Sunday, October 28, 2012

Adoption: How you got here. Not who you are.

     So as we are quickly approaching our due date for baby number 3 (11 more days!), I've been savoring the time we have as a family of four, soaking up time with our first two babies knowing that life is about to get a little bit crazier.
     I've also been thinking a lot about how I love how God has formed our family. I love knowing that God brought each of our children to us in just the right way, at just the right time. In some ways the old cliche about how if we only knew what God had in store for us in the future we would wait more patiently, is true. We had no idea during those years of waiting what great things God had in store for us. I love too that our kids will see and experience first hand the different ways that God forms families and His goodness in that.
     We've been told over and over again about how kids who were adopted often face different trials and struggles related to their adoption throughout life. I know that this can be the case, but honestly I've wrestled with how to prepare for that while at the same not wanting my kids identitity to be completely wrapped up in the fact that they were adopted.
     This thought hit me again the other day in the grocery store (you might be surprised by just how many adoption conversations I've had in grocery stores over the last year). I generally don't "advertise" that we adopted, however it's that sticky question of "Oh, do they look like their Dad?" that brings it up every time. In this particular instance, when the checker asked if they looked like my husband and I explained that we had adopted she responded by saying that she was also adopted. To which the girl bagging exclaimed, "What!? I didn't know that! I feel like I don't know you at all!"
     Ok, maybe it's just me, but it hit me as an odd comment. Although said with (what seemed like) the best of intentions, the implication was that this woman was somehow a different person, or perhaps had even set up a false impression of herself because she hadn't broadcast the fact that she had been adopted.
     I've been mulling this incident over the last couple weeks and thinking through how the Bible talks about adoption in regards to our identity. Here's a few key points scripture makes about adoption:
In Love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the beloved. Ephesians 1:5-6 (ESV)
     To the praise and glory of God, he chose us purposefully and specifically before hand that we would be his children. And the way that he chose to do that was through adoption.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7 (ESV)
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15 (ESV)
     Christ came to redeem us so that we could receive adoption, while the "Spirit of his Son" or the "Spirit of adoption" gives us confidence and assurance that we are children of God and helps us to cry out to him as our Father and Daddy.  As I've searched Scripture and studied adoption over the course of the last couple years and again in the last few weeks, I keep coming back to the fact that adoption is always mentioned in conjunction with God's redeeming work in salvation. Everywhere else we are simply called the "children of God."
     There is never a reference to us as "the adopted children of God" and I think that is key. You see adoption is not my identity as a child of God. Adoption is how I became a part of the family. It's a past tense, finished and done with, act of God's redeeming work in my life.
     Is it an amazing way that God chose to redeem his children? Absolutely, and it is a doctrine of the faith greatly to be rejoiced in! But does it define us as the children of God? No! Once completed the Spirit works to give us confidence to approach the throne of God as beloved children confident in their position and eagerly awaiting the promised inheritance that is ours (Ephesians 1:5-14).
     That right there is what I want my kids to know: adoption is how they got here. It's how they became a part of this family. But it is not who they are. It does not define them.
     Will they have questions about their adoption? I'm sure that they will. But my prayer and desire is that they would also feel assured and confident in our love for them, knowing that they are a Daughter and Son who are loved by us and by God.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

God is not silent. God is not slow.

About 9 months ago now, I came across this song on Noise Trade by Wright Family Music. Someone I follow on Twitter sent out a tweet about it, mentioning that proceeds would help support adoption- which of course, automatically piqued my interest. As I listened to the song and read a little bit of the story behind it I was brought to tears and it has been a favorite ever since.

The couple who wrote this song have walked through infertility and are now going through adoption. Pretty much I feel like this song sums up everything we fought to believe to be true about God and His goodness over the last 4 years of walking those same journeys of infertility and adoption.

Over the course of those 4 years we fought to believe that God is good and when he withholds something (even good things like children!) it is out of His infinite goodness and love for us.  It's funny because since finalizing our kids' adoption and finding out we were pregnant so many people have said to us, "God is so good!" And while I never say this, every time I think, "You're right- He is good. And He was just as good when we had no idea what would happen with adopting Ella and Haddon. And He was just as good when we miscarried. And He was just as good when we had no children and so desperately wanted them." Instead I smile and say, "You're right, He really is."

