With Mother's Day quickly approaching, I thought the time was right to reflect on the perfect nature of our living God. Last year for Mother's Day, I celebrated with my husband and two wonderful boys. Actually, my wonderful husband took care of our boisterous boys so that mama could have a few hours of peace and quiet. (Something my own mother said she wanted for nearly every occasion, but we insisted on perfume, earrings, or the like. Now I know...all she really did want was peace and quiet!)
Last year, our Dossier was in Ethiopia and we were waiting for our referral. Initially (before God's nudging and us realizing the plan He had in store for our family), we had requested a little girl between 0-36 months. On Mother's Day, we would have been waiting approximately two months. On Mother's Day, our daughter was alive, most likely with her birth family and our son was waiting in the orphanage with older children, wondering who his new family would be and when they would arrive. I remember praying hard for our children last year, children 8000 miles away whom we had never met. I prayed that God would somehow unite us in spirit, in ways our eyes may never physically see, and give us peace and wisdom that only He could provide. I also remember praying that our daughter was with her birth mother, being nursed, and was able to form a loving attachment. (Because of the age range we were requesting, we felt we would be matched with a toddler, not an infant.)
How truly amazing God is and how perfectly he matches children with their forever families!
Behind the scenes, His plan was unfolding. Someone on the other side of the earth was either sick and dying or planning to give up their daughter. A grandmother caring for her grandson has died suddenly, leaving no one able to care for him. In a perfect world, no one would ever have to decide whether or not to abandon their child. In a perfect world, medication would have been accessible so that birth parents would not have died. In a perfect world, God's love would move people to care for one another and put others before self. However, we live in a fallen world, a world fraught with injustice, social inequity, poverty, epidemics, and self-serving behavior. How sad the state of our world; yet how our God continues to love us and work through the mess we create.
Last year, as we continued to wait for our referral, God opened our eyes to the countless older children waiting for homes. While we never thought in a million years He would ask us (whose oldest child at the time was only three years of age) to adopt an older child, He insisted on waking me up every night around 3:00 a.m. until I got the message. "Ummm...do you know that boy you have been praying about for months? Yes, it is you...you are his family. Yes, you. Why not you? Just because you don't know anything about parenting a pre-adolescent doesn't mean you can't learn. Be willing. Trust me." It was the voice of truth! The other voices I was hearing up until God quietly got His point across, went something like this: "Surely you cannot do this. What do you know about older kids, anyway? Don't you have enough on your plate? Three preschoolers and a non-English speaking eleven year old. Good luck with that! Be scared...be very, very scared. Older kids could kill you...burn your house down, stab you in your sleep! Come on, don't you read the news." One thing I have learned over the years is anything that elicits fear and not love does not come from God. Period. I told those voices to take a hike and the rest is history.
Well, not quite. When I first told my husband that we, in fact, were supposed to be the family of 'that boy we had been praying for daily', he about fell over. Then, to my amazement, he got up from the ground and said, "OK, let's do it!" Then...the rest is history.
We have now been home for three months with Sporty (11 years old) and Sassy (now 20 months old). Let me just tell you how perfectly God matched us. All of our children are strong-willed, independent, spunky, athletic, loud, and eager to learn. I am amazed at how quickly (even though the days and nights have been very long, exhausting, and challenging) our family has created a 'new normal' and how quickly everyone has adjusted to their new roles. How the children have formed new relationships with each sibling separately and also collectively as a new family unit. How my husband and I have recreated our daily routines to account for the soccer practices, homework, and caring for four children. Sporty, social yet shy, has jumped right into the mix at school, in our neighborhood, and on the soccer field. He is neither a sociopath nor an arson. Yet, sensitive, caring, intuitive, and is full of life. Sassy, our little princess, dons her helmet and gets right in the mix with boys. (Like her mommy, she doesn't realize how small she actually is!) She mirrors my words, actions, and gestures and attempts to mother the rest of the house. She is full of energy, curiosity, and spunk. The three little ones are best friends and typical siblings. While only 10% of the world's population is left-handed, currently 50% of our household right-brained. (I'm not sure what this means, but thought it was an interested fact.)
Oh, and just this morning Sassy did the (seemingly) strangest thing. She pulled at my shirt and said, "Mommy, milk." She has never done this before but in the past week I have sensed that memories of her past life are blurring and will eventually fade. She looked at me, her mommy and blended together her old and new life. I was not the mommy who nursed her, but in a nod from God spoken through two words from our daughter, He answered my prayer. Sassy was indeed nursed and had formed a healthy attachment with her first mom. God is faithful.
In adoption circles, we often speak of how perfectly God matches children and families. While this used to be a statement conveying blind faith and trust, it is now something I have witnessed through faith and with my own eyes. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, "Trust in the Lord God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will direct your paths." I only wished I could have embraced this truth so fully from the beginning, as it would have taken away so much of the stress that surrounds adoption.
Thank you, God for trusting us in our imperfect and flawed ways. Thank you for teaching us to trust in you always and lean not on our own understanding. Thank you for working out all of the countless details to bring together and unite our entire family. Adoption truly is a match made in heaven.