Different Continent... Same Struggle

The last 12 days have been full of emotion. We had the 28 hour flight here. The anticipation and emotion of meeting Daniel the first time, and the subsequent visits of getting to know our kind hearted, quiet and shy son. I’ve spent a good two days in anguish, over all of the children we met and are leaving behind. (You can confirm with Meek, but I don’t think anguish is too strong of a word). ;) The Lord graciously met me there in what was building to be anxiety and guilt over not doing enough and reminded me that this is the path that he has set before us, and my job is to simply walk in it. The beginning of this journey felt very much like God chose this part of our story. And after we had gone to court and adopted Daniel, I felt this overwhelming urge to plan out the next chapters of our story. That night we watched a documentary about the guesthouse we are staying at called Ordinary Hero.  Their motto and inspiration is simply, “change the world for one”.  As we listened for 45 minutes of how the impact in the life of one child can make an extraordinary difference, I squirmed uncomfortably because this was exactly the opposite of what I was feeling. What we were doing for one was simply not enough. 

I became frantically obsessed with making the decision of trying to pursue more international adoptions, specifically for the kids we’ve met, asking about their paperwork, and asking about the possibility of bringing them home as well. I felt the urgency of the need as I looked into the dim future of these precious kids. I also felt torn as I considered the overwhelming need of the kids in Foster Care at home and how that had always been heavy on our heart and our tentative next steps once we adopted Daniel. 

Once again, God met me there, this time through another adoptive mom staying at our guest house. She mentioned that in her experience, the right child always seems to cross your path when it’s time. The Lord used this to remind me that just as He chose Daniel and this path for us, He will continue to be in control and writing the next part of our story. Over the next few days we begin to deliberate about whether or not to stay and wait for paperwork or go home for now and come back when the paperwork is finished, trying to weigh the options and make the best possible decision. While this is necessary for two people sitting with a one-way ticket, limited funds, and an indefinite timeline to discuss, looking back I see how my heart was squirming in the uncertain phase of our trip here. Once again the battle for control had snuck into my heart. I wanted a plan. I wanted to make a logical decision. I wanted to feel in control. So we weighed our options and made a tentative plan, if this, then this, if that, then that.. and I felt a little better. 

And then I spent the last two days in bed with myriad symptoms that seemed to change every few hours, and very few options for treatment outside of an African hospital or health clinic. It could’ve been the altitude, dehydration, low blood sugar, some anxiety, a bacteria…or a unfortunate combination of them all. This was a part of the equation that I had not foreseen and could not control, despite my best efforts and the frequent application of many essential oils. Once again, I was abruptly and graciously reminded that I am not in control. As I lay here the vivid image and voice of my high school Bible teacher came flooding into my mind. He was enthusiastically teaching us about Ephesians 2, where Paul says, “God has already prepared the good works for you to do, now you just need to walk in them.” And I was reminded of this truth rooted deep in my heart when I was about Daniel’s age. And so, as I lay here, incapacitated, dictating this blog post to my husband, I am comforted once again by the truth that I am not in control, that God is, and that my job is simply to walk in the good things that He has already prepared in advance for us to do.

And just as the doubt begins to creep into my mind again, that this is not enough I am reminded of the impact one life can have on another. Specifically the investment one can have on an impressionable teenager. Just like the kind my Bible teacher had on me. I’ve long understood the concept of discipleship and duplication, but today it hits me in a new way. As I stare as these precious faces, who long for a family of their own, I am forced to rely on His truth in a new way. I have no idea why God has chosen Daniel, or us, or this crazy long journey, but I have no doubt that if we follow what God has called us to do, then it is enough. Because I’m not in charge, and I never have been. I think Paul sums it up the best:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And his not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so the no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”.  Ephesians 2:4-10