Composers work tirelessly for hours on end with hopes that the masterpiece they are creating will be loved by listeners for time to come. Every note, pitch, bar, transition, feeling, and emotion are taken into consideration with great detail. They matter. Each note affects the way the next is heard and every tiny detail is necessary for the masterpiece to blend. Parts of music can certainly be played individually, and there are absolutely times when such is appropriate. However, when the conductor cues each musical part to simultaneously begin and the masterpiece is slowly revealed, listeners are filled with the most beautifully constructed, perfect harmony.
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was June of 2012, we were sitting in our first, yes I said first, Crossings Training at Lifeline. We were newbies to this adoption process, full of energy and excitement. Towards the end of the training, Lifeline brought in a panel of adoptive parents for a Q and A. Great session…we love Crossings! One family mentioned that the adoption process for one of their children took a little over 4 years. This bright-eyed, excited, full of energy newbie looked at her husband and said “Oh my goodness, bless their hearts, I could never do that”. We have now been in process for 3 1/2 years.
Adoption is hard. The process. The paperwork. The money. The doubts. The conversations. The explanations. The wait. The delays. The questions. The culture. The lack of support. The obstacles. The fears. The wonders. The seemingly unending list of things that make adoption hard. There are many issues and situations that we read about, which could be potential challenges along the adoption journey. We have also attended multiple (wonderful) trainings through Lifeline; all of which we have thoroughly enjoyed, learned a lot from, and honestly grown as individuals. But let’s be honest here, we all know that personal experience is where you learn the most and grow the deepest. Clearly, we had (and still have) a lot to learn!
We were matched with our daughters in August of 2013, a day of great rejoicing and hope of what was to come. One month later, the Democratic Republic of Congo put a ban on issuing Exit Letters for orphans being adopted, disheartening news to say the least. We continued the journey to bring our daughters home, regardless of the current ban in place. There are many steps in adoption, and receiving an Exit Letter is at the end, so surely we could press through the rest of the process with no issues. Then, we would be good to go once the ban was lifted, right? It was in this very mentality that the Lord began to break me. Who was I to think that I could formulate a plan greater than His? He broke me because He loves me. And it has been in my brokenness that the Lord has peeled away layers from this tarnished heart to show me the depth of His love for me.
Since the ban was put in place, September of 2013, we have encountered challenge after challenge. Necessary documents needed to complete and crucial paperwork were increasingly difficult to obtain. The depth of the reality that our daughters were legally ours and we could not bring them home was setting in. Miscommunication within our team led to challenging conversations. Satan honestly attempted every attack possible. It felt like we were in a constant pattern of one step forward, two steps back. We were thrilled to reach a point in our process where we were able to submit our i600 to the U.S. Government petitioning to make our daughters (although they were already legally ours in DRC eyes) legally ours. Soon thereafter, we received a Notice of Intent to Deny. We had 30 days to provide a substantial amount of secondary evidence that our girls were in fact legitimately orphaned. They wanted specific documentation that did not exist in a developing nation. The requests were seemingly impossible. We hired an immigration attorney to partner with our team to ensure our efforts to respond within the allotted time frame were of greatest efficiency. We have since received our i600 approval – truly a miracle – and are in the next steps of the process. Adoption is hard, but honestly, it should be. Calvary was hard.
“In love, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:4 Scripture very clearly tells us that God adopted us to be His children – to be His sons and daughters, to be part of His family. And how did he adopt us? What was the process of adopting us into His family? “Through Jesus Christ”….Calvary. Was Calvary easy? If you do not know the answer to that question right off, I highly encourage you to go to scripture, to watch the movie Passion for Christ. Calvary was hard. We cannot even begin to wrap our hearts and minds around the truth depth of its intensity.
If we strive to be like Christ, as we are called to do, it will be hard. But the reality is that God adopted me into His family, as His daughter, to be His heir. WOW! Do you realize that He sacrificed His Son for us? That He died an excruciatingly painful death so that we may have life, so that we may be adopted into His family! Do you realize that He never gives up on us? He pursues us and fights for us day in and day out. So for that very reason, we continue. We will continue to pursue and fight for our daughters day in and day out.
Adoption is hard, but oh sweet friends, adoption is so beautiful. Adoption started with Christ. Adoption is beautiful because Christ is HOPE! When we first stepped foot onto this journey the Lord is writing, He didn’t promise us that there would be two curly headed Congolese baby girls sleeping across the hall from us every night. The Lord never promised that our boys would have sisters. He never promised us that these two daughters would one day be taking care of us as we grow old. He did promise that He would never leave or forsake us and that is a promise that He has kept! “But God has surely listened and HEARD my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” Psalm 66:19-20 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.
Just as composers carefully attend to every note of their masterpiece, as does the Lord to our lives. You see, we are his workmanship. We are a tiny note in His incredible masterpiece. He so attentively composes the every detail of our lives. There will be moments of great joy and hope and there will be moments of vast heartache, but Our Creator so affectionately loves us that He blends them. It is there, in the midst of our heartache, that He reveals himself to us. He IS our hope. In the moments that we wonder if our daughters will ever be sleeping in the bedroom across the hall from us, the Lord is simultaneously reminding us that no matter what we feel, no matter what we see, His love is more than enough and His promise will always BE! Perfectly composed moments of simultaneous heartache and hope.
It’s a beautiful place to be, in perfect harmony with The Lord.