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I wrote this post in the spring of 2013, on a day that changed my life forever. I wrote it through tears and hesitated to ever publish it. But today I want to share it with you.
On the day we met our son, I had a complete come apart.
I cried. I railed at Heaven. I mourned. And then I sought God and found peace.
Because it broke my heart to see this precious boy so obviously bearing the brunt of a broken system.
Our son has been lovingly cared for by an amazing director and a team of nannies who love him. There is very little I can complain about on that front.
But the fact that he was abandoned at all broke my heart. I hate that there have to be orphans at all. I hate that it took us so long to get here.
Before we ever met him, God clearly told me to be ready. To brace myself. For when I saw my son, I would see GOD more clearly.
Because he was created in the image of God
In my oh-so-human heart that excited me and I set up unrealistic expectations. I expected to see a child who, in spite of the overwhelming odds against him, was flourishing and victorious.
I pictured a boy who had been miraculously healed and was smiling and whole and ready for his new family. Instead, I sat in an office and heard about how he had been doing so well, “But….”
And then they filled in the “but”.
The “but” made my heart hurt, but I still hoped. And then I met him.
This amazing boy God had brought us halfway around the world to meet. This boy I had dreamed about, prayed for, and loved beyond reason or explanation.
And he was smiling. He is ready for a family.
But he was worse off then I imagined.
The last year was not a great one for him. And it hurt to see that.
After about an hour of reveling in the fact that we were finally in the room with our son, reality came crashing down.
I’m not proud of the fact that my tears then became tears of fear instead of joy.This part is the reason I wrestled with whether or not to record the day and share it. Because of my own humanity and fear of man.
We knew that Vanya’s addition to our family would change it forever. But Vanya has worsened dramatically in the last year due to a new medication.
And I wasn’t sure our other kids would be okay with some of what we were seeing.
I wondered if it was fair to them.
I worried that our church family would turn up their noses, instead of welcoming us back.
I was terrified my own family would look at him and be disappointed in our decision.
I saw the disappearance of play dates as we know them because the children of our friends might not be comfortable with this beautiful boy who was made in the image of God. Heck, their parents might be uncomfortable, too!
I began to question my abilities as a mother and the dreams I had had.
It took several hours of tears and thoughts to calm down and truly think clearly — truly PRAY OPENLY.
But once I did, all the fear subsided.
I have a dear friend, the sweet presence of loving Wisdom in my life, who I reached out to.
She confirmed what was in my heart, but it strengthened me in my emotional state.
She asked: If you were pregnant with this child and found out about all of his challenges, would you have an abortion?
My instantaneous answer: OF COURSE NOT!
And that is when God’s voice became louder than my emotions. For truly, I had been pregnant with Vanya. I have carried him in the womb of my heart for months now.
And the time is upon me to bear down and birth him into our family.
There are painful contractions, times of tears and frustration, the ring of fire itself … but then, the birth. The new life into the family. The new life you get to watch blossom and grow.
And then came the still, small voice after I processed my emotions.
“Can you see Me yet?”
What?!?!?! See YOU? Where? All I see is a child in an orphanage that in a perfect world would have been in a family since his birth.
“Keep looking. Made in MY image, reflecting MY likeness.”
It took a while, but I finally saw.
Every time I look at my son’s face, I see GOD now.
It’s so clear, so blindingly obvious to me. I am just in awe.
I see that by man’s wisdom we would describe God as perfect, and then we would go on to mean that to be attractive, strong, victorious, admired, etc.
But God chose to come humbly, as a babe. He chose to come humbly, as a servant. He chose to bring life, through death. God’s ways are not our ways.
And when I look at my son, and the other orphans here in this Eastern European nation, I see God.
I see children who are not forgotten.
God knows their names.
I see children that the world calls disabled, retarded, damaged, and forsaken.
God calls them precious.
I see children that have been abandoned.
God has never left them.
I see children that are hidden away because they are disfigured and different.
God said, “It is good.”
I look at our son and I see these truths.
I see the impact of sin in a depraved, fallen world. That is why he is where he is.
But then I see God in his eyes — in that purity of spirit, the humbleness of stature, the unrestrained joy in response to love. It’s beautiful.
Our son reaches for us eagerly when we walk into the room. He doesn’t berate us for being late. He doesn’t judge us and find us lacking. He is just thrilled we have come.
God is like that.
Our son laughs and delights in our company, even when we don’t do anything particularly delightful. He just wants to be with us. It is enough that we love him and want to spend time with him.
God is like that.
Our son is sad when it is time for us to leave, often sheds tears when we walk away. It leaves a gap in his life when it is time to be separated. And there is an expectant joy for the day when we won’t have to be separated ever again.
God is like that.
Our son seems to come alive when he hears other children laugh. Nothing brings him greater happiness than the joy of those around him.
God is like that.
Made in the image of God? Oh, yes, Lord I see it!