Nate and Sara completed the adoption of their two children, Eden and Caleb, from Ethiopia in 2009. Sara skillfully and beautifully documents their adoption journey in her blog, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet. Visit her blog and you will be blessed, encouraged, and will be able to relate to the honest feelings behind each post. "Watch The Mountains" is being used, by permission, from her entry on May 3, 2010.
I think we’ll always wonder if certain behaviors from our children are a result of their past before they were adopted, or even a result of the adoption process itself.
They both have taken to crawling into my arms and asking if they can “be Mommy’s baby.” This comes with requests for me to walk with them, rock them, “burp” them, hold them close and show them off.
“Please show Daddy mommy’s baby,” Caleb says.
“Of course,” I say. “Daddy, do you see that I am holding the most precious baby God has ever made … his name is Caleb Asnaka. And he’s all mine.”
Caleb’s eyes sparkle with deep contentment.
And although she demonstrates no mental delays, Eden continues to have a hard time grasping that she won’t again get to be a baby. She says often: “when I grow up and then I get to be a baby.” Does she have a sense of what she lost? Dehydrated of opportunities to be held, cuddled, nurtured?
As Caleb’s attachment has progressed … and progressed … and progressed, I am seeing more of his tender heart emerge. He cries when his sister is hurt. Any sense of fear sends him bolting to me and clawing his way up and around my neck. He gives lots of “surprise kisses.” (I’ve decided not to tell him that the warning that they’re coming negates the very surprise he plants.)
Is he so tender because of the early years of his life spent with so much uncertainty?
I don’t know that we’ll ever know the answers to these questions, but one thing I am certain of is this: being orphaned for a day–or, as with Eden, for nearly 4 years–has a profound impact on a child’s life. I can barely stand to think about what would have happened to my precious children had they not been in our home.
And there are millions of others like them. Imprinted with the DNA of God, called “His sons and daughters”, and left to starve on the streets. World-influencers, at the bottom of the food chain … forgotten.
But not by Him.
We pray in our house that God would bring the “little boys and girls without mommies and daddies into families.” But there are some not in line to be brought into families. More than some. And when we pray about them, we pray that God would be their great Daddy.
Maybe forgotten by their biological parents. Maybe forgotten by the world. Maybe overlooked by the passer-by on the street. But not by God.
While we wait on the “go ahead” for our next adoption and for some other orphan-related work He has put on our hearts, this prayer has become more frequent: God, be their Daddy.
Let the stories that emerge from these orphaned lives be ones that speak of a God who is a father to the fatherless (Psalm 86). Let the orphans of the earth rise up and call Him Father.
Our adoption has made an impact. When we look at those two lives, our measurements suggest a size-able dent. But these prayers of ours have the ability to move mountains.
So do yours.
Let us not, in our rush to “just do something”, forget that all power lies in His hands.
Our plumb line to Him is our first form of advocacy.
Nate and I love advocacy on behalf of orphans and the poor. But could it be that all those Scriptural encouragements to pray, to cry out, is where the real work begins? Evidence continues to confirm to me that the place of prayer–seeking His face and His heart, not our solutions and our plans–brings “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3).
Give it a week. Or a month. Or a year. Set your plans for the passion that’s burning in your heart aside. And pray. Ask God for His heart, His plans, His strategies. And listen.
And (urgh) wait.
It’s probably bigger than you ever thought, maybe more challenging, requiring you to be more anonymous while He is lifted up … but certainly a lot more fun.
Then watch the mountains.
Mark 11:22-24 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.