Blogging for Show Hope- “What is one of your favorite stories of adoption?”

.ShowHope-Button One of my favorite adoption stories

“”You can make an A like this, ” Jerry inserted the pencil in her hand and guided her tracing effort. Her nose grazed the page, her ponytails painted the paper as she strained to focus on and control her chunky hand. A wobbly letter ‘A’ remained on the paper when she raised her head.”- Positive Adoption: A Memoir

We had been staying in the orphanage(in Poland) for less than a week and Jerry was teaching Ania the basics of the alphabet. This was all new to her. The letters. The time. The attention. We would stay there for four weeks in total before returning to the states and waiting on our second trip when we could bring a sibling group of four home.

Every adoption has a beginning. A seed. A thought. A thought-seed once buried in the fertile soil becomes a plant. And that plant of adoption continues to grow until it produces the fruit of adoption. The meeting. The court date. The papers signed. The flight (or drive) home.

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Then the story of adoption begins a new chapter. It’s the life of the child after adoption. What happens next? What are the new fruits after adoption? The fruits after an old life left behind?

We all have a story. We all have chapters in our lives of our childhood, our growing up years. Chapters of finding our bent, following our dreams, falling on our face and getting back up again. Those are my favorite sorts of stories. The cliff hangers. Those that leave you wanting more. Adoption stories are like that.

Many adoption stories seem to have a pseudo ending. It’s abrupt. The child is home. The end. It’s not the end. The story is still in its infancy. What does chapter two look like in an adoption story, or three, four or five?

I’m sure adoptive parents want to know. What does adoption look like in chapter ten? Will I make it that far?

When Ania came ‘home’, she had an intense fear of everything. At the top of the list was the great outdoors. With patience and tiny bits of progress, creek walking, hiking through the woods, swimming, skiing and tow eye surgeries- Ania’s perspective began to change.

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One afternoon, Ania and I watched the Temple Grandin movie, an amazing woman with autism who sees the world in pictures. When the movie ended, Ania declared, “I see the world in pictures, don’t you mom?”

Adoption is a story that can lead to security. Security bashes survival mode over the head and allows the child to relax and pursue their bent, discover their gifts and discover themselves.

Ania had never been comfortable on the receiving end of the camera so we bought her one so she could see life through the other side of the lens. Amazing things began to happen. Two of the things that had been at the top of Ania’s fear factor list became her favorite pastimes: the camera and the outdoors.

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She began to spend hours outside with her camera in tow, wandering further and further into the woods, slithering on her belly for a good shot, waiting for hours for the right light, chasing her brother down stream while he kayaked, aiming for that perfect action shot- water suspended in the air, his face all focus, arm muscles bulging, his paddles -wings, riding the air.

Adoption stories are like that. They give children the chance to soar. The future of adoption gives children a chapter of security, a chance to overcome and then to build upon a new foundation of health, healing and discovery.

This isn’t to say that every adopted child will discover (in chapter ten) that they have some remarkable gift that they will discover (miraculously) overnight. No, Ania had years of trial and error. Art Classes. Science fairs. Public speaking (yikes-no!). Writing courses.

The  point is- adoption gave Ania a future that she wouldn’t otherwise have. What does chapter ten in the adoption story look like? A hope. A future. A plot change.

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.- Jeremiah 29:11

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When a child has been freed from the captivity of neglect, abuse and abandonment he has a hope of a future. He has a an awesome chapter coming. When a birth mother chooses adoption, that child has-not the evil of abortion- plans for welfare and peace in a family. And these are my favorite sorts of adoption stories.

You can read more about Ania’s future here.

*All photos taken by Ania

The Adoption Story

Every powerful fairy tale begins with ‘once upon a time’ and ends with ‘and they lived happily ever after’and every one of our stories lies into between those phrases. The part of the story we tend to ignore is what the bit that happened before once upon a time. The story of adoption begins before the foundation of the world, before the once, before the clock ticked and the years began their countdown to Christ.
We usually read the bible account of Creation and assume it is the beginning.

