Chinese boy

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu

You’ve heard this quote before. It’s one of those over-used sayings you see plastered on locker room walls. Recently the meaning of this simple saying came to light in my life.

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were attending a church service at Crossroads in Florence, Kentucky. The message of the day was “How are you making a difference in your life?” It was a pretty standard message, at least at Crossroads where they stress action rather than lip service to basic Christian principles. Before I go on let me mention that during the program I never once thought of adoption. I didn’t hear God’s voice calling to me or see visions of Mother Teresa feeding dirty little children in India. I just sat there and let the pastor guy do his thing and left church feeling inspired.

On the way home, my wife (Theresa) and I talked about how blessed we were. We have two beautiful kids, strong family support, dependable jobs and never have wanted for much. As my wife continued to talk, the idea of adoption sprang into my mind. Since the message had been “how to make a difference” I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than adoption. I casually mentioned this to Theresa and to my surprise she was open to the idea. In fact, the idea of adoption sprang into her mind as well.

“Do you really want another child?” she asked.

Another kid? I thought about that. Why would I want to adopt a third kiddo? My kids (Ellie and Mitch) are eight and four years old. Both are healthy and easy to deal with. We are almost through car seats, changing tables and diapers yet I want ANOTHER kid….really? What was I thinking?

Doubts began to creep into my mind…

I want freedom.

I’m not the most patient man.

I crave for more time in my life. Time to do things that I want to do like writing, learning guitar, taking naps…

We are well off but another kid would cramp an already tight budget.

Another kid? Are you serious?

Before I could answer her, something inside me cried out, “YES!”

When I say “cried out,” I mean something leapt inside my chest followed by chills. Not the chills you get when you’ve eaten too many chalupas, the kind of chills where God is speaking to you, when you know something is important. The breaking point in all this came later that day. I was doing dishes when that same feeling washed over me, reducing Bill Danner to a blubbering mess. There was a sense of peace, love and conviction. Within seconds, God disolved walls I had constructed around my heart. Walls of comfort, predictability, safety. Walls where I could spend my time doing the things I wanted to do.

Have you ever had that feeling? If so, did you listen to the voice? If not then there’s nothing I can say to convince you. In fact, someone out there is feeling sorry for me right now because I’m following my gut rather than my head. But it wasn’t my gut telling me to look into adoption, it was my heart. I truly believe that before we are born, we have a set intention for our lives. God showed me that one of my intentions is to help and heal others. Somewhere in the world, a child is without a home and it is my mission to find them and provide a loving place for them to grow and prosper.

The really cool (or crazy) thing is that my wife feels the exact same pull. She had the same experience of chills and certainty that I had. In fact her mantra since this all began has been “God will figure it out.” Wow.

So what is God supposed to figure out?

How to adopt a child. Pretty basic really, only it’s not. Anyone who has gone through the process will tell you that.

So what does all of this have to do with my blog? A lot actually. The original purpose of this blog was to interview people on the meaning of life. Well in my opinion, the meaning of life is to inspire and help others. What better way to inspire than to help a child in need? Perhaps you can think of a better way to spend your time and money, but I can’t.

So far Theresa and I have researched a few websites and organizations and talked with a few friends who have adopted children. Who knows where the process will lead. Maybe I’m wrong and we aren’t meant for this. Time will tell. Until then I plan to keep following my heart in search of a child in need of a good home.

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