Friday, February 21, 2014

Turner's Adoption Story Journal - Part Two - Trials, Chaos and Hope!

***This is part two about our trip to Michigan, to read part one which explains the two month process that led up to this trip click here: Turner's Adoption Story Journal - Part One - Paperwork, Prayers and Miracles! ***

We arrived in TN on Saturday 2/8 evening to visit with our friends, the D family. They are an amazingly encouraging family with 3 bio and 4 adopted children. We were excited to spend the weekend with them as we waited for Monday to roll around and our ICPC paperwork to arrive in FL for processing. The weekend flew by, we were blessed by the D's loving hospitality and the kids had a blast. Monday 2/10 early morning we got word from FL that they hadn't received our ICPC packet yet but were on the lookout for it and it would take 2-3 days to process once it had arrived. We packed up, said our goodbyes to our wonderful friends and headed north with the hopes the paperwork would arrive that day and we would be released by Wednesday 2/12.

Our dream is one day to have a house in the rolling mountains of TN!

Since we only made it 4 hours north to Cinncinati, OH by dinnertime we decided to park there for the night and enjoy our northern loves, Skyline Chili and the Creation Musuem! Tuesday 2/11 we enjoyed the warm, free inside activities the museum offered and checked in with the ICPC office around lunchtime. 

Bad news. 

The packet was not sent expedited mail on Friday 2/7 as we had thought, it hadn't even arrived yet to begin processing. We began brainstorming. All we could do is pray and trust. We decided to pray with faith that the paperwork would be recieved and not held up any later than Friday 2/14. God is faithful. Even though our stay in MI was becoming longer than planned we didn't want to miss out on any more time with our new son. We left OH and began the last 4 hour trek to MI arriving after sundown. After a long and noisy night boondocking at a rest station we were ready to be at his house on Wednesday 2/12 at 9am.

More bad news. 

Our RV wouldn't start, it wouldn't even try, no lights, sound, nothing. Must be the battery, we probably just needed a jump. As we stood outside in the single digit temperature, looking under the hood, we prayed "Lord, please send us someone to jump us." We looked around and asked the dozen other truck drivers that were parked around us. No one was willing or able. We called our roadside assistance service. They would come out in an hour or so but all normal charges would apply and what if it was more than a jump, a repair wasn't in the travel budget. We prayed again. "Lord, search our hearts, you know we just want to meet our son, please start our vehicle!" Our kids won't forget the miracle that happened next, Brian put the key in the ignition and the RV reved right up. I won't forget the silence on the other end of the phone when I called roadside assistance back only minutes later to say, "never mind, we don't need service, we prayed and God fixed our RV!"

It was a little nerves mixed with excitement that churned inside me as we waited at the door. A stack of boxes and suitcases greeted us in the foyer when the door opened. We stepped inside and a little boy with the same face as the child in the picture on our fridge, that we have been praying for since December, came forward and greeted us. "This is Turner, he is ready to go." And just like that he happily told us what was in each box and suitcase then darted down the front steps and to the RV. "Turner, do you need to know our names before you leave with us?" I stopped him. "Um, sure." We knelt down, introduced ourselves to our new son and walked him to our RV where he was greeted by five smiling children. We had prayed for him so often that even Titus and Maggie pointed from their seats, "Mama, Ter-ner, Ter-ner!"

Our new son joins us for the first time!

We sat down around the table for lunch at a local buffet. "Turner, we pray and thank God for our food before we eat, have you prayed before?"
"Okay, well have you ever heard of Jesus?"
"Well, that is the God we pray to, you will learn a lot about Him, let's pray."

All the campgrounds in Michigan were closed for the winter with 4 feet of snow on the ground. A local KOA campground had mercy on us, they plowed a spot and let us plug into the electrical outlet outside the bathrooms. After 15 minutes of waist-deep playing in the snow the kids were back in the warm RV changing into dry clothes and playing legos and board games. I had a barrage of phone calls and emails to decipher and spent a couple hours in the bathroom hallway in tears mudding through it all. We did find out that MI ICPC emailed all documents directly to FL since the mailed copies still had not been recieved. After explaining our situation and desire to go home with our son to the FL ICPC office I was told to "take a chill pill" and that they could take 10-14 days and even deny the request which would place Turner in foster care. Then email after email piled in my inbox with numerous additional required documents and paperwork, 23 items total, were needed to approve us to leave MI. Next thing we know this email came in:
"ICPC received a phone call from an anonymous person who claimed to be an attorney here in FL. This person stated that your family moved and now lives in a run-down mobile home that this anonymous attorney described as unhealthy to live in. This anonymous person also said the person with ICPC is being bad-mouthed over the internet, being called obstructionist, etc. The anonymous source stated that she has significant concerns regarding the new living conditions of your family. At minimum, an updated Home Assessment needs to be done now."
Bizarre. Just bizarre.

