It has been one year this week since we met our children. The view from here is nothing like what we pictured sitting in that courtroom in Ukraine. But, God’s ways are different than our ways.
One year since we took a referral and traveled to their orphanage to meet the three siblings, we signed all the paperwork to transfer guardianship for one and consent for another family to adopt the other two. It has been a painful anniversary. We are grieving. But there is peace in the midst of the storm and we know it is as God intended it to be. He’s given confirmation at every turn and the dramatic change in each of the children proves it.
Our friends, the Bollingers, have one of the most insightful and transparent blogs on Christian adoption we’ve read. We love this family and their endless passion not only for their daughters but for every fatherless child. They wrote a post last week on disruption and we posted the following comment on their blog. They used it as a blog post yesterday.
This is the overflow of our hearts…there is nothing else to say.
We can speak to this one. We were in for life…no ifs ands or buts…but three biological siblings of our four teens adopted last summer were not. What to do? Do we stand our ground, insist that because we are the ones who brought you home that this is your family and you are going to stay the course regardless of how you feel or how much you have hurt each other?
They have so much pain from the abandonment of their mother and abandonment they have inflicted on each other along with insane jealousy toward another sibling. We wanted to give it time and work it out. We refused to give to the demands of two of them for 5 months determined that we could prove that we loved them and that it would get better. We asked our Christian adoption specialist counselor and also our social worker this question. “Do we refuse to let them go and hold tight determined to make it work?” It was our right as parents and what our heart screamed to do for months.
We love them, we are in for the long haul. We courted them and “married” for life. We never changed our mind, it was never too hard. Both the counselor and social worker answered to let them go. Holding them against their will would destroy them, us and the 4th teen that is doing well. No one that knew them advised us to try to keep them in our family against their will.
Then the Lord made it clear they were to go. He had prepared the way and been working upstream. Both families stories of how God prepared them to receive these children are incredible and obviously the hand of God. The timing was perfect. All four of them are doing much better apart in 3 different Christian families who share the same goal of bringing them to Christ.
We have grieved deeply and still do, it is a death. It is not what we intended or wanted. We never gave up…we finally had to own that we loved them enough to let them go if that was God’s plan for them and they could find happiness and peace and others were standing at the ready to take the baton and water the seeds of faith we had planted.
There is peace for all of us…for the two of us there is sadness in the loss, we are reeling…for the four teens there is profound positive change in each of them and confirmation at every turn that this was God’s plan. His ways are not our ways.
It was not too hard for us, we were in, but at 14, 16 and 17 they had to want it and their wishes deserved to be respected. So after months of prayer and hanging on we opened our palm and allowed them to fly if that was their choice. We never put them out. We resisted them leaving with all we had…but they put themselves out. They chose to leave and we love them still. We pray side by side with their new families that they will come to see Jesus face to face and all the old will be gone and they will be made new.
They have attachment and emotional issues, of course. We understand that they do not know what it is to be loyal and family and “for life” and all things eternal and steeped in love. But they are happy and slowly beginning to fly and everyone involved is supportive and assured this is best. We rest in that and delight in the amazing change in our son, almost 16, who has exploded in personality since he became the only child at home. He is passionate about Jesus, bonded to us, dug in deep in every area, relaxed, excelling in school, making friends at every stop and grateful to be in America.
This was never about us…we pray we are faithful and follow as He leads even when it means signing them over legally to others guardianship or adoption this week…exactly one year since we met them. We love them enough to let them go and will pray without ceasing to the end for each of them to know Jesus.
So, we are rejected and abandoned parents who followed the call, weathered the storm and are now grieving through the loss. God works in mysterious ways. Neither of these two families with six additional children could have spent 95 days in Ukraine fighting for these children, but we could and did willingly. Paying the ransom to free them and weathering the storm of their grief in the initial break from the only life they have known and all they have loved along with basic introduction to family life and following Christ was our part of the relay, now the torch is passing to others. Not our idea but God’s…our passion is to follow His call…even when it is hard and looks so different than we could have imagined.
We love them all, always will. We want God’s very best for them so at their insistence we let go and pray without ceasing that they fly on wings as eagles, right into the arms of Jesus…who loves them so much more than we ever could.