Foster and Adoptive Parents: God is using you to love in some of the hardest places and through some of the most difficult situations. In the midst of all the uncertainties and unknowns that surround what you're doing there are some powerful promises and truths for you that are constant and sure and worthy to be reminded of. Here's just a few...
1. You are not alone. Psalm 46:1 reassures us that, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." He is an always present, always attentive, always engaged God. He weeps over our mourning and sings over our joys. He meets us in our weakness and reminds us in our weariness that He has been there before us and He is there with us now - sympathizing, holding, understanding and encouraging. One of the most profound and tangible ways God reminds us of His nearness is by surrounding us with people who love us and support us. His closeness is evidenced in the faces of those around you who refuse to let you walk this road alone. In the beautiful, sacrificial, redemptive work you are doing of laying yourself down for the sake of these kids, know that you are not alone – you are never alone.
2. You can’t see everything. We are not merely participating in a broken human story but in a fractured spiritual one as well. We may see signs, but not the whole; shadows, but not the substance of everything that God’s really doing. We do not grade the whole on what we see only for a moment. There’s much more going on than that. It's in that tension of the unseen that Scripture encourages us to "fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18) You may not see it now - you may not ever even see it in this lifetime - but what you are doing is of eternal significance. Fix your eyes there.
Click Jason Johnson's blog for the rest of the seven things to be reminded of if you foster or adopt.
Kingdom of Heaven. Praying God's great and precious promises for all the children in foster care and orphanages.
From Aimee: In late August of 2017, God laid on my heart to begin to pray His great and precious promises for our family, for the children in the foster care system and the children in orphanages. As I started studying the bible and looking at all His promises in His word, I could not believe how many were in the bible. I am committing to pray all His great and precious promises from Matthew to Revelation in 2018. There are about 250 promises in the New Testament. I believe, as a wife and Mom, one of the greatest gifts I can give my husband and my children is prayer. I believe one of the greatest gifts I can give the children in the foster care system and the children in orphanages, besides a permanent loving home, is prayer. I have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord over the years as I prayed for specific requests. I believe in the power of prayer. Prayer can literally change the path your husband or children are on. Prayer can change the outcome of the child in foster care or the child in an orphanage in another country. Prayer can move a family to foster or adopt. Prayer is that space carved out to hear the voice of the Lord; to approach our Savior and be in His presence. It is a time where we can come empty and depleted and leave full and refreshed. It is a time to believe that victory for your family is coming; that victory for the child in foster care or orphanage will happen.
Today’s great and precious promise is the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus stated in the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The poor in the spirit refers to a person who is humble and meek; a person who knows they need God and gives themselves over to Him. Jesus says this person is blessed and will receive the kingdom of heaven. Lord, I praise Your mighty name and thank You the kingdom of heaven is one of your great and precious promises for us. Father, I hold up my children to you today; I hold up the children in the foster care system; I hold up the children in orphanages. There are so many people with so many voices trying to get the attention of children. I thank You that Your voice is the voice they hear over all the other voices. I come against arrogant behavior and pride in my children and the children in foster care or orphanages. I release a spirit of meekness and humility in them. I thank You they will not be so full of themselves and self-absorbed that they do not see Your will and Your way for their life. I thank You they recognize they need you, Lord, in every area of their life. I thank You that today You are filling them up with the fullness of Christ. I stand in the gap for these children. I pray Your love is poured out on and in them today. I pray that You are alive in them today. I thank You no weapon formed against them shall prosper. I thank You that the kingdom of heaven is theirs! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
From Tyler: Almost 3 years ago, I became a momma for the first time through adoption. The first time I saw my daughter’s beautiful face and heard her sweet cry, my heart was forever hers. As I held her in my arms our first few days together, I understood the phrase, “love makes a family” in a deep and powerful way.
14 months later, our son was born and lovingly placed in our arms. In the hospital, as I looked down at his precious face all nestled into my chest, my heart and my love instantly doubled.
