Hope Is Slow: The Story of Adoption: Part III

Hope Is Slow: The Story of Adoption: Part III

If I’m honest, (and I’m going to be), I have been waiting since day one for the bottom to drop out of this adoption thing. Every time an email showed up in my inbox from the adoption agency, I braced myself for the news that for whatever reason we would not be able to move forward.

There is trauma involved in a terminated adoption.

But every step of the process was smooth. It was like floating out on the ocean on a calm morning, the water smooth as glass all around us, sun warming our faces. Each stroke of the oar pushed us further along without the glimmer of a wave to hold us back.

It was a bit unnerving.

I knew it couldn’t possibly remain so smooth. It’s not just the unpredictability of adoption that threatened to shake us. It goes much deeper than that.

Adoption is spiritual.

The battle for the life of a child begins at conception. Satan hates children. Their vulnerability makes them an easy target. Christ Himself esteemed children in a day and age when kids were not considered a commodity, but rather a property, good only for extra help around the home and the farm.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

Children are the least of these. They are blessings and gifts, and they will always be in the crosshairs of the spiritual war we battle in this fallen world.

And the fatherless? Well, what better way for the devil to wreak havoc on a desperate and deprived world than to make sure children never find the security of a family?

Walking in faith toward adoption is a step onto one of the greatest heavenly battlefields, and there are bound to be repercussions.

The chaos in my dream was more than mere coincidence. It was more than the result of sleep deprivation and a movie. The chaos in my dream was a true representation of the battlefield we are traversing.

In the last few months, it has become more apparent to me than ever that we are under spiritual attack. From a hole in our roof that we can’t seem to get a roofer to replace, (we can’t even get anyone to call us back!) to a car accident, to tensions inside and outside our home, to a very bizarre glitch with the immigration code given to our adopted son that threatened to set us back months in going to pick him up.

I can easily wave all these off, pushing them aside as merely coincidental. We should have called a roofer months ago before the rainy season hit. I should have kept my eyes on the road instead of glancing at my daughter’s new ring. We just need to slow down and take a breath. That immigration coding issue could happen to anyone.

There is truth in all the above statements, and I’m certainly not one to look for the devil beneath every rock, but I also believe that satan wants to throw everything into chaos so that when we pick up our son, we are already worn down, beaten, stressed, and at odds.

We are on the bus, looking out both windows. Panic ensues. The world around us is in chaos, burning, tilting, crumbling.

And then someone hands us a child.

I think there are spiritual implications to my dream, and I’m not taking it lightly. I believe that the child represents our adopted son. Every time I held that baby in my arms, the panic and fear I felt abated. A calm washed over me, despite the fact that the world continued to rage.

Despite all the craziness that has been tossed at us these last six months, I don’t for a second doubt that Sawyer is meant to be our son. And so, despite the fact that water keeps dripping into my walls, my car is still in the shop, and the general feeling in life right now is we’re a half a step behind everything, I feel peace when I remember that this little boy is worth every battle.

Beyond that, it is apparent that the child in my dream is a representation of Christ Himself. The two are connected, our Chinese son and our God. Clinging to Christ is the only thing that makes the chaos less…chaotic.

We are in a battle, a war for the ages. Satan wants nothing more than to destroy this adoption, and why?

Because it is a picture of the gospel. It’s a picture of what Christ has done for us. It’s a picture of Christ Himself.

There’s nothing special about our family. We aren’t better than anyone else because we chose to walk this path. We aren’t stronger. In fact, we feel anything but strong right now.

But though the world rages, though the battle grows fierce, though the waves rise, interrupting our smooth as glass ride, though the roof above our head lets in the rain, though the path feels unsteady, still we take tentative steps forward, obediently walking toward not just a call but a command.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God is this: To visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27

We believe Sawyer is worth the fight. We believe our four biological children are worth the fight. We believe that Christ is the sustainer, the protector. We believe that the world will keep raging, but our hearts don’t have to falter.

In roughly two months, we will pick up our son. This isn’t the end of our adoption story.

It’s only the beginning…

 

 

Hope is Slow: The Story of Adoption (Part I)

Hope is Slow: The Story of Adoption (Part I)

I had a dream two nights ago – a vivid dream.

It felt so real that when I woke up, I stared at the ceiling for several moments, separating fact from fiction in my mind, reminding myself of where I was, who I was, and what was true.

In actuality, the dream itself was absurd. It was the likely product of extreme fatigue, an Advil PM, and the movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which I’d watched with the kids the night before. But it felt like there was more to this particular dream than just absurdity.

This was the kind of dream you don’t really want to forget, so you take a few minutes to review it when you wake up, solidifying every crazy detail in your brain before your feet hit the floor.

The dream started as most dreams start – right in the middle of the action. There was no lead up, no back story, if you will. If this dream were a novel, the reader would be confused.

I was in China, on a bus. Not too strange, given the fact that we are in the final stages of a Chinese adoption.

Oh, did I forget to mention that? It’s been a while since I shared in this space.

We are about two months away from flying to China to pick up a little boy that’s been set apart as our son. We’ve passed all the necessary background checks, been vetted and scrutinized by the United States powers that be, and the Chinese. We’ve been given the stamp of approval, and now need only to clear a few more hurdles before we go pick him up.

I’m going to tell you all about the events that led us to this little boy in the next post, but for today I want to focus on the dream.

So I was in China, on a bus, and I was scared. Terrified, actually. Outside the left window of the bus, a volcano smoked and belched ash. Flecks of lava spit from the top, and the air was kind of fuzzy and hazy with heat and smoke.

Outside the right window of the bus, winds swirled and howled as a hurricane whipped its way toward us. No matter which way I turned, there seemed to be chaos, and the overall feeling inside the bus was that of impending doom. People screamed and jostled around. Nothing felt safe or secure. It felt overwhelmingly frightening.

Now, trust me when I tell you that the silliness of all this is not lost on me. Like I said, I’d watch Jurassic World the night before with the kids, so the seed of outrunning a volcano was firmly planted in my consciousness (though, to be honest, it would have been kind of cool if I’d also been outrunning dinosaurs while escaping raining lava. Chris Pratt gets to have all the fun…).

And one year ago today, we were packing up our house and heading to a shelter as Hurricane Irma barreled toward Florida. That the two natural disasters came together in a single dream is not all that far fetched.

But there was more to my terror in this dream than those two events. Something deep inside me felt unsettled, like the moors of confidence had slipped away and I myself was being swept up in the winds outside the window.

I felt panicked. My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, and my throat was completely dry as my head whipped side to side and people screamed around me.

Then someone handed me a baby.

He was very, very small and had a head full of thick, black hair. His twig-like arms flailed and his legs kicked as he wailed. I don’t know where he came from or who put him in my arms, but somehow I knew that I was supposed to be the one holding him.

I pulled him tight to my chest, and immediately the feeling of panic disappeared. I didn’t hear the screams or the wind or the thunder of the erupting volcano. I didn’t feel the bus bouncing, and my heart beat calmed. I stared at his face, though I couldn’t really make out any features.

For a split second, I let the sounds of what was happening around me seep back into the moment. I looked up, confused, and tried to hand the baby to someone next to me, a faceless person who took the child from my outstretched hands. As soon as I let the baby go, the feeling of panic returned, the sounds around me were deafening, and I felt an immediate sense of dread.

I reached for the child again, and he was placed back in my arms. This time, he reached up for me, and I pulled his cheek to mine. The second our skin met the noise and panic and fear subsided again.

And then I woke up.

Part II of the story coming soon.

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