Adoption Echoes

It can be breathtaking to see all God is stirring for “the cause of the fatherless” on a broad scale, nationwide and beyond.  But most compelling of all are simply the individual stories of lives touched deeply through choices to open heart and home to orphans.  The truth is, adoption and other ways of loving parentless children echo; even small choices to care for orphans tend to ripple out far beyond the individual child and family.

One such story caught my eye, and my heart, today.  It’s a short post put up this morning on Facebook by Russ Weir.  Late last year, Russ traveled all the way to California from Texas to meet in person and strategize together about how to encourage and grow the orphan movement.  It was a rich time of fellowship and thinking, and I now count Russ a dear friend and true brother-in-arms.  Some of you may know him, too, through his leadership in the Red Letters Campaign.  His simple, poignant words speak for themselves:

In almost every way, today is ordinary. But while driving to work this morning, I realized that today is something particularly special. Four years ago, a sick and broken little 7 year-old girl was grafted into my family through adoption. Today, that little girl is 11 and she leaving me for 2 weeks to go minister to people that she can UNIQUELY relate to – impoverished indians in South Dakota.

This is Zoe in Guatemala when we first met her – she’s wearing the Christmas dress we bought her

For many girls her age, this would simply be another trip, but for Zoe this is so much different – it’s a milestone of restoration for a girl who faced a childhood of neglect, abuse, sickness, extreme poverty, days without food, mass death through natural disaster and child labor. For my Zoe, today begins a pilgrimage back to her sorest place and past. She will wrestle through memories of her pain and the loss of her childhood as she connects with people in similar circumstances. She will face her past head on and her mother and i will not be there with her. She may be too young still to recognize the significance of this or what lies beyond that door, but i am confident that she is now ready to face it.

For me, today i realized a tremendous blessing of adoption. Once again, i’m shown that adoption has little to do with what I can do for my children, but what God shows me through it. In only 4 years, i have watched a resiliant girl overcome untold odds and today, she is restored … not in the way that she doesn’t hurt, but in that the pain and fear that once reflected in her eyes has been replaced with a calm softness. Today, her brokenness is not a weakness … it’s an asset that helps her connect with and minister to other broken people in a way that I cannot.

Zoe with her sisters

It wasn’t an attractive process watching all of the pain that went into her come pouring back out onto us. But today … today … it just hit me that God has succeeded again where the world has failed. A girl with every excuse to harbor bitterness has grown perhaps the softest, most sincere and biggest heart i know. While He put Zoe in our care, He did not leave the job of restoring her to us. Instead, He is restoring US through restoring her. This realization has made an ordinary day quite special.

For all of you who have adopted or will adopt, i hope that this will be your blessing too. Thank you Zoe for this gift. You are a blessing, INDEED!