Thursday, February 27, 2014

Adoption is a Miracle

A post by our artist Laura Kirkland (Part 1 of 2)

When I painted the first adoption canvas for Glory Haus in January 2012, my husband, Sean, and I had just begun the adoption process. I was thrilled when Sean gave me the go ahead on his part. Adoption lingered on my heart for many years; I was always drawn to the idea. Through our involvement with cross cultural missions, and having witnessed others in our community grow their families through adoption, our eyes and hearts were set on the large number of orphans all over the world without homes. Sean often reflected on how his father had grown up in a children’s home after being orphaned at age five. His father’s circumstances gave way to serious thought about the incredible impact he could have on a child’s life -- to be welcomed into our family and embraced by parents, siblings and a whole lot of life and love. 

What I didn’t realize is that I was about to experience more than the miracle of adoption, but a whole bunch of crazy miracles piled one on top of the other. I spoke with another adoptive mother who said, “Adoption is like a moving sidewalk -- you have no idea what lies ahead, you just start somewhere and God takes control. Things begin to happen. It all unfolds in His time.” There’s no truer statement than this.

We started our adoption process with the intention to adopt from Africa. For multiple reasons, we found ourselves moving towards China instead. Due to the one child policy, coupled with the fact that value is not placed on girls or kids with special needs, many kids in China are abandoned as infants and are growing up in orphanages all over the country. We felt led to adopt a toddler girl with special needs. That’s all we knew at the time. We then chose Lifeline as our international adoption agency, and began our home study.

Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” This was fully experienced during the process of adopting our Lucy. We sensed the path laid out before us, but couldn’t see the way down it. We had some idea of the way; we attempted to figure it out. We dreamed and planned, but the Lord determined our steps. At each stage of the game, a lantern lit the path each time, revealing which way to go. God-ordained miracles, too numerous to count, guided each step along the way.

In October 2012, we were well into the home study, which involves mountains of paperwork, fingerprinting, writing biographies, and meeting with our social worker for interviews and home visits. At some point in the process, we were asked to fill out a checklist choosing which special needs you are willing to consider. You can check “yes,” “maybe,” or “will not consider” by each need. I felt very uncomfortable checking off what qualities of God’s children I was or was not willing to consider. I filled this out quickly, but left it on my desktop. I never turned it in.

Then, early one morning, I saw Lucy’s face for the first time. I requested her file, our agency sent it over and I opened it up on my phone. I saw her face, and knew she was ours. She was full of such light, had these precious little lips, and eyes that spoke to me. Lucy’s file went on to say that she was deaf. Although unable to hear, developmentally she was on target --going to school with the other children in the orphanage, enjoying educational games and playing with dolls. It went on to say that she liked to draw, and often she would appreciate her own work. Sean and I had a feeling about her. We didn’t know much about deafness, and we knew it would be a challenge. Regardless, we decided to submit a Letter of Intent to China asking if we could adopt her -- Lu Xue Chun, born Oct. 6, 2009 -- just two months before our youngest son.

As part of our Letter of Intent, we needed to include the special needs checklist that I never turned in. I looked it over and noticed the deafness category where I had checked, “will not consider.”

“In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

I am incredibly thankful that I held off on turning in that checklist. Lucy could not be a more perfect match for our family. She has a large and bright personality just like our other three kids. Parenting a child with special needs is not easy, but it has given us an incredible opportunity to grow closer to the Lord, to embrace the moments that are hard and learn what we can from each one.

1 comment:

Laura Farmer said...

Do you sell prints of this canvas? Thank you!