Adoption brought me my first two babies and fulfilled my longing for motherhood in the ways I had always imagined. Motherhood may have come to me in an unexpected way, but my love I have for my children is the most natural and deep love I’ve ever experienced. Adoption is a huge part of our story, but it doesn’t define our family. Love defines our family. Isabel and Noah may not share my DNA, but that does not limit my love or my bond with them. They are my children, my light and my world! I could not imagine our lives or our family without them! Years ago, I could not see how God could be using infertility for my good, but now I praise Him for using it to lead us to adoption and to our babies.
I am now pregnant with our third miracle baby after five years of infertility! I am so excited to be experiencing pregnancy for the first time and eagerly await the day I hold our second baby boy and third child in my arms. It is very surreal to be experiencing pregnancy and it feels like our journey to grow our family has come full circle. Pregnancy has also caused me to cherish my older children even more, because I understand in a new way what a miracle it is that they are ours! I am grateful and humbled that we were chosen by their birth mothers and by the Lord to be their parents. I love how God has moved over the years in powerful ways to redefine our definition of love, family and to reveal more of His heart to us.
As I experience pregnancy for the first time, I have also experienced many emotions. In the beginning of my pregnancy especially, I held my big babies extra close and wondered how having a biological child would affect them. Would this baby ever cause them to question our love for them? Will their little hearts hurt when they begin to understand that they didn’t grow in my belly? Would others treat this child differently than Izzy and Noah? I know it is natural to have these fears and concerns, especially as a mother whose heart beats for her babies! Having a biological child will bring a new dynamic into our family, and we are committed to meeting all questions and challenges as a family united by love. I know God will give us the grace and love to shepherd each of our children’s hearts as they grow up to understand their beautifully unique stories.
One thing that has been such a comfort to my momma heart over the past few months is seeing how much Izzy and Noah already love their baby brother. Isabel rubs my tummy, sings to her baby brother and gives him daily kisses. Noah will come up to me, pull up my shirt and exclaim, “baby!” Their baby brother hasn’t even arrived, yet they are already forming a beautiful bond with him.
We are over the moon about the newest addition to our family, as we should be. Our excitement over this pregnancy and baby does not threaten or diminish our love for Izzy and Noah. Each of our precious children is a miracle and answer to prayer. Our biological baby is no more our “own” child than Izzy and Noah are. It’s so important to us for people to understand this! We are also blessed to be surrounded by family, friends and a community that loves each of our sweet babies so well. I am grateful that many truly understand our deep love for each of our children. I am thankful that most people in our lives do not compare our children’s stories or view one way of adding to our family as being “better” than another. That’s how it should be.
Pregnancy and adoption are each a beautiful miracle. We love celebrating and embracing the stories of how each of our children came to us. The deepest prayer of our hearts is for our children all grow up knowing how longed for, loved and special they are. I am soaking up every part of pregnancy, and look forward to the day I can hold all three of my babies in my arms!
You may continue following Tyler's adoption and birth journey over on her website The Adventures of Baby K.
Life by His Word. Praying His Great and precious promises over the children we birth, adopt and Foster.
Lord, thank You for Your great and precious promises. Thank You for the promise of Life by Your word, You said in Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4 “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out the mouth of God.” Lord, in the old testament in Deuteronomy 8:3, Israel was tested with hunger and then supplied with the manna whereby You, Lord, were teaching them that they will not live by material food alone, but also on spiritual food and Your words were their spiritual food; Your words are our spiritual food. They are for each of my children whether birthed, adopted, or fostered. They are my children’s spiritual food.
Lord, I come before You today and thank You for the promise for the children we birth, adopt and foster of Life by the Word. Each of my children, the children in foster care, need physical food to survive but we know Lord this is only half of their need. My children and the children in foster care need spiritual food to thrive, to flourish and to blossom as You have called them to. Lord, may I be a parent, a woman who makes speaking Your word over my children a priority; who makes speaking Your word over the children in the foster care system a priority. May I be a parent and a woman who incorporates Your word in our daily living, daily study, and daily disciplines. May my children I birth, adopt and foster be fed by Your words. May the children in foster care be fed by Your words. As the children hear Your word, let them think about what Your word is saying. As the children hear Your word, I thank You that their spiritual health and strength are increasing down to the inner person in them. As the children hear Your word, they are being empowered to obey Your will for them. Your word is LIFE, Lord. Your word is ALIVE! Thank You Your words become alive to all the children I am praying for. Thank You, Lord, that my children’s lives are enriched because of Your word; that the lives of the children in foster care are enriched because of Your word. Thank You, Lord, that You are sanctifying these children by Your word. My children I birth, adopt, and foster and the children in the foster care system will know Your word and know it is truth for their lives (John 17:17). All Your scripture, all Your words, Lord, are breathed by You! Continue to breath those words of life on these children. Your words are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that children of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Because of Your word, because they live their life by Your word, my children I birth, adopt, and foster, the children in the foster care system I am praying for are equipped for every task You place before them and I thank You for this, Lord.
