Five years ago today.
April 11, 2005, we placed our order to Joe and Jennifer at My Adoption Website to host our travel journal to Isabelle.
Their very first order.
Looking back, I realize that Chris and I envisioned our “Journey to Isabelle” as an isolated event. We assumed that we would bring her home, and our lives would continue on in the direction we’d always envisioned.
With the blessed addition of one Chinese sister. Of course.
Sure, it was different than what we’d originally planned, but we could still head in the direction we’d intended for our lives. Right?
This was simply a slight detour.
I had no comprehension how adopting Isabelle would impact us in our very souls.
I had no understanding of width and breadth and depth of the journey called adoption.
And how the beauty and magnitude of it makes other endeavors in life pale in comparison.
How a passion for those left behind would envelop our family.
And how adoption was so, so much more than a detour.
When He called us to adopt, God wasn’t merely changing the direction of our lives.
He was giving us an entirely new map.
God asked us to care for the orphan. We said yes.
Not with just the overflow of our surplus and a portion our lives. But with everything we are and everything we have.
And until we hear differently from the Big Guy, that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do.
We are so blessed that God would use our story and all the stories on My Adoption Website to create more families, just like ours.
Regular moms and dads, recognizing that they too were called to love and care for the orphan.
Families who answered His call. Because their hearts were touched by what they saw and what they read.
All because of the talent and vision of Joe and Jennifer.
Thank you so much for holding our hands as we ventured out on wobbly legs. As we began our ‘Journey to Isabelle‘.
Five years ago.
And for blessing us with your friendship ever since.
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wow– you took the thoughts right out of my noggin… we too thought– we'll adopt 1 girl and 1 boy from china- that way we'll have 2 girls and 2 boys. nice, neat, done. move on. then i fell head over heels in love with our little boy from china- and God just poured into me his love for the SN boys of Henan.. and now we travel in may to bring home noah. and i know deep in my heart that he is not the last one. there's a joshua out there waiting for us.. i have asked others– how do you say "no", how do you stop? and then i read your post– making me cry as i think about it– i don't really want to stop- when i know we still CAN..
I didn't know you guys were their first website! That is so neat! I think their sites are so beautiful!
You have such a gift for writing and sharing your heart, Stefanie! It is a blessing to follow along and watch God's plan for your lives unfold! Thanks so much for sharing your life on your blog!
Beautiful post about the beginning of something wonderful…have a blessed week!
I was just thinking many of these exact same thoughts earlier today. How when we started this journey we thought there would be two children and our family would be done. But I've been there and the children have left their marks on my heart. And if Caleb has his way, our family is gonna be a LOT bigger. Just this morning he was telling his Sunday School teacher that he has a brother. Um, not yet. He currently requests "five sisters and five brothers"… I look forward to seeing what God has in store for our family!
McNew Family says
Stefani, Your Isabelle shares many of the same blessings as our Zabi, who has been home with us since December. SO full of love and life, speech delays, developmental delays, always a big smile on her face – we are just in the process of trying to figure out all of it! I would love to chat with you if you have a moment sometime! firstname.lastname@example.org mcnewfamily.blogspot.com
Thanks for sharing your story. It is amazing how God gives us these "detours" and in the process changes our lives forever. Some days as I look at my 4 children (bio and adopted) I am so humbled by the journey He has allowed me to travel. I look forward to continuing the journey with our fifth child.
Oh.my.gosh. Those pictures are amazing! What an incredibly adorable girly. And an amazing blessing to your family!! Love her haircut!!
Wonderful post Stefanie! It is just amazing how adoption can change the whole direction of your life!! Amazing and beautiful:) Just as your beautiful Isabelle!
I can certainly see how she'd help inspire you to start the journey you guys have taken. She's such a little beauty and seems like she'd be a joy to be around. I visit that website daily and had no idea you guys were the first! I've actually been wondering lately if we're done, my poor husband is clueless to this fact, thus far.
Written so beautifully . . . and some of the most stunning photos yet of Isabelle . . . thank you, thank you for your kind, sweet words!
omgosh second to last picture…she is such a dorkus. lol.
Maggie S says
If it weren't for Jesus and Isabelle… Count us as having been blessed by you all.
