Jul 16, 2009

Adopted for Life

Have you heard of this book? Reagan and I were made aware of it a few weeks ago when our interim youth minister mentioned it in a sermon. We picked it up at the bookstore this past weekend and we've been reading a few pages every night after our evening devotion together. I have to tell you though, it's not a book for the faint of heart. We only read a few pages every night, and I've yet to read without crying. It has spoken so deeply to our hearts. Maybe because we're sensitive to the area of adoption. Maybe because some of the things the author shares are situations and experiences we've lived through. Whatever reason, it's been a book that has touched us both. I highly recommend you reading it - whether you have adopted, plan to adopt, have biological children or have no children at all. Because, you see, it's about adoption of children, but it's also about adoption into the body of Christ. It is about fulfilling the calling that God has placed on the hearts and lives of all who call him Lord and follow Him. Here are a couple paragraphs from the book:

Adoption is not just about couples who want children - or who want more children. Adoption is about an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself. This book is intended for families who want to adopt and wonder whether they should. It is also intended for parents with children who've been adopted and who wonder how to raise them from there. It is for middle-aged fathers and mothers whose children have just told them they are thinking about adoption.
But this book is also, and perhaps most especially, for the man who flinches when his wife raises the issue of adoption because he wants his "own kids" - and who hates himself for thinking that. It is for the wife who keeps the adoption application papers in a pile on the exercise bicycle upstairs - as a "last resort" - but who is praying fervently right now for two lines of purple to show up on her home pregnancy test... It is for the elderly couple who tithe their Social Security check, dote on their grandchildren, and wonder how they can tangibly help the young couple who ask for prayer every month that they might be parents - and who never seem to show up for Mother's Day services.

Let me encourage you, if you enjoy reading, if you have a heart for missions, if you feel God moving in your heart to step outside your comfort zone and step up to a newer level of service to Him - READ this book.

If ever there was a life lived as a testimony to our "adoption for life" into a family, I'd like to believe ours is one. Our adoption into God's family, Sara Madalin's adoption into our family, and our adoption into her birth family.

Having said that, having read this book all week, and having begun to pray about the direction God would have us follow Him next, I have to show you a few pictures of how God blessed us this week.

Does anyone remember who these people are?

That's two of Sara Madalin's half-siblings. Those are her birthmother's children - Emily and Nathan. We went to see them Tuesday evening. We've seen them once since her birth. We send updates every few months about what she's up to. I also make sure there are pictures of what all she's been doing. But sometimes, pictures just aren't enough to get the full effect. So, their Nana (Sayra's mother) had asked if we'd come up and visit again. We told her we would. They wanted us to come sooner, but we've been unable to work out a time for us and Susie to go. (Susie goes with us because she is our source of contact with the family. That, and she loves us. Ha.)

We drove up after I got out of class Tuesday afternoon. We got there in time to play and have dinner. Nathan was so excited to see Sara Madalin. He was never more than 2 inches away from her all night. She kind of likes him too. Emily was sweet enough to go get one of her toys for Sara Madalin to play with. Only Sara Madalin wanted to put the toy in her mouth. Emily didn't care for that and we had to give the toy back. (Can we say "sibling rivalry"?)

And would you look at what Nana had in her dining room.
Um, yes, that would be a Smith county watermelon. She cut one after I told her how much Sara Madalin likes watermelon.

Here's Sara Madalin with her Nana. When we got there, she walked right to her. As Nana was cooking in the kitchen, Sara Madalin would go in there every now and then to check on her. And to get a bite of the chicken and rolls and Angel food cake.

And here's Sayra with Nathan, Emily and Sara Madalin. I think Sara Madalin looks more like her than the other two children.

All Nana and Papa's grandchildren. (Papa hated not being there. He had to work. But he called to talk to Sara Madalin while she was there.)

And again out on the back deck.

Sara Madalin giving Nana love right before we left.

Nana found her tickle spot. And also where she keeps all the good sugar.

We are so humbled by what God has done for us through this family. We know our adoption situation is very unique. Some of the people in my closest circle even find it difficult to understand the relationship we have with Sara Madalin's birth family. All I can tell you is that God works in ways we don't understand. I never thought I'd travel 3 1/2 hours to have dinner with the woman who gave birth to my daughter. But we do it. The family makes us feel like we're just an extension of their family. Nana pulled me aside and hugged me at one point and said, "I'm so proud of y'all. She's so sweet." We told them that we have had opportunities to share her testimony and it has touched so many lives. They are thankful for us. We are thankful for them. We all love Sara Madalin. And we all love Jesus. I guess that's how it works. The fact that we're tied together not just by the birth and life of our child, but by the birth, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord.

I know that many people who read our blog regularly have read our adoption testimony. When I wrote that, it was almost a form of closure. Closure to our wait. But now I see, that testimony - Sara Madalin's adoption - it's just a beginning. God continues to add to our testimony. And if I believe anything, it's that when you have been given a gift from God, you have to testify of it. So, this post is, I suppose, a little addition of our testimony. A testimony of being "adopted for life" into the family of God.

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Penny said...

My daughter thought about giving her baby up when she first found out. She changed her mind about a month later. If she had given him up, as heartbreaking as it would have been for us, we would have supported that decision. I would have wanted someone like you to raise him, and would have been SO THANKFUL to be a part of his life. To your friends who don't understand(I'm not condemning them AT ALL),there are two sides to every adoption. There are beautiful testimonies for the adoptive parents--- then there are stories of heartbreak for the birthfamily. Both sides want what's best for the baby. Prayers for the child go up from both families. Trust me on this.
I think it's beautiful that you took Sara Madalin to visit! It's a gift to the family that gave you your family. You're a blessing to each other! I don't find it odd that you love Sayra and have a relationship with her family--- how could you NOT?! I don't even know y'all and every time I look at your blog--- I think about hard it must have been for Sayra and how much you love Sara Madalin and that's the reason Sayra can go on. She needs to know she did the right thing and how would she know without SEEING her?
Yes, I think Sara Madalin looks more like Sayra than the others, but I ALSO think she favors you and Regan! I also think it's cute that she and Emily were both dressed in the same colors. =)
God bless you as always.

The Glenn Gang said...

Great! Tears at work as I'm trying to start my day. From now on I only read your blog at night!

ken and meg said...

Thank you Thank you thank you... I would love to copy your post for my blog..it was wonderful!!!