By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Avery and Paisley Drahn can’t wait to meet their baby brother.
The 7- and 4-year-old sisters don’t know exactly when the newest addition to the family is coming, what he’ll look like or his name.
But they are still excited.
“We’re sharing bunk beds,” Avery proclaimed with a big smile. “I’m going to be on the top one. We’re going to play with him.”
Paisley was likewise happy to hear the news.
“I was really excited,” the younger and more shy sister said.
Parents Matt and Breea Drahn are excited as well. Even though there are obstacles, they cling to their faith.
“We’ve had friends who have adopted,” Breea said. “It was something we didn’t feel we were called to do. We thought it was a great thing, but we didn’t feel called in that particular area until a year ago. Matt and I wanted to have another child. I was sitting to read the Bible one day. God just broke me. I was emotional. I was almost grieved and upset.”
Breea, 27, met with two close girlfriends who are also her accountability partners. They introduced her to the book “Kisses from Katie,” about a woman who moved to Uganda and adopted 13 girls, following God’s direction.
“It was so inspiring,” Breea said. “I couldn’t put the book down. I told my husband God really wanted us to adopt and maybe that was why I was broken.”
Matt’s reaction surprised her.
“For the first time ever, I said, ‘Yeah, I think you’re right about this,’” recalled Matt, 33. “God totally opened our hearts and placed such a burden for the fatherless.”
The Drahns are working through Christian organization America World Adoption Agency to adopt a boy between the ages of 2 and 5, if not younger. Ethiopia has the largest population of orphans in the world, with 4.6 million children needing homes. One in six children in Ethiopia die before the age of 5, while more than half of the children have stunted growth and development.
On average, an Ethiopian adoption costs between $35,000 and $40,000. The Drahns have raised about $10,000 so far and estimate they still need about $30,000. A gofundme.com account (https://www.gofundme.com/drahnadoption) has been set up, with $445 raised as of Tuesday afternoon.
The family had a garage sale this summer with another coming up next month. They are also selling t-shirts.
“When you look at the numbers, this is a huge step of faith,” Matt said. “But it didn’t cross my mind that God wouldn’t come through. We know He can provide. There have been challenges, but it hasn’t changed our trust and faith in Him. He’s working out the details. When He’s ready, He will allow it to be.”
The Drahns have already seen some miracles. As part of the application process, they had to be honest about issues such as marital problems and Matt’s struggles with alcohol.
“He’s gotten the victory in that,” Matt said of God. “August 28 (2014) was the last sip of alcohol I had and will ever had. God has completely changed my desire and my heart in such a mighty way. I’ve never been more on fire for God than I have right now.”
Breea acknowledges the road is tough.
“Adoption is not for the faint of heart,” she said. “You really have to be called. There are the unknowns, the wait, the cost, all the paperwork. That is why we sought God so much in the beginning. We didn’t want to commit to something so big without knowing for sure. We know God is able. In the right time we’ll get the money. But it is overwhelming. It is scary.”
The Drahns got an anonymous $3,500 donation, plus there was a cool call from Matt’s cousin in Minnesota.
“He called us and said they felt being called to give us their Honda CR-V,” Breea said, noting she and Matt sold a vehicle they could no longer afford. “They paid for our trip there to pick it up. The car is in great condition. It’s amazing to see God work.”
Just to submit a dossier, the Drahns have to raise $6,000 more.
“That money is needed really soon,” Breea said. “The longer we wait to submit, it extends the wait time. If you look up families that have gotten children from Ethiopia, the average time I’ve seen is two-and-a-half years.”
Matt noted there was an unexpected issue: some resistance from family members.
“That was an obstacle we didn’t expect,” he said. “We thought it would be well received. That was a challenge. But it came back to remembering why we are here and why He laid it on our hearts. He’s going to get the glory through it all. Our families have started to come around to us more. We have seen some breakthroughs.”
Within their own walls, family has been on board from the start. Avery and Paisley light up when asked about their upcoming brother.
“We’re very transparent with our girls,” Matt said. “We love God and talk about God all the time. We had some cool first conversations about what God was stirring in our hearts. They were both very excited. They can’t stop talking about bringing their brother home and about bunk beds. Their hearts were ready, too. It’s been so cool for them to be part of the process.”