At 17 I didn't want to date. I didn't want to get married. I didn't want to have kids. I thought that getting married and having kids was an automatic disqualification from any adventure and all intense forms of ministry, not to mention a death-sentence on personal freedom. It was from this frame of mind that I was operating when Matthew decided to pursue a relationship with me. Needless to say, it didn't go so well at first.
He tried the typical tactics... told some friends that he was interested and let it trickle down the grapevine. I made it clear that I was not interested and sent that right back up the grapevine. He got the message, but was not deterred. He showed up wherever I was, always sat next to me, and just basically hung around until we had built a really strong friendship. How we got from friends to boyfriend and girlfriend is kind of complicated. I would say it started with a Diamondbacks game that he thought was a date and I didn't. It lasted 7 awkward innings and ended with a very long conversation in the driveway of my parents' house. I can't remember everything we talked about, but it involved dating, labels, marriage, individuality, and freedom for ministry. I don't know how long we sat out there, but I do remember whatever CD we were listening to repeated itself several times before I went inside. There were several crossroads like that in our relationship, and eventually I came to trust Matthew that he would not let us become what I feared: self-focused, cautious people with small dreams and fading identities.
We married in 2001, at which point I still wasn't sure I'd ever want kids. I did know, however, that if we did have kids I wanted to adopt. I'd even have been happy to only adopt and not have biological kids at all. Somewhere along the line that changed, but the desire to adopt did not. God placed the passion for the outcast inside me years earlier and it only grew stronger as I saw our marriage growing. I was frustrated that Matthew didn't share that passion and for a time it was a source of dissension for us. But God, who uses broken things, turned it into one of the biggest milestones in my journey as a wife as He taught me to let go, trust Him, and trust Matthew's leadership. I also started praying about it. My prayer was that God would change one of our hearts. Either He would give Matthew the desire to adopt or take mine away. To my delight, He chose the former.
As our family has grown, our passion for adoption has grown with it. For Matthew it has been a gradual process of being drawn in to the heart of God for the needy, the broken, the defenseless and the fatherless. For me it has been watching our family unfold and wanting to share that incredible blessing with a child who is without it. We have been waiting, waiting, waiting for the right time and we feel like this is it. We're seven years down this road now and I am so thankful that I was wrong about marriage, wrong about kids, and wrong about what it really means to be free.