From Kelli: The 30 Day Share Adoption Challenge has been embraced by hundreds. I’m so excited to see so many take on the challenge of sharing the many facets of adoption. This 30 day project began as a simple conversation about how there are never enough families willing to step forward for the millions of children that wait. How do we educate, take away those fears, explain the tremendous need? We hope this project will do just that.
As we were preparing to launch this project, we only had a matter of a few hours. God seems to work that way sometimes when we don’t expect it. I asked my many friends in adoption on social media what their favorite quotes and readings pertaining to adoption were. Many of these very saying were probably shared with you today during church services as today is Orphan Sunday. I had heard many of them, held many dear to my heart, and then my friend, Kelley, posted one that punched me in the gut.
“My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed him.” – Derek Loux
I must have read this quote a dozen times before I gained my breath back. “When God set out to redeem us, it killed him.” Every Sunday as we sit in our church pews, we hear sermons about how we are so loved by God, how Jesus gave his life for us, and how we are called to follow Him. But as we leave these church pews at the end of service, what do we do to give glory to Him? James 1:27 calls us to care for the orphans and the widows. God doesn’t suggest that we do this, we are told that we must. During Orphan Sunday today, I thank each and every one of you for sharing the joys of adoption, the trials and tribulations, the process, the expenses, etc. You are becoming the hands and feet that will help to bring these children home to families where they are wanted, valued, and loved. Adoption is indeed redemption.
The following is a post from my dear friend, Kelley Berry. In adoption, there are so many things that we miss out on. Our child’s first steps, first words, first heartache. As our child waits, there are many heartaches. But when they become our child, a child who is loved and valued, we gain so much more. As parents, we are the ones who are blessed by these children. They are blessed, but we get to see the world through their unknowing eyes.
From Kelley: Our kids are no longer orphans! Praise Jesus! But there are always reminders that stop you in your tracks. You find yourself having moments where you flash back to life before “YOU” – before they were in our arms, they were somewhere else. They were in an institution – even the nicest of orphanages (like Regis’s) they were without a momma and a daddy. They were missing that very relationship we all are designed by our heavenly father to flourish under. My boy lived almost 4 years without that relationship.
We as adoptive parents enter that journey of redemption with them, we take on their pain, we take on their grief…..
We sit with them when they are crying and grieving
We watch them glaze over or shut down when there may be too many people around, or they have too much stimulation.
We take them off the playground because some other child has startled them so badly its reminded them of being in the orphanage and they can’t stop crying
We sit with them during night terrors, not allowed to touch because that will set them off even more.
We sit through pediatric, dentist, ENT, cardiac, orthopedic, and so many other specialist doctor appointments while our child flails and cries and yells because their only experience with doctors has been rough and hurtful, and without compassion..
We fill out form after form that serves as a constant reminder our child was once an orphan because we don’t have the answers for family medical history
We get to hear “they are so lucky to be in your family” when when we know nothing about their past wast was lucky….
We find we can’t put footed pajamas on our child because our child was restrained at some point in the orphanage and this triggers terror
We get asked question after question about their “real parents”
We get asked what’s wrong with our kids feet, or eyes, hands, or head
We hear them yell “don’t leave me mommy” when we leave to run an errand, knowing they remember being left by their birth mom
We get stares and second glances and questions about how much our kids “cost”
We have to go to their rooms to see if they have woken up in the morning because they have learned not to cry upon waking, because no one comes
We find food under their pillows, stashed away in their rooms because the fear of running out of food is still so fresh in their little minds
We sit with them when they cry that cry that takes our breath away
We love them through the screams and tantrums and screams of “you’re not my mommy”
We see them regress and shutter at the sound at someone speaking Mandarin or their native language to them.
We rub our hands on the back of their sweet heads, so flat from being left in crib for hours on end – a reminder for life that they were left alone, left too long….
We get to see them blow bubbles for the first time
We get to see them slide down a slide and play on a play ground for the first time
We get to see them try a new food for the first time
We get to see them slowly gain trust in us
We get to hear our deaf child say “I love you” after of weeks of hard work and determination to communicate.
We get to see them try cotton candy for the fist time and see the cutest sticky faced grin!
We get to see their hair start to grow, their little ribs not to show so much, and they finally get to be “on” the growth chart at the doctors
We get to see them gain the strength to sit up at 24 months of age, to stand, and to begin to walk.
We get to tell our story to complete strangers and see them smile
We get to see their lips turn pink for the first time in months after their heart surgery
We get to see them light up around their new brothers and sisters, establishing relationships that will last a lifetime!
We get to experience all their “firsts” through their eyes
We get to see JOY
We get to feel it
We get a glimpse, a taste of the Joy our heavenly Father experiences in us, when we join His family
And you know what? These ALL outweigh the hard and the tantrums and the cries
Our children who come to us through adoption have a lifetime of hurdles, they are not all of a sudden ok when we bring them home. They are resilient, yes. They are miracles.
As adoptive parents we have chosen to walk the path with them, sometimes it will be easy, but sometimes we don’t or won’t know what to do. So we pray for the Father’s help, and we pray for the day when they take the step and ask the Savior to come into their sweet hearts and they finally experience the real redemption and healing only Jesus can provide.
— photos by Tish Goff