I remember the day I first saw her face. The big brown eyes, the curly black ringlets of hair around her head, and the smile sprawling across her tiny face. Something about her spoke straight to my heart.
In that moment I knew she was ours. The Holy Spirit moved as I’d never before experienced. This was the child God had hand-picked for us halfway around the world.
You see, long ago, God had created a special place in my heart that laid empty. As I looked at the little girl in that picture, that empty place was empty no more.
It was a beautiful conviction. One for which I will forever be thankful because along the difficult journey ahead of us, I would find myself holding onto that moment again and again. I believe God made my conviction that strong so that over the next several years, I would never doubt whether this child was meant to be ours. I would never doubt His hand in our lives.
Our journey was marked by the customary massive amounts of adoption paperwork and red tape, however, paperwork and red tape were only the beginning. Although our wait had already been one year, we fought another 15 months to bring our daughter home. Courts, files, and clearances were mysteriously either lost or unapproved. Judges, social workers, caregivers, and agencies seemed to have lost sight of the fact that a precious life was in their hands.
Not a number on a paper, but a precious life. One that was being neglected and abused while she awaited rescuing.
It was a brutal time in our lives as it is for most who choose adoption. But the brutal isn’t more than God can handle. As a matter of fact, it’s a brutal God redeems profoundly.
For me, a piece of that redemption was the way He taught me to fight fiercely for that which breaks His heart.Adoption taught me much about fighting fiercely. #fiercelyHis #hope #adoption #amamasheart… Click To Tweet
5 Things Adoption Taught Me about Fighting Fiercely
A voice is necessary.
Before adoption I was a conflict avoider. A peacemaker at all costs. But during that process, God taught me that my voice was necessary to fight for His children.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. –Isaiah 1:17 NIV
Righteous anger is okay.
All anger terrified me before. I would feel guilt for any brewing anger. I didn’t understand the difference between righteous anger and unrighteous anger. Righteous anger motivates us to do something about injustice. Unrighteous anger only leads us down paths of sin. I love this quote by Matthew Henry.
Jesus shows us several example of righteous anger.
And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. –Mark 3:4-5 ESV
Preparation is crucial.
Preparation with adoption and medical paperwork. I needed to have the receipts, copies, and resources ready at a moment’s notice.
Preparation in prayer. I prayed intensely for God to prepare the hearts of our boys to love their sister despite whatever may come. Oh, how He did! I’ve never seen such a grand love take place.
Preparation in the form of education. Parenting a child from hard places isn’t like parenting a child born into the arms of an emotionally and physically loving family. Trauma has lasting effects on the brains of children born from and into trauma.
Preparation to lay it all down at the feet of Jesus because at the end of all our efforts is Him. He will make the biggest difference.
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. -Proverbs 21:31 ES
Pushing forward in battle is possible even when those closest have left my side.
Adoption is complicated. It’s often glamorized by the world and the realities of the grief, loss, and trauma are unknown. Many simply will not be able to wrap their heads around this and will not understand the fight. Jesus sometimes became my sole encourager. He alone understood what I was facing each day.
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. –Galatians 1:10 NLT
God is there even when I can’t understand Him.
We did bring our baby girl home. When we finally got to her, she was broken. Malnourished, bruised, dirty, sick, and mentally unhealthy. Overwhelm was our life. I looked to God and couldn’t understand. The question “Why?” consumed my mind with fervor. It had taken 15 months to get to her. 15 months of additional neglect and abuse.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. –Isaiah 55:8-9
Honestly, friends, I don’t truly know that answer and someday when I come face to face with Him, I will ask. But I do know that every step we took toward her, He prepared me for what was to come. He prepared me to fight fiercely because for our little girl, the story had only just begun.
Today I’m still fighting fiercely for her as we navigate doctors, therapies, behavior strategies, and nutrition. And I pray that as God strengthened me into the warrior He needed, He is in turn creating fierceness in those who come after me.
I pray my boys and my daughter grow to be fierce. I pray other Mamas on the journey step into their God appointed battles with fierceness. And I pray that those who hear our story, catch the seed, water it with the power of Christ, and someday step equipped into the battles they themselves will someday face.
If you are on an adoption journey and need encouragement or prayer, please feel free to comment or email! I’d be honored to support you!
Lori is a fighter! #FiercelyHis
Bio – Lori Schumaker is an encourager at heart. There was a day not long ago when she prayed that the Lord would break her heart for what breaks His. Her eyes were opened and her soul was stirred – and sweet offerings of encouragement to others became her purpose. This is the focus of her blog, Searching for Moments, found at www.lorischumaker.com. Join her as she walks beside you through the difficult, lovely, and holy moments of this beautiful thing called life.