Posts Tagged ‘international adoption’

The Connected Child(ren of God)

Years ago, when we began the journey of adoption, it was surprising to read in “The Connected Child” that we would want our daughter to cry.  Reading the explanation, however, seemed to make perfect sense.  For a child who has never known the safe environment of a loving home and parents who cared for her needs, she has to learn the connected-child-cover-web-198x300instinct to cry out.  Previously, crying gained her nothing, or quite possibly the opposite of affection, and so she may have “unlearned” the behavior.  As our child became connected to us, it would become evident through moments like crying out – knowing she could trust a proper and loving response.

Fast forward several years.  We’ve finally brought home a daughter who is about 5 years old, and not only has she “unlearned” many habits of children who grow up in healthy environments – she’s also acquired many habits of children who grow up in unhealthy environments.  She is loved, for the first time as never before, and brought in to being part of a family. At first, she didn’t understand much of anything.  What did “Father” mean?  What did “Mother” mean?  There are certain things, and certain words, that if you were to examine them in the routine of many normal homes it would be confusing.   But in our context, where we’re attempting to purposefully build the connections most children would naturally develop from birth, they make sense.

Now take a step back.  Think about the Old Testament and the actions or words spoken between God and His people.  A common question among people who don’t want to believe in God, or even those who do but are honest with their doubts – “Why would God command ______?  Why would God do ________?”

I can’t pretend to understand the mind or heart of God completely, but I do understand the heart of a Father who wants to connect with the heart of their child. A child who has never known a Father like this before.  A child who has become so separated from the concept of “family” or “parent”, that it is a completely foreign concept.

So we see God calling out His people from among all others.  We see God rescue His people, only to force them into depending on Him through the wilderness for 40 years. We hear words from God about the wrath He’s capable of, even though ultimately He reveals His heart to be powerfully Loving and full of Grace for humanity. (lol, I realize that sounds bad here.  No worries, we’re not threatening wrath or taking our daughters on 40 year wilderness journeys.)

It’s not the kind of relationship we’d have if we were born aware of Him.  But it’s an adoption that impacts us to the very core of our being, for eternity.  Romans 8:15 reminds us, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

One of the most natural ways to build that connection and bond? Simply to hold our daughter, and to allow her to feel our love. To remind her that we are here, and she is here, and she is ours no matter what happens.  To help her feel safe, and loved, and comforted.  To provide for her needs, and help her to see how depending on us to meet those needs is a trustworthy habit to develop.

In this moment – maybe it’s a good reminder for you and I – if this is what I am aware of, can’t we trust that God knows even better how to move His children into a fully connected relationship with Him?  We can trust in these moments, if we allow ourselves to be held by Him, to listen to His words, and to depend on Him to provide – these are habits worth developing in our own lives.

Even as I continue to pray my daughter would know my love deep in her heart, and not just in behavior – I also pray that my heart would deeply come to know the Love of my Father, not just in my behavior.  I pray that God would use this understanding of His Love – to invite even more children into fuller connection with Him…

“Bring You Where I Am” by Wick – Music Video

I know, you’re probably sick of hearing about it by now. But here’s the official music video to go with our song, complete with links to purchase the song or donate to our adoption if you’d like!!

Insanity of God…

“I held tight to the psalmist David’s conviction that the weeping and tears might linger for the night, but that joy would come in the morning.  Sadly, after six years in Somalia, each morning brought only more tears.  For perhaps the first time in my life, I was dealing with something that I could not fix. Prayer and obedience and hard work and good training and Godly intentions and sacrifice – none of it seemed to make a difference.” – Nik Ripken, The Insanity of Godinsanityofgod

We are being reminded lately, that when you connect your life with the broken heart of God, it’s often heart-breaking.  It’s not a great sales pitch, and it’s not a great advertisement to convince a world that doesn’t know Jesus that we’ve made a good decision.  It’s not even a great testimony to convince other Christians we are, indeed, following God’s call on our life.  Heck, it’s not even a great assurance to ourselves as we lay our heads on pillows each night…wondering where God is.

The truth is, God’s people are suffering globally.  They are suffering in horrible and unjust ways. They are sold into slavery, trampled underfoot in the name of progress, cast aside for more important things.  They are thrown in prisons, beheaded, shot at, and sometimes – even made fun of in high school cafeterias.  Does this mean God has turned a blind eye to their needs?  Is God deaf to the cries of the suffering followers of Christ?  Why doesn’t He do something?  Lord of all creation, quiet in places that severely need His Words of healing and life.

I imagine the scene between Elijah and Ba’al, only this time it’s our God who is scoffed at, “Shout louder….Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling.  Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 1 Kings 18:27

These are some of the same thoughts we have, now over 2 years into an adoption process.  2 years, and still we feel very close to where we began.  Those who know about adoption in the DRC might be quick to say something like, “What’d you expect?”  Certainly when we began the process, we knew not much about our path was certain.  But we stepped out on faith that we were responding in a way that revealed the heart of God.  Even though at times, if feels we’ve nothing to show for it….I still believe these years have been growing fruit for the Kingdom.  Not that I’d choose the same road, if I could go back in time.

Nik Ripken found himself in a similar spot, after years of suffering in Somalia.  Crying out to God, and returning to the US to see what needed to change, he set out on a new mission: to find out what good God was in places of intense suffering.  What he discovered is enough to fill many books, and encourage the heart of any broken follower.  God, and the belief in God is accomplishing great amounts of light in the midst of a darkened world.  Stories that don’t make sense, but reveal the heart and life of a God I’d give my life and the life of my family to serve.

“..before we can grasp the full meaning of the Resurrection, we first have to witness or experience crucifixion.  If we spend our lives so afraid of suffering, so averse to sacrifice, that we avoid even the risk of persecution or crucifixion, then we might never discover the true wonder, joy and power of a resurrection faith.  Ironically, avoiding suffering could be the very thing that prevents us from partnering deeply with the Risen Jesus.” – Nik Ripken

There appear to be forks in the road, very near, as we continue responding to God’s call on our family to reveal His love to a broken world.  We’re not yet sure what it will look like, but we know what it will feel like.  Heart-breaking.  As much as we have many confirmations, that we’re right in the midst of where the heart of God is…..it’s still hard.  Even as I can smile at my family, knowing we’re laying foundations for a home God can, and is using to change the world….I hold them before God, continuing to believe that He’s able to do what He has not yet done here…bring redemption to this story.

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