Karen Boyer says
Hi there Stephanie. I have never left a comment-but do follow your blog. Jennifer and Joe have been long-time friends of mine since college-and we remain close to this day. We also followed along the adoption journey and have a beautiful girl from China. I am also a social worker who works in adoption and have appreciated your thoughts on parenting and discussion of adoption issues. Thanks for your wonderful blog.
I was one of the people who read, heard God, and answered that call…..God has used you, and joe and Jennifer's hard work so powerfully in our journey to adoption.
So, thank you! 🙂
So, so sweet! This is just an awesome post all the way around!!
I have been telling people all the time that there is nothing extraordinary about me. Actually, I am quite an ordinary woman who serves an extraordinary God. The only difference may be that I took the plunge into God's calling on my heart & said "Yes!" Thanks for sharing!!
Stefanie, your post brought tears to my eyes. Your story is so inspiring. God has laden our hearts with adoption. Yes, we have a neat, tidy family…we could stop here. But I know that God is calling us to adoption again. Sometimes I am so tired, I don't listen. Your post was so encouraging. Thank you for reminding us of the call that God has given to all believers..to take care of the orphan. Thank you for following His call. Your story has truly blessed me.
Beautiful post!! I love how God's plan unfolds!!
And I had no idea, after all this time, you were THE FIRST of Joe & Jen's families!! How cool is that?!?
5 years ago I had 2 bio sons. A 5 year old with Autism and a 1 1/2 year old. I had always thought about adopting a little girl from China, but my husband thought we had our hands full. One day I came across your Journey to Isabelle, I have been a lurker on your blogs ever since. Today I have my 2 boys and their fabulous 2 year old sister, Emma from Jiangxi. Dreams do come true and God is good 🙂
hmmmm… am i hearing a hint at number 10 in this post? (wink).
you just never know, i suppose.
i will NEVER forget how it all began for you and your family.
Colin and Jill Canada says
Isabelle was one of the first littles I read about when we were researching and looking into heart as a SN.
It sure wasn't hard to say yes after we saw her sweet face! And look at her now, she's simply beautiful. Stunning really.
My hubby had open heart surgery as a teenager so it was something we felt familiar with. But even though we prayed and felt it was God's will, He handed us our little Lilah, a 'SN child' with no special need at all – other than the need of a family and love. And I believe that's true for all our children.
God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform…
Great post!!! We thought adopting would be a one time deal for us too but Livi led us to Addison : )
Your sweet daughter is so beautiful!!!!! I love all the expressions you captured!!
I'm going to have to start reading you over the weekend – your posts were all great (including the dinner conversation….don't get me started!) BUT this one was particularly good!
Yeah – we planned a 'biggish' family – at least 4 – but then God had other plans and after 3 there would be no more kids….and after a period of mourning that loss we got better. It would be another 12 or 13 years before anyone would say the word 'adoption' to me – or at least I was open to hearing it!
I figured 1 adoption would get us to 4 kids and done….and today I'm sitting here with a grand total of 6 kids – and while we are still in the adjustment period at home (this one is taking a tad longer – it's good – just slower) I have just a hint of sadness that I'm 50….adoption is really cool….words I never thought I'd hear myself say!
hugs – aus and co.
What a beautiful post Stephanie! To think that God has grown your family by 5 since that first step of obedience…wow! Praying for my hubby to follow along on my desire to adopt again…I would love your prayers~
The first, I had no idea!!
I am so glad my husband was willing to follow God's will for our family. Here we are getting ready to travel for #6!!
And do I hear a little hint of an announcement in this post…. LOL
Janet and Kevin says
Great post. Kevin and I, too, thought adopting Philip would be a completion to our family and that would be that. But God – He had such different plans. We are now back recently from adopting Eli, both Myadoptionwebsite journeys with Joe and Jennifer (what wonderful people to host our websites), and boy has God opened our eyes! We will never be the same again! So much better than before – so much more burdened for the left behind children than we could have ever imagined.
Elizabeth Koproski says
i think I meant to leave a comment and didn't do it right. I think I found you through the UBP. We,too, have an adopted son from China. He's been home 8 months. I love a good adoption blog. Thanks for sharing.
Beautiful post, Stefanie!! And what a world He has opened up for you! Isabelle looks like she is just so full of life. Her personality just jumps off the screen. She is just too cute for words!!