As the days slip by, our pick-up tickets bought, their rooms ready, both children ready to say goodbye to where they are now, majorly, I think about this journey of adoption, and the greatest thing I feel when looking back over the past few months that almost make up a year is, surprise.We are surprised at this journey, we thought it was going to be different than what it was, and is.I have shared here before where Andrew and I had to bring ourselves, had to prepared our hearts before we said yes to a commitment to adopting Maria, or then, known as Maya. In the middle of the night, we sat up together, having wrestled with this, had already sent an email saying there is no way we could pursue this adoption to an agency we had previously contacted, and we talked. And we realized that if we committed to adopt this child, a stranger to us, 10 years old, that our lives would be very different, the road would be hard, and we need to put ourselves in a place where we were ok with losing literally everything we hold dear; our friends, our perfect little family, all our finances, every idol that we clutched to on a daily basis, because God said go–and it was time to decide what is really first in our lives. Somehow, we don’t know how, somehow we pushed through our fear long enough to say a real yes, because of the hope of knowing God really is good, and the evidence of it in our life. These were the first whispers of freedom–letting go, we just didn’t know it yet.
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Which brings me to our surprise–I thought we would be tangled in worry and fretting about the magnitude of this task–but instead we had
When we dove into God’s plan, and were incapable of obsessing about ourselves, our comfort, our objects and getting, we experienced the next few stages of freedom. The first moments that God took joy in providing for us, and we saw and were in awe. “Wow, God…”
I was suprised at this journey of adoption because of the amount of freedom it brought to our lives, real, tangible freedom that we feel and experience every day. I’ll do my best to share a little of some ways freedom is part of our lives now, where it wasn’t before.
America is pretty intense, our priorities, our media, our desires and it can grab anyone without any of us knowing it, and we are living to gain. This year, we have been spending a lot of time in two different, very different countries.
One country is in many ways lacking, it’s hurting, being crushed spiritually. Birth rates are declining due to unhealthy lifestyles, the littlest, tiniest hurting the most. It’s not only financial poverty, but a type much more robbing.
But, it also opened my eyes to here. We have so much stuff, it’s actually hurting us, taking away from our relationships. So much food, people are sick and dying. People are drowning in debt, kids have so many toys they don’t know how to play: “An avalanche of toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of overwhelm,” Dr. Payne, who actually recommends getting rid of most of your toys. Rooms on pinterest are appealing because there are no piles of stuff.
But, sadly, that’s another reason we almost said no, how could we afford it when we had our stuff to take care of, and needed other stuff, and what if something happens to the stuff we have, shouldn’t we have back up funds for the stuff we have? I mean, isn’t that wisdom?
We learned it was the opposite of freedom. We tried to step out of our fear and “not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving,” and that’s what this journey brought, an opportunity for freedom from seeking to get.
As we looked at the number set before us on paper, the number of dollars it would take to cross the ocean to ransom this little girl, we stopped buying–anything, and at first our flesh recoiled. But. It then turned into a season of our lives where we were not seeking to get. We didn’t buy clothes for us or for Finley, we didn’t buy toys, we didn’t buy home stuff, we didn’t buy dinners out, we didn’t buy one extra grocery that we didn’t adamantly need, we didn’t buy. We stopped going to stores.
And what came with this, was freedom. It took many forms.
Freedom: And when you stop seeking for yourself, you give God a chance to provide not just your needs, but some wants, and you are overjoyed with thankfulness. Studies show that true joy comes from thankfulness, so people seek out thankfulness, write lists, etc, but in this extreme situation we chose to be in, we couldn’t escape thankfulness, because God really did provide, every step of the way, big and small, but the theme was always, over and over, sometimes daily. Our hearts had no option but to notice, and look up. We praised and recognized.
The adoption process is where you put all your money and time into another little life, allowing God to take care of the rest, and you know what they say about God, our vine, and how he cares for us.
Freedom from the rat race: When you take yourself out from working yourself thin to buy stuff for yourself, and instead invest your time and earnings into the life of another, it does something for your soul. Work and effort have a renewed sense.
But truthfully, I think living way below your means takes confidence. You need to be confident in who you are and what you bring to the table and not care what anyone else thinks to pull it off. The hidden joy in that is that your relationships become truer and richer.
And when someone invites you to a fancy dinner out, you say, “No.”
“No, I am sorry but we can’t go with you to that fabulous place. But, if you want to come here, we would love to share the meal we have with you, and the kids can play in the back together.”
I think stronger friendships can be forged with multiple hands working in the kitchen, and many papas chasing babies in the yard, and everyone bringing a little bit to make a whole. Friends formed in holding hands around food you made yourself while saying grace to a God who provides in your lacking, always, or maybe best.
