This week I was reminded of the magnitude of what we are doing by adopting these two little boys into our family…I sometimes forget. We’ve been in the adoption world and the process for so long now, that I just think of Mikias and W as my sons and most of the time, my brain is simply swirling around all the normal aspects of being their mommy. “Do we have the right size clothes for Mikias?” “What foods do I need to be prepared to make when they get home so as to not upset their tummies?” “How will we work through the language barrier and how can I make sure he understands ‘I love you’?” I seldom take time to stop and dwell on the beauty of adoption and the ultimate reality that earthly adoption points to…our adoption in Christ.
This week God brought these things to mind again. On Monday, Kevin received an e-mail from a former Southern Seminary student, asking us to be a part of a video-interview this weekend at the seminary in regards to our adoption journey and specifically in celebration of the one-year anniversary of Dr. Russell Moore’s book, Adopted for Life. This book was on my reading list for this year, so I picked it up Monday afternoon and began devouring it so as not to be unprepared for the interview. (I’ll post my review of Dr. Moore’s book sometime this week.) As it turns out, Molly Kate started throwing up last night around 9 pm and after a long night of sickness and little sleep, we had to notify those in charge today, that we would not be able to participate in the interview. At this point, our main priority is getting and keeping ourselves well before we leave this Friday to get Mikias!
Nevertheless, preparing for the interview and reading Adopted for Life gave me great time this past week to dwell on the magnitude of my own adoption in Christ (and all that it means for why Christians should be involved in earthly adoptions) and to think about how God will use our family in the future to encourage a culture of adoption. One of the questions we would have been asked in the interview is “What has God taught you about the gospel through this adoption?” I thought for at least a day on this one…there are so many, many things God has revealed to me over the last year and a half. But one thought continued to resurface in my head….the great sacrifice that my Father made in order to adopt me into His family. Our adoption journey has been filled with so much heartache, trials, loss and personal sacrifice (of time, money, even some relationships). And yet, I have not had to give the life of my only child in order to adopt these two boys into my family. God the Father sacrificed His Only Son…He crushed His child in order that my adoption would be completed. I was an orphan…I was an outcast from the family of God and He willingly chose to lay down the life of Jesus in order that I might become His daughter. The depth of His sacrifice has become so much more tangible, so much more clear through the suffering we’ve endured in our own adoption journey. And just as I know that every bit of heartache and trial and sacrifice will be more than worth it to share in the joy and privilege of raising these precious children, so I have come to know more certainly that God knew me being a part of His family was worth it. How deeply humbled I am by such love.
Strange that this was the week we thought we would meet our sons for the first time. Strange that God had us prepare for an interview that would never happen. But, how thankful I am for the time this to sit and meditate on what our adoption of these boys really means and remember why we began this journey in the first place.
One thing I love about our agency is that they allow traveling families to take hundreds of photos of the kids and then when a family returns home, they upload the pictures to a group Snapfish account so that we can always see how our children are doing and watch their growth from afar. I know these pictures will also be a priceless memory for our boys one day as this last year was an important part of their history and I have all the photos in an album for each child. What has become humorous in these photos is this one particular teal sweatshirt that our son Mikias must have a fondness for…it’s shown up throughout various photos for a year now! My friend Celeste is in Ethiopia this week picking up her beautiful daughters and captured our little man’s smile, once again in the teal sweatshirt! I’m thinking I might just have to ask the caregivers if we can have it as a memento for him…he seems quite taken to it!
(Pictures are in ascending order, beginning with one taken last February and ending with one from Tuesday of this week!)
I’m struggling to find the words to explain how great and mighty and loving and good and kind God has shown Himself to me since we received the news of our trip being pushed back. It began that very day when God graciously met me in my affliction and disappointment and helped me realign my thoughts with His Word and His promises to me. As hard as it was to accept that we would not meet our son for another 2 1/2 weeks, by His Spirit I was able to dwell on His promise that He is still working out all of this for my good and His glory instead of my unmet expectations. He also quickly intervened as my heart and mind began to worry about the financial aspects of changing our flights. He reminded me that He knows everything I need (Matthew 6) and I focused on that promise instead of letting worry get the best of me (especially when I got the total bill to change our flights!). Since then, God has provided above and beyond for our needs. He provided that our friends schedules still be open to care for Molly Kate while we are gone, He provided my sister a way to keep watching our 6-year old chocolate lab until we return, and He provided every penny that we needed to pay for our airline fee changes. Today we learned that W’s paperwork is complete and he has been filed for court…another sweet blessing as we have waited upon the Lord to complete his case.
