Saturday, February 13, 2016

4 Year Journey to JOY

Today I had a conversation that made me realize that while we have a HUGE support system, very few of you know how we got to our Joy baby in the first place. It’s such a long story and honestly one I avoid. There are still some very raw and tough emotions we deal with every single day. If you’ve ever been near me at 11:50am, you’ve probably heard my alarm go off. You probably don’t know that I pause (and I apologize for probably ignoring whatever you are saying for a moment) and pray for my sweet angels on the other side of the world-that they will be safe, that they will sleep soundly, that they will not be afraid, that someone will share God’s love with them and that by some miracle they will feel my love. I pull in those tears and gulp down all of that heartache and move on…until I go to bed and their faces are forever on the back of my eyelids. It’s not really something I can explain. I just plain love them and I always will.

From the beginning
I have known since childhood that I would adopt. I remember the very moment that I heard the call of God on my life. I was watching TV in my parent’s room and an infomercial for the Abandoned Baby Center in Kenya was on. It was a defining moment for me and I couldn’t have been older than 14, but I knew.

It was a conversation that we had before we even got engaged and Jacob, who is a father to the fatherless by nature, was on the same page. We both assumed that we would have some kids of our own and then foster to adopt once they were older. That was the reasonable plan we came up with.

Well about 4 years ago, shortly after our 4th baby was born, I stumbled upon a blog posted on a friend’s wall. It belonged to a family, in Ukraine at the time, adopting a toddler with down syndrome. All of a sudden I was back in my parent’s room with that same overwhelming heaviness and absolute certainty that we were called to something so much bigger than our plans. I started researching and learning about the absolutely horrific treatment of children around the world with special needs. It’s just one of those things you cannot ignore. Once you know, you can’t not do something about it.

So we started the search for “our” child. DS was where our heart was and so that was our focus in the search. Now there is no shortage of orphans with DS, but nothing seemed to fit. Then we saw them, 2 precious children that looked so much like our own. They were HIV positive and a little older than what we were looking for and all of that terrified us. So we kept looking. But the overwhelming feeling towards them just wouldn’t go away. After some time and a whole lot of prayer, we moved forward. They were family! They had names and nicknames and are to this day a part of every family prayer.

 Well things did not go smoothly at all.

We hit and overcame roadblock after roadblock. There were legal issues and then a war and then they were literally “lost” in the system and not even their own country could tell us where they were.
And somewhere in the middle of the chaos we got the most unexpected blessing. What a light she was in a time of dark sadness! 

We had a lot of paperwork and a home study on the verge of expiring (again) and prayerfully decided to try another country at that point and try to use what we had before it expired. We hired and agency and they sent us a few files.

Joy was the 4th I believe and there was never a question. This tiny little girl with that precious extra chromosome that made her even better!  She was left at a bus station at 5 months. I love that! It sounds horrible, but I know that the fact that she was kept that first 5 months and then left in a very public place where her mother could have been caught (abandoning is illegal) means she was loved. I imagine they did not have the resources to care for a child with special needs and did what they felt was best for her. I wish I could have helped her family keep her! I hope they know how loved she is! It is with deep sadness and great honor that we take on the blessing of raising Joy as our own.

We spent the next several months compiling our dossier and a couple of weeks ago, just as we were ready to send off that last piece, our first little ones resurfaced on the orphan database for their country. We were faced with a very tough choice and decided to continue with our adoption of Joy. While we still loved and wanted C&S, Joy’s condition is urgent. In our last update she was barely 11 lbs at 2 years old. So for now, she is our priority. C&S are listed for adoption and our hope is that they are found by just the perfect family. Maybe that will be us once Joy is home…I don’t know. I just want them safe and loved somewhere!

So sharing our story is tough because nothing played out the way I dreamed it would. I believed things and I spoke thing forth with all of the faith I could muster and they just did not happen. I have questioned everything I know and believe and had many angry conversations with God. And in all my faithlessness, He continues to build me up. His power continues to be made perfect in my weakness. He remains faithful…and for now, that is enough, because He promised me that He is coming and all things will be made new. He promised me that every tear will be wiped away and I choose to believe that He is faithful and He will do it.

“if we are faithless, He remains faithful
2 Tim. 2:13

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Cor. 12:8-10

“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1 Thess. 5:24

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” 

 Rev. 21:4-5

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