No one ever told me adoption was a battle, a war, a direct attack on Satan and his plans to steal, kill and destroy. I will admit when we started our adoption journey I was naïve and idealistic. Submit paperwork, save and fund-raise (lots of) money and God brings a beautiful child in need into your family. This is the point where I hang my head and let out a big sigh over my own ignorance.:)
Four and a half years later I can tell you God cares desperately for the fatherless and my naivety has been replaced by heart wounds and a deeper appreciation for the battle that ensues when we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Adoption is a symbolic, earthly display of all that happens in the spiritual realm when we become followers of Christ. We are rescued from our sins, purchased by His blood and brought into His family and given a new identity as His sons and daughters. Adoption is the gospel displayed and it is beautiful…but Satan despises and opposes it in every way possible.
We continued to cry out to Him, asking for direction and considering if we should switch countries or agencies. His answer, confirmed through much prayer and petition, was simply, "Stay and Wait." These words were almost crushing as we considered the wait ahead but we desperately wanted to be obedient and desired His highest and best.
So…we waited (not always patiently, I might add) and in March 2013 we got the call from our agency which we had been waiting and praying for almost three years. Our agency had a beautiful three-year-old little girl they wanted to place with our family. One month later we discovered we were unexpectedly pregnant. We were overjoyed at God's gift of another biological child but concerned about how this would affect our adoption. We knew our agency had a very strict policy about pregnancy and not allowing families to proceed with adoption. After months of tears and praying and pleading with God and our agency we found out we would not be able to continue with our adoption.
On December 5th of 2013 we welcomed our third, precious, biological son into our family. In July of 2014, we found out we were once again first on the list to be matched with a child. Around the same time we learned that things in regard to international adoption had taken another downward turn in Ethiopia. A "temporary" hold has been placed on adoption referrals at the orphanage our agency partners with by the regional Ethiopian government. It has now been almost six months and nothing has changed. Over Christmas we were really discouraged...again...but God gently and lovingly reminded us to keep praying. He has burdened our hearts to intercede and pray for the children who are currently living in orphanages without families. He has led us to pray fervently that the power of the enemy who desires to keep these children as orphans would be "shattered" (Exodus 15:6, Isaiah 9:4, Job 34:24).
I can honestly say that the trials and heartaches of our adoption journey have changed us. We understand so much more about our God…and about ourselves. Our hearts have been purged and sifted of self-sufficiency, control, and pride (and let's just say it hasn't been pretty). These sin struggles often die slow, painful deaths...but the life and joy found in Christ on the other side of the struggle really are more valuable than gold. Faith and a deep, abiding trust in our Savior have been forged through the fires of disappointment and broken dreams.
And this is what we have discovered about our God…He is Faithful and Strong and True. He is a Warrior who fought for and redeemed our lives and is still engaged in battle for those who remain spiritually without a Father and physically without a forever family. We would covet your continued prayers for the Lord to bring home the child He has sovereignly chosen for our family. Would you pray that we would trust our God, no matter the outcome? Would you also continue to lift up the people and country of Ethiopia in your prayers as well? The country has been ravaged by drought, economic hardships as well as HIV/AIDS for many decades. However, God is moving and is calling and equipping the Ethiopian Church to address the needs of the millions of orphans who still exist in the country. This is the only sustainable hope for the orphan crisis in Ethiopia and we pray God would continue to strengthen His Church in Ethiopia to lead the way in caring for orphans and other vulnerable children. May love and justice be administered in the name of Christ and may He be glorified.
Love in Christ,
Chris, Angie, Burke, Henry and Ned Thomas
All of the profit from the January Give Scarf will go straight to the Thomas family to help fund their adoption process. Thank you so much for your generosity. This month's give scarf is shown below- super soft Black & White Striped/Polka Dot Infinity Scarf (while supplies last).