My husband and I don’t have a perfect adoption story. I’ve often found myself wishing we did. I wish I could show you a “gotcha day” video that would bring you to tears and even inspire you to adopt. But we don’t. In fact, our “gotcha day” video is a little painful to watch. For us, it means we have to relive those uncomfortable out-of-body feelings we were all four having on that day.
Before our adoption, I had made a habit of watching these types of videos on YouTube. You know the kind where the children and parents come running to each other from across a vast field and embrace for what seems like an eternity and melt into each other’s arms. (The kind of adoption story that goes viral on YouTube.)
I battle with the thoughts that make me envy that kind of adoption story. However, that’s not how God wrote ours. This is where my pity party ends, and God’s all glorifying story of redemption begins. God loves redemption. (The messy kind.) The kind that means facing brokenness, trauma, and hurt and bringing it all to the cross and declaring Jesus’s blood wiped all of this clean and wrapping it in a beautiful bow of renewal.
For someone who wanted a perfect adoption story, my life has been so incredibly far from perfect.
Six years ago, my husband and I were lost and broken. We were consumed with the world, success, carnal joys. We looked like we had it all together. (Good jobs, great friends, and jet setting vacations.) All of these factors helped us believe our sin issues weren’t so glaring in that light. However, the enemy is a counterfeit. He knows how to take something that looks appealing and use it for disaster and failure.
The enemy knew the weaknesses in our marriage. He was waiting for the perfect time to expose them to bring us to our demise.
Then Jesus happened.
Obviously, Jesus happened long before my husbands and I’s hot mess of a marriage was about to erupt, but we were oblivious.
We were blinded by the carnal joys the world was feeding us, and we enjoyed it. We didn’t want our eyes to be opened; until they were and then everything changed. It would take nothing short of a novel to sum up the escapades of our past and what happened in the days leading up to falling at the feet of Christ. But what I will tell you is Billy and Shauna experienced grace.
You don’t even know grace until you are in a situation where when it falls on you; then you are never the same. It’s something that can cover addiction, lies, and sin, and in a moment, heal it all. It the kind of thing that once you feel it – its impossible to spend time pretending that you didn’t. This was the best day of our lives. God freed my husband of addiction and gave me forgiveness that didn’t feel humanly possible in my own ability but that how I knew it was God and not me.
Fast forward to a few years – We were planted in life-giving church. We spent every moment not at church seeking God and letting Him continue to transform our lives. Then the plan of adoption was revealed to us on a mission trip to Costa Rica. We never were the same!
Our hearts caught on fire for the concept of loving an orphan and truly living out what we knew as the gospel. Through mounds of paperwork and support groups, we made it the one and a half-year wait for our referral. The moment we had been waiting for what felt like a century. There we all were, in a tiny little room in the spring in Central America. The four of us: my husband, me, my new daughter and son all awkwardly feeling like “So this is it…”
And that where our adoption story begins.
It began in a place of discomfort and was followed by days of struggle. Intense heart-wrenching struggle that meant helping our broken children cope with their new lives and process the trauma of their past experiences in life. To be honest, it was really messy. The kind of messy that once you get into it, you wish you didn’t open it up! However, that’s when we experienced a breakthrough with God.
It was in the moments of defeat and anguish that God held me and reminded me that He was sustaining me; because He would always finish what He had set out to do. It was in the dark nights in our small room in Central America that I would seek God out in a way I never had before – like He was oxygen and I couldn’t get another breath that He spoke to me about the healing of our children. God spoke to me about His heartbreak over the sin in this world. The same sin that had led our children to become orphans the same sin that compounded trauma onto their lives.
I mourned before God.
In my mourning, God lifted my head. He reminded me that He was in the business of restoration. My job was to be the heartbeat on this earth and to walk it out for Him.
In those late hours of the night, I would let Him fill me with His plans He had for our children. I would pour them out over their little bodies while they were sleeping in the form of prayer. I saw so plainly what the enemy wanted to use for destruction because I too had experienced the enemy’s attempt at the destruction of mine.
So today, 18 months later, we still don’t have a perfect adoption story. In fact, most days I find myself envying what that would look like but then I remind myself that isn’t my story. My story starts and ends with God and doesn’t get lost in the details of the latest meltdown or regressive setback. It all falls at the feet of Jesus daily and begs – “Have your way Jesus take this brokenness and make it into something beautiful.” – And He does. Every. Single. Day. And then our adoption story becomes pretty perfect.
My prayer for today
God, we ask that you have your way in our lives. Father, we trust your will for our lives over our own. God give us hearts that are fully surrendered to you and your leading. Let us never forfeit the plans you have for our lives in the midst of the struggle. Give us the strength to endure the calling you have placed in our lives because we know the fruit that will be produced is precious beyond measure. Free us of the things that keep us from following you fully with abandon and give us the endurance to finish the race you have set before us strong.
Father, we know it is in the trial and the testing that our faith is produced. Refine us to look more like your son Jesus. Push us to step into the callings you have placed before us because it is there we will find true joy. Amen.