Thursday, December 27, 2007
Miracle of Adoption~ our story
I shared just a few of the families who's adoption stories I know. Today I thought I would share ours.
For me, one the of greatest things about adoption is how you can so clearly see God’s hand working the entire way through the process… to this day I am still amazed and in awe of how God so evidentially orchestrated our entire adoption process and guided us to the children that He had in mind for our family. For each one of us the journey will be different- the country we choose, the age and gender of the child, and the people we meet along the way… but one thing is certain- adoption will touch your heart and change you in ways that you never knew were possible.
Our story started in 2001. We were sitting in church one Sunday, Missions Sunday, and there was a short video about a missionaries work in China. The video skimmed across a cute little Chinese girl who was sitting in the corner of a room and casually mentioned she had been abandoned and was living with the pastor there. It was then, that exact moment, God spoke to my heart. It didn’t make sense of course, here we were- your average family- and we already had four children at home. Why would God choose US to embark on this journey? But one thing I have learned in my life is that God doesn’t always ask those of us who are ‘perfect’ or ‘experienced’ or AT ALL prepared. He asks those of us who have heart for Him and who are willing to obey. We DID NOT have the money sitting there waiting for us in some account… we didn’t know anything at all about adopting… It was a huge risk- a huge leap of faith- but God stretched us and grew us into what he needed along the journey…
That Sunday on the drive home from church I looked at my husband and I asked him if he would ever consider adopting? I quickly rambled on- giving all of my reasons- and admitting that I knew I was probably being silly, that we had four children, but that I just felt a calling today. On and on and on I quickly rambled then Todd looked at me for just a moment and said “yes Amy, lets look into it”.
The days and months flew by as we began to research and pray… at first adopting can be overwhelming, confusing and just plain scary. And unfortunately-at times the comments we received from people were less than positive- but I knew that God didn’t always ask us to choose the ‘popular route’ or to do things that were necessarily EASY. We landed on the India adoption program but God closed that door and 2 years later we got a call that our baby girl from Guatemala had been born. She was small, and sick (only 4 lbs) but she was a fighter. We prayed and prayed as a family and slowly our little girl began to grow stronger. It’s so hard to explain how much you can literally fall in love with a child that you have only seen on paper- but that we did. Honestly, it was absolutely no different than what I felt for our biological children. In July, 2004 we brought home our 6 month old baby girl, Aleigha Grace, from Guatemala. Our entire family has been given such joy in watching each precious phase she goes through and receiving the unconditional love that she shares with each one of us daily. At her age she still has no idea how the love from God and two different women brought her to where she is today… all she knows now is that she is cherished- the way every child deserves to be. We are blessed beyond measure by this precious child of God.
Once again in 2005 the Lord began to speak to our hearts. Once again I came up with every reason why we should not adopt, (almost all financially related of course- gag) and once again God showed us that those ‘reasons’ were not really good reasons at all- and so once again we obeyed. Being our second adoption…the paper chase was much easier… and we just knew this second baby would be just as much of a blessing as our first. We were #3 on the waiting list for a baby girl and couldn’t wait to receive a referral for our precious newborn! Then early one morning I got on my computer and there was an email from an agency that happened to place children out of the same orphanage we were adopting from. As I began to scroll down the email that was titled “Available Children in Guatemala” I saw the many faces of beautiful baby boys and girls and it touched my heart to look at their sweet faces… Then all of a sudden I saw her… a little girl with the biggest smile I had ever seen, eyes that twinkled, and a head full of curls. It hit me- hard. I knew in my heart that I was looking at MY daughter for the very first time. It didn’t make sense to me I admit. This wasn’t the newborn baby girl that I had imagined… she wasn’t wrapped in a blanket with a pink bow in her hair… she was 3 -years -old, she had a full head of unruly curls and a gleam in her eye that told me she had a personality of her own.. How could this be? After a few hours of questioning my sanity and trying to bargain with God himself, I approached my husband with her picture. Yes he thought she was adorable… but he too, I believe, questioned my sanity- and also reminded me that we were not able to accept any referral yet. We needed to wait for our tax return to come so that we had the money to begin the process. It just was not the right time. If only the check was in the mail… Hours passed and still I couldn’t get this little girl out of my head… How would a 4–year-old fit into our family? How would I communicate with her when she spoke Spanish and I English? I wondered about the unknown of her past… Was “I” capable of handling this? But I couldn’t quit thinking about her. The questions kept coming, the doubts and the many, many fears… and then I realized if I, a grown adult was afraid… what must this precious little of girl of just 3 feel? How afraid must she be? She was alone in the