Within the last couple of months we have decided to pursue international adoption from Hungary. To be honest, the emotions and thoughts that are swirling around in our hearts and minds are hard to put into words. We are excited, anxious, hopeful, nervous, and so much more.
We find ourselves asking all sorts of questions...
How long will this process actually take?
When will we be matched with our child?
Will our child be a boy or a girl and how old will he/she be?
What sorts of medical special needs (if any) might our son or daughter have?
After being a family of three for several years, what will it be like being a family of four?
We've been told broad things to expect, but really, we don't know what's coming. It's a hard place to be. Each day we take one more step in faith as willing and active participants of God's redemptive work in our future child's life. We wait and we wonder. We excitedly think about all that could be. We nervously ask ourselves "are we prepared for this?".
We've talked about adoption for a few years, but we just weren't sure if we should take the plunge into this big life changing unknown. It's intimidating.
This month I spoke at a women's retreat one weekend. As I prepared in the months leading up to it, there was a moment that hit home for me as I was writing. Talking with Jeff, we couldn't help but be moved by the Holy Spirit's not so subtle nudge.
I was writing about a story from my own adoption from Romania. I've written about different aspects of it here on the blog, but not this one specific story. When my parents decided to go to Romania in the 1990's, they were largely impacted and inspired by the 20/20 documentary series they saw. A man named John Upton had heard about the Romanian orphans and gone over to try and rescue as many as he could from a life of complete brokenness and hopelessness - a life brought about by the failed policies of the communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. As a result of Upton's efforts, many children were saved. And countless families like my parents found themselves making the trip oversees to adopt.
The documentary series showed the story of one boy who had been rescued by John Upton and had been adopted by an American family. The boy stayed in touch with John and would call him. He'd say "Johnny, what about my friend ________. They are still over there! They are still in the orphanage. Can you help them? Johnny, what about my friend _______. They are still over there! They are still in the orphanage. Can you help them?". And this young boy did this over and over as John Upton fought against all odds to save more children.
I wrote this story and then I wrote some commentary on it:
This was a boy who had been rescued from a life where the children who died were called "the lucky ones". He knew the brokenness and loneliness and hopelessness that he came from. He knew all the goodness that he had been given. He had experienced the life changing reality of the love of a family. And He didn't want to keep it to himself. He could have easily gone about his life thankful beyond words for all he had been given and never given a second thought to those still trapped in a broken system. But the truth is - he intimately knew the life changing reality he had experienced and he desperately wanted others to experience it too and he wanted to be part of that process for them.
That's how God calls us to live this life!
We have been reconciled to Him and He sends us out into this world to be reconcilers. To bring love, hope and freedom to others. To bring them back. We have been given so much. We have been given life in Christ, hope, a family to belong to, and the very presence of the Lord God. How can we not share it with others?
I sat there at my desk. Staring at those words. Thinking of all that I myself had been saved from...of all that I had been given...of my life in Christ, the hope I have, the family I belong to, the presence of the Lord God in my life. And I thought...how can I write this and say "but not me. Adoption is too big, too intimidating for me to go do? How can I of all people not share what I have been given with another?".
It was in that moment, we realized:
God has put in our hearts to adopt, to be willing and active participants in the redemptive process of another. And that's all that really matters.
The unknowns ARE scary.
The paperwork IS a lot.
The cost IS sacrificial.
We stand at the starting gate - a bit overwhelmed.
But God is in control. He knows every step of the journey that we will face and He's walking it with us. There's great strength to be found in that; because, it means we don't have to have it all together on our own. We just have to be willing to follow the Spirit's lead and take one step at a time.
So here we go - willing and active participants reporting for duty!
We joyfully and excitedly embark on this journey as we pray for the child that the Lord has for us! As we go through this process, I will be writing updates to follow along.
Until next time...
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”