This adoption has stretched us and refined us in pretty much every area of our lives. First we had to give up our fears about finances. This was a tough lesson because money is kind of big and overwhelming for me and if I can get away without thinking about it I will. After a good amount of freaking out we realized that none of what we have was ours to begin with and whatever the Lord was asking for well, He could have it as it belongs to Him, not us.
Next the Lord took on what I like to call "Adoption As An Idol". We love kids, we just do, we are crazy about them. We also love cats & dogs & turtles & tadpoles & anything little that seems to need a home. Some people call us kind, some people call us suckers but that is just how we are put together. So, of course, we headed down this road because we felt called to give a home and a family to kids that didn't have one. Naturally, our goal was (is) to bring our kids home at the end of this crazy journey and that is a goal that we still hope to fulfill. However, along the way we have found out that really isn't the final goal. The final goal is to let our lives bring glory to God. If that means raising these kids we are super excited about it, but even if that never happens, we will follow this path because that is where God has put us. Whatever brings glory to Him is our goal. We want to bring these sweet kiddos home more than anything. We love them. They deserve a family. But whatever story the Lord is writing for us is our story and we are privileged to be used in whatever way God sees fit.
After going to Uganda, spending an emotional month with the kids & returning home without them, I (wistfully) imagined that maybe all this refining stuff was done and that we could move on to life applications of all these handy lessons we had learned. Surprise! Apparently lesson time had not completely come to a close. Our final (so far) lesson has been a hard one for me. In some ways harder than the other two but, ultimately, sweeter as well. I imagined after we returned from Uganda, dragging along our broken hearts and broken spirits, that there would be a sort of rallying of the troops. That faithful friends from far and near would gather around while we nursed our wounds and help us navigate what has been the most painful part of the journey so far. But, for whatever reason, that just didn't happen. People I expected to lean heavily on just fell away. The phone didn't ring. The messages didn't come. No one popped by with casseroles and hugs. We were just sort of utterly...alone. Except that we weren't. At first I was hurt and then I was angry and then I stopped. I just listened for that still small voice. Guess what? It was still there. Even when I could count on a couple of fingers the people that I could count on, God had not abandoned us.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think there was anything intentional or malevolent about the falling away of folks we counted on and I don't want a bunch of you wondering if I am pointing a finger at you. Trust me. I am not. I just think the season had come for us to learn where we need to place our faith. Which is not in family. Not in friends. Not in ministers or church families or co-workers or anyone else. We needed to learn that our faith is only and should only be placed at the feet of the King of Kings.
So, at this point we give it all - willingly - to the Lord. Our treasures. Our children. Our lives. This has been so hard. So many tears have been shed. I have been angry. I have been hurt. I have been confused. And through everyone one of my storms, He has been faithful. He has been there waiting with open arms to meet me where I am. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis "Is He safe? No, but He is good".
There has been nothing safe about our journey. There has been nothing predictable or smooth or easy. But if He asked me tomorrow to start down this road again - knowing what lay ahead - I would. I trust Him that much.