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Thankful for the Miracle of Adoption

This month is National Adoption Month. As many of you know, we are an adoptive family. Our youngest,  Selah, was adopted in April of 2011 when she was just two months short of 5 years old. Adoption is a gift – a miracle of God’s unfailing love. A love we are humbled by and thankful for. So, on this day before Thanksgiving, I want to give tribute to God, adoption, and family.

Adoption is a gift – a miracle of God’s unfailing love. A love we are humbled by and thankful for #nationaladoptionmonth #adoption Click To Tweet

our adoption story

If you know our family well or maybe have only recently met us through this blog, you know that our adoption isn’t defined by words such as “neat and tidy”, nor “wrapped up beautifully with a bow.” Not by any means. But it’s our story. It’s God’s story.

I only hope I give His story justice with my life and with these words.

(You can read our whole adoption story over at my old family blog here.)

You are the helper of the fatherless. Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more. Psalms 10:14,17-18

It began with a seed planted so long ago in a college girl studying the Romanian Orphanage crisis. The images of babies and toddlers lined up in cribs, rocking themselves against cold bars would forever be planted in my mind and in my heart.

Years passed and the seed continued its growth. I married and then prayed for God to impress upon my husband’s heart a desire to adopt. And He did! God worked through friends as we watched their story of adoption unfold and I watched my husband’s heart changed to one wrecked for the call of adoption.

Adoption is a battlefield of emotions. 

Mind boggling answers to prayers.

Paperwork.

Indescribable love.

Red tape.

Enormous decisions.

Waiting.

Good calls.

Defeating calls.

Successful plans.

Failed plans.

And there was a little one who waited far too long in a cold loveless Bulgarian orphanage, moment by moment losing her ability to attach, to love, and to thrive.

God found our little girl halfway across the world. I knew she was the one, the moment I saw her little curls surrounding a beautiful little face. The almost black eyes caught me and said

“You are my mama.”

But we were told no. And we were told she had been adopted by someone else.

My spirit couldn’t rest. It wasn’t true. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, God wouldn’t release her from my heart. I grieved because the feeling of Mama had overtaken my soul. For six months I grieved and I tried to believe.

And then the day arrived. Through a miracle situation of a stranger living thousands of miles away, I was told my little girl had never been adopted.

I called. They searched despite our caseworker’s feelings that they were dealing with an emotionally unbalanced woman. But our little girl’s file was found.

In a stack of files labeled the “unadoptable”.

But God says differently.

He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:5

And it began. The enemy still battled and wanted us to falter. To fail. To stop. But 9 months later we brought our Selah home.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west… Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth. Isaiah 43:5-6

We had no way of knowing what lie in front of us at that time.

We were unaware of the severity of physical and mental health issues. Although I still ache at the extra time our daughter had to spend declining in health, I am thankful for His affirmations along the way. Our journey left us knowing that without a doubt God unequivocally created, designed, and planned this little girl to be a Schumaker through and through.

Our family has struggled. Individually and as a unit. Our marriage pushed to the brink. This one beautiful, tenacious, strong, mighty, little fighter has more in her than anyone could ever imagine.

There have been days we have wanted to quit. Bottomed out and aching, we prayed for help. And can I tell you that every time we landed there, God climbed into that pit with us, picked up the pieces, and pulled us up? He did and He still does.

No. Our adoption is not a hallmark story. And like I said, there is no way to wrap it into a pretty little bow. But I can tell you this.

My little girl means the world to me.

She means the world to all of us. We love her so much it hurts. Because of her, I understand God’s unfailing love so much better. I understand grace, surrendering, and utter dependence on Him.

I see the injustice of the world and I feel it in my heart like never before because we live the injustice out each day in the eyes of our little girl. The injustice scarred her deeply. Her little brain cannot yet fully feel love and trust because of it.

Our boys recognize injustice and will fight on its behalf because they have a little sister they protect day in and out because of it. They are her knights and she their princess.

We all see what love is. Not the preconceived notion of love that many of us grow up believing. Not a love that is easy nor always sweet. But love that digs in and does what it has to in order to make a difference.

