Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Forever Changed

God instantly gripped my heart in 2003 as I listened to a testimony of international adoption on the radio. In the two years since becoming a Christian at the age of 36, I’d never heard of international adoption, and I had no idea there were millions of orphaned children worldwide and reputable adoption agencies who specifically facilitated placing these children into loving homes.

As God broke my heart and burdened me for these children, my prayer became, “Lord, show me what to do or give me peace in knowing there’s nothing I can do.” As I nervously shared my heart with my husband, to my amazement he said he’d always secretly desired to adopt.

When we thought our family was complete with three biological children, God set us on an unfamiliar path, the path that, over the next 11 years, would lead us to nine China-born sons and daughters. Even though we were initially overwhelmed by the adoption process and the financial drain, we knew without a doubt this is what God had in mind for us.

Our first two daughters came home through the ‘healthy child’ program, but when we found our son on Lifeline Children’s Services Waiting Child list, we soon realized we were partnering with an incredible Christian adoption agency. We would ultimately choose Lifeline to bring home six more children from China.

The process can be daunting, even to the ‘experienced’ prospective adoptive parent, especially with the rigorous guidelines implemented by the Hague Convention. The Hague standards have driven the cost of the adoption process upward, caused additional paperwork and made the length of the process somewhat unpredictable, but it is in an effort to protect the children, which is of utmost concern to Lifeline, as well as our family.

Though each time we have adopted, the process has varied slightly, the Lifeline staff has navigated our family through the journey. Their educational requirements have helped to prepare us for the various needs of our children before we travel, and the process in country is handled efficiently and professionally because of Lifeline’s knowledge, experience and good reputation with the officials in China. Once home, we are free to call on Lifeline to help find resources in the face of unexpected challenges that often come with children from ‘hard places.’

It is for these reasons that we love referring families to Lifeline when they are considering adoption. It’s as if we are all family.

But adoption isn’t just about the business of paperwork. There is a child’s life on the line. A child who has, in the very least, suffered loss, and oftentimes, unthinkable circumstances. Adoption is a physical picture of the gospel. Father God meets us where we are, 
in our brokenness and oppression, in need of redemption. As adoptive parents, we are not the Redeemer, but merely a vessel to introduce our children to God’s unconditional love, tireless pursuit, endless mercy and unwavering Truth.

We had no idea that God would use the lifelong commitment of adoption to change our lives forever. He has introduced a new culture and strengthened faith to our family. He has proven that no obstacle, whether real or imagined, is too great for Him, and He has taught us to view things from an eternal perspective. To Him be the glory!

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 
Matthew 16:21


Dardi said...

This is a beautiful, convicting testimony, Connie. Thank you for sharing!

Jean said...

Wonderful post! So well written and so true!

We love Lifeline too and have adopted with them for our last five kiddos- 2 adoptions! It has been a pure pleasure working with them!

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