To tell you the truth, I've been dreading this for a while now. I've been so excited to start my blog so everyone can follow along with my adoption journey. But if any of you know me well, you know I like things to be perfect (already strike one in the parenting department, I know). I spent hours worrying about the appearance of the blog, is the column size just right, am I using a background that isn't too much, is anyone even going to read it....you get the picture. Not to mention the fact that I don't write well. At all. (I wish my cousin Katie could write everything for me, it would be so much more palatable - and funny - for everyone.) So, please forgive my lack of interesting prose, wit and my middle school vocabulary and grammar skills. But I sure do hope that you follow along on my journey with me. I can't wait to share it with you.
With that being said, my first post is going to be someone else's :) I'm going to repost something that highlights some of the things I find most important and awesome about adoption. Please read and enjoy. (More details about my specific adoption story soon!) This was reposted from Lorraine Patterson's blog, which was reposted from the Loux family blog.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Renee’ and I are sitting in the office of a telephone company in Novograd Valenski, Ukraine, using wireless internet. We are in the middle of adopting three special needs boys from an orphanage here. Two of the boys have Down Syndrome. Roman is high functioning, energetic and happy. Dimitri has serious mental retardation, failure to thrive, and though he is five years old, he is the size of a 1 year old. He has sores on his face, a distinct smell of death on him, and yells out if we try to do anything with him other than hold him. Because he has less ability to respond and learn, he naturally gets less attention and care from the orphanage workers in this world of limited resources. The harsh reality of the “survival of the fittest” principle is a life and death struggle that this little boy is losing fast. Our third boy Sasha, is a brilliant six year old who has Spina Bifida (the condition our son Josiah died from in 1996). He is like a learning sponge that can’t get enough! He is happy and alert and thirsty for knowledge and experience. So with two of our boys, we get an immediate return on any investment we make. With Dimitri, there’s not much immediate gratification. In fact, it’s unknown when and if there will be a return at all. This is the kind of situation that makes the carnal, fallen, human reasoning think, “Why try? What’s the point? What will this produce? What good will this do? Why not select a boy who has more potential? This looks like a lost cause.
Two days ago we drove for hours into the Ukrainian countryside to the village where Dimitri was born. We met with officials there and signed papers and answered their questions. We also went and saw Dimitri’s house. The day had been long, we were still recovering from jet lag, I was beginning to really miss my six daughters at home and all the familiar things our fragile human hearts entangle themselves with in feeble attempts to feel secure. Sitting in the dark on our very long drive back to Novograd that night, the Holy Spirit began to whisper to my heart, and new understanding about redemption began to take shape.
I was thinking, “Man, adopting this little boy has been so much work. This is exhausting, expensive, uncomfortable … and it doesn’t feel very rewarding right now.” What am I doing in some little Soviet car in the dark, in the middle of rural Ukraine in frozen December, as the driver dodges cats and potholes? What if Dimitri doesn’t improve at all? What if we get “nothing” out of this? … Ahhh, there it was; that dark, fallen, unreedemed, selfish human love, rooted in the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil”. The love the Greeks called “erao” love. The love where we treat someone as precious and treasured for what we can get out of it. This is unlike “agapeo” love, the God kind of love that treats someone as treasured and precious for their good, not for my good. It’s when I love a person in order to meet their needs, having no expectation of them meeting any of my needs. At a whole new level, God is working His kind of love into my weak heart, and He’s using little Dimitri to do it.
On the drive home that night, the Lord whispered in my ear, “This is Redemption. Derek, do you know how far I travelled to get you and bring you back? I had to be separated from my Son, in order to get you, just like you are separated from your children in order to get these boys. Do you know how expensive it was for Me to purchase you? It cost me everything. Do you know how broken, sick, damaged, twisted, dirty, smelly, and hopeless you were? And at the end of it all, you had nothing to give me or add to me. I did it for you. I emptied myself and became nothing so that you could have it all. This is redemption.
My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him. And when He redeems us, we can’t even really appreciate or comprehend it, just like Dimitri will never comprehend or fully appreciate what is about to happen to him … but … he will live in the fruit of it. As his Daddy, I will never expect him to understand all of this or even to thank me. I just want to watch him live in the benefits of my love and experience the joys of being an heir in my family. This is how our heavenly “Papa” feels towards us.
Today, settle your busy heart down and rest in the benefits of redemption. Enjoy the fruits of His goodness, and stop trying to “pay Him back”. You’ll never get close you goofy little kid.
Now, here's a follow-up post of The Loux's, which is a reminder of God's goodness and faithfulness. Here's the post that The Louxs authored about 9 months after Derek wrote the post about redemption, 9 months after these 3 boys joined their family. Here's the follow up post found on The Loux Family blog on September 30, 2009:
Ethan’s progess has been nothing short of a miracle. Derek and I were looking at some past pictures of Ethan when we first took him out of the orphanage. We were shocked at the shape he was in! It’s amazing how your mind forgets some of the hard details of the past when such growth has been made. It’s good to see the growth and it’s also important to remember God’s faithfulness and all the Lord has brought Ethan through. Ethan is truly a miracle child! All our boys are!
When Derek and I were in Ukraine going through the process of adopting our three precious sons, Derek went though a really difficult time connecting with Ethan, who at that time was named Dimitri. On December 12th, Derek and I were sitting in the office of a telephone company using the wireless internet to write some emails. Derek began to write a post for our adoption blog. As he was writing the post, he had tears in his eyes. I knew the Lord was speaking something powerful to his heart. We wanted to re-post Derek’s post again to remind you of God’s greatness and His power! When you read the post below you will be reading the names Roman, Dimitri and Sasha as the three boys we were in the process of adopting. We changed Roman’s name to Silas, Dimitri’s to Ethan and we kept Sasha’s name. When we left Ukraine with Ethan, he weighed 11 pounds at 5 years old. He now weighs 26 pounds and has grown 8 inches in 9 months. He laughs, he smiles, he talks, he’s learning how to walk and he is very smart. We were told he would “do nothing.” What a testament to the Lord’s awesome power!
Those of you who follow our blog are aware that since this post below, we have not only adopted our three boys but have also brought in two new daughters, Leeann and our little Sana. God is good! What an amazing heavenly Father we have! His love endures forever and we have 10 beautiful blessings to prove it!!