We see that …

  • love doesn’t always look the same.
  • love powered by God can move mountains, even when we as individuals want to hide it away safely because it feels like it hurts too much.
  • our normal isn’t His normal, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable. It actually makes it more valuable.
  • healing happens. This healing may not represent our human-shaped ideals, but it does happen and it’s powerful.

It is called

Adoption

It’s called a forever family.

It is what God deeply desires for each of us.

Father to the fatherless defender of widows – this is God, whose dwelling is hold. Got sets the lonely in families. Psalms 68:5-6

It’s messy, complicated, and grueling. But it’s beautiful, life changing and a miracle.

Our difficult days are not over, but what God has done, cannot be denied. The little girl you saw in the video above had a look of grief deep in her eyes. She was almost 5 and wore a size 2T. Her protruding belly and thin hair signified her lack of nutrition. She was fading away in every sense of the word.

But God.

He changed all that. He found her for us. And this is her today. 4 years later. Fading? I don’t think so …

adoption

adoption

the miracle of adoption

For this I am humbled and thankful.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy. Proverbs 13: 12

Our amazing friend, Jennifer, blessed us with this photo session. She is an incredible Godly woman who uses her gift of photography as her ministry. Thank you, Jen!

I pray your heart stirs for the cause of the orphan. Not everyone is called to adopt. However, God calls everyone to care in some way. It may be prayer. Or, it may be the emotional, physical, or financial support of another family. Or maybe it is fostering or adopting. Our agency was All God’s Children. They provide several ways to support orphans world-wide. You can connect with them here. If you peruse their site, you might just find some pics of our little treasure, too!

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress. 

James 1:27


My New Book!

Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust is our family’s adoption story. But it’s so much more. It’s how we’ve learned to surrender our will for God’s and how we’ve experienced miracles because of it. My prayer is that as each persona steps out into the unknown, they lean into the strength of Christ and discover something far beyond what they have ever imagined.

Did you know it's National Adoption Month? Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust just released! @RedemptionPress #nationaladoptionmonth #adoption Click To Tweet

Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust

Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust by Lori Schumaker #SurrenderedHeartsBook #adoption

Want more information? The Surrendered Hearts website is HERE! You’ll find the Book Video Trailer and other goodies like shareable images, tweets, and a set of FREE Bonus Resources for the adoptive parent or for anyone needing a little extra encouragement in life!
Surrendered Hearts - An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust is available NOW on @Amazon @BNBuzz @ChristianBook @RedemptionPress #SurrenderedHeartsBook #nationaladoptionmonth Click To Tweet

Want to go straight to Amazon? Then you can click HERE!

Free Printable Bonus Resources: Prayers, Verses, Scripture Cards, Resource Lists., and a beautiful original print. A huge packet of resources for the adoptive parent or for anyone needing encouragement in life! Created with Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust by Lori Schumaker #adoption #prntables #scripturecards #bibleverses

Get your absolutely FREE set of Bonus Resources for the adoptive parent or for anyone needing a little extra encouragement in life! #SurrenderedHeartsBook #adoption #NationalAdoptionMonth Click To Tweet

The Surrendered Heart Bracelet: Choose to Live Surrendered to the One who makes the Impossible Possible! #LiveSurrendered #SurrenderedHeartsBook #Godslove #adoption #bracelet

The Surrendered Hearts Bracelet

In conjunction with the book, I have partnered with Theresa of  Tees Cherished Finds to create a Surrendered Hearts Bracelet! The message to Live Surrendered means that you are choosing to lay down your fears and live surrendered to the One who makes the impossible possible.  When you choose to Live Surrendered, you are committing to following Jesus where He calls. You are choosing to let go of your way and take hold of His way.  And when you purchase a bracelet for just $15 (look in the right margin), just as when you purchase the book, a portion of the proceeds will go to Lori’s chosen adoption ministries. Just click on the image below. It will take you to the Surrendered Hearts page where you can find out more and make your purchase!