So today, I thank You the children have the promise of life by Your word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Praying this over your children and the children in foster care is powerful! Their lives will be changed for the better. Believe that! I am praying God's great and precious promises over our children from now until the end of the year. If you missed any of these prayers, you can find them here.
The number of children in foster care is astounding. There are some families who take their pro-life convictions so seriously, that they reach out to those who are without a loving household and bring them into theirs. This is consistent with what the Scripture describes in James 1:27:
"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."
Anne Leber is not your typical mother, nor is the Leber family your typical family. They are Kingdom-driven.
Jump on over to The Kingdom-Driven Family to listen to a podcast interview with Andrea Schwartz and Anne (a homeschooling mom) as she shares her journey of responding to the Lord’s call to rescue children, resulting in the adoption of eight children via foster care.
From Aimee': A promise. A promise is a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen. A promise is a guarantee. It is an oath, an agreement, a contract. A promise is a covenant. God has many promises in the bible for us. His promises can be found from Genesis to Revelation. For the rest of the year, I will be praying God’s great and precious promises from Matthew to Revelation over our children we birth, adopt and foster and I invite you to join me and pray for your children. The effective, fervent prayer of a person who keeps God’s commands has much power. Prayer does change things.
Today, I am praying the promise of salvation from sin through Jesus Christ taken from Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Father, I bring forth my child/ren (call out their name) to You. The very name of Jesus means Savior. Thank You, Lord, for saving my child/ren from their sins, saving them from the darkness of this world. I pray for their mind, Lord. Help them be disciplined in their thought life. Let them desire to want to think on what is just, pure and lovely and of good reports (Philippians 4:8). Lord, I pray for their eyes. Let them be strong to turn away from things that displease You, from seeing things that can lead them on the wrong path. Let their eyes be open to recognize You in their life (Luke 24:31). I thank You that any veil that is over their eyes is taken away as they turn to You, Lord (2 Corinthians 3:16). I pray that the eyes of their heart may be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which You have called them, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in Your holy people, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:18,19). Lord, I pray for their ears and what they are listening to. May they hear Your still small voice. May they hear You crystal clearly when You speak to them.
Lord, I pray over their hands and feet. I rebuke laziness and apathy from them. I declare the works of their hands will be pleasing to You, Lord. They will know the value of hard work at home, at school, and in their calling and purpose as adults. They will be diligent in the work before them and they shall prosper. Their feet will carry them through and bring forth peace to people on their path. They will be strong in the Lord, unshakeable and not afraid to share the good news of the gospel. Thank You, Lord, that You make known to our children the path of life; You will fill them with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand (Psalm 16:11).
So today, Lord, I thank You for sending us a Savior; for sending us Your Son Jesus Christ, for dying on a cross for my child/ren whether birthed, adopted or fostering, for conquering death and raising from the dead so that my child/ren can be saved, can be one of Yours! In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
From Jeanne: When I believe He is good, when I believe He can, when I exercise that belief with trusting Him, and when I follow through by obeying what He is telling me to do...oh my gosh I can't even begin to tell you how many amazing miracles Ryan and I have experienced through it! I want to scream each one from the mountain top! I love sharing Isaiah's many miracles because it is a testimony of how when God calls us to something it is in
HIS HANDS. I always hope it encourages someone in a hard place relying on a miracle!
STORY: So we went to the hospital in Columbus this past January for a variety of testing and things we needed to check on Isaiah for after returning from China. It was three days of testings and all sorts. The medical bills piled up. We followed up in August too so and more expenses came. With our finances being tighter than normal due to many factors from starting a business, to having 3 children, to have home needs, you know...the list goes on, it can always be something. However, the great thing is, it's been used as a process of building complete trust for Ryan and me in our faith. Those stepping stones that seemed worrisome at the moment each has proven to be a beautiful gift that has helped us grow.
