We started our adoption journey after a mission trip to the Navajo nation in Arizona. Leaving our three children behind, we set out to minister to others.While we were there, we saw the “big picture of life”, as we like to call it. We saw things on our trip that were bigger than ourselves. We saw just how God could work in a situation that was so heartbreaking. God was speaking to us. The secret to listening was simple. We were still. We had been so busy with our three “stair-step children”, ball games, and distractions.
Since that trip, our lives haven’t been the same. We view the world totally different than when we left for the Navajos. The “big picture” of life is with much clarity now. We try to serve others before ourselves in a way that brings us ultimate joy in the Lord. Because of His whispers to us, our hearts grew two sizes that day. We headed home and started the adoption process immediately.
We waited painstakingly for our daughter. In June of 2015, we brought her home from China – and our hearts grew even more!
Our first medical visit in America was to the cardiologist. We had our echocardiogram and the doctor sent us to our room. He came in and said that he had found a large mass on her liver. As the room began to spin and all my hearing was lost, all I could do was read his lips after that statement. I had to keep my composure because my four little ones were all looking at me, but I was melting inside. Then, I had a peace. I literally said to myself, “Thank God”…. Thank God that we didn’t know about a liver mass when we were reviewing her file. We would have never said “yes” to her… and that makes me sick. (The “mass” turned out to be her gallbladder from an infection years ago from either dirty water or Salmonella).
Our sweet Joy changed our hearts to special needs. We will forever be in debt to her for that gift she has brought, wrapped in such a beautifully adorned package of giggles, kindness, and sweet love.
We have had a hard time since June with five surgeries and many doctors visits. While we were in the hospital over Thanksgiving, my husband surprisingly found the picture of the child who would become our next daughter. We weren’t even looking to adopt again. But he was 100% sure that she was ours. Here we are in such hard place in life, and he wants to add a daughter to the mix? Dossier paperwork, visits to the notary, Secretary of State, Department of Homeland Security and all the other parts this adoption would entail? I had a brief moment of despair. But then I asked myself who am I to question what God spoke to my husband? We said “yes” to the mess because Jesus said “yes” to ours.
Then we reflected upon that “hard place” we were in. Was it really a hard place or were we in an awesome place? Our daughter, Joy, was getting first-class medical treatment and would be healed. That was far worth the medical bills, hospital stays, round-the-clock care, and weariness. It is all perspective. As Mary Beth Chapman said, “If we keep our heads down, either out of defeat or loss or tiredness…whatever the reason, we are going to miss the beautiful sun (and Son) that is right there in front of us, shining its warmth on our faces and souls.”
Our biological children have changed also in a ways that I have the upmost respect for. They want to serve others now, while holding their new sister’s hand and gently putting their hands on her back. Many people seem to worry how adoption will affect the biological children at home. I will admit, it has changed them. It has changed them in ways I only thought it could in my dreams. I asked my eldest daughter, Anna, this week if she could erase our past with Joy, would she choose to do this all over again? She almost gave me a disgusting look and said, “Mama, don’t even say that. I would choose her again in a second.”
Our new daughter will be home in 2016. We often think of the negatives of adopting versus the positives. Every reason not to adopt, for us, was selfish reasons. There is no room for “selfish” in God’s Kingdom, and we just had to lay our burdens down at His feet and obey.
We have learned that God never called any of us to be happy. He never called us to be comfortable. He called us to be His. Through him, we are happy and we have everything we could ever need. I urge anyone who has a heart for adoption, and feels God is speaking to your heart, to please say “yes” to this beautiful mess. Attachment is tricky, special needs are time consuming, but the blessings outweigh all the trials and pain.
We chose both of our girls because, well, they were our girls. Medical needs didn’t define them. Our hearts connected, and we just knew that they were ours. When faced with a scary medical condition, my husband and I always say to one another, “We would handle this if it occurred with our children that are home now, so why would this be different?” Curve balls are thrown in life, but you just have to trust and hit them out of the park. Let’s face it – no one that chooses adoption is choosing the “easy and comfortable” path! So, I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see and trust His plan, because His plans are far greater than any plan that I could make.
We didn’t choose tethered cord, congenital heart disease, cleft lip and palate, or any of the other needs. We chose our child. My six year old daughter asks me daily if she grew in my belly, as if she’s hoping one day for my answer to be different. I proudly answer every time, “No, you grew in my heart.”
They were chosen, they are treasured, and “yes, they are all ours!”
– guest post by Allison