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LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

It has been a long, arduous journey for Julie and David for the last three years in the world of international adoption. They had no idea in September of 2007 when they embarked upon this journey that the country they felt led to adopt from, El Salvador, was the slowest in the world to cut through the red tape and procrastination, and would allow its children to languish in orphanages for years rather than releasing them into good, loving families who were eagerly willing, ready and able to provide good homes for them. After three years they were still waiting on approval from the two agencies in El Salvador that handled international adoptions.
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So many times they questioned if they should try a different country or quit altogether, but over and over as they fervently prayed, the answer always came back to them, “Be still, and know that I am God. Wait on the Lord.” They determined that until God closed the door on El Salvador completely, or showed them clearly some other direction, they would hang in there. Lately they had wondered if the door might actually be closing. Their adoption agency, fed up with dealing with El Salvador and seeing almost no movement over the last three years, was talking about pulling out if something didn’t start happening very soon. David and Julie started talking about their options if that happened and looking at different avenues. They must renew their application with Immigration again very soon and they were beginning to wonder if they even should.
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This week the call finally came. They had been approved by both agencies! Oh, the joy! They were ecstatic! I was thrilled—more grandchildren! Whoo-Hoo! The good news didn’t stop there. Not only were they approved, but because they were willing to take a sibling group of up to three, they were promising to put their application aside for special processing in order to speed it up. (That remains to be seen. We’ve heard those kinds of promises before.)
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Soon,, we hope, they will be matched up with the children God has for them. Who knows how long that will take, but perhaps now that they are fully approved, and with sibling groups so hard to place, it won’t take months for it to happen. Even then, there is normally still a ten month (at least) waiting period after they are matched before the adoption is finalized and they can bring the children home. But at least there is light at the end of the tunnel now.
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Please pray for Julie and David as they continue the rest of their quest to bring children out of orphanages and into a loving home. Please pray for wisdom to know God’s will, patience and strength for the journey, and peace with decisions made. Pray for Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah, who are so willing to share their mommy and daddy and home. Pray for the children who are waiting for a family who will love and care for them and have no idea that Julie and David are waiting eargerly for them, too. And pray for the children in orphanages all around the world or out on the streets all alone. We cannot help all of them but we can help some, and if we cannot help some of them, perhaps we can help one.
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The Bible says, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress.” (James 1:27) We generally hear very little in our churches about caring for orphans. My own church supports Compassion International and the Baptist Children’s Home, but in my whole life I doubt I’ve heard more than one or two messages on the subject. Even if we are not called to actually adopt children or be foster parents, it is the duty of us all–churches and individuals–to in some way demonstrate our love and kindness to orphans, whether it is by supporting a child through Compassion International, or doing a Christmas shoebox for Samaritan’s Purse, or just taking an interest in the kids on our block who have no father in their home. We show our love for Jesus when we show our love for the “least of these.”
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CHILD OF MY HEART

Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn’t grow under my heart – but in it.
Fleur Conkling Heylinger


My cousin Wendy and her husband, Rick, adopted their second child from Russia this week. I am sooooo thrilled for them! The pictures she sent back are just adorable! He is darling, and in appearance, at least, he will fit in perfectly with their family. Both little Ivan and his big brother Dima are towheads, and remind me of Wendy when she was a little blonde-haired girl. I have no doubt that he will fit in perfectly in every other way, as well. God has put this family together and I know they will grow in love and faith together. What a wonderful blessing for Wendy and Rick to have two precious little boys now as their sons—and of, course, what a miracle for these children to be lifted from life in a Russian orphanage and placed into a loving, safe home where they will have a mommy and daddy to love them and care for them, provide for them and protect them! I know they will grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and, most precious gift of all—they will hear about Jesus and have the opportunity to accept Him as their Savior.

Julie and David are still on their adoption journey, and although it’s already been a long road, it is far from over. They did not know when they applied to adopt from El Salvador that things were grinding to a halt in the international adoption agencies there. After being at a complete standstill for over a year and a half, things are finally moving again and a few couples are being approved. It could still be another one to two years yet before David and Julie get the children for whom they have been praying. The Lord knows when that time will come, and who the little ones are that He will place into their family, and in the meantime they—and we—will wait patiently on Him and continue to pray for them. I don’t think I have ever known a couple who are better suited to adopting than Julie and David. They are so loving and compassionate and giving, and they have done a beautiful job so far of raising the three they already have. They have a heart for children and are hoping when David retires from the Air Force in a few years that the Lord will lead them into missions in some kind of orphan ministry.

I get excited when I hear about someone who wants to adopt! I know from my own experience the true, wonderful blessing it can be. I have thanked God every single day for giving us the beautiful gift of Robbie in our lives. I know to some people it may appear to be more of a burden than a blessing, but I can say from the bottom of my heart that I have never, ever regretted for a single moment adopting Robbie. He has enriched our lives every day with love, laughter, joy and fun! Having him has taught us things like patience, acceptance, faith and unconditional love. The Lord used Robbie to mold us into servants for Him, and to help his sisters to grow into beautifully nurturing, compassionate and responsible women. Of course there have been tears and frustrations, fears and emotional trauma as we faced almost losing him several times, but those have been growing times, as well, and precious times of drawing closer to the Lord.

From the moment Robbie became our child we loved and accepted him in exactly the same way we loved and accepted our daughters. There has never been a difference in our minds or hearts in the way we felt about him. I know Wendy and Rick have loved Dima just as deeply as if he were his son by birth, and they will love little Ivan that way, as well. When the time comes, Julie and David will love their new little ones just as fully and unconditionally as they love Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah. The little poem above says it best. Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but a child of my heart. Another poem called The Gift of Life says,

I didn’t give you the gift of life,

But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.
For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn’t give you the gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.
Unknown


I would change one word in that—GOD gave me the gift of you. Nevertheless, the thought is the same—the love we feel for our adopted children is as deep and real as if we had given birth to them ourselves.

Did you know that we are adopted by God as his children and joint heirs with Christ? Galatians 4:4-7 says, But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Not only has He loved us with an unconditional love, so deeply that He was willing to pay the ultimate price of His Son, but He has given us the standing with all the rights and privileges of Jesus Himself as a joint heir with Him!

In Bible times a child by birth did not have any more rights than one of his father’s servants. He became an heir of his father, however, when he became an adult and was legally “adopted” as his son. When the Lord adopts us as His children we are not just stepchildren, or foster kids or “second class” children, but we have the same full love, acceptance, position and inheritance as His beloved Son, Jesus Christ! Amazing!

It is not easy to adopt, these days, either domestically or internationally. It can take a long, long time. I am shocked at how quickly Wendy and Rick’s adoptions went through. That is not the norm for most countries. It is also horribly expensive. By the time it is all said and done, Julie and David will have probably spent at least $40,000 and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rick and Wendy have spent even more for their two adoptions. The cost of adoption is high in so many other ways, as well. It takes a very strong desire, an extreme amount of commitment, hard work and perseverance, a willingness to endure the emotional roller coaster, courage, deep faith and most of all, unending love to adopt. It was a whole lot easier when we adopted Robbie thirty-three years ago! The costs are worth it, though—a thousand times over. To have a child of the heart—priceless!

To be adopted as a child of God—eternally priceless!