There are adoptive families of all sorts. Families who adopt and have biological children. Families who have only adopted children. Families who adopt more than one over several years. Families who adopt two at the same time. Families who adopt only one.
Families who knew from the start that they would adopt one day, and families who were surprised by the call to adopt. Families that adopt internationally, families that pursue open adoptions, families that adopt children through foster care.
Our family? We are in the “we had biological children and then were surprised by the call to adopt” boat. I was actually involved with loving orphans through prayer long before we knew that we were meant to adopt ourselves. I prayed for friends who were adopting. I prayed for waiting children I saw that tugged at my heart.
One day, though, I clearly knew that adoption was for us; that our family of five was going to be a family of six. I prayed for confirmation and clarification for several months before even letting my husband know that I felt the Lord was calling US to adopt!
And then after that first conversation, spent a lot of time praying for unity (which the Lord granted) and peace (which He poured out on us) and patience (we are still learning the joy of His perfect timing!)
Earlier this year our “pre” adoption journey ended. In that moment of our airport arrival, when our new life officially began in my mind, I remember clearly thinking, “I don’t know how people do this more than once!” I may have even verbalized that thought to a fellow adoptive friend. It’s hard, right? The process, the waiting, the agonizing knowing that your child is YOURS, and yet you cannot see them face-to-face until the paperwork chase is over. And then when you finally see them, there is the new hardship and challenge of forming attachments and bonds to a child who doesn’t know you, and a mama and daddy who don’t know the child beyond a few pictures and videos, either!
The days pass, the newness and jetlag wear off, the daily settling into life happens.
However, the knowledge that there are MORE little ones out there, that there are thousands more without a home, without a mama to kiss boo-boos or snuggle them never wears off, does it? I know it hasn’t for me. I’m often crushed by the sheer need for families to step up and say, “HERE WE ARE! SEND US!” I am grieved by the pictures that show sad eyes and I am broken by the knowledge that right now, just in the orphanage our daughter was, there are hundreds more that wait; most who will probably never know what “mama” or “baba” actually means during their own childhoods. I look at the pictures and I ache. I ache because there are so many. I ache because I want all of them to find love in a family.
I’ve thought to myself on occasion, “will we go back?” There are parts of me that want to, the parts that see the widespread injustice and sheer magnitude of need and feel it would be wrong not to. There are parts of me that don’t want to because the whole experience is still just too fresh, and our daily life is often feels like we are just one train stop away from Crazy Town!
After much prayer asking for more unity, and more peace, and more clarity, the answer to the question, “will we go back” for OUR family is this: right now, no. Not because that’s what we declare to be truth. It’s a “no” because every time I pray about a face that grabs my heart in a particularly strong way, I hear, “no”. Not for now. Not for us. I look at our daughter and see that while she has come so far in five very short months, she has much farther to go in learning what family looks like.
WE have much farther to go in learning what family, with her, looks like! For OUR family, she is the one that still needs our “yes” every day. Julianne and her sister and her two brothers need to be our focus right now: teaching, learning, modeling, and growing together.
I still have the burden. I still feel an ache. Now what?
There is a Facebook page on which Waiting Children in China are advocated for. I hop on to that page and pray for those faces. Sometimes I will scroll through the pictures of children waiting in foster care centers like New Day or Little Flower. I following the Morning Star Project and rejoice when families are able to stay together. When a little one grabs my heart in a different and special way, I pray harder. I look for them, I seek out information, I bump them up to the top of the lists, and I pray. I read files, I find out about needs, I share their pictures, and I pray.
Another mama called herself a “Prayer Mama” once in an online thread I was reading, and that title is one I can hold on to. I may not be the Mama that God calls for that particular child, but I can be their Prayer Mama! I can grieve as they wait, and rejoice as they are found. Somewhere, God is calling their family to them, and I plead on their behalf that the family would see that face, feel the prompting of the Lord, and declare, “HERE WE ARE! SEND US!”
I join in challenges like this one, and dedicate myself to prayer without ceasing for a little face in need of a family. Prayer moves mountains, and some of these little ones need mountains moved to find families. Want to be a mountain mover? Join this challenge, or create your own!
It is easy for those of us who have experienced the joys of adopting a son or daughter into our families to get hooked on that joy. We want more of it because we see the beauty of it. We look back at Day One and see how much has changed, and it causes rejoicing in our hearts. Who wouldn’t want more of that?!?
Today my joy is to love the daughter God gave us this year. I answer her hundreds of, “Mommy, can I?” questions, all designed to reassure herself that she is a part of the activities she sees happening around her. I watch her play with her siblings and don my hypothetical referee jersey to teach all of them what sharing looks like with four kids in the mix. I brush her hair off into pigtails and agree with her when she says, “I like dat hair!” I pick her up and kiss her when she falls down and gets hurt. I sing Jesus Loves Me to her before she drifts into peaceful. I learn by resting under the wings of the Father what it looks like to protect her heart. I pray for a slumbering world to wake up so that other families will know the joy we know. I’m a Mama, and I’m a Prayer Mama.
Here are two of the worthy ones, just TWO of the children that are so well known by the Father that have captured my heart. They have the same medical need as our daughter, and I am happy to answer any and all questions I am able to. I pray for them constantly. Would you join me, or will you find a face of one who needs a family that pulls at your heart? Will you commit to praying every day for 14 days for them? Would you share them with those who cross paths with you in your life?
Would you make known and plead the case of the orphan? Would you even ask if YOU are the one meant to say, “here am I, SEND ME!”
Curtis is a precious 3-year-old boy with Epidermolysis Bullosa. As of September he could walk while holding onto something, and occasionally without help, but he is very cautious. Every few steps he’ll stop, and look back at caregivers, who will clap to tell him “Good job!”
Curtis’s file is currently with WACAP, but is due to be returned to the shared list very soon! They are offering a waiver in the pre-approval fee, a waiver in the application fee, and a $4000 grant for eligible families. WACAP is willing to transfer his file, but the grant is only for eligible WACAP families.
Email for more information!
Case is a precious 7-year-old boy, also with Epidermolysis Bullosa. “My caretakers say despite some painful days, I am a very strong and courageous little boy! I love to sing children’s songs and be creative by making woven bracelets out of beads. I am also very fond of drawing! My caretakers say I have excellent language competence and that I am a polite and kind boy.”
Case’s file is currently with Great Wall. Email for more information.
— photo by Tish Goff