Check out the Surrendered Hearts Bracelet and make a statement to LIVE SURRENDERED! #SurrenderedHeartsBook #NationalAdoptionMonth Click To Tweet
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48 Comments

  1. This is such a moving story, Lori. I’m so glad God brought Selah into your lives and gave her a loving home. I love her name! Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Trudy, Thank you so much for your kind words! My responses are so delayed – Thanksgiving got me significantly behind! Yikes! I appreciate your comments so much and just love when I see the cute butterfly show up in my comments window!
      Blessings and smiles,
      Lori

    1. Thank you for visiting 🙂 I love meeting other adoptive Mamas!

    1. Thank you so much, Carolyn! I’m so glad you were touched.

  2. I watched and wept. And thanked God for his faithfulness to bring your Selah to you, despite when it seemed all hope had been lost.

    1. Barbie, thank you so very much. I am so thankful, too. Each day before dropping her off at her school and before kissing her goodnight I always say, “I’m so glad God gave me you.” I pray she seals that in her heart and can someday fully grasp that love. Thank you so much for visiting me:-) I’m thankful for you!

  3. What a beautiful story. I pray that God continues to bless you and your little girl and that your story will inspire others to adopt.

    1. Thank you so much, Brittany! I truly treasure those prayers!

  4. Wow, that’s a lovely story, thank you for sharing it. May God bless you and your family for welcoming the stranger

  5. What a beautiful story, Lori! I love your heart, sweet friend and I am so inspired by you! Thank you so much for sharing! GOD bless you, Love! 🙂

    1. Oh, Tai, the feeling is mutual! Thank you so much, sweet friend!!

  6. I sometimes wish we were called to adopt, we’ve talked about it but we’ve not been called for that journey. I pray for those who are called because I know it is a journey in life like no other. May the Lord bless you, Lori and your husband for having the faith to walk this path. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. Lori, I am so thankful you and your husband are in tune with the Holy Spirit’s direction because going into adoption without Him is something you would never want to do. Adoption is so difficult and if it weren’t for God’s reassurance, I would have drowned. I am also so thankful and honored that you pray for the families of those who do have this calling. Those prayers pave pathways for many! Thank you for your love and support, my friend!!!

  7. Wow! What a precious story. Thank you for sharing this – the joys and the difficulties. I’m praying for the opportunity to adopt someday. Your Selah is beautiful, and what a beautiful name!
    I found you via the Grace & Truth linkup and I’m so glad I did. Your blog is beautiful, your message is needed, and your gift of writing is amazing. 🙂

    1. Hi Alison, I will join you in those prayers! Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words – I truly treasure them!
      Blessings and smiles,
      Lori

  8. What an incredible story! How you persevered until Selah could come home. The faith, love and trust displayed here is a lesson for all of us. God is so good! What a great video of the homecoming! So cool to see Selah welcomed into her forever family, how touching!!! Thanks for sharing your story, it brings hope to all of those looking for their families! xx

    1. I pray God uses our story to reassure those trying to bring their children home and encourage those contemplating the call. Yes, God is so good. Each time we hit the bottom, He proved faithful and rescued us. Thank you so much for visiting each week! I treasure you!!

  9. Lori, I am thankful there are courageous people like you, who are willing to extend God’s love to orphans. Your example of adopting a child labeled “unadoptable” illustrates God’s love for us.

    1. Hi Constance, It was so good to have you visit again! Thank you so much for your kind words!

  10. Oh Lori, what a beautiful story. Your daughter is beautiful and I love her name! God has been stirring my heart in this area and I’m still not sure what he’s calling me to do, but I am praying for guidance. Thank you for sharing, friend. Love and hugs.

    1. Hi Abby, thank you so much! I will join in praying for that guidance, my friend. It is a beautiful miracle, but oh, how we need God to walk us through the journey! It’s so good to have you visit again!!

  11. A beautiful story, Lori. I always love finding other mothers who have adopted. I know the hard love you talk about. As our boys grow older and struggle with knowing who they “really” are, they push back against me, because I am their safe place. Some days, it hurts. And yet, love. God gives the love when I’m worn down. He gives the grace to extend when I’m too hurt to do it in my own strength. I love what God’s done with your Selah. She’s beautiful!