So back to the story, the medical bills piled up and the hospital is a great one, they have an amazing program that works with your insurance company to help get the most coverage as possible and then they even offer some assistance and generous leverage in areas for the bills. I can't say enough about this hospital and the people. We qualified for a few things and have been waiting for a response over the last 8 months. Ryan and I have faithfully prayed over it and have felt an extreme peace that God is our provider, it is all His anyway right? So, in the mail yesterday it came...the letter. I opened it knowing no matter what the numbers reflect, He will provide. He chose precious Isaiah for our family and He loves Isaiah and has already shown us He is taking care of every detail for him as long as we walk faithfully (2 Cor 5:7 We walk by faith not by sight).
And there it was - NO WAY! NO WAY REALLY? Is this happening? Oh my gosh it is! It just did! How did that happen? It happened! THANK YOU JESUS! THANK YOU! I'm humbled at how you go above our prayers every time because you're so loving! AND AMAZING! THANK YOU! Yep that's what I was saying over and over!
I encourage you today to BELIEVE He can. If you need prayers I am happy to pray with or for you! Ryan and I are no different than any other husband and wife who may be walking through a trial. I believe wholeheartedly that financials are the easiest and quickest way to being humbled and trusting God 110%. It is there we seek harder than ever to hear Him (Proverbs 3:5-6 says He will instruct us in which path to take). And as we trust, He guides, as He guides, we experience peace, when we have peace we reflect Him in our lives/hearts...as the light for the world to see God and how amazing He is!
GREAT STORY ON BELIEF/TRUST
An Acrobat, A Wheelbarrow, and a Challenge of Faith
Can you imagine a tightrope stretched over a quarter of a mile and spanning the breadth of Niagara Falls? The thundering sound of the pounding water drowning out all other sounds as you watch a man step onto the rope and walk across!
This stunning feat made Charles Blondin famous in the summer of 1859. He walked 160 feet above the falls several times back and forth between Canada and the United States as huge crowds on both sides looked on with shock and awe. Once he crossed in a sack, once on stilts, another time on a bicycle, and once he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet!
On July 15, Blondin walked backward across the tightrope to Canada and returned pushing a wheelbarrow.
The Blondin story is told that it was after pushing a wheelbarrow across while blindfolded that Blondin asked for some audience participation. The crowds had watched and "Ooooohed" and "Aaaaahed!" He had proven that he could do it; of that, there was no doubt. But now he was asking for a volunteer to get into the wheelbarrow and take a ride across the Falls with him!
It is said that he asked his audience, "Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?" Of course, the crowd shouted that yes, they believed!
It was then that Blondin posed the question - “Who will get in the wheelbarrow?'
Of course, none did.
[from Kenneth Baa’s book] Tens of thousands believed but no one trusted. Belief and trust are two different things. It occurred to me, though, that there’s something wrong with this illustration. Why would anyone get in the wheelbarrow? Why would anyone do such a dopey thing? There would have to be a compelling reason. So, try this: imagine there was a thick forest behind the spectators and that suddenly the forest caught fire. There was no way of escape. Now things are about to get interesting and suddenly all the rules change. Now there are only four options for the crowd:
Option #1: “I’m not here, and it’s not hot”. Deny your situation until you’re burned to a crisp.
Option #2: take your chances by plunging into the raging water below.
Option #3: try to go across the tightrope yourself.
Option #4: Get in the wheelbarrow!
Suddenly, the offer to get in Blondin’s wheelbarrow looks very attractive. Furthermore, it’s not the leap in the dark, it’s a step into the light and perhaps you’re only real hope. He’s already demonstrated that he could go to the other side and come back. And so has Jesus. His crucifixion and resurrection was his going to the other side and back, his demonstrable evidence that He is who He claims to be. Entrusting my life to Him, sitting in that wheelbarrow (so to speak) is not a bad choice, as would be ignoring or rejecting Jesus. With Jesus there are really only two options because ignoring him is just covert rejection. At the end of the day, you either trust Him or you don’t.