Best of all, I saw the goodness and kindness of the Lord ever so clearly in an e-mail from a close friend I have made through the adoption process. She lives about four hours from here and yesterday, she met the two brothers they are adopting for the first time. These brothers happen to be good friends with our Mikias and she and I were so bummed to not be able to travel together to pick up all of the boys at one time. But read these words she sent to me yesterday:
Today was an amazing day!!!!! They actually brought down Mikias to the office when bringing our boys so he was able to be with us during the coffee/popcorn ceremony! He understood well that you were coming soon.They got Mikias’ album out when they gave my boys theirs to take home and we looked at it together. He had a size 10 shoe on which fit perfectly but I would probably buy a 10 1/2 or 11 size shoe. He had a size 4 shirt on and a 4/5 pant which fit good. I gave him an outfit out from our donations so he would also feel special since the boys were changing into their new clothes. I got some great pics of Mikias, Samuel, and Abenezer together. I also got 2 pics of our 4 boys together. I gave W a BIG hug and kiss for you!! He seems somewhat shy but VERY sweet. Mikias did not seem that shy around us..he smiled and interacted a lot.
Even now, I tear up as I read her words. I have never met this woman in person and yet she demonstrated to me the beauty of the body of Christ in her service to my sons yesterday. In the midst of her own joyful celebration in being united with her sons, she made sure to also show great love to my boys and went out of her way to make Mikias feel special. On the day when our child was supposed to finally meet his mommy and daddy, instead of disappointment, God provided an extra-special day for our little boy. I’m still stunned at how well God knows my heart, knows the little things that I think my children need better than I do and how much better He is able to execute them than me! I would not trade the heartache we endured last week for the beauty of God’s glory I have seen over the last five days. To taste of His goodness and kindness in the midst of deep trials is a sweeter joy than I have ever known.
“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for Him.”
I read that verse this morning and what a timely word from the Lord it has proven to be today. Around 9:00 am, I received a call from our agency with bad news regarding our trip to Ethiopia. Apparently a former agency worker in Ethiopia had misplaced our Power of Attorney document and when our staff went to obtain Mikias’ passport and new birth certificate, they were unable to do so. These documents were supposed to be turned into the US Embassy 2 weeks prior to our embassy date and but because the POA was missing, the documents were not turned over in time. Our agency director was able to convince them to allow the use of a copy of our original POA, so today the documents were picked up and taken to the embassy, but not in time for next week’s appointment. Thus, our embassy date has been rescheduled for March 11th…we fly out of Louisville March 5th.
It is impossible at the moment to understand why the Lord has allowed yet another delay in bringing Mikias home, especially two days before we were to leave. We can’t begin to describe the raw emotion of our excitement and joy that came to a screeching halt this morning. Crushed is the only word I could use for the first couple of hours after we received the news. And yet, by God’s grace at work in us, we are able to stand confident that what He has promised us in His Word is true and as He has promised to work all things for good (Romans 8:28), so we believe Him.
You can pray for us as we re-work all the details and preparations for such a big trip…this has probably been the most difficult part. Between preparing Molly Kate to be away from us and the physical toll the preparations have taken on my body (and brain!), I am just plain tired! Pray God will supply supernatural strength in the next two weeks and pray that He will mightily meet our new financial needs. The total cost to change all of our flights is right under $1300 – God has provided for this adoption so abundantly this last year and we ask that you ask Him with us to continue doing so.
Thank you for walking this road with us and loving us so well!
My mom came in town yesterday to help me get a million projects done and run all my last-minute errands before we leave. She is an INCREDIBLE packer, so I’ve kinda been putting off packing the suitcases. This afternoon during MK’s nap, we tackled packing the two suitcases we set aside for donations to our agency’s two transition homes. We cracked up as we weighed the suitcases, packed, weighed and re-packed to make the most of those 50 pounds! So, how much can you fit in one suitcase?
2 large bottles of hand sanitizer and one small one
100 individual packages of Cheez-Its (apparently a big hit with the older kids)
100 Tootsie Roll Pops
10 tubes of toothpaste
10 tubes of Neosporin
275 character band-aids
15 pairs of kids underwear
15 granola bars for us
30 packages of Goldfish and Annie’s Bunnies (for us too!)
14 individual packages of trail mix (um, yeah, also for us)
Not bad, huh?! It was hard, but fun work…we definitely had plenty of laughs!