ILYSSA and CHRISTIAN for the Saunders family — AZ
Adam and Ashley met in 2004 on, of all places, eharmony.com and were married the following year. In 2007 they welcomed their first daughter, Charlee, into their family followed by a second daughter, Andee, in 2010. Adam and Ashley have always considered themselves open to adoption as Adam’s mom was adopted and there is quite a bit of adoption on both sides of the family. It wasn’t until 2012, however, that God really began stirring Ashley’s heart towards adoption. Ironically, this stirring began shortly after she commented to Adam, “I love our little family. It’s just right.” Just a few short weeks later, she wasn’t so sure about that comment…not so sure their family was complete.
After sharing with Adam her desire to adopt, Ashley prayed that if the Lord wanted them to pursue adoption, that He would move in Adam’s heart and stir up in him the same desire. Ashley wanted the two of them to be united, that it would not be because of her own desire that Adam would “agree” to adopt, but because God would place within Adam the awareness of God’s call of each of us to look after the orphan and widow in their distress (James 1:27).
God answered Ashley’s prayer. Over the next several months, God gently began opening Adam’s eyes to a distinct calling upon their life together as a family and He continued to strengthen the desire within Ashley’s heart towards adoption. Several things furthered this desire including watching as Ashley’s brother and sister-in-law adopted two children from Russia. Two children with whom they and their girls have since fallen in love. He has also called the couple to host an orphan from Eastern Europe this summer, something that excites them and their girls to no end! The excitement that Charlee and Andee have for their summer guest has further confirmed their desire to adopt this precious girl.
More than anything, Adam and Ashley see adoption as the ultimate picture of the Gospel. They recognize and rejoice in the fact that they have been adopted by the heavenly Father based nothing on who they are or what they have done. It is by His grace alone that they have obtained an inheritance with Him. They now know that they are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that [they] should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). It is because of His love for them that they desire to love this little girl and to give her a place in their family, to become a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter and a niece.
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at beholdingbeautiful.com