A little personality background.
When we married, we both wanted kids. We said we'd have 2, then maybe have a 3rd if the first 2 were the same gender. We agreed we did not want more than 3. I'd never been one of those high school girls who already had names picked out for her future children; I rarely babysat as a teenager; I didn't feel I was "good with kids." But, in spite of all that, my mental picture of my adult life had always included that stereotypical 2.4 children. Like many newlyweds, we assumed that pregnancy would happen when it was intended and that the number of children we had was truly up to us.
A few years into our marriage, Mr D began talking about being not sure he wanted any at all. A teacher in the process of burn-out, he was pessimistic about raising children. I was stunned. I didn't realize how important these theoretical kids were to me until it appeared I might never get to have them. I remember trying to convince him that "the state of the world" wasn't a reason not to bring a child into it; it was reason to step up and make a commitment to raising children who would help change that world for the better. I was never sure he was convinced, but then . . . I was pregnant.
11 years and 3 childbirths later, we arrived at the Christmas Eve night in question. In that time, we had never struggled with fertility. Although we did get our "one of each" with the first two, our family still felt incomplete and we both agreed to a third child. During that pregnancy, I declared I was done. However, we had not done anything permanent to prevent another pregnancy and as far as we know, could still conceive another child.
When I met Mr D he was a Christian in name. He professed faith, but did not attend any sort of service regularly and didn't really let his faith affect his actions. I was actively involved in a Christian campus ministry and he attended its events with me, but never initiated acts of service on his own. In the early days of our marriage, this trend continued, and our involvement at church mostly rested on my activities. As time went on, Mr D found the depths of his own faith and became more actively involved on his own. But even now that our Christian faith is lived out in the way we treat others every day and in the acts of service we do within our church and without, we still don't tend to talk in terms of "hearing God speak to us" or "being called." These are phrases that just don't fit well with the language we use about our faith. Although we pray for guidance, I think we expect that guidance to be a little more . . . subtle.
When Mr D tried to explain to me what had happened to him at that Christmas Eve service, we were treading new ground in our faith and our marriage. For the first time, he was asking me to stretch my faith to follow his. All I could feel was that I could not stand in the way of this thing that my husband felt so strongly called to do. Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to look into the process of adopting a child and suggested we begin by scheduling a meeting with our pastor. I'll confess, a part of me hoped that meeting would lead to someone else telling my husband he was crazy to do this.