Matthew 17:20 (NLT) “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.
As a Mom to eight children, six adopted and two birthed, I can tell you story after story of countless moments in the past 14 years of Motherhood of how I looked at the circumstances in front of me, the hard experiences of raising and loving children that we adopted at 9, 13, and 15 years old, raising and loving children who had immense needs that seemed impossible to meet and thought, “I must have heard God wrong.”
I have always been a passionate person as far back as I can remember; however, my passions before giving my whole life to Christ were directed to worldly pleasures and full of self-focused desires. The day I gave my whole life to Him, my passions turned towards His Kingdom, towards the ways of my Lord. It’s beautiful what God does. Once we give our life over to Him on this side of heaven, God takes what the devil meant to further his dark, hate-filled agenda and turns it into a powerful tool to further God’s Kingdom, to bring hope to a truly dying world. My passion before salvation was a tool for the enemy. My passion after salvation is a weapon towards the enemy!
One of the greatest pieces of this world are the eight children God has given to my husband and me. These are the gifts that are the most valuable to us. These are the gifts that are most valuable to Him….. His children! The enemy would love nothing more than for Moms and Dads to bow down to depression, to bow down to giving up, to bow down to indifference and spinelessness. The times of “hard” during the parenting years are the exact times to dig your feet deep and let determination rise in you. These are the very times to grab hold of staying power and be determined to endure through the tough and the hard days of parenting.
As I look back and remember the moments of thinking I don’t see how any of this is going to change. I don’t see how my daughter is going stop hating me for adopting her. I don’t see how my son is going to heal from years of abuse in an orphanage. I don’t see how to balance the joys of motherhood with the hurt and frustration I feel during motherhood. As I think about these moments, I see how one decision early on to war in prayer for our children, for our family, has no doubt changed the future of our children; changed the atmosphere in our home.
The bible is filled with His great and precious promises for His children; for us, for our children, we just only need to pick it up and speak it forth. God’s word says in Isaiah 55:11, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” For the remainder of the year, I am going to write on the promises God has for our children. I hope you will join me in praying these promises over your children as well!
I know the hard days of parenting children we adopt and/or children we foster. One of the greatest treasures you can give children is the gift of God’s word being spoken over them! 2 Peter 1:4, “And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
So I invite you to come back, during my times as a contributor on Adoption Strong, and join me in praying His great and precious promises from His word over our children!
From Jeanne: The moments I experience true miracles I get so overtaken with the emotions and reminded, God is faithful and Isaiah was chosen by Him for Him and we are just blessed to be his family…forever family. Despite how Isaiah’s circumstances started off in the beginning years, God’s sovereign and loving and saw this precious boy in China in an orphanage and placed His hand of favor over him thousands of miles away and slowly placed him on our hearts and home. The divine connection in that two-year process, lives forever changed and daily we are impacted in this journey that is hard, fun, adventurous, emotional and rewarding. But it has been the continuous provision and favor along the way has left Ryan and I speechless many times and has increased our faith ten times over. I know without a doubt that God has large plans for Isaiah; I can only wait to see.
Isaiah has extreme anxiety with doctors’ offices or hospitals. Any of them will make him nervous from the minute he steps into them. He slowly gets quiet, gets nervous, and begins to cling to me. Even candy won’t help. He becomes withdrawn. The walls go up. Then comes the nurse or the doctor walking in, the tears begin to flow. The fear is overwhelming to him and the lack of trust over takes him every time. I on a normal day can handle these type of things and started off pretty strong, but after so many visits, I began to realize the anxiety was taking its toll on me. My heart aches and has extreme compassion now for parents who go through anything that requires on going hospital stays and visits. From what I have experienced in a short time I have become fearful of having to take him to the doctor for anything. I dread it.
Although Isaiah’s blood test were done in China and all okay, our pediatrician called for another test to confirm them. We attempted to do this at the lab at the pediatrician’s office one day but after him hyperventilating and throwing up because of being so upset it wasn’t accomplished and a redo was underway. To be honest, I had put it off for fear of upsetting him again. Then my doctor finally said we had to schedule it. We decided to go to Woman’s hospital lab so he wouldn’t associate the pediatrician’s office with the emotional trauma/fear he has since the last attempt was so rough for him. I know one might ask, how much does a child really know at 2 years old or even as a baby, but trust me, a child who has endured what he has by hospital visits, not having a family to go through it with or the security, can establish a wound. He has learned to become resilient and at the same time skeptical of hospital people. His sensual memories remind him of fear and pain in those places. I have seen it enough times to know sometimes we just cannot comprehend it, because we have never walked in those shoes.
