It finally happened! We had the joy of traveling to Alabama last week to meet our two newest grandchildren, James and Anastasia. Those of you who read Sundays with Cindy know the adoption journey for our kids, Julie and David, has been long and arduous and taken unexpected twists and turns. What started out five years ago as a quest to adopt babies and/or young children from El Salvador brought instead the blessing of two teenagers from the Ukraine! It was very difficult; very, very expensive; and required much longer separations between them and their other three children than they would have ever dreamed, but now they can begin to build their family together in a new dynamic.
What a houseful they now have! It was so exciting to walk in the door and see our original three beloved Sanchez grandchildren, Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah, and then to put our arms around Anastasia and James for the first time and welcome them into the family as well. It amazed me to see Julie surrounded by all these big kids—a fifteen-year-old, two fourteen-year-olds, a twelve-year-old and an eight-year-old! It was so obvious that they all adore their mama. There is a lot of love in that family—as well as a lot of noise, teasing and laughter!
Poor David. He has been transferred to California and had to go without the family. Julie and the kids will follow once they have rented out their house—and have a home to move into out in California. He did surprise the kids with a quick visit the last weekend we were there, but for the most part, David is missing out on all the fun, the work—and the bonding.
Bonding together as one close-knit family unit. It does not happen overnight. There is a genuine love there, but blending together and learning to live with one another takes time. The three original kids grew up from babies learning the boundaries, respecting the rules, and hearing about the love of Jesus and loving Him back. It is all new to James and Anastasia. They have sweet, loving hearts and although they have accepted their new way of life, they do not always understand when Mama has to say no.
Communication in these few weeks they have been together has grown by leaps and bounds. We were amazed at how well they all get by with the simple language skills and vocabulary James and Anastasia have picked up already. We giggled at one of Anastasia’s first full sentences. “No licky-licky my toes!” she scolded Pebbles the dog. It became one of those family catch-phrases that makes us all laugh. Hopefully, as they delve more deeply into their Rosetta Stone English program, it won’t be long until they are speaking and understanding English fluently, which in turn will help them as they bond with one another.
Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Julie says each week is a little easier than the last as the children learn to love and live together with one another and are beginning to feel like true brothers and sisters. Oh sure, it is not always all sunbeams and rainbows. They pick at one another now and then, like true siblings do, and they have their little rivalries. As they mature and grow together as a family, however, those things will become fewer and farther between, hopefully, and the family will become strengthened and unified in love.
We in the family of God are called to love one another in unity, as well. The apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:1-7 says, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism,One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Paul is saying that we need to forget our past differences and rivalries and, with humility and patience, strive for unity and peace with one another. After all, he says, we are One in the Lord by His grace.
Furthermore, Paul says in verses 11-16, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” There are differences in what the Lord has called each of us to do, Paul says, but they are meant to help one another and strengthen the Family as a whole. We need to grow up, he says, and be steadfast in the faith, in knowledge and in truth. We are to mature and be unified in Christ, and as we do, the entire Family will be built up in love.
Brothers and sisters—don’t you just love ‘em? Really!