approve/allow our family to adopt these kids. See they have a rule. The oldest child being adopted must be the youngest child in the family doing the adopting. They really don’t want to disrupt birth order. So all four of these kids would have to be younger than our youngest, who is four. Obviously we weren’t even close! I guess I get that, but my heart was just broken. Here I (and Amy had started to feel what I was feeling) feel like these are OUR kids, that God had planned it that way, but the country would say NO. I’m not gonna lie…..I was VERY DISAPPOINTED.

But when GOD decrees a thing, there isn’t a nation, government, leader, or anyone/anything else which can stop what God has set in motion……

So I sent a reply (actual email I sent to CHI on Thursday, June 26th):

So here’s my thoughts…..I hear what you’re saying and I get the difficulty of it.
But they are a sibling group about to be split up soon if no one adopts them. What the country is looking for has proven very difficult to find. If they could see that, they may make a waiver or exception to their rule.

What do I need to get in place for CHI to advocate on our behalf for these children?? We want to ask…God may do a miracle if we’re supposed to adopt them. If not, then what have we lost?
I will do whatever you tell me for CHI’s people on the ground in country to go to bat for these kids and our family adopting them. Just tell me what that is!!

I’m not trying to be difficult by any stretch of the imagination – I sure hope you aren’t hearing me that way. I’m 100% certain you know more about this than I. But I know God does miracles – and if He’s in this, He might do one here. He specializes in what seems impossible – even in Easter Europe!!!  If He doesn’t and they still say NO, I will accept His will and move on! But He does work miracles. I’m not saying He will here – I have no special revelation – but we’ll never know if we don’t try. Again, what do I need to do? What fee do I need to pay? What form do I need to fill out? What do I need to write? I want to advocate for these children…..Amy and I aren’t just looking for any orphan or sibling group – we’re looking for THE orphan or sibling group God wants to place into our family….our sons and daughters. I’ve looked at literally thousands of pictures and profiles and found NONE who stir my heart like these. I must at least try….I hope that makes sense. Again, please forgive my ignorance and passion. They are sometimes raw and deep.
Jeff & Amy Carlson

And then I heard nothing….not a peep. Silence….all weekend long, which if you know me DROVE ME NUTS!!!!!!!!! I thought I had scared off CHI! I could hear them in the break room talking about the crazy dude from Indiana who just didn’t “get it.” By Tuesday, July 1st, I couldn’t stand it any longer and sent a “just checking in” email. I needed to know something. Anything, at this point.
Would God work a miracle for us? But not for us….for OUR CHILDREN?