So I started off this morning by labeling today’s experience as it would be how it has always been for Isaiah, emotional. Ryan and I woke up for routine morning coffee before the kids and we prayed Deuteronomy 31:8, one of my favorite verses when anticipation is underway. Praying the promise that God would go before us and prepare the way with favor and remove the fear. I prayed it but did I believe it? If I am honest, my heart really didn’t. It would have to take a miracle right? 20 times of crying why would 21 be different? Unfortunately, my expectations were low.
Now this time I invited Caden to come along. He said he wanted to be a helper. He packed a bag of Isaiah’s favorite things to bring with us…marshmallows, Ipad movie, cookies, suckers, and applesauce. Sweetest. I loved the opportunity to teach him to be compassionate in caring for Isaiah. Knowing that him being there would ease his fears some too! So I showed Caden a video of a little boy bravely getting blood drawn so he would know what to expect and explained to him that Isaiah gets really upset and cries. And off we went. Prayers went up! Please Lord, protect his little heart and make our experience easier this time because He is only 2, I prayed. We pulled in to the parking lot. I was ready for the nervousness to begin…we hopped out. Caden wheeled his Superman suitcase full of toys, Isaiah marched like we were going to a toy store, and we walked in. There we were in a hospital. Isaiah got quiet. So my heart started to sink a little. We checked in and thankfully Caden was laughing and playing so that eased everything a bit, and distracted Isaiah. Then came the wristband part, this is always a sure sign to get him angry, normally he will slap it away…but instead out came his wrist willingly! Eager to put it on! He told the lady “thank you!” Wow. I was surprised at this point. Ok ok you have my attention! But the true test lie ahead. Next we walked to the waiting room and then Isaiah's name was called. We all walked into the patient room. Normally the combo of the nurses outfits and the room will result in the beginning of the tears…but there weren’t any tears. None.…I wasn’t sure what was going on…but trucking ahead Caden and I pulled out the iPad, got a cartoon on, and I explained to the nurses despite the food and drink rule we have a suitcase full of snacks because Isaiah’s situation is a little different than most. They were kind and understanding and let us carry on. Caden put on Diego and began feeding Isaiah marshmallows and cookies. Isaiah sat on my lap. They began to hold his arm down; placing the band on it to find the vein and I felt he was about to breakdown I was waiting for it…but no not a single tear. Then the needle came out and the process of filling 5 valves of blood…..prick….minutes….still no tears. He smiled at them and was proud to show them his sucker Caden gave him, then continued to watch cartoons. One, two, three, four….almost done – felt like forever. Once they were done and pulled the needle out and Isaiah smiled again and said ‘ALL DONE’! Not ONE single tear. Seriously, it was a true miracle. Not one ounce of fear expressed in the entire process. I was trying to keep it together. My eyes were tearing up. I was humbled. I was ashamed I doubted. I was grateful that God is so loving He uses examples like this to prepare us for the larger things ahead.
It was a miracle not only that there wasn’t a tear, but that he did that with a smile and ZERO FEAR. I doubted God was able; I labeled my situation before it even happened….and then I realized after today…GOD IS ABLE. I will no longer let the experiences of the past determine the ones of the future. I will begin to speak life and positivity. Knowing that life is full of tests and trials, everything may not be perfect but everything will be OKAY BECAUSE HE CAN, HE WILL, AND EVERY DAY HE BLESSES US MIRACLES! I will believe. Little Isaiah has great and mighty plans upon his life. I document this story as one more to add to the LIST of them that I have, to reassure Him that our heavenly Father loves him, adores him, has favor over him, and has great plans for him. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
I encourage anyone who may be feeling hopeless or doubtful based on how it looks and feels….to believe GOD CAN AND HE IS ABLE TO DO ALL THINGS….
Deuteronomy 31:8 – Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.
