I see you adoptive momma, readying yourself for a trip to the other side. You’re standing there in the travel size isle in Target. Lists falling from your handbag. You are sweating and it’s 68 degrees in here. I want to run over and hug you (actually I may). I want to bring some calm into your chaos.
I also want to tell you that you are going to China… not the moon. It will be okay to forego the portable water purification system annnnnnd the Cheerios.
Take a deep breath, take a walk. Go for a jog, ride a bike. The payoff will be huge for you and your family. Read blogs with ideas for the big family day. These are precious moments that you will never get back. They can be stressful but they are golden down the road. We have been home from our second trip for less than four months and I have to say I do not regret for one second not packing that toothbrush and toothpaste. (That’s a fact and another post all together.)
In all of your preparation I pray that you allow God to ready your heart for what can sometimes be rugged emotional terrain.
I had no idea when we started on this journey, that we would make more than one trip. I’m also not sure that we have made our last. Truth is, I’m just not the same. For some of my people, it’s been just too much, and I totally get it. Sometimes I myself am overwhelmed by the much-ness of it.
I felt a strong burden, early in our adoption journey, to pray for our little one’s first momma. We were not yet matched with a child, and this burden left me almost in a panic. Things swam around in my brain, and for days I struggled with knowing how to pray. I worried over needs not being met, or lack of resources. I was sure I wasn’t going to bring something to His attention, as if He were unaware. This was about something else.
Not long after I began praying for this momma, we received a referral for a little girl two weeks shy of three years old, weighing 19 pounds with a CHD, TOF repair and a laundry list of delays. We were terrified and overwhelmed with the ultrasound images and tests and chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. What scared me the most was I knew I was going to be her momma, as I had trouble executing a proper bandage. What I didn’t realize at the time was this little love’s heart wasn’t the issue, it was mine.
Shall not God search this out? For He knoweth the secrets of the heart. – Psalms 44:21
I went after adoption with a ton of fight. My prayers had been hard and fast for a defenseless, abandoned child, someone who had no one to speak up for them, nowhere to belong. I’m not suggesting that this is not what we are called to. The Bible is clear about orphan care and the responsibility we have to the fatherless. The thing that I didn’t expect was how He would, and still is, use adoption to change me. There are heinous acts committed against children all over the world. It is evil. I see it on the news, I hear it from organizations I serve with. I have knowledge of things in my brain that sometimes I just want to un-know. But as image bearers we are called into the darkness… and my spirit went “search and rescue” before the ink dried on our adoption application.
As I continued to pour over this file and stare at pictures of my girl, I started to try to reconcile the tragedy of this eleven day old infant, blue from a broken heart. How do you walk away? How do you surrender, not knowing?
She had a piece of paper pinned to her clothes that gave a birthday and a name. A few days later, over conversation about the paper, a friend who lives in China asked if she could find out the meaning of the name from a local friend of hers. I agreed. She explained that names are rarely trendy in China. They most often hold significant meaning.
That next email wrecked me in every. single. way. She had been given the name, “Little Work of Art.” These four little words brought forth prayers for this broken momma. And in my brokenness for her, God whispered that sometimes love, at its greatest, looks like surrender.
It tore down my white picket fence. It exposed a fissure in my heart that had formed the day we buried my dearest aunt. It was the lie that was buried so deep, and covered with so much white church paint, I hardly remembered the moment it entered my thoughts.
…..He doesn’t care.
My aunt only ever wanted to be a momma, and tirelessly practiced her craft on me, until her miracle child came when I was 11. The majority of memories now held by this miracle boy are mostly of a sick momma, because who remembers anything before the age of three?
The enemy had kept this lie safe beneath the surface with my desire for justice and fairness. God was using, once again, the loss of a mother to expose it.
It took 108 days to receive our LOA. Do I think He was unaware that my child needed a mother? No, He knew. He also knew that I needed to know He is broken over every fatherless and motherless child. As much as His heart ached for me to trust Him with the one I couldn’t yet wrap my arms around, I had to give her to Him, as well as the two already in my care. I wanted to control and to monitor and expedite.
I wanted Him to move the mountains. And He was. Only they were located in my heart.
I still want justice and fairness, but Jesus called for none of those things from the cross. In fact, He went before the Father asking His forgiveness for us and surrendering His spirit.
On my second trip to China, we set aside a day to do something we missed on our first trip, a visit to our heart girl’s finding place. Sure we could have made it happen the first trip, our girl was sick, but one of us could have gone. This wasn’t His plan. I think He knew that Dad would be the one to catalog the experience on the first trip, and He wanted me there. He wanted me on that sidewalk grasping my little one, trying to protect her from traffic. He wanted to bring me to the place where He was, and I wasn’t. It was my first time on that sidewalk, but it was not His. He was there and He is where we cannot be.
The best realization I have had is that I am not enough. I cannot undo the hurt, or restart the beginnings, all I can do is lead them to the one who can. They belong to Him. They are His, and we are the privileged stewards.
Surrender is not the word I was looking for when I started this journey. It’s all upside down, this economy of heaven. The best way to prepare a heart for adoption, for Kingdom work… because that’s what this is, this otherworldly, “not of my own” love, is a yielded and deeply surrendered heart.
— guest post by Amy