January 20, 2015. The day I made a decision that has become a life changer for me. A year ago today, God spoke very loudly to me sitting at a picnic table on the back deck of the Harmony House in Harmons, Jamaica, while on a missions trip. You see, I had been resisting His leading for quite a long time, out right telling Him NO, I wasn't ready or going to adopt UNTIL I was married. Sure, adoption was on my radar but for many years I wanted it to be on MY timeline, not His. I'm so grateful for Laci Thurn who loved me enough to speak the truth the night before that caused my heart to race and my fears to rise to the top and also caused me to not sleep a wink that night as I wrestled this decision out with the Lord. I will never forget that moment the next morning (1.20.2015) I was reading through the team devotion material that I had personally written a couple months prior...the story was Esther, and it was my turn to lead that morning. The question was "what risk are you being asked to take so that others lives can be redeemed?" That question cut to the heart. I knew. I knew loud and clear what God was asking me, and I also knew I had a bucket load of fears to go with my answer. Fears that NOW are no where present.
Esther 4:13-14 NLT
Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”
I remember God speaking to my heart and saying, "Amy, I will not force you to adopt, it is your choice...if you don't, I will bring redemption to that child another way...but, also, if you don't, YOU are the one that will miss out."
Clear as day was His call for me to adopt. In my answer I wrote was this -
"this scares the crap out of me but Lord, I am willing."
Once I said Yes, the fear that had been gripping my heart for so long was slowly releasing...I can't explain it.
FEARS GONE. (No coincidence that the song No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music is playing on my Pandora right now as I am typing this. It is a song about how as followers of Jesus, we are no longer slaves to FEAR, we are children of God...seriously, I can't make this up.)
This journey - WOWZA - it has been the BEST and the hardest journey of Faith I have ever taken.
Everything anyone had ever told me about adoption has been shown to be true. The good, the bad, the hard, the ugly, the beautiful...all of it.
I want this post to be about the BEAUTIFUL.
Yes, it has been hard, adoption is NOT for the faint of heart, I have learned that first hand. Right now, it seems the hardest...there's no end in sight. I have been told "no, I am sorry she chose another family" more times than I can count. I have been chosen by one, only for that situation to have many complications, and I have NO idea right now how it will end...I seriously cannot tell you what is happening...it is a ROLLER COASTER.
IT IS BEAUTIFUL
...and even when I am sitting at home, when my heart aches to be in Jamaica with this years team, when I don't hold a baby in my arms yet... I have an un-explainable peace. My heart is at rest, knowing that MY GOD Authors the BEST stories, and even when I can't see what He is doing, when I can't hear His voice, when I feel distant from Him....my heart KNOWS THIS - HE IS AT WORK. He has not forgotten. He is present. And my roots are DEEP in Him and the truth I KNOW about Him. He IS FAITHFUL.
So - here is the Beautiful of my journey this year. What a ride! (and it's not over yet!!)
Lessons Learned on My Adoption Journey -
What God authors, HE PROVIDES for. I am BLOWN AWAY at how He has provided for this adoption. BLOWN AWAY. I have learned that money should NEVER stand in the way of what God is asking me to do...it's ALL HIS. I didn't have a dime set aside for this journey when I started. Some may think that is being irresponsible...but, for me, God was was asking me to trust HIM to completely provide. To take a LEAP of Faith and see what He could do...to trust that He would provide EVERY penny needed...and that is EXACTLY what He has done. My heart is forever grateful for how He has used the generosity of others to make this possible. ONLY HIM. He has Authored AND provided.
I am not alone. One of my many fears was I never wanted to adopt alone, I never wanted to be a single mom...do you see a theme there, (I NEVER WANTED) - God has shown me in INCREDIBLE ways that although I am single and adopting, I AM NOT ALONE. He has held my hand and walked through EVERY single step with me...from meeting with social workers, to home study visits to fingerprinting and the many countless nights I have laid in bed and cried myself to sleep...HE IS THERE. He has brought people into each day that I thought I was walking alone, people that have tangibly been HIS presence to me. I have always been taught that God is ALWAYS with me...I'VE NOW LIVED IT. He is present and even in my darkest moments, HE IS THERE.