And the icing on the cake, I could not find my wallet today when I was at the hospital. I was starting to panic bc of all that is in it…prayed hard because I knew the anxiety it could impose with the cards and fraud issues…so at lunch today went back to my last stop WALMART…ehhh…walked to customer service and asked by chance if a wallet got turned in…and sure enough she came out with it!!! SO THANKFUL for the favor of the honest person who came across it in the parking lot and turned it in!
There is a title I worked months to earn, that I waited years to hear articulated. From the time I knew that we would gain a daughter from across the ocean, I prayed about it, pled for it, and then tried to lay down a foundation of security so that I might hear it spoken out loud, by her. What did I want so desperately to be called by my tiny beauty?
I knew I was her mama, but to hear that word loft from her lips as a sweet offering of acceptance and intimacy—it would be the culmination of so many dreams and prayers.
She spoke it for the first time about three months after her Adoption Day, mouth awkwardly maneuvering into position, trying to find her voice. Then at last: “Mmmaaammmaa.”
I was prepared for the joy, the elation, the relief I experienced with that sweet spoken word. At last! She knows I’m Mama. Do you know what I wasn’t ready for? The grief. Even now, when she looks at me with eyes full of trust and love that have been earned over many months, leans in close and whispers, “You’re my mama,” my heart contracts. It contracts with so much love and gratitude for the place to which we’ve come that I’m overwhelmed. Yet simultaneously . . . at the same exact moment . . . it squeezes with grief for the woman who originally bore that name. Right or wrong, my heart can’t help but whisper, “She should be saying this to her,” and I want to weep for this woman. I don’t at all feel guilty for being Lucy’s mother, but I ache because of the brokenness that made it necessary for me to be her mother.
The heartbreaking part of adoption is that in a perfect world, it would not exist. Families would stay together. Mothers would not be forced to leave their little ones behind. And so, we live in a constant state of dichotomy. With every milestone achieved, with each new display of affection or familiarity, we celebrate—and we mourn. We mourn for the one who would not, who could not remain in this priceless role of mother.
As our kids get older, they feel it, too. No matter what age a child is when adopted, there may always be an underlying sense of grief. Even infants adopted at birth can carry around a subconscious burden of loss that, in most cases, will somehow surface throughout life. They know they are special, they know they are chosen, they know they are loved, but they also know that their stories were birthed out of brokenness, and it hurts.
How do we—and our children—live with loss in a way that is redemptive instead of debilitating?
Disney attempted to answer this question in the surprisingly profound hit movie, Inside Out. The main characters of the film are the emotions of a little girl named Riley: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. While trying to navigate a season of loss in Riley’s life, Joy realizes that Sadness is a crucial component of Riley’s emotional health. If Sadness is not recognized and embraced, Joy is superficial and forced.
How true this is! If we simply stuff, hide, or ignore the very real element of loss in our children’s stories, the joy we try to offer them will feel shallow. If we choose not to recognize our own hearts’ opposing contractions of happiness and sorrow as we grow in intimacy with our children, we will never fully appreciate the gifts that have sacrificially been given to us. To be human is to experience both emotions simultaneously and not deny either one access to our hearts.
So, we celebrate milestones. We cheer on bonding and trust, and then we weep for the very same things. We weep for our children. We weep with our children. We say, “I know this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. I’m so sorry.”
But there is more.
Disney did well, but they did not paint the full picture. As believers we know that this dichotomy will not always exist. There is a King who will return to make all things right, a Savior who will absorb the sorrow. In this we have amazing hope, and we can offer this hope to our children. Through tears we can proclaim, “Dear ones, this is not how it will always be. The King is coming. The King is coming! One day, the light will dawn and remain. The ache will dissipate. You will no longer feel conflicted. You won’t have to feel happy and sad for the exact same reasons. You will only find it easy to love. The day is coming—just you wait and see.”
And then? Joy. Only joy.
This article is an excerpt from Jennifer Phillips’ new book, 30 Days of Hope for Adoptive Parents, available at Amazon, Lifeway, or anywhere books are sold.
Jennifer is also the author of the widely-praised book, Bringing Lucy Home. She is the mother of four, including one precious daughter from China.
“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.” Valerie Harper