Adoptive families are no stranger to fighting the good fight. We fight to bring our children home, through multiple levels of bureaucracy, sometimes through the government requirements of multiple countries. We battle cultural, language and jet lag barriers to have our child placed in our arms. Then the real struggles seem to begin:
We fight for our child’s heart. We fight for their development, for their strength, for their health, their emotions and their spirits. We become fluent in the secret language of healthcare and education and politics. We translate and advocate and negotiate and defend and champion for the future of hope our child has a God-given right to.
Some days harder than others, but everyday screams I will fight so you don’t have to.
It can be exhausting.
In the midst of all the battles, of holding our ground, of fighting for our child’s future any victory can seem small or easily passable as the next battle looms. But at some point in the fight we have to transition from picking our battles to holding on to the victories.
Your sweetheart with deep anxiety finally slept through the night. TRIUMPH!
Your precious one with a speech delay calls out for Mamma/ Daddy. Heart warming VICTORY!
He picks up the spoon and feeds himself. HALLELUJAH!
She initiates physical touch in the middle of the grocery store. GOD IS GOOD!
He makes it through the preschool day without needing the one-on-one. TIME FOR FIREWORKS!
He alternated steps going up the stairs. THAT IS AWESOME!
She looked you in the eyes. PRAISE YOU LORD!
She got an B in school. MIRACLE!
You get 30 minutes of restoration alone or with your spouse. THANK YOU JESUS!
They can seem so little, maybe even insignificant to the outside world. But these are the bits of gold, the glimmers of hope that we gather up to build our altar of remembrance: Right here in this place, our God provided VICTORY!
I love the Old Testament account of Joshua leading the Israelites across the Jordan. The Lord miraculously had held back the waters of a spring flooded river to allow His children and the Ark to cross on dry land. Following the Lord’s instructions, they built a stone memorial of 12 large river rocks “as a permanent memorial among the people of
Israel” (Joshua 4:4-7). Our God has not changed. He still holds back the waters for our safe passage. If even just in our heart, should we not continue to build memorials to God’s victory in our adoption-centered lives?
When your victory comes (and it will!), mark the moment! Find a way to hold onto that victory and build your own altar of remembrance:
1. Take a photo or video. Get crazy with your selfie-self!
2. Journal or blog the experience.
3. Call a trusted friend/family member to brag or cry or both.
4. Post the account on Facebook/ Instagram/Twitter.
5. Create a craft or piece of art that commemorates the day.
6. Prepare a special meal, bake a cake, go out for ice cream.
7. Pick a scripture, psalm or anthem and assign it to the event.
8. But a piece of jewelry to remember the day.
9. Find a physical object (perhaps an actual stone) from the place of victory.
No matter how the memorial takes place, the point is to stop, if even for a breath, and acknowledge the moment; to give God the glory He is due and then hold tight to that triumph for dear life. The battles between the victories can be long and tiresome but you now hold proof that success can…and will be had again. It is a remembrance to you in the midst of those sometimes long and dark valleys.
Piece by piece the altar grows. As the altar grows, faith grows. As faith grows, testimonies grow. As testimonies grow the lives around you change forever. And THAT is an impressive triumph.
“Joshua also built another memorial of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. The memorial remains there to this day.” (Joshua 4:9)
As we are in the midst of the war for our children’s future, we know that God has already won, but what victory, no matter how “small” do I need to hold on to? What artifact of God’s goodness will carry my faith through the looming battles? And we can ask ourselves, how is my altar of remembrance speaking to those around me? What memorial of God’s faithfulness in my adoption journey will remain?
– photo by Tish Goff