This morning I awoke with a lump in my throat and an burning urgency in my soul.
I had planned to work up to this post gently, explaining how God has been at work for years preparing our family for its next assignment.
But we think it is time to tell you why we see God moving so aggressively in this adoption. Why Joe and I have determined with God-given steel in our souls never at any point to be the ones holding up the process.
We tell you so you can pray.
Thinking back to the night this pregnancy began, the night of the Serbian mental institution video…
…we didn’t know who they would be, of course, any more than we knew any of our other children on the night they were conceived, including that there might be two…
…on that night, this is what I saw in my mind’s eye.
Here we stand at the very beginning of a new path. At the other end stands at least one child whom we will adopt. As we look along this road, to its very end, we see no obstacles. Because in reality there are no obstacles to God.
If you know me, you know that I am very practical. Organized, energetic, down-to-earth. Most decidedly not a mystic! So please don’t read that last paragraph to say that I am now seeing visions and getting words from the Lord!
It’s more like this…
In years past, we thought of adoption as a faraway sort of affair that other people knew about. If we had been required to put words to it, we probably would have described adoption as an expensive and rather boring alternative to the real thing. [We couldn’t have been more wrong!]
But so far we have learned that there is something more going on in a special-needs adoption than it may look like on the surface of things. This kind of adoption redeems the lives of children who are condemned to death because they are despised as worse than useless by the Enemy and those who think his thoughts after him. He feeds on their loneliness, suffering and death. To those on his side, these children are feared as unlovely, undesirable impediments to personal happiness.
In America, they are aborted in high numbers if they are detected before birth. In less “civilized” nations, they are abandoned at birth and left to the tender mercies of whatever system is there to keep them alive. Or not.
During my very first conversation with Stephanie Carpenter, she listened carefully to all I had to say about why we wanted to adopt. Then she told me that from her experience, what she heard me saying meant that we should get ready to see God act in very big ways. We should expect to see Him move mountains and open doors.
That conversation took place not long before God began moving mountains and opening doors to this adoption. Huge financial provision that has now been processed and is waiting to register on our credit score. Bathrooms…refrigerator…new kitchen cabinets…all happening in very short order.
But this story is not about pretty home improvement projects or perfect family pictures. We are becoming aware of the reality that this is war. He has called us to enter the battle.
I am going to tell you enough about them to enable you to pray with understanding. For those of you who know you are our trusted friends, email us if you haven’t already done so, and if we agree that you are our trusted friends, we will send you a link to their publicly posted pictures. We are allowed to do this privately.
The little boy is between eight and nine years old and is the size of our four-year-old twins. As far as we know, he is healthy and high functioning. (I despise that term, but haven’t thought of a better one yet.) When we saw his picture, and read his profile, we asked ourselves how in the world he had been overlooked for so many years. What a precious gem!
The little girl?
Have you watched the Serbian mental institution video? If you want to understand this little girl, please watch that video and look for Katerina. And listen to the doctor explain how severely deprived children simply stop growing.
The beautiful little girl we want to bring home is a couple of months older than the little boy. She is about the size of Verity. She is severely malnourished and delayed. There is no way to explain the fact that she is still alive, other than the mercy of God. If she had feeding issues like Verity and many other children with Down syndrome, no special care would be taken to ensure she received all she needed. No syringe feedings, no naso-gastric tubes, no human milk fortifier, no oral-motor therapy, no tender nurturing affection. No vision for what she could be with any of these gifts. Just keep her in a crib and prop a bottle. If she gets it, she gets it, and if she doesn’t, she doesn’t. This doesn’t necessarily mean active malevolence. There is only so much food and caregiver time to go around to scores of extremely needy children, and many have grown accustomed to putting on a hard shell of indifference in order to cope. They often have no vision that life for these children could be so different.
Even if this frail sweetie never walks or talks, she is of untold worth in the sight of God and we would consider it the privilege of a lifetime to be allowed to give her the love and care she needs.
Some of you will wonder about her medical needs. I will be able to write more about these in the future. For now, we can tell you what Dr. Strauss at the Clinic for Special Children has told us after reviewing the files of both children, “If you decide to adopt these children, we are willing and able to help you care for them,” and, “Whatever your final decision, we will continue to support you in any way we can.”
We have learned many more heartbreaking facts since we first watched that Serbia video. One of the facts that we want you to know is that wintertime is a dangerous time for children with special needs in Eastern European orphanages. Many of them will not survive this winter.
Now you know enough to understand why my heart cries out to God all day long for these two. If I wrote today to tell you that Verity had been kidnapped and was lonely and waiting for us on the other side of the world, do you think there might be a little urgency in our tone? Would that urgency mean we didn’t trust God? Not at all. It would mean that God had given us an urgent task to do. He does that sometimes. He is doing it now.
We are praying hard, working hard, trusting hard. And that trust is in the Lord, who with His mighty hand has formed these two just as He wanted them to be, and preserved their lives thus far. Oh please, pray with us for these children. Pray that He will see fit to bring them safely into our family’s arms.
“Lead on, O King eternal, the day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest Thy tents shall be our home:
Through days of preparation Thy grace has made us strong,
And now, O King eternal, we lift our battlesong.
Lead on, O King eternal, till sin’s fierce war shall cease,
And Holiness shall whisper the sweet amen of peace;
For not with swords loud clashing, nor roll of stirring drums,
But deeds of love and mercy, the heav’nly kingdom comes.
Lead on, O King eternal: We follow, not with fears;
For gladness breaks like morning where’er Thy face appears;
Thy Cross is lifted o’er us; we journey in its light:
The crown awaits the conquest; lead on, O God of might.”
Tomorrow we lift our battlesong and tear out our upstairs bathroom…