With a cease to the influx of items into our home, we could reanalyze the items we have. We put old things to new uses, found new homes for things we don’t need to new people. We refurbished and got creative. I suppose some people might call that being green, and even this felt freeing. We felt more capable, and less like we needed to buy solutions to our problems.
We couldn’t afford art on our walls, or to buy cute decor, but each morning when my son sees his painting on the wall, he is proud, and points it out. That to me is hidden joy in the journey.
And to get things done, you can’t go out and spend so you truly have to get creative with what you have because the only other option is to go without.
And yes I will be wearing the same clothes I have been for years, but at least I can find hangers in my closet. Gifts are a whole new thing in your life. When someone gives you a gift, you truly feel so grateful, and so much love to them.
We have freedom in our time from going to stores, from having to make returns, from hoping someone might notice our new things, freedom from trying to look cute, cause you don’t, and that’s ok–it doesn’t matter.
Traveling, holding and loving children in orphanages who just need you has given me so much freedom as a mother, a freedom I wish all mommies could feel. Even level headed moms can feel lacking if they aren’t giving their kids 100% organic, grassfed library books at gymnastics/tap/ballet class three times a week. After coming home from both trips, I know my time with my son is good, and it’s what he needs, and that freedom I feel bonds my son and I even further. I also feel no problem setting close boundaries with him, I won’t feel guilty about choosing to let him enjoy only a small amount of extras, but I know it’s better for him. Pinterest has no power to guilt.
Freedom from finances. When this process is over, Andrew and I will have a starkly different approach to how we handle our finances, with a human and eternal mindset, and not in everyday indulgences, no matter what the commercials might offer–because I know it’s all empty.
Freedom from fear. Our faith in God is not the same it was before we started this process. How often did we put ourselves in situations where we actually needed God? Needed him to come through for us? Not many if it could be avoided. But, while adopting, we needed God more than we ever did before, and he lavished love and care on us, and the closeness we feel to Him, is irreplaceable. I don’t know if we will ever feel anxiety and fear in our daily lives in the same way we used to. God is seriously here, with us, daily. And that is the biggest blessing, the biggest freedom we have. If God were to take our lives tomorrow, we know it would be for good, and in that we feel freedom, what can we fear?
I like the balance this journey brought to two parts of the world, too much and too little, a bit more evened out.
This is a picture of freedom in my life:
This is freedom, cleaning out closets and giving it to children you really love.
Freedom, seeing God provide for you in every way– I am not sure in our culture if there is ever really a time to be in that situation. Here’s a tiny example, one of many on this journey:
Realizing I needed a hamper for Maria this week, and not even having the option to register for one on Target. The next day, my friend emails me, “Random, but I have a pink and white hamper for you?”
The day before our court trip, being overwhelmed with what we had to do, including spending $ for meal bars for our time on the go. That day a friend stops by with two big bags of meal bars and other food from her husband’s new company, randomly. The same day, our unspoken need–but then all three of us knew.
The day we say we will give up on the idea of buying a home for a least 10 years to seek out this adoption, ‘take it God, it’s yours,’ and a few hours later, the opportunity for us to have a home is made. Just a few hours.
What I’m saying is, if God is asking you to do anything, no matter how big or how small, it’s because He loves you, and because he wants what is best for you, and those you love, and his plan is bigger than just your plan for yourself. Don’t stress, don’t worry, relax.
If it were left up to Andrew and I for too long, there would still be two orphans in the world, but you may have been impressed with our awesome new dining room table, our pictures from our Peruvian vacation or new bathroom sink. And at the end of it all…what a waste.
Yes there were times while we were waiting for court that I wish I could go back in time to the person I was, ignorant to what was happening to children in other places in the world, so that I could invest my heart and soul into decorating my house, or cooking the perfect meal, assembling the best fall outfit, but even the hardness of that wait brought fourth things that I look back on now, and I am glad they are part of my soul, the person I am, the mother I am, the friend and wife.
When God called us to adopt, I knew there would be sacrifice, but what I didn’t know was that what God was asking us to give away were the things holding us down, trapping our souls in hidden anxiety and toil. And what I didn’t know was that when we gave those things up, gave them to him, it was so that our hands and hearts were free for what he had. God has so much to give, he is abundantly full of life’s richest blessings, and we are often too busy clutching onto the false idols, waiting for fulfillment in things that never will fulfill…
If you are in the adoption process, don’t stop giving because of your task, keep giving. Plus it helps the wait.
If you are thinking about adoption but are afraid. Don’t be afraid. “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. // Galatians 5:13 //
|She is, and always will be, my inspiration|