Orphanage walls surround us and a sweet Haitian Nanny looks on protectively while I rock a small boy. Tears spill down my cheeks, landing on his fuzzy little head. It will be nine months too long before we bring this “baby boy” and his big brother home to the U.S.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. ~ Deuteronomy 31:8
The agonizing wait finally slips into the past and the joyous day of our boys’ homecoming starts in the early morning hours of Port-au-Prince. My husband and I, along with our older daughter and newly adopted sons, make our way slowly towards the first checkpoint in a line that stretches through the airport. Our suitcases are dragging behind us and we are clasping the warm hands of our three and five-year-old boys. They are trusting us in the journey to their new home, but their eyes nervously scan the unfamiliar. On this day two young boys will leave behind everything they have ever known and enter the foreign land of the U.S. with it’s new language, sights, sounds, food, and people. Their fear mixed with bravery is palpable.
Hours later our plane soars from Haiti into Georgia, and we rejoice as our boys are pronounced, “U.S. Citizens” in the Atlanta airport. We continue across the U.S. to Oregon, and in the fading light of late afternoon we fall into the waiting arms of family and friends. Joy and bravery have encompassed this day . . . for all of us.
Day gives way to night and my eyes carefully search the darkness of the bedroom, coming to rest on the sleeping forms of our new boys. Their sleep is troubled—little bodies bound up in the delight, shock, and fear of entering this “new land.” Immense happiness and promise have marked this day and yet, as I stand there gazing at my boys . . . a cold fear begins to take root. My courage is crumbling in the years that stretch ahead into dark and unknown territory. Familiar worries flood my heart. Will this act of adoption shake our family beyond repair? What have we done? Do I have what it takes to parent children so deeply scarred with loss? The fear that played itself in long shadows throughout the years of the adoption process is suddenly a felt dread.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8
Lurking near, the enemy attempts to strike a blow. But I am not unaware of the devil’s schemes, and in the battle that surrounds bringing vulnerable children into the shelter of family, I have witnessed the Lord of Heaven’s Armies forging the way—mountains of impossibility crashing down, abundant provision given, and hope renewed. Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:4
I kneel on the cool floor and whisper a prayer that has fortified me countless times over the last three years. “Lord God, I don’t understand how this is going to play out and I am scared. This journey feels impossible and dark right now, but I am choosing to trust You. Please give me courage. Please help me.” My prayer is rising to Him and His peace is melting away my fright. His courage replaces my weakness and His powerful light is once again piercing future darkness.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. ~ 1 John 1:5
Delight and great struggle flow simultaneously through the first year of having our boys home. Their eyes dance in wonder over things we once took for granted—warm showers, plentiful food, clothes and shoes to call one’s own. The privilege of providing comfort and love to these boys is not lost on us after the long years of waiting. But alongside the delight runs a deep grief that spills from their fragile hearts, expressing itself in ways that shake away the “normal” we once knew. The space of our home is allowing two little boys to grieve years of brokenhearted loss. Our home carries their heavy pain . . . and it carries the frustration of our children who have always been with us, now witnessing all that was normal being shaken to the core. The walls of our house groan with grieving and the birth pains of change are ushering in a new normal for our family.
It is afternoon, a few weeks into having our boys home, and my older son is caught up in an avalanche of emotions. Hot with defiance and burdened with profound loss, his tears flow hard. My arms encircle him, but in this moment I am running on empty in the department of love and compassion. I hold up a weary hand to my Father in heaven. One arm is wrapped around my boy, the other arm is reaching up while I plead with my Lord Jesus to fill me with love overflowing. Prayer precedes the miracle and the tender love of the Father is now filling my empty to full, spilling over to this boy who is in desperate need—His power made perfect in my weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
Today, you may find yourself in the overwhelming adjustment period of adoption. Maybe you are barely hanging on in the midst of raw emotion and chaos. The enemy’s lies are pressing in—“You’re not strong enough, good enough, worthy enough.” Don’t give in to the lies that cripple. Bow to the King in surrender, pouring out all of the hard, ugly, and frustrating to Him. If you are a child of the Father through faith in Jesus, He is near and ready to offer help and comfort. Through His shed blood on the cross, Jesus redeems and purifies. He makes you new. You are strong enough when you stand in Jesus. You are good enough because He has redeemed you and purified you. You are worthy enough because of His grace and love poured out for you. As you surrender your weakness, ask for His power to strengthen you, for eyes to see as He sees and the ability to love as He loves.
Set your mind on praise for all the good that you can still hang on to in this moment. Open His Word to know Him and to abide in Him. The Psalms are a healing balm in the midst of trial. Come and rest, weary one. Bring your empty to find His full and trade in your weakness for His power.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 1:28