My life has not turned out as I thought it would. I thought by now, I would be married with 2.5 kids, struggling to balance being a pastor with family life. In January of 2016, I worked with a friend to set up a new personal budget and set aside funds each month to afford an international adoption, looking towards a child from Haiti. With less Target and Starbucks, as well as a friend regularly checking in, my adoption fund grew nicely each and every month.
My church then entered a Capital Campaign asking us to pray, “Lord what do you want to do through me?” Through that season, I felt God calling me to give my adoption savings to our new building. Although I had wanted to adopt a child for years, I was honestly a bit relieved, unsure how I would do it as a single parent pastor. Leaving worship that day, with the many hugs and comments of support, two families said if I wanted to adopt, they would financially help out. I was convinced God had closed that door, but now, was this an unexpected door opening? Could I really accept that type of help? My single pastor status didn’t appear to be changing, so what did that mean?
I spent the next several months learning more. A close friend who has a son from South Africa with her husband reminded me that God would open doors and windows if it was to happen and that I didn’t need to wait until I was married, accomplished certain career goals, or everything was perfect in my life (for it would never be). If now was the time, I needed to trust. Another friend, who adopted two boys from Uganda and then moved across the US two months later with the military, assured me that adoption is a wonderful, scary, amazing, and challenging journey.
On Sunday in worship, we sang “Oceans” by Hillsong with the chorus: Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. As we kept repeating that chorus, I knew that I was putting boundaries on God. Did I really trust God to be leading me where trust would be without any borders in ALL areas of my life and future? Trust without borders…
I knew that trusting God meant going forward to do all the paperwork to adopt at this point in my life as a single pastor. I landed on adopting from China after considering five countries that welcome single parents and immersed myself in paperwork and studying special needs I felt equipped to handle. I prayed A LOT that God would match me with the right kid, in His timing. I got connected through friends of friends to other single adoptive moms and learned some of the blessings of their journeys (attachment is different with only one parent; balancing work is a challenge for ALL parents; accepting help is a great skill to learn; staying connected with friends is critical both short and long term).
Twelve months after starting the paperwork, I traveled to China with a friend to pick up a five-year-old little girl. While on my trip, I met other families adopting who have become our “tribe.” We checked in, answered questions, and journeyed together as all our hearts and families grew.
Home now fourteen months, and still a single mom pastor, it has been the hardest, most joyful, most blessed time of my life. This little girl is the perfect match for my family – she has energy, sass and loves to be a pastor’s kid. I have benefited from flexible work hours, have a cadre of local grandmas, and connected deeply with my neighborhood moms who are angels in disguise. My neighbor and a guy friend are huge parts of my daughter’s life who show her what it means to be a father and husband while teaching her to golf, use riding lawn mowers, ride on their shoulders, and love her like their own children. I have seen love grow in friends, family, and church members as they welcomed, accepted and continue to “spoil” my daughter.
I am so thankful that I finally listened to God. Accepting the challenge to trust without borders has blessed my life incredibly since becoming a mom.
Mira is a mom to one rambunctious six year old little girl, and a pastor in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. They love to stay busy visiting new places and spending time with the people they love.