Turning Pages


 I’ve been sitting and turning back the pages of 2013 tonight.  I decided to let you join me, if you’d like.

A little over a year ago, we sat at the computer.  My sweet Princess and I were scrolling through photos of orphans and asking God how to help them.  We had had a very meager Christmas the previous year because every penny went towards our pending adoption.  And you know, we didn’t notice the lack.  So last year we decided to do the same, but this time to bless a family or waiting child.  And that’s when we first saw this picture:

The Princess immediately squealed.  “It’s her! That’s my sister!”  And my heart fell to my feet.  After all, I’d just survived a year of fundraising, six weeks with ALL of my children in Ukraine, and the oh-so-overwhelming post-adoption period (and the honeymoon had just ended, so it was “fun”).  I told her, “NO.”  But then she asked us to pray about it…We committed to a different child, one that we thought was “ours” and continued to pray about the “girl with the giant bow.”  God soon made it abundantly clear that that the first child wasn’t ours.  We nursed wounded emotions, and then began to fear that this sweet girl wouldn’t be ours either.  Some day I’ll need to share the whole story.  For now, let’s just say that a child shall lead them.   I am so thankful for our sweet Princess’ heart being so open, so big, so obedient.  And so patient with parents who were too logical to see through eyes of faith at first.  Soon, all of our children were on board and God began stretching our hearts, using a woman in Pennsylvania to help soothe our hearts and bolster our faith.  And another woman in Tennessee who reached out over and over.  It’s amazing how God moves through people.  These ladies moved mountains with their faith long before we entered the picture, and stuck it out helping us through till we brought our angel-girl home.

We entered 2013 home study ready and compiling our second dossier in a year.  Oh. My.  And the word Go gave me was “INTENTIONAL.”  As if I could be anything but with an adoption looming!  But oh, the surprises that were coming.  We soon began to dream of a son — but we were pursuing a daughter we knew  to be ours at this point in time.  So we amended paperwork to add a boy.  But what boy?  Oh, this story, too, needs to be shared one day.  It’s truly remarkable and God’s fingerprints were all over it.  We knew exactly who it was when I got an email with these photos in it (and a current photo, just to show you what being in a family can do!):
And just like our sweet angel-girl had her prayer warrior up in Pennsylvania, our JJ had his own warriors all over, too.  I am so thankful for each and every one of them.
But we were intentional with so much more than just our adoption.  If you followed along on facebook it might seem like we were consumed by it.  That’s because pregnancy, even a paper pregnancy, shapes your life while you wait.  But we did so much more this past year!
Our biggest blessing was this young man asking Jesus into his heart.  I don’t think anything at all could top that.  The cry of my heart for each of my children is to come to God.  It has shaped so much of what has come since then and remains the single most important thing in his life.  I recently shared with him the verse God gave me for his life, back when we were still “expecting” him during our paper-pregnancy stage.  It has become precious to him and he delights in reading it often.  He is truly growing in ‘wisdom, stature, and in favor with both God and man.’  We still have our hang ups (yup, I’m the mom of a teenaged son!), but his heart is much more open to the Holy Spirit these days.  I can’t wait to see what God does in his life and through it.
Since her second birthday, the Princess has been praying for a sister.  For her, this year was all about God’s faithfulness in answering her cry.  I think she empathizes quite well with the Hannah of Old Testament fame, crying out for a child.  I, too, wept for a little girl in my prayer closet.  If you asked our sweet girl what her favorite thing about this year was, she would exclaim “A SISTER!  And ballet lessons.”  Too adorable!!!  Her artistic side has really blossomed in this last year, too, and she’s discovering more about herself.  Watching her become a young woman is astounding.  She has such poise and grace and beauty.  One of my favorite things about my sweet princess is how she makes everything she touches beautiful.  She loves to serve and bless others and is constantly teaching me through her example to be less selfish.
My biggest surprise this year was in the changes in the heart of our Fiery One.  He has always been passionate and compassionate.  Everything he feels is big.  And his heart for his new siblings exploded wide open.  It brings me to tears when I watch him lavish them with attention and delight.  He has also worked diligently to master some areas that have challenged him socially, personally, and academically.  My sweet baby is rapidly approaching young man status.  I can’t believe it!
Little dude turns three in January and I cannot even begin to tell you how odd it is for my teensie-tiny baby to be an energetic toddler.  I remember the evening he was born, and holding him and marveling about God knitting him together inside of me.  I remember his miraculous healing when he was three days old and crying tears of joy for God’s faithfulness.  I remember his first words — in Russian!  And now he is making his own snacks, helping me fold laundry, vacuuming (it’s his favorite activity), and playing like a big boy.  Oh my.  And watch out world when he pairs up with his sweet sister!!!
This last year has overflowed with God moving miraculously, mightily, and in ways only HE could.  I’m excited to see what He’ll do next year as we follow Him into 2014.


  1. says

    Thank you for your story. With tears I am compelled to keep reading your posts… In many ways we are the same and it is encouraging to hear how the Lord has worked in your life. You, by example, are sharing the love of the Lord. Thank you!

    • graceful.abandon@gmail.com says

      Rachael, thanks for taking the time to read and to comment. Glad you’ll be back; I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

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