Last week we had a special day in our home and as a result, we have more evidence that prayer changes things. Eight years ago today we walked into an orphanage in a tiny village in Bulgaria and walked out with our daughter forever in our arms.
It’s a miraculous day. One that forever changed us as a family. Yet as much as we celebrate that day, it’s also a day marked with pain. I’ve written about it before – the fact that adoption is God’s beautiful way of making beauty come from ashes.
Every adoption story begins in grief.
And for anyone who has walked the pain of grief, you know that the pain of loss doesn’t magically disappear because of a new beautiful that enters your life. The loss is still there. It weaves its way throughout your life. It doesn’t take away from the new beautiful, instead, it creates a unique poignancy to it.
So, on this day, yes, we celebrate our beautiful daughter. But we grieve with her, too. Because her speech and ability to process and express herself is limited, we don’t know exactly what she is thinking.
But she’s talked of a few memories that seem to hurt deeply as she cries. And then she acts out and pushes me away. Then, even though my mind understands the grief, my heart aches and my own tears fall.
On days like today, I think about the years of prayer before she came home. And I am reminded to never relent in those prayers because prayer changes things.[bctt tweet=”Because adoption blows us away with the beauty of love, we fail to realize that every adoption story begins with the broken and begins with grief. #prayer #hope” username=”lori_schumaker”]
It was as if He’d spoken to me. No, not that audible Morgan Freeman-as-God type of voice. But in a way that I felt the message to the core of my soul. It was a message that said I needed to pray for the hearts of my boys. Pray like crazy that they will love their sister well no matter what happens.
At the time we didn’t even know who our daughter would be. We only knew that we were beginning to step into the waters of international adoption.
It was one of the steps toward full surrender. Because I loved praying and knew the power of prayer, it wasn’t a huge step. Yet, still an act of obedience and trusting God’s lead. So, I prayed for the hearts of our boys.
I prayed for God to:
- Prepare their hearts to love their someday sister well in all circumstances.
- Place a desire in them to be Godly role models for her.
- Instill gentleness within them for all matters pertaining to their sister.
- Extinguish any jealousy from rising up within them.
- Reveal Himself to them as the very Heart of adoption.
- Ignite a passion within them to forever advocate for adoption.
[bctt tweet=”Every mama wants her children to love each other well. Let’s start by praying because one prayer makes all the difference! #livesurrendered #prayer” username=”lori_schumaker”]
Two years later, after great heartbreak and even greater joy, we brought their sister home. Our hearts were full and we knew we were finally the family God had designed long before time.
Yet, as I write about in my book, Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust, all adoption journeys weave both grief and joy into its very fabric. Just as our story to our daughter contained both grief and joy, our story on the other side of home held much of the same.
As much as we prepared as a family and learned along the way that anything was possible, our vision of homecoming didn’t align with the reality we faced.[bctt tweet=”When our vision of what will be turns out differently than what is, it hurts. It takes a lot of faith, prayer, and surrender to embrace the new reality. #livesurrendered #prayer” username=”lori_schumaker”]
Each of us entered with our unique hopes and dreams, but found an upside-down world greeting us. Broken lives and broken people had left their impact on our sweet girl. Not only were her physical health needs beyond what any of us knew about, but the enemy had worked heavily on her emotional health as well.
We were in for a fight. A fight to save our little girl. One that meant almost daily drives into Phoenix Children’s Hospital to see specialists, therapists, and run more tests than I could keep track of. That lead to medications, treatment plans, and learning how to be a new kind of family.
A family that could face the chains of discouragement, fear, and hopelessness but not succumbs to them.
Our world was turned upside down. Two boys ages nine and six had every right to be angry – to complain – to resent.
But never once did their love waver or fade.
Yes, they had tears and needed to talk. But it came from a place of grief and learning to embrace what was.
To this very day, almost eight years after she has come home, their love for their sister continues to blow our family away. We’ve witnessed the undeniable hand of God in their lives and on their hearts. We’ve witnessed how prayer changes things.
Our Selah knows she is loved. She knows she is a princess to these boys and looks to them like her knights in shining armor.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
Last fall on a hot Arizona evening, our high school celebrated homecoming. As a Junior in high school, one would think our son would want to join friends and do what regular teenagers do. However, instead, he and his 13-year-old brother brought their very excited little sister to the football game so she could enjoy the fun.
For them, her joy is their joy. It rises above friends and parties and school activities.
… Only the hand of God.
I have to believe that voice I heard nearly 10 years ago telling me to pray for them to love their sister well was Him. What if I hadn’t listened? Or hadn’t prayed those prayers? What might our lives be like now? Would I have foregone the maturity of love that now lives in the hearts of these boys? Might our family have struggled even more?
Friend, you may not be on an adoption journey like us. But chances are you are embarking on something – career change, relocation, school decision, relationship, or ministry. Maybe you are facing a new chapter in life that you never wanted to face such as divorce or loss.
It is the most powerful thing you can do as you face your next journey.[bctt tweet=”Prayer is the most powerful thing we can do for our children. #prayer #hope #livesurrendered” username=”lori_schumaker”]
Have You Read Our Story of Hope?[bctt tweet=”Read our story of hope – our story of learning to surrender … because we all need the help in letting go of what isn’t ours to hold. #surrenderedheartsbook #hope ” username=”lori_schumaker”]
Don’t Miss Out!
The Moments of Hope Link-Up
My last words here are ones I have wrestled with for awhile now. You see, I love what the #MomentsofHope Link-Up has done over the years. I love those I have met and encouraging others to continue sharing words that point to Jesus. But friends, it seems I simply can’t keep all the blogging “balls” high enough in the air as I juggle them … right now.
My intention has not only been to share hope with my readers. It has been to share hope with you, the writers, as you share your words with the world. So, when I can’t visit and promote those who link up here as much as I desire, my heart is burdened. I want to be one of your greatest cheerleaders and I just can’t do it well right now. But it’s not forever. My hope is that the #MomentsofHope Link-Up will return in the fall.
But wait … don’t think I won’t still be here sharing all that God places on my heart! I will still be here on Thursdays (most of them anyway ♥)
I also have some projects to complete (including some new additions to the Library of Hope) and a few new speaking engagements to fit into my days.
So, it’s not really like “good-bye”. It’s more like the scenery is changing for just a bit. ♥
If you haven’t signed up on my email list, now would be a great time. I’ll be able to let you know what I’m working on that way! Also, you can find out what is going on through social media. You can “like” my pages directly from the sidebar or use these links. I love hearing from you!