Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Adoption Story: The Mahlstadt's

I am so excited to get to share another awesome testimony of a family saying YES to the Lord’s prodding of adoption in their lives. Meet Nick and Typhanie Mahlstadt, who months ago stepped into the Ghana adoption process. And just a few days ago, on our missions trip, it was time for them to meet the little boy who will become their son.  Their story, in their words...

For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. ~Luke 1:37 (Amp.)

Our beginning….

Life is full of journeys. There are so many times in life where you simply sit back and watch it begin. You don’t have a choice. We have all been there. Our flesh rises up, because our illusion of control as been taken away. The decision we do have to make is: will we frustrate the process or allow it to grow and challenge us. But, then there are times when you know God’s plan for your life will require an obedient “yes.” This is where our story of adoption begins.

Nick was raised in a family where adoption was the norm. His aunt and uncle have adopted 5 children, adding to the 3 biological children they had started their family with. Later, Nick’s sister, Nicole, and brother-in-law, Manuel, adopted Manuel’s youngest sister. We are so thankful to have family members that are very supportive of fathering the fatherless.

My story is a little different. I have always been a defender of the weak. My heart has always cried out for those whose voice could not be heard. I can remember having one friend who had a brother and sister that had been adopted from the Dominican Republic. I made a decision, in my heart, at the age of 12 that I wanted to do that when I grew-up. I wanted to offer love and security to someone who felt unwanted, or whose family couldn’t care for them.

So, God brings Nick and me together, at the young age of 19. During our years of marriage, four children- Jaxson, Carter, Faith and Lydia, 5 moves, and a continually growing walk with Jesus, we are ready to add more children. We usually get funny looks when we say we have four children. I guess somewhere in there, we have upset the “American Dream.” We are good with that….moving on ;). Through that decade of getting pregnant, giving birth, and raising children, we always knew that we would adopt. It wasn’t always table talk, nor did we have any idea when. But, we did pray. Our biological children have always known that there would be more, and that mommy wasn’t going to “grow” any more babies. I am beyond grateful for the heart that God has put in each one of our kids. People will ask us, “What do your kids think about it (adopting)?” I can always, confidently respond with, “Excited! They have never known any different. They are witnessing and living out God’s answers to our families’ prayers.” We have been open to what the Lord wants in all of this. Our hearts are leaning toward a boy and a girl, even if it takes more than one process.

Our journey for this adoption started in October of 2010. Jake and Janel, along with enough Africans to fill the front row of our church, came to tell their story. We were excited for them and had great respect for how they were fulfilling the call of God on their lives. We, (probably more me than Nick), thought we were ready to start this season of our life. However, it wasn’t then.

The following October, 2011, they came back. This time we witnessed a little different side of the journey. This time I was willing to let the Lord grow us up some more before I was ready to adopt children, or even go on another missions trip. I had submitted my will and my heart, and chose to be content. And that’s when Nick knows God is saying it is time. He taps my shoulder during church, and points to his notes. It read, “Find out what adoption agency they use? And ask about how we can get on that trip (the December trip to Ghana.)" So, with fear and trembling, I walked up to Janel, after service, and told her. We are ready!

Now, for some logistics and dates:

• Nick and I went to Ghana, on the missions trip, through Kingdom Cares International, in Dec. 2011.
• Jan. 2012 - sent our application to adopt into the agency.
• Feb. 2012 - started home study. Completed home study in March.
• March 2012 - put on waiting family list.
• June 2012 - referred and paired with our son.
• Aug. 2012 - meeting our son…..

Through these last eight months, we have learned to trust on the sovereignty of our God in ways we never thought we would need to. This journey required us saying “yes.” Sometimes, to break up the heaviness of this all, I will tell on myself a little bit. I tell of the numerous times that I have thrown my hands up in desperation before my Lord, and cried out, “I could have said ‘NO!’” And we could have, but we would have been hypocrites and far less than what He has called us to be. Because, when we chose Jesus, we chose to die to ourselves. We said “no” to the world, to our way, and to compromise, we said “yes” to His precious gift. God, our Father, adopted us through the life, death, and resurrection of His son. We live and love because He first gave and died. We are called His children, even though we don’t have a single drop of Jewish blood in our veins. We could do nothing to change our sin condition, so He did it. He gave us His blood. We are His children…His adopted children.

We are honored, humbled, and blessed to have the opportunity to take God’s act of spiritual adoption and put some skin and bones on it. We believe earthly adoption perfectly mirrors our God’s love for humanity, in such an enormous way. We know we are an imperfect family adopting imperfect children, but because of our perfect God, our family can bless Him.

Our middle…..

So, here we go! We are meeting our son tomorrow….YAYAYAYAYAYAYY! (I don’t think that is a word or even a sound, but that is how I feel.) This is one of those things in life that there isn’t a manual for. There isn’t a person with an answer for our exact situation. Every child is different, and every family is different. I am truly relying on the GRACE of our loving and faithful God, to help us walk this out in such a beautiful way. Our oldest son, Jaxson-11years old, is with us, and will meet his new brother. May our acts of faith as their parents always spur them on to run their race with strength, perseverance, and grace.


And bright and early, on the morning of August 4th, I received this beautiful picture from Jake's perspective as the scene unfolded at an orphanage in Ghana.  Nick and Typhanie meeting their son (and Jaxson meeting his new brother) for the first time.

Adoption journey TO BE CONTINUED...


kendra said...

ahhhhhhhhh, CLIFF HANGER! :( haha

Jantina said...

This is so awesome! I am so honored and happy to read their story. I see them at church from time to time and had no idea! So cool! My husband and myself adopted two children this summer from the local area. They were foster kids we had the privilege to know and when they needed a forever home, we felt God calling us say Yes! I love how she writes about the grace it takes to adopt and I love ALL of your hearts! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Laura said...

We knew Nick through church as well. It's such a blessing watching families step up and become families that are becoming more and more common. Congrats to you both. Laura Henderson