In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

Sounds like a great beginning, right? Once upon a time God created the earth. He created man in his own image, male and female, He created them. By chapter three the whole story seems to fall apart. Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and become like God, able to distinguish between good and evil, blessing and calamity. God sent them forth from the garden. Enter the curse. Adam and Eve are separated from their Father.So soon the plot turns sour. So many of us ask, why didn’t God rescue me? Why did He abandon me? The answer is the curse. Everything we pray about has something to do with the curse. To end sickness. The curse. To wipe out poverty. The curse. To stop war. The curse. To wipe away famines. The curse. To rid the world of abandonment and rejection. Reading the rest of the old testament is a lengthy list of tales of the effects of the curse.the people God created forget Him. Noah and a worldwide flood. God makes a covenant with Abraham. He adopts Israel. Joseph  followed by four hundred years of slavery. Moses and the exodus. The Wilderness. Promised land. Prophets warn.The story gets stuck on repeat. Seven cycles of judgment. Banishment. Prophets promise a Messiah. Four hundred years of silence. When will the death end? When will the curse be broken?
But, as story tellers go, God is the master. He created the story and He is the king of the flashback. We don’t have to wonder what His plan is. He tells us clearly by chapter three that the woman’s offspring will bruise and tread his skull and the serpent will bruise his heel-the first prophecy of Jesus uttered to a serpent and the mother of all living.
But, let’s go back before time.

“In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God.” John 1:1,2

Before time- Jesus. We tend to read the story as linear. We mark dates on a time line, each century, decade, year, month, week, day, hour and minute as if it has always worked that way. It hasn’t. God doesn’t count time that way. I can’t tell you exactly how He sees it, but I can tell you how the adoption story goes. It is so much broader, deeper and more thought out than most of us give Him credit for. We try to take credit for adoption, as if humans in their finite wisdom thought, this child is an orphan, I should do something about it. Let’s make up a word for it- adoption. Yet, that is so far from the truth. Back to the story. We run into more flashbacks in Hebrews.

” By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.”-Hebrews 11:3

Fairy tales tend to use magic to get things done. In God’s kingdom, it’s called faith and it doesn’t depend on pixie dust, but you do have to believe. We believe that God framed the world for His intended purpose. The purpose is revealed in the book of Ephesians.

” Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.
5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [[b]because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—
6 [So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”- Ephesians 1:4-6

Read over the set of verses again. I know, I usually skim familiar verses. Don’t this time. Within these verses is the crux of the story of adoption, or THE STORY period. Our story. Our purpose. The purpose of the universe. Do you see it? Before time. When Jesus and God were hanging out together, they hatched a plan. They wrote the story Before God spoke the world into existence, He foreordained our adoption. He actually picked us out as His own because it was His kind intent. He had a family photo of us on the mantel before we were born. Before He formed Mount Everest or giant sequoia or any of the mysteries and marvels of nature- He thought of family. He had your photo with the perm gone wrong in His wallet before you walked into that hair salon. Family is the purpose of the universe. His family. Adam and Eve may have been his first children listed in the book of Genesis, but according the flashback in Ephesians, He had already planned to adopt us all when the dirt and Adam didn’t exist.

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So, what does it mean to be adopted by God? It means you and I are each part of the story. We each have our own chapter and weaved together they make up the greatest adoption stories ever told. Stories of rejection and abandonment are turned upside down in God’s kingdom. Why? Because of adoption. It is the faith of adoption in which we receive the Spirit of adoption and cry “Abba, Father” that makes the rejection fade. The curse is broken. Through Christ we have redemption, deliverance, remission of sin, wisdom and we know the plan. Survival behaviors take a back seat when faith drives. We are chosen. We are loved. We are secure in His purpose. We know He works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of of His will. There may be a god (little g) of this world roaming to and fro looking for someone to devour. He may be the Miss Hannigan of this worldly orphanage but his plans, his design is not the end of the story.WE will have some hard knock days, Jesus told us we would have trials and tribulations, but to be of good cheer, He has overcome the world. We do get our happily ever after. Have faith. The whole story is written. We know the ending. The prince who died and rose again is coming back again to rescue us from this earthly orphanage and take us home to live with our forever family.
So we follow in the footsteps of our Father, writing His stories, adopting, creating forever homes for those who suffer under the curse, those abandoned, those orphaned by wars, famines and drugs, those social orphans who long to belong just as each of us does. We adopt because it was His plan-the purpose of the universe.