What a ride the last year has been for my family. After nearly 4 ½ years of waiting for our daughter from Ethiopia, my wife and I brought her home this time last year to be with her forever family. By God’s grace the transition has gone very well. In fact, her personality has blossomed over the last year, as she has become a very outgoing three-year-old. Let’s just say, she knows how to work the camera!
As I look back over the year, God has taught me much about Himself through our adoption journey. I am amazed by God’s love for us. The first night that my daughter was with my wife and me in Ethiopia, my wife sang “Jesus Loves Me” to her as a way to sooth her to sleep. Every night since then, my wife or I have sung this same song to her at bedtime. She now won’t let us lay her down for bed without singing it! We want her to know that God’s love for her is so deep and wide and high (Eph 3:17-18) that there is no place she can go where His love is not there. We want her to know that God loves her so much that He sent Jesus to die in her place, if she will simply believe (John 3:16). We want her to know that the love of God is not something she earns or even deserves; it is a gift from Him (Eph 2:8-9).
Closely related to God’s love for us is His (relentless) pursuit of us. Because Jesus loves us, this I know, He takes great pains to pursue us and bring us to Himself. As I reflect on the long journey of bringing our daughter home to her forever family, I remember days when it seemed like there was no end in sight. No communication. No updates. No pictures. No progress in the process. Just when my wife and I would feel completely defeated, God would often send us a ray of sunshine in the form of a conversation, update, picture, or word of encouragement. All we knew was that God had called us to be her parents and we would do whatever it took to bring her home. Oh, how much more does God do this for us! At any and all costs Jesus relentless pursues us in order to bring us into His forever family (1 John 4:10).
While I have learned more about God’s love and His pursuit of us during this journey, I have also been encouraged that He is at work for our good and His glory. During those dark days of doubt and frustration, I can look back and see that God was working “all things for good” (Romans 8:28). We reminded ourselves often of God’s intentional care for our lives and that He was working behind the scenes, especially when we could not see it. All of this waiting and hoping is meant to produce trust in God, to cause us to run to God. Much like the father asking Jesus to heal his son, we reply to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
God has been so good to our family, but what’s even more amazing is God is good even if the past year did not go as it has. Yet, in His kindness He has been gracious to allow this past year to be one filled with joy (yes, challenges too). I don’t know what the next year holds, but I am grateful I know who holds the next year!