Oh adoption, how you stretch us in so many ways. We are 11 months into our process since taking that first step and saying “yes” to the child God has for us and like all adoption stories, it’s been messy. We’ve had set backs, months of waiting with no answers in sight, agency changes, do-overs and so much paperwork that I have run out of printer ink more times than I care to count. My biggest struggle in all of this since saying “yes” to adoption surprisingly hasn’t been the paperwork, instead it has been at times the crippling fear of what this “yes” will mean for our family in terms of spiritual warfare.
When we said “Yes” to our first adoption we were completely clueless to what the process looked like or how it would affect not only my husband and I but our entire family as well. We experienced birth mom disappearing, a baby taken from our arms while we hid in the hospital from an angry birth relative, my biological son’s concussion and occipital fracture that sent us to Children’s Hospital just days before our adoptive daughter was due to be born, attachment issues, 18 months of endless crying and my adoptive daughter’s seizures just to name a few. So, you might understand me when I say that when God called again and asked us to say “yes” to another adoption, I cried. I begged him not to take us down that path again. I battled him for over 6 months. I knew in my heart what He was calling us to do but the fear of the warfare was paralyzing. The enemy jumped all over that bandwagon and filled my fearful head with all kinds of worse-case-scenarios and I ran with him for a while. I let my fear dictate my obedience. Ultimately, there was no peace in our hearts until we surrendered and said that “Yes”. Once we did, total peace. Total provision.
It’s no coincidence that at the end of this school year God placed on my husband’s heart to spend our nightly devotions memorizing Ephesians 6:13-18. Anyone who has been in church for very long can recognize this is as the armor of God scriptures. I am amazed how my 11,7 and 3-year-old have taken this challenge and run with it. Every night we recite what we know and try to fine tune those sections we haven’t quite gotten down. This all stemmed from our desire to walk alongside our children in teaching them to memorize scripture and hide it in their hearts that God may recall it to them at different times in their lives. What I’ve realized in these recent weeks is how much He’s using it to remind me the importance of wearing this armor in the trenches of adoption. We are in a battle. The enemy hates adoption. He hates us. He hates that ultimately, he can’t have us because we are covered in the blood of Christ. Yet, he still wages war against us. The “flaming arrows of the evil one” (v.16) were flying at me with lies and words of discouragement, fear and defeat. I constantly need to remember to take up that shield of faith and stand my ground. Why else would He have us repeating this scripture nightly as a family?
With every setback in the adoptive process –and there are always setbacks- there is temptation to turn and flee. In our modern and less cowardly sounding lingo we call it “shelving”. “Oh I just can’t do this right now, I’m just gonna shelf it.” Yep, I’ve uttered that a time or two. But Ephesians 6 clearly reminds me that there is no armor covering the back of my body. My job is to stand and face the setbacks and push forward as God allows each step I take. His Word tells me to stand firm, unwaivering, even when I’ve lost heart. The belt of truth holds in place to remind me that it’s because of the Truth of His gospel in my life that I can hear and obey His calling in the first place. The breastplate of righteousness is there only because of His grace that allows me to be seen as righteous in His sight because of the blood of Christ that covers me. My feet are fitted with readiness to step out when He deems it time, because His timing is always peaceful. I have to take up that shield of faith and hold it in place daily to block those arrows of doubt, fear, all the what-if’s and can I really do this? I put on that helmet of salvation and hold steadfast to the knowledge that God has called my life and the life of this child I don’t even know yet to be His. And most importantly, He reminds me to pray. In prayer and only in prayer is where I will stay focused on Him and His peace and direction.
We are in a season of waiting. I’m reminded of that worship song by Kristine DiMarco called “Take Courage” https://youtu.be/r49V9QcYheQ. One of the ways my Heavenly Father speaks to me is through music. He gives me a song almost daily and He has given me songs to walk me through different seasons in my life. This is my song for Havi. It reminds me to take courage and hold steadfast because He is in the waiting. He is grooming not only me, but also my husband and children. He is slowing us down and reminding us to just be as a family. In our hearts and minds, Havi is already a part of our family despite the fact that we have yet to see her face. I love this picture of His love for us before we were yet known to this world. His love for us is the reason we walk this out joyfully. His love for us is the reason we can see Him writing our story in this amazing way. His love for us is the reason we said “Yes”. So this is why we “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests….we stay alert and always keep on praying….”(v. 18). Sometimes our prayers are joyful, sometimes they are frustrated, sometimes they are fearful. But the scripture clearly says “all kinds of prayers and requests”. He doesn’t just want to hear from us when we’re praying in our “holy lingo” or on a spiritual mountain.
One of these days we will start that climb up the spiritual mountain, first when we are able to be matched and see her face, next when we receive permission to travel to get her. The pinnacle will be the first time we embrace her and stand in a courtroom hearing a judge utter the words that she is ours. From there, another journey will begin. It will be the journey of bringing her home and starting life together as a new family of 6. We are so excited and yet it still feels a long way away. But we rest in the knowledge that His timing is perfect and He is still “gearing us up” at the base of the mountain for now. We can’t start the climb until He has properly equipped us to ascend safely. We are content, we see His hand and we are praying continually.