world, her birthmother whom she had loved for 3 years had just left her in an orphanage full of strangers and she had no one- nothing- of her own. How could “I” be afraid? I had a home, a husband, and a family who loved me and would support me no matter what. With that thought- I found myself picking up the phone and calling my agency to inquire about the 3- year- old girl whose picture I had seen on the ‘Available Children’s’ list. The agency told me that yes she was in their care but that they thought a family was already considering her- that she would already have a home. When I hung up the phone I just knew there was a mistake, I knew the Lord was telling me something different…. Less than 2 hours later the phone rang- and I was right. The other family decided that she was ‘too old’ that they wanted a little girl who was under 2- and so if we were interested to let them know. Once again, I began to pray and question… I pleaded with the Lord to please let me know if I was doing the right thing- to somehow make it VERY obvious what His plans were for that little girl and for our family. That afternoon my husband came in from getting the mail. He had a funny look on his face… and he asked me to sit down. “The little girl in the picture, he began…” “I think you are right- she was meant to be ours”. You see, the tax return money that we had been waiting for- the one that wasn’t ‘supposed’ to come for weeks- it came. It was in the mailbox that very day. The very day we saw our daughter for the first time- the money came. God did answer my prayer- and he made it very obvious that she was meant to be ours.
The weeks and months passed by and we continued to feel God’s hand upon our adoption process. We were able to go spend 4 days at the orphanage with Mya- learning about her world, her culture and falling in love. We were also able to meet her birthmother and grandmother on our pick up trip- something we will forever cherish.
Mya Sofia has been home for just a little over a year now. For those who say a picture is worth a thousand words- they are so right! She still has a gleam in her eye and a head full of curls. She is funny, creative, sweet, loving and most of all- she fits into our family as if she had been there her whole life. I could not have hand picked a more perfect child and I am in awe still that God allowed ME to be this precious little girls mother. The language barrier that I was so afraid of was not an issue at all. As a matter of fact- she learned complete English in just 3 months time. It has been such an amazing experience for me to see life through her eyes… so many things that we had been taking for granted she has shown us how to appreciate again. Yes, there are days when I look at her and feel sad about what I missed out on… the almost 4 years of her life that I didn’t get to experience. Yet then I think of how close I came to missing out on the rest of her precious life- I am so thankful for the years together we have yet to come…
Last night when I tucked Mya and Aleigha into bed we prayed together, giggled together, hugged and then as I walked from their room I heard them say in unison “we love you mommy to the moon and back”. Now that is what life is all about. We are so blessed by these brave and amazing little girls and so thankful that we stepped out in faith and accepted the blessings God had in mind for our family. We could have let ourselves miss this.
The strangest thing about adoption is the fact that all of your friends and family will tell you that having you as an adoptive parent is such a blessing for the child. That he or she is the lucky one for having you in their life. I can honestly tell you that these people have it all backwards. We are the ones who are truly blessed. We shouldn’t be surprised at this because it is written in God’s word. Matthew 18:5 reads “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me”.
The process of adoption was intimidating at first, but with the help of a good agency it became a journey of discovery for our family. The adoption process is filled with questions, answers, stress, mystery, excitement, joy, and most of all love. It teaches you that you are stronger than you could have ever imagined. It teaches you that life is much sweeter than you could have ever dreamed.
I share our story in hopes that someone will feel a tug at their heart strings for these children waiting for adoption in overseas orphanages. God places these things in our hearts to move us outside our comfort level so we can help HIM make a difference. I hope and pray that people will see these children for what is in their heart and soul, and not look at them for the color of their skin. No, neither Aleigha nor Mya will have my eyes or my nose, but they have all of my heart. I will never take for granted the privilege of being called “mommy” by these sweet, precious girls. We knew going into the adoption process we would have different colors, different countries and different cultures, but we would share the same Lord- and that we believe is more than enough. I know the process can be hard- I was there. I know that it is a huge leap of faith. But I also know that there is nothing else more amazing than the miracle of adoption. I thank GOD that I was led on the path to adopt and I wonder what it will take for each one of these waiting children to be adopted… and have the things we take for granted, such as a family, a home, and hopes and dreams. I wonder what it will take for more people to open their eyes and be willing to obey... to give up some of their 'stuff', some of their free time, all the things the world holds so high- and be willing to love that which God holds closest to His heart...
Thank you God for our miracle of adoption…
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27