For those of you who might be wondering how it all began, here's a snip it (or at least what she says).
Josh and I started our family very early. At 19 and 21, an unplanned pregnancy led us to consider all options that might be best for our son, whom we carried. We read statistics. We explored placement. We researched parenting. Ultimately, God’s plan for us was to raise our precious son; but this rough beginning served as an introduction to the beauty and sacrifice of placing a child for adoption and founded in us a love for birth parents, whose best option is to place their children.
Three and a half years later, God readied us for our next child, our daughter. Our second pregnancy remained problematic from beginning to finish; yet in the end, she arrived right on cue. Little did we know this would be the end of the “easy road” to family growth.
Over the next four years, Josh and I lost four pregnancies. Rather, four babies. Ranging from six weeks to twenty plus weeks, each loss stole our breath. By the third loss, our doctors scrambled to diagnose the cause. We followed all the rules. Our friends and families prayed. Ironically, days after our fourth loss (yes after), our doctors called with a diagnosis of a genetic clotting disorder and a possible treatment. It was too late. We grieved and questioned. We closed the door to carrying another child in our womb. Adoption seemed reasonable.
The research began. Only months into preparing adoption papers, Josh realized my significant pain, the damage, and the gaping hollow that co-existed with the loss of our pregnancies. He understood that adopting would be a way for me to fill this hole. He knew God needed to heal the hurts in my heart before we were truly prepared to adopt. Josh stymied our adoption. The pain of my losses festered and took root into an insatiable desire to mother and took me to a place of complete brokenness. A day arrived when I was finally inclined to relinquish it at the foot of the cross. I yielded my hopes for more children through adoption. I surrendered my agony. God began the work of restoration.
Time passed and on a routine visit, my doctor and I were both stunned to discover I was pregnant. We followed protocol for experimental treatments to sustain our pregnancy. We knew the risks. We anticipated the difficulty ahead. All of us expected another loss. At each turn we were cautioned against being too hopeful. As tumultuous as this pregnancy was, God sustained the life of our child. He was born. God granted us more than we could have imagined possible, yet He wasn’t done.
A year and a half later, Josh arrived home from work with an announcement. After years of dormancy, God awakened in him the passion to adopt. Josh caught me off guard. God caught me off guard. I had not considered adoption since the day I released my dreams. Josh had not mentioned adoption for years. Yet here we stood. God took our years of waste, our losses, and our pains and cultivated them into a passion that would transform our family. God directed our hearts to Ethiopia where our fourth son first lived.
On our placement trip to Addis, we fell desperately in love with Ethiopia…the culture, the people, their giftedness, their kindness, the simplicity, and beauty in the midst of penury. We realized that this would not be a place we left easily or permanently. Ethiopia imprinted herself on our hearts. Looking into the eyes of each orphan, each child on the street, each poverty-stricken woman and man, we glimpsed our son and the life he could have lived. We were compelled to touch those, who were left behind.
LoPa Art was born from our hearts' desires to touch those left behind- to feed, to educate, to trade train, to employee, and provide medical care and employment through profits produced by micro-enterprise. The giftedness of Ethiopian artisans makes easy this task. Following God’s plan makes each step a treasure.