rip′ple effect` n. A spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event.
As we guided our weekend Chinese exchange student through Washington D.C. on Saturday, I heard him say multiple times with a big smile on his face, “I have seen these places in American films so many times. And now here I am. It is amazing.” And it really was amazing. We stayed up late and talked and shared each other’s cultures, we laughed a lot, we shared food, we taught him how to pick crabs, we introduced him to our family, we walked over four miles all over D.C., and we took him to church for the first time. Traveling from across the world, he became our fourth child for the weekend. Our family spent the weekend with a practical stranger because our hearts had been opened to Chinese students through a long series of events. Had we not adopted Sunshine from China two years ago, we might not have a heart for China today. We wouldn’t have met the sweet family (who we now call very dear friends) that introduced us to IECS. My husband probably wouldn’t have spent two weeks in China (with IECS) teaching English to university students in May. And we probably wouldn’t have a heart for Chinese students now, which led us to host a weekend student, and is likewise leading us to host another student for the entire school year beginning next month. I should also add that we found out about both hosting programs through other adoptive parents that are part of the big, awesome, loving adoptive family network (which we also wouldn’t be a part of if we hadn’t adopted). And this particular ripple effect only has to do with serving Chinese students.
See what I mean?
There have been many other ripples caused because of our adoption journey, not even related to Chinese students. Too many to count. And I suspect probably many that we don’t even know about. It’s overwhelming to think about. We have met so many sweet families through adoption, some who have become our very closest friends. My best mama friends are part of the adoption sisterhood too. I have come to know many Chinese friends that I never would have met. I have had the privilege of ministering to other adoptive families, advocating for children, and watching them be united with their forever families. But it hasn’t been all one-sided – we’ve been poured into and learned from many other adoptive parents as well.
Our family has grown and changed in ways that I never dreamed of too. I love being a part of this ripple effect and walking through this journey. It’s amazing how God can use a willingness to step out in faith in one way to cause a chain of events that is much more widespread than one would ever think possible. And I know He isn’t finished yet.