by Tamera, mom to Bethany from China with a limb difference
As we have pursued adoption in China, God has taught us many lessons about His grace. One of those lessons happened in rural China in August of 2007. We were bringing home our second daughter from China. By God’s grace we had persevered through the long wait and the extensive bureaucratic process of two governments. During the long wait, we had prepared our home for this new little toddler. New paint, a closet full of pretty clothes that no orphan would ever know, shoes she could call her own, a pantry full of nourishing food, and most important a family with arms ready to embrace this newest member. Once an orphan casted out to the outskirts of rural China, our new daughter would now have full birth rights and a family name of her own. She would now be a member of Team Wong.
I remember the moment we first laid eyes on her. Her tiny, little, 2-year-old, frame clutched tightly to the orphanage nanny. She held so tightly to the only life she knew. We were introduced to her as her new mommy and daddy. But you see, she was an orphan and did not know what it meant to have a mommy and daddy who would love her unconditionally – parents who would love her, would look past her human imperfections, and would call her our “own”. I reached out my arms to her as I could hardly wait to embrace her and welcome her to our family. I reached out and she clutched tighter to the orphanage nanny. Her eyes were full of fear, doubt, and sheer terror. We spoke a different language and talked about great plans we had for her. It was almost baffling to the human eye to see this tiny, little girl grip so tightly to a life with little hope and little comfort. We had planned and prepared a home for her.
I was prepared by the social worker that our new daughter might exhibit this grief and might reject us at first. But to see the grief and anguish in our little girl’s eyes, to see her resist her new family and her new life was difficult. During the next few challenging days, we patiently waited for her to trust us. It was during that difficult time that God reminded me, ever so gently about my own adoption. You see, I too am adopted. Not in the worldly sense, but in the spiritual sense. When I became a Christian, a child of God, I, too, at times, clutched tightly to my old life. I clutched tightly to my sinful life full of little hope and little comfort. God has prepared a place for each of us and wants us to be adopted through Christ’s blood into His family. He too has a promise of full inheritance and a Team we can join called the Family of God. Sometimes we grieve and resist saying goodbye to our third world life. It is sometimes difficult to trust and to have faith beyond our circumstances. But 1 John 3:1 says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Those days of gloom and despair soon passed and our daughter now has a better understanding of what it means to belong to a family. She has learned to call me “mama” and Bryan “daddy”. She now trusts that we will take care of her needs. She is no longer an orphan. She is no longer all alone. God’s grace has abounded in my life and He has blessed me beyond measure for a simple act of obedience in adoption.