My VILLAGE - I am blessed. Seriously. I could NEVER of imagined the village God has given me for this journey. I'm humbled. I am in awe of the love out pouring from others. Literally Hundreds of people. Seriously...this child will NEVER be able to comprehend the world of love God has waiting for her. I've tried my best to say THANK YOU to my village but how do you make people really see the gratitude of your heart? Complete strangers have offered gifts and love and encouragement. Family and friends have showered me to the point where I don't even know what to do with it all. And it's not just stuff. It's words of encouragement at the needed moment, texts of Scripture, prayers at the exact time needed, hugs, a smile from across the gym at church...it is countless ways I have been extended the love of Christ on this journey. I am blown away. Thank You, Lord. Bless these People who make my village so completely wonderful.
Value of Authenticity - I have learned the value that comes from just being real. Friends, it is OK to just be real, to feel every emotion, to cry when needed, to ask why, to SHOUT for joy when your heart may burst, to sit in silence night after night, to be down at times, to pour out your heart in God's presence...to just BE. I have walked through so many highs and lows on this journey. It really is best described as a roller coaster. I have felt the highest of heights where I thought my heart couldn't feel any more joy and I have plummeted days later to the lowest of lows wondering why, things just not making sense. Just like on a roller coaster ride - you have NO control. You just have to buckle the seat belt and be securely anchored to God and hold on tight to the lap bar when you think you're gonna fly out and then at times raise your hands high and scream for joy...when we are authentic, it allows others around us to be authentic as well. I have learned to buckle up and ENJOY the ride, and P.S. I'm not a huge roller coaster fan.
Dig Deep - I have learned the value in having your roots planted deep. You HAVE to. I saw this quote today - When the root is deep, there's no reason to fear the wind. - The first thing it made me think of was the incredible parents I have been blessed with, parents that taught and still teach me to love Jesus and to go deep with Him. Parents that planted seeds in my heart of Scripture and desiring God. Those seeds took root and those roots continue to grow down deep and I am so grateful because when on the journey of adoption, "wind and storms" are inevitable, they WILL come. I have learned to just dig in deeper in my faith in Him when those moments have come. Moments that make you want to quit and go back to the comfort zone you were in. But, you can't. I have had to trust that He truly knows what He is doing. There's something beautiful about that...knowing that HE already knows. And I can trust HIM.
The JOURNEY is just as important as the DESTINATION - As much as I am aching to have my baby home, wherever she is, I have learned to just lean in to the lessons of the journey. The time spent with my Jesus has been the sweetest time I have ever known. I have grown so much in my faith in Him. He has answered many prayers, so many. Some prayers, the answer has been NO, that's not what I have for you. And in the NO's, HE IS STILL GOOD. Because I have seen first hand His adoption story unfold in many lives before my journey, I KNOW I can trust that even in the No's - He is still at work and His plan for me is THE BEST. The journey has been LIFE CHANGING. I'm not the same person I was a year ago today. ONLY HIM.
A year ago, this room was my bedroom, now, it holds so much joy, so much love given by so many. I spend my mornings in here, reading my Bible and drinking coffee. I look around the room and I see the faces of SO MANY loved ones who have generously given for my daughter and I and I weep for joy. She is loved. She's not even here yet and my journey to her has brought so much redemption in my own life.
"Adoption is hard, adoption is worth it." Anyone that tells you it's hard will ALWAYS follow it up by saying IT'S WORTH IT. It is messy. It has caused me to see the ugliness of my own heart. It has helped me to embrace God's grace and loving forgiveness in a whole new way. There are many uncertainties on the road of adoption and it's hard to hand the steering wheel over and over to the Driver, but I've learned I HAVE TO. God knows where this journey is taking me, and I will trust HIM - EVEN WHEN ITS HARD AND I CANNOT SEE - I will believe with ALL my heart that He is up to something GREAT. It's Who He is. He is a GOOD - GOOD - Father.
I am so GRATEFUL for the broken yet BEAUTIFUL journey of Adoption...the BEST is yet to come!