Most recently this song has been on my mind (and often on continuous repeat around the house) as we have several dear friends going through hard trials.  We are studying the book of James in our church Shepherding group and it's such a good reminder that God uses trials to perfect us.  Even so, watching people you love experience trials and heartache is hard; I just love the reminder in the last lines of this song:
In this season I am learning, that you're not silent or slow
If you only give me more of you, it will always be enough.
You are the prize, You are the prize, You are the prize.
Those lines get me every time. God is not silent. He is not slow. Regardless of what the trial is, ultimately what we need is more of Him. Ah, that my heart would desire more of Christ and not just an end to trials or the fulfillment of what I think I want.

If you get a chance you can listen to the song here:

Friday, June 22, 2012

Unexpected Moments

Sometimes I think that the best moments are the unexpected, unplanned for ones. I love all of the "planned fun" that we have with our kids- trips to the park, Disneyland, or the zoo- but it is sometimes those out of the blue happy moments that I cherish the most.



And even though sometimes these moments are a little crazy, I wouldn't trade them for the world. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Long Awaited Day

     The long awaited day has finally come- we have an adoption date! On Monday we signed all of the adoption paperwork and this Friday we will be finalizing. We definitely were not expecting it to move that fast, but we could not be more excited! Thank you so much to all of you who have been faithful to pray for us and ask us where we were at in the whole process. Your love and support has meant more to us than you can know!

     It's funny though because really Friday changes everything while at the same time changing nothing. Yes, we can't wait to know that everything is final and secure and that we are legally Ella and Haddon's parents. Despite of how the state may have viewed it,  Ella and Haddon have been OURS for a long time. Long before we even knew this would be the process God brought us through to get to them.

     The last two years, Mother's Day has been amazing- amazing because I can't get over the fact that I get to be a mom. Yet I've struggled with how to graciously respond to those well meaning people who have wished me a happy "almost Mother's Day" or commented about how "soon" I'll "be a mom". I firmly believe that Josh and I became parents when Ella was born- not 2 1/2 years later when she came home, and not 3 1/2 years later when her adoption will be finalized.  I don't think it's any coincidence that the Fall that Ella was born was the same time that we decided we were ready to start a family. We may have not known that our little girl was born or waiting for us, but God was busy preparing all of our paths and bringing her and Haddon home in His time- not ours.
     Throughout this whole process we have been so amazed by God's timing and perfect providence in all things. We know without a doubt that the process and trials he brought us through that ultimately led us to foster-to-adopt were all a part of His perfect plan for us and ultimately prepared us to be ready to take a foster placement exactly when they were looking for a placement for Ella and Haddon. 

     And now, because our kids are no longer in foster care! and because we finally can! Here are a few pics we took last week at Descanso Gardens. Enjoy!

Ella and Haddon think Daddy is hilarious.


Daddy's Girl

Always on the go- it's hard to get a picture of him where he's not running away!

On the move

This is one of my favorites from this day - Daddy swooping in from the corner as the kids play and laugh.  These are my favorite moments.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Time for Christmas Cards!

Thanksgiving is over, and while I'm enjoying all my Thanksgiving leftovers, I'm ready for the Christmas season to officially begin!
One of my favorite parts of Christmas is sending and receiving Christmas cards, and I am prone to spend ridiculous amounts of time searching for the perfect Christmas card for our family to send out. Being that it is our first Christmas with the kids I've been even more excited to find just the right card! Tiny Prints is offering 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers for blogging about their Christmas cards- which who can resist that, especially when you see how beautiful their cards are!!
Like I said, ridiculous amounts of time have gone into deciding on our card, but here are a few of my favorites from Tiny Prints.

I love the bold red and white stripes on this one-reminds me of a candy cane!

I'm loving all of the bright colors that seem to be the trend this year too!

And how cute are these cards that also double as ornaments!!

Decisions, decisions! But like I said, let the Christmas festivities begin! and send out your Christmas cards- I can't wait to start getting them in my mailbox!