Thursday, November 4, 2010

Golden Promises

"...the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord."
Job 1:21b
The Lord gave us three healthy children. Then He saw fit to bless us with yet another baby...a baby who would be our last child. But our plan was so small compared to His. The Lord took that baby when he was fully formed and amazingly beautiful...but not able to live apart from his physical bond to me. We were heartbroken, but strangely at peace. We were able to surrender our pain to Him and claim His promises to use it all for His glory - and INDEED He did! Over & over again!
A wonderful and loving friend of mine special ordered this tiny gold ring as a reminder of our baby boy...a miracle in our hearts and our treasure up in heaven. She even hung it on a lovely gold chain for me.

Not long afterward, God was faithful to fill the void in my mommy heart with a beautiful, healthy baby girl! She came into this world as a big 9 lb. 8 oz. promise that God still cared about my motherly desires...even when so many people said, "Stop while you are have three healthy children."
Still..knowing we had lost a baby boy left a longing within me. A desire to have one more boy...
My fifth child was a delightful surprise! He was four months along before we knew he was on his way. I held my breath at the ultrasound (performed only one week after we discovered I was pregnant), feeling slightly guilty about hoping for a healthy baby BOY, and not just a healthy baby. When the doctor announced his gender, I was overwhelmed. I felt so loved and so blessed that God gave me even more than I dared hope for out loud. He knows the desires of our hearts and He really cares.
If I had not lost that precious baby boy - if I have not surrendered my pain and let Him move my life forward in a beautiful, amazing way - I would not have these two incredible kids!

I have often wondered if God laughs - at least a little - when we start making plans and acting like we have any real control. I believe He planted a seed in my heart for children who would not grow beneath my heart when I was longing for another baby boy. I dismissed this crazy idea of adoption - especially international adoption - because it was crazy expensive. People with five bio kids don't ADOPT!?!
Less than 3 years after our "last" child was born, we found ourselves on the journey to adopt two little ones from Ethiopia. Nothing made sense and we made some huge mistakes along the way....but nothing was outside His control...I believe it was all part of His refining plan for us.
In the airport before boarding our international flight, my husband purchased these 24K gold starfish earrings for me. There is a story about many starfish washed up on a beach after a storm...and a young man tossing them in one at a time. He is questioned about how he can possibly think he can make a difference when there are THOUSANDS stranded. He replies that he will make a huge difference to each one he does help. To me, those earrings represented the two little people we were going to meet, two little ones whose lives we hoped to change dramatically.
God gave them to us for a brief period of time...and He showed us that our part in His plan for THEIR lives was completely different than we had imagined. Through an amazing and heartwrenching journey of surrender, we realized that the woman who took them their very first gifts from America would - along with her Godly husband and wonderful children - be their forever family. (She is in the photo! God is so cool!) We surrendered this experience and all it's pain to Him to use for HIS glory...and, guess what? Yes! Of course - He has! And he continues to do so.
There was still a strong desire in my heart to adopt a child..or children. After some time, I started out cautiously on the road to discover whether or not anyone would allow us to adopt again. This is an ugly road riddled with too many mean, insenstive people. The few kind people who offered hope were like air bubbles to me when I felt like I was literally drowning in very personal criticism. We fostered for awhile...but only little guys we knew were going back to their moms. It allowed us to "test" our see if we were ready to open our hearts again. I even prayed that - if it was not God's plan for us to add any children to our family - He would divinely and completely remove my desire. He did not.
On a particularly frustrating day - Nov. 2, 2009 - I sent a one word email to my husband. It said: "DONE!" I was done trying to figure out a way. I was done inquiring and being ridiculed. I was done banging my head - and my heart - against the closed doors of adoption.
Less than one hour later, my phone rang and a familiar voice was asking me if I was willing to take in a baby who might be available for adoption...and how soon could I leave. Within the next hour, I was walking into a hospital room being handed a precious, beautiful, brown baby boy with gobs of gorgeous, loopy, dark curls all over his head. (Did I mention that I have secretly always wanted a boy with curly brown hair? I swear...HE KNOWS!)
When I think back on my one word email, I have to believe that God was just waiting for me to let Him know that I was DONE trying to do it my way. He was patiently waiting to bless my socks off! Here is the angel baby I picked up just over a year ago....and the froggy boy is a little man we are holding onto loosely...waiting to see if God wants Him to stay with us forever. Remember....He knows the desires of our hearts.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away...and the Lord GIVES you so much more than you could ever hope for!


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