Monday, January 4, 2016

What You Could Have Done: A Letter to our Community in the Wake of our Finalized Adoption

To our dear, dear friends and family,

This Saturday, as many of your know, our girls and my husband will deplane at O'Hare International Airport, and we'll welcome home not only our two new daughters but also two brand new American citizens. 

This Saturday will mark the end of our official adoption process with these two girls. 

No more trips over the ocean for their adoption purposes.

No more court dates. 

No more adoption fees. 

No more extensive paperwork. 

Of course, just because the adoption process is finished doesn't mean that the work of blending a family and helping hearts heal and creating safety and boundaries and working on family dynamics ends because it doesn't; that part of adoption work continues in full force. 

At this point in the road, though, as we come to the official end of the process, I wanted to say something to you and mark this moment with the only fitting thing: extreme gratitude. 

Simply, I want to thank you for showing up. 

Because you have. You have shown up big time these past two years. 

You have walked with us through embarking on the adventure orphan hosting, into the great unknown of adopting a teen internationally, a failed adoption, subsequent hosting periods and then the adoption of our two daughters now. 

And, I will be honest, God used you to make this all possible. 

We didn't have $40 thousand to complete this adoption. 

We needed a strong community of supporters to help us through the hardest of days. 

We needed people to come alongside of us and pray us through the impossibilities. 

We needed families to come around us in offering tangible help and respite. 

You responded. You heard the need. You felt the tug in your heart. And you stepped out in faith. 

You gave to our adoption fund when you could have bought something awesome or something needed for yourself. 

You showed up when we felt like we couldn't withstand another moment when you very easily could have tuned out our hardship in favor of dealing with your own hardships (because I know you have them, too).

You prayed when you could have spent time doing otherwise with the very little time you have. 

You were the physical hands and feet of God when you could have walked the other way during our times of need. 

You didn't pull inward or away; instead, you gave. 

And now there are two little girls who have a family who can take care of them; now a family has been brought together and knit together with faith, prayers and love. Now the extended family of these two girls on the the other side of the world who couldn't take care of them {for reasons beyond financial resources} can rest in knowing that their loved ones are being cared for, loved.

Sure, you might think, God could have done this without your help; God is a big God and he could accomplish his purposes in many different ways. 

BUT, I just have to say, it takes someone to say yes. 

God gives us free reign and free choice to do with our very lives what we choose. We can either show up and bring to the table the little bit we have and watch Him move mountains .... or we can stand in the distance as He moves mountains on His own. 

He can do either. And both, BOTH, my friends are miracles. 

One might say God moving a mountain alone is the bigger miracle. 

At one point I would have agreed because I have long desired to see God display His glory and power miraculously before my very eyes so that I could know that I know that I know He is God. 

But now I think otherwise. 

Now I think that every bit of the last two years has been God showing us His power, showing us His greatness, showing us His goodness and love. 

Because the changing of a human heart from stone to flesh ... the changing of a life from chasing selfish desires to selfless ones ... well, I'm not sure that anything else is quite as miraculous as that. 

I know because my heart is among the hardest. Our decisions shape our lives. Our lives become either legacies of our own ambitions or the ambitions of real Love. Because you gave, part of your life has become a legacy of Love. Real love. 

One thing I've seen throughout the history of God and His people is that he often does His work through His people. 

Because he cares for us.

Because he loves us. 

Because he can do it on His own, but he cares deeply about our faith, our trust, our hope. 

I think He knows this is often true: whenever we are engaged personally the miracle becomes all the more miraculous. 

It is my deep hope, my deep prayer, my deep desire that because you chose to give to this purpose, this passion of God's heart, this caring for orphans and bringing the lonely into families, that you would know the intensity of the miracle in which you've been involved. 

You could have done so much else with your various resources of time, energy and finances; but instead you gave. 

And I pray that God, in all of his love and goodness, gives you glimpses of how your giving made way for miracles to unfold and blossom right before all of our very eyes. 

I hope you know that because you gave, you were part of a miracle. And being part of a miracle is a miracle in itself. 

With love and deep gratitude, 

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