Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A conversation with Bella...

I have been talking to Bella alot lately about how she joined our family. I have actually had people say to me the past couple of months, that she looks so much like your husband, you could get away with not telling her she is adopted. They follow that with: "So have you decided if you will or not?" I am appalled! Adoption is not a shameful thing in our family. It is a blessing- something we are proud of and something we have experienced ourselves as children of God. However, I do understand that we have an understanding that others may not, and that is why I am not offended by that question.

It did spur me, though, to begin talking and telling Bella bits of her story. I have been talking to her about Guatemala being the place where she was born and other small parts that are appropriate for her. Today in the car, I asked her where she was born and she replied "Matamala, Mommy." She then said, "You and Daddy on airplane to get me." I told her yes and that we brought her home to live with us in our family forever and ever. As I watched her in my rear view mirror, she looked at me with her big, brown eyes and smiled BIG and said "You saved me, Mommy!"

Now, let me start off with saying that I have never said that to her nor have I included that in her 'story' of how she became our daughter. I must say, her adoption did not start because we wanted to save an orphan. Not that there is anything wrong with that reason. It just wasn't ours. We felt called to adopt and wanted to add to our family. It caught me off guard, but then I saw her face and realized her lingo. You see, anytime I leave Bella somewhere, like school or my mom's or a sitter, or even her with her daddy, when I come back, she runs at me with her arms wide open and says " Mommy... You saved me!!!!" I am not sure where or how she developed this tradition and language, because we never use it. It just makes me smile to know that less than 2 years ago, we picked up a 13 month old baby girl that was frail and scared and did not know how to show affection. In all my 4 visits, I had never even heard her laugh and rarely smile. But today... she is vibrant and affectionate beyond belief and literally bounces everywhere she goes.

It is wonderful to know that she has found her security in us. That she KNOWS we are there to take care of her and she rests in that and is confident in that. How many children do not have that confidence? How many children go to sleep every night with no one to kiss them goodnight or to tell them they love them? How many children are scared and lonely and sick and have no one to give them the assurance that they will "save them" in the sense that they know someone will always be there for them? My daughter doesn't have to worry about where her next meal will come from or where she will sleep or wonder why she is empty inside. Because of adoption, she can just be a child. That one thing alone is BIG. Please look outside of yourself and ask the Lord if He is wanting you to step out and do this. As Christians (and I believe, just as humans), we are called to take care of the least among us. I cannot bear to think what my daughter would be dealing with this day if things were different. I am not saying we are wonderful because we 'saved an orphan". I do not view her joining our family that way and never will. But, things are different for her now. Things are different for us now. Our eyes have been open and we will never look at things the same way again. Just some food for thought.

It reminds me that her adoption is a reality of what Jesus did for my life. He saved me and now I am full of life, know how to love and be loved and am no longer frail in sin and have joy unspeakable. WOW!!! Aren't you glad He saves???

What she has yet to find out, is that she, in a way, saved us. God used her precious life to show us how much He loves us and how He adopted us into His family. He also used her adoption to fuel a passion in us for the orphans in this world.

I don't think I will ever forget this converstaion today. My baby girl is wise beyond her years!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Well, a new school year begins tomorrow. I will be at a new school teaching kindergarten and Jake starts the 4th grade, while Bella is in the PK 3 year old class. We are going to have a great year! I am beyond grateful that the Lord opened this opportunity to me and my children. I am not going to write about school in this post, though. I have to say that preparing for this school year as a teacher has consumed my life this past month, especially this past week, and now I am ready to move forward.

I just read Katie, from Amazima ministries, latest blog post. It was written by her dad and I still can't stop the tears. I envy her, in a way. She is truly following Jesus EVERY day of her life. Ever since I saw the African Children's Choir perform when I was in my early twenties, I have wanted to live my life as a missionary living and working and caring for orphans. Jeff has felt this way, also. In fact, we talked about it on our first date. I really thought we would have been doing it by now. I still pray that God gives my family this desire of our heart.

Adoption changed our lives. After 7 years of wondering WHY I couldn't have another baby, I really feel that the Lord answered me this year. I know He spoke to my heart that we had to go through all that we did with infertility and with our adoption in order for us to have the passion for orphans that we have now. I know He is God and He could have done anything, but He chose to do it this way and (I never thought I would say this), but I am so glad He did. Not only did He fan the flame for the love we have for orphans, but He has used Bella's adoption to show me things about my relationship with Him and how much He loves me and how adoption changed MY life (spiritually-speaking!).

I am in a very different place in my walk with Him right now. I am trying to strip away everything that will hinder me from hearing His voice and being able to follow HIS lead. I want to be led to the place of divine appointment. I realize that I will have to leave some things and some friends behind as I press towards this goal for my life. I realize it will be uncomfortable at times. I realize it will cost me ALOT. But.... I am finally at that place of readiness. I thought I was at other times, but only realized that I wasn't quite ready.

I am now.

I am ready at press in, leave all else behind and discover what He has for my family to do.

I thought when we went to Guatemala this summer that we would come back knowing more about the direction God was leading us. I realized half way into our trip that it was going to be different than I thought. This trip did not answer specifics for us, but did give us insight into other things. I am grateful that HE knows exactly what we have need of and He is faithful to give it to us if we truly seek His will and desire and not our own!!

Our trip to Guatemala this summer gave us a glimpse into how it will be for our family to be on the mission field together. It allowed my children to bond in a way that hasn't happened since Bella came home. My children's relationship is totally different than it was at the beginning of the summer. But most importantly, our trip to Guatemala showed me and Jeff what we feel God is calling us to do. It has given us a clearer picture even though we don't feel closer to the exact place. Now, we just have to begin to get rid of the things that are hindering us, so that we can be more than ready when He opens the door.

I am ready to walk through the doors He will set before us and live my life broken before Him and serving Him whole-heartedly. I am willing to leave ALL behind to follow Him and I am ready to hear His voice speak so that I can follow. It is an exciting time and my spirit is bursting with the possibilities....