MEET LEE ALDRIDGE: his adoption into the family of Christ led to his family's adoption of a little girl he now calls his daughter.
How did the Lord call your family to adoption?
Well, the Lord first put a desire in my wife's heart for this to happen. Then over time, I couldn't come up with a good enough reason not to do it; the reasons not do it just weren't as good as the reasons TO do it.
Ultimately, my agreement came from this idea that I'm adopted into God's family, so how could I not follow that scriptural premise in this instance? I'm trying to be faithful to reflect what God has done in the lives of His people. The Biblical understanding of God bringing me into His family-- that's why I said yes.
How did you decide to adopt internationally instead of here in the U.S.?
I think the Lord calls us all to different things, and once we did our research and learned more about the Democratic Republic of Congo and the conditions women face there, we felt confident that this was what the Lord was calling us to. It wasn't that we didn't feel there is a need here in America; it's simply that we were called to the need there.
What was the hardest part of the adoption process, and what did you learn from it?
Adoption is expensive, and we lost first our daughter, Emily, after having been matched with her for two years.
Our adoption also took a very long time (close to four years), and during that time, we saw a lot of corruption and wrongdoing in trying to make this good thing happen.
Getting Evie home was long and not easy, and having her here and helping her grieve and adjust hasn't always been easy, but it's really about loving her and trying to be faithful in what we feel like God is asking us to do.
What’s one way you saw God at work during your adoption?
When my wife first approached me about wanting to adopt, one of my biggest concerns was about the financial commitment required. She told me we could fundraise it, and while I wanted to believe her, that's a lot of money to raise for two teachers selling some t-shirts.
But it happened.
Every time we needed to make a payment, it was there. We sold hundreds of shirts during our adoption process, and people we knew and people we didn't know came together to help us out.
But really, the biggest way I saw God was us saying yes in the first place and being able to agree to do something I wouldn't naturally be inclined to do. I wasn't really looking for a bigger family, so that meant I had to go from not wanting to invest to investing my time, my emotions, my money, my resources, my 'normal way of life' to do something that's much different than that. I wouldn't do that on my own. This only happens when God changes your heart and only He can change your heart to want something that your own flesh wouldn't naturally want.
What's one way people can support adopting families during the process?
Well, obviously you can support them financially. But, also you can support them so they don't feel so alone. No one else we knew was adopting. Some people didn't seem to really care and others didn't seem to understand. So reach out to them, check in on them, ask them how it's going, ask them what needs you can help with, what can you pray for specifically--- just anything to let them know that someone is consistently thinking about them during what can be a long and difficult process.