Yesterday was the 3rd anniversary of when our boys officially became ours. I remember often how clear God’s instructions to us were. We had not gone to Ethiopia with the plan to adopt. We, in fact, argued with God about the idea. But out of a deep desire to follow His will for our lives (as opposed to our own will), we chose to walk in obedience and proceed with adoption plans. We started out obeying rather reluctantly, but we got more and more excited about the idea as we went along.
Although we had ideas in our minds about the ages of children we were looking for, we committed as a family to welcome whomever God had chosen for us. And so, when we were introduced to a shy, malnourished, eight-year-old boy, we quickly realized that he was God’s choice for us.
We knew it would be hard. We read about the monumental difficulties involved in adopting an older child. We heard lots of expert and anecdotal advice about adopting out of birth order. We understood that those would be much larger factors than the basic adopted-vs-biological-children conflicts and bi-racial family drama that many other families face in their adoption journeys. But we chose to obey the Father who had all of those details in His hand.
I’m glad we didn’t know then what we know now. It would have been much harder to obey. I don’t know if I could have gone through with it. These three years have been awful. And there’s no end in sight. But I’m not giving up. I believe with everything that I am that God Almighty has a good plan for our family. I don’t believe that He made a mistake in giving this boy to us. I don’t believe that we misheard His voice. I know that we have made a lot of mistakes in these past three years, and have therefore probably missed out on a lot of joy that could’ve been ours. But I still hold firmly to God’s promise ~ what He put in writing and signed His name to ~ that He will work this together for good.
I am not hard-wired to be the mother of an older adoptee. I know there are a lot of adoptive mothers out there who deal with traumatized, disabled, or dysfunctional children and they’re filled every day with affection and joy and hope as they lovingly guide these children through life. I’m not one of those moms. It is a stink of a lot of work to feel any warmth, affection or joy because it is not naturally in me. But praise the Lord, He is bigger and stronger and more loving and more able than I am, and it is His desire to love my son through me. I do not need to have those natural inclinations. I just need God.
I’m not saying this to complain or to turn you against my son. I’m saying it because I can’t possibly be the only adoptive mom who feels like this. And if you feel like this too, and you are doing it without the constant support and guidance and in-flowing of grace and love from God the Father, then I don’t know how you do it. I cannot keep this boy in my home without hourly help from Almighty God. I cannot stare at the abyss of years ahead of us without putting all of my hope and trust in the Lord’s perfect plan for me, for my son, and for our family as a whole.
For many of you – probably most of you – reading this, my story is not your reality. Maybe this just sounds so harsh and depressing to you. If you are a praying person, would you just take a few moments to pray for our family, and for other families who face this reality every day. Pray for God’s peace and joy to fill our homes. Pray for patience and supernatural affection. Pray that God would work this together for good.
And for those of you who really get what I’m talking about, know that you are not alone. I’m not referring to me or other mothers that you can commiserate with. As helpful as that is sometimes, we can’t physically be there with you and make any difference in your family life. You are not alone; the One who created you and loves you more intimately than we can ever comprehend IS there with you. He designed families. He designed adoptive families. He hand-picked each member of your family to be together. And He can make it good. Trust Him.