    1. Hi Jeanne, As I read your comment I kept nodding my head, yes … yes… yes. So many days are difficult to keep wearing love on the outside when our instinct is to protect ourselves with an emotional wall. I don’t know how I could have done it without God. Knowing His love would come through me even when I couldn’t muster up the emotions to do it myself, was the grace – the soft place to fall. What a journey it is, right? I look forward to connecting more in the future!!!

  12. When I see posts like this, I often dwell on if this is the road we are meant to take. We have one daughter of our own but have struggled to have more children and very much want more. My husband has more reservations about adopting though. I know things could go wrong, but nothing in life is guaranteed and stories such as yours point out the successes that are possible too.

    1. Hi Kristi, I will be praying for God to reveal His plan for adoption to you and your husband. If it is a call on your lives, you will not be able to turn away from that call. I also must counsel that you wait until your husband is fully desiring adoption, as well, so until then, pray for God’s conviction – open doors or firmly shut doors. It is truly a miracle, but not an easy miracle. There are stories that seem to be seamless (our friends being one) but often they are not. There are so many different options – the wheres, the hows – each impacts the chances for an “easier” transition. If you ever would like to talk, please let me know!!!
      Blessings and smiles,
      Lori

  13. Oh, what a beautiful story, Lori. I love your daughter’s name, Selah. She gives many reasons to pause and reflect on God’s goodness. Thank you, Lori, for sharing your heart and story at #IntentionalTuesday. : )

    1. Oh, Crystal, you made me smile! So few people know what Selah means! I love that you do! That is why we gave her that name. It was a way to praise Him for the work we believed He would do in her life:-)
      Blessings and smiles,
      Lori

  14. Lori,

    As an adoptive mom, I absolutely love your story. And you are so right – boy, do we have a lot to be thankful for. God’s provision, promise, faithfulness!

    I wanted to let you know that I’ll be featuring you at Satisfaction Through Christ and Grace + Truth tomorrow! Thanks so much for linking up!

    Christie

    1. Hi Christie, Thank you again for featuring my story. I was so honored … especially because it came from the heart of another adoptive Mom! Our hearts are connected in so many ways when we walk this journey!
      Blessings and smiles,
      Lori

  15. This is a beautiful post, Lori! I’m so glad you came across my blog so I could read yours! Our adoption journey was not without its ups and downs either, but I love how God knew the children He was directing us to the whole time. <3

  16. What an amazing story, your little girl is so blessed to have been adopted by your family and you by her presence. She is beautiful!

  17. This was such a moving story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I am so happy that your little girl found her way back to you in the end and those photos are just beautiful. It really does seem that she was made to be part of your family, it was just a matter of when she could come home. #sharewithme

  18. Such a beautiful post. Some friends of mine are just starting their adoption journey and I hope it is a special as this. #sharewithme

  19. What a beautiful adoption story! My sister-in-law adopted my niece from China years ago. She is a blessing and adoption is near to my heart after seeing what they went through to adopt. I love what you said about love.

    “We all see what love is. Not the preconceived notion of love that many of us grow up believing. Not a love that is easy nor always sweet. But love that digs in and does what it has to in order to make a difference.”

    Love does that, it digs in! Blessings to you and your family!

  20. Adoption is so important and amazing to give a life chance to those that aren’t provided for and love and nurture them as our own. My sister is adopted and she is just my sister the same as if we were blood related. Would have it any other way.

    1. Jenny, I love that you are from an adoptive family. You completely understand that adoption is a miracle!
      Much love,
      Lori

  21. We are waitlisted to adopt and hit 12 months waiting in about a week. I loved this post and was blessed to read it. Waiting is hard and we try to just cling to God’s sovereignty. He has ALL details worked out. We are to just keep praying and relying on Him. Thankful today to find this. Blessings…

    1. Oh, Kelly! Praying for you as you wait! Keep clinging to God. You are right, He is sovereign. He does have the details worked out and in the time He knows is right, He will give you the precious child He designed as a member of your family! Thanks so much joining me here today! I’d love for you to keep me updated!
      Blessings and smiles,
      Lori

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