Friday, December 28, 2012

A Beautiful Ending

     Lately, I have been so drawn to a particular family's adoption blog.  It is not someone I know personally, but a friend of a friend.  I think what has drawn me in is this mom's complete honesty, in sharing the good and the bad.  So many people think that once a child is adopted, the fairy tale begins and everyone lives happily ever after.  And I so wish this is how the story always goes.  But what a lot of people don't realize is that these children are broken - they have felt loss and grief that many of us can not imagine. 
     This particular mom has shared the account of bringing home a 16 month old girl from China.  Most of her orphanage days were spent in her bed - a plywood board for a mattress.  Orphanages such as hers are eerily quiet - the children quickly learn that their cries will not be answered, so they simply give up.  After being united with her adoptive parents, she grieves so much that all she can do to comfort herself is bang her head on the bed, and then on her mother's chest as she is being held.  And this is just the beginning.  In the months that follow, this child screams in anger for hours at a time.  She lashes out at her parents and siblings by hitting them.  And the hardest thing is that the mother takes the brunt of it all.  Even though this little girl knows that her mother is the one who is there for her every moment of the day, it's her mother that she pushes away the most.  AND ALL THIS FROM A CHILD ONLY 16 MONTHS OLD AT THE TIME SHE WAS ADOPTED - JUST A BABY!
     Honestly, this blog scares me to death.  But what I see happening as this story unfolds is beautiful.  This child, once so broken and lost, has completely turned around.  After realizing that the love her family has for her is unconditional and that they will never leave her, she has been able to finally trust and begin a truly beautiful life. 
     It is said that adoption is a perfect example of Christ's love - He loves us so much that he adopted us to be His sons and daughters, never to leave us.  But through this little girl's story,  I can see an even bigger picture of God's love for us.  At some point we have all pushed Him away.  Even though we are broken and need Him more than anything else, we hold Him at an arm's length and just won't give in.  We think we can get through it on our own.  But once we completely surrender and accept His unconditional love, our lives can truly be beautiful. 
     Like I mentioned above, this mom's experiences truly scare me and make me question the path that God has chosen for us.  But HER story, as raw and real as it is, also has a beautiful ending.  She confesses that before this adoption, she thought she knew what it meant to completely trust God and give everything over to Him.   Now she can honestly say that she didn't - but during this process she truly learned what it meant to put every minute of every day in His hands.  Only by giving it all over to Him and asking for strength continuously did she survive this season of her life.  And now she can look back and see how her relationship with her savior is more beautiful than she ever imagined it could be. 
     All along, I have sensed that God has a plan for our family through this adoption.  Yes, part of it is definitely to give an orphaned child a home, family, and unconditional love.  But more, I think he wants our family to get much closer to Him - more than we ever imagined we would.  PLEASE keep us in your prayers.  We do not yet know how our story will unfold, but I know that it's ending will indeed be beautiful.
He has made everything beautiful in His time.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Department of Homeland Security!

     One of my favorite things about this special season is receiving Christmas cards.  Among my favorite are the photo cards - I love having a small glimpse into the lives of those who thoughtfully remember our family at Christmas.  But it has been a different mail delivery that has prompted my daily trek to the mailbox this December.  We have been waiting for the final document we need before our dossier can be approved and sent to China - our I-797.  In English, this is the document from the Department of Homeland Security that states we are approved to adopt one child from China.  It can typically take 60-80 days to complete this process and receive your approval.  When you change the days into months (two months or longer), it seems like an even longer wait.  Thankfully, this wait has been during quite a busy time for us.  Christmas programs, class parties, and the usual hustle and bustle of the season have made the wait a little easier.  And I know that God has orchestrated this entire adoption around His perfect timing, even down to the day we receive this final document.
     Earlier in our adoption journey, I was having a hard time submitting to His timing - I selfishly wanted things to happen according to what I thought was the right timing. About this time, I came across the following verse...
But these things I plan won't happen right away. 
 Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision
will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow, be patient!  For it will surely take place. 
 It will not be late by a single day. 
Habakkuk 2:3 
     God's timing was for our 1-797 to arrive this past Friday - yay!!!  As our dossier is getting ready to be sent to China, my prayers are with two families in our community who left for China TODAY to get their precious new children.  How exciting that the vision God had for these families is about to be fulfilled - it will not be late by a single day!