Friday, November 21, 2008
For This Child I Prayed--the beginning of the story
For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition.
This is one of my favorite days of the year--Josie-Tatum's referral day. After months and months of waiting, after watching the country of China suffer with the SARS virus, waiting on CCAA to catch up with all of the backlog from adoptive families, on this day, November 21st, five years ago, I finally learned the name of my daughter...Gao Jie Lun.
I don't live in the past, really I don't, but I love to look back and remember where the LORD has brought me from. (I want to heed God's warning to the Israelites in Deuteronomy lest I forget.) Referral days and Gotcha days cause me to reminisce.
Praise the LORD for He has directed our paths. Sometimes, we're asked, "Why would you want to start your family all over again?" or "Why did you choose China?" The short answer is, "I didn't choose China, God did. I didn't decide to start my family over again. God did." And, the longer version of the short story is.....
While ordained before the beginning of time, I first saw God's hand in our adoption eight years ago. I was working on my administrative specialist degree, teaching full time, and busy being the happy mother of two awesome kids. I had taken the day off from school to work on my thesis, but God had chosen the day for me to be home. After dropping Whitney and Caleb off at school, I listened to Focus on the Family on the way home, and I was so intrigued, I went inside the house and turned on the radio to finish listening. It was the first time I had learned of orphanages in China filled with children who needed families.(The program was, "Never Beyond the Reach of Love," with speaker Pat Wadenpfuhl. I highly recommend it from Focus on the Family's webpage.)
I mentioned the radio program to Stan, and even to Whitney and Caleb. We were all touched. We were too busy, though, with me in school. Our kids were growing up, and we didn't need a baby sitter anymore. Caleb wasn't really interested in having annoying baby things around. But, Whitney made up her mind on that day she wanted a baby sister from China.
A year went by and Whitney received a Steven Curtis Chapman CD for Christmas--His Live Out Loud CD with "When Love Takes You In," his love story written for his first adopted daughter, Shaohannah. (You can see the video here.)God continued to put adoption before us. Whitney, Caleb, and I went to see SCC in concert, and little did I know, he would show us his baby pictures all the while singing his song, "When Love Takes You In." My eyes were not dry! And, while Steven shared his oldest daughter's persistence with her parents about adopting, Whitney was continually elbowing me.
The LORD continued to speak to each of us, and it can only be described after that as the still small voice that kept leading me to adoption websites. One by one, each member of the family felt clearly that adoption was God's plan for our family.
And, after 3 years of God's tugging at my heart strings, I received a phone call I never knew would bring so much joy. "Robbie, I have information about your daughter!" Can you be still just a minute and imagine God's joy--for me, for JT--at that moment? The day was late, almost 6:00. I knew others had received referrals and was so sad that we still didn't have ours. When the phone rang, I almost didn't answer because we were on our way out to eat. But, I did! And my life has been more full since that moment. I can never imagine my life without Josie-Tatum JieLun Mattox.
And, my God can do exceedingly abundantly more than I can ask or think. I never would have envisioned my life as it is now. I never dreamed all of those years ago, I would one day be the mother of five children. I never dreamed I would be coordinating adoption awareness activities at our church. And, I thank God for the burden He has given me for orphans, those who will be adopted, as well as those who are not available for adoption.
I loved Gwen's post about brick layers--another inspiration from Emily Chapman. Each of us can lay at least one brick to help build the wall of restoration for orphans. And, from another SCC devotional, I am reminded that we are the picture of Christ, His body going to the orphans as He comes to us when we are orphans without Him. He has chosen us to join Him in his work.
I am so honored to join him. What a privilege to be the mother of Whitney, Caleb, Brandon, Josie-Tatum, and Ellie.
What a difference 5 years make!
God is great and greatly to be praised!