I was crying in the bathroom when Brian came in. We will never leave. Not with a new home visit and all the documents required. It could take weeks. We prayed, prayed boldly that God would perform more mightly miracles and let us leave by Friday 2/14. I have to admit it took me until Monday the following week to forgive this "anonymous attorney" for their call that labeled our family a "home with concerns" and threatened to send our son into state foster care. If you are reading this and you are this anonymous attorney, I forgive you.

I gathered my emotions, gave them to God and went to join Brian and the kids for a quiet, and cozy evening cooped up in the 250sqft RV.


Thursday 2/13 brought a blessed distraction from the previous day's emotional roller coaster. We spent lunch and dinner fellowshipping and playing with new friends, the G family! They have 12 adopted children and loads of encouraging experience in all things adoption, including ICPC! This was the family behind the His Hands His Feet Today Facebook page where we first learned of our son's need for adoption! We parted ways only after I joined KG for a special church service that evening and promised to update her as long as we were in MI.

We had been praying boldly for God to let us go home Friday 2/14, on Valentine's Day! Friday morning we headed to Ypsilanti, MI closer to the border to hang out and faithfully wait for the call! For only $22 we spent the morning and afternoon at the Michigan Firehouse Museum having loads of fun!

Adoption is a hurry-up-and-wait game.

Just as we were leaving and looking for a place to eat lunch we recieved two urgent documents that had to be notarized immediately. We found an OfficeMax to print the documents from my email, then found a local bank to wait and have them notarized, and then back to OfficeMax to scan documents in and email them back to our attorney. Even with rushing around this process took almost two hours. Happy Valentine's Day. We were sure that with all that urgency we would be released once ICPC recieved them. We went to lunch/dinner at Costco and waited until 5pm came and went. No call. Nothing. Documents sent in but no word, it seemed we would be stuck in Michigan for the weekend, possibly even all next week! Feeling let down, we stocked up on some more food for our lengthened stay. Since we were much farther south than the previous campground we stayed at we tried to find anywhere else. The navigation system directed us incorrectly for two hours around closed snowed-in roads resulting in us getting stuck twice and manuvering very difficult u-turns for a 32ft RV on dark, icy roads. Finally we found a parking spot in a closed state park. Water was shut off and we were out of water. Sewage dump site was under 4 feet of snow and we were way over due on dumping our sewage tanks....ew. Bathrooms and facilities were closed and locked. Then we noticed that overnight warm water had seeped through our bathroom floor meaning we had a frozen pipe and a leak...ugh.

It was not a fun night.

We were frustrated, angry and sad. We wanted to go home. We were tired of snow, ice and everything frozen. I wanted warm water and a shower. We were worried about the increasing attorney and social worker costs due to all this additional ICPC paperwork. We were worried about running out of funds in our travel budget if this trip was extended into next week. We were worried about Brian missing work and losing income. This is not how it was supposed to go. Where was God? We truly believed He would answer our prayers. We truly believed He would make a miraculous way for us to go home TODAY. We spilled our hearts and disappointments before the Lord and sought Him in His Word. We know God is sovereign and always good. We know God always pursues His perfect will, even when we don't know what that is. Even when we are just plain upset with His plan.

New mercies each morning.

Our fridge completely froze overnight, cereal and frozen milk for breakfast! On Saturday 2/15 our social worker, JB, who completed our homestudy back in December made a visit out with a friend to our new place. She, once again, approved our home to adopt. Around lunchtime she called to fulfill ICPC's additional requirements of interviews with the children. We passed the phone around as each child told JB, again, that they in fact wanted Turner to stay and be their brother.

Good news.

We expressed a need for prayer as we were struggling with the sad news of a longer stay and increasing attorney (ICPC), social worker (homestudy) and travel costs. Before I could even begin to think about fundraising, between 8am and 12pm on Saturday 2/15 morning God's people flooded our accounts with $3155 toward bringing Turner home! We have never been so excited to write the remaining checks when we get back home! Still has me in awe just thinking about it!

More good news.

A friend in FL who are members of ATI found a couple other members in their directory that lived up near Flint, MI so we could have friends to fellowship with and pass the time quickly. A wonderful man, GC, got in touch with us and told us that his wife and 7 kids were out of town at a funeral but he would love to have us stay with him as long as we needed to stay in MI. We were strangers, had never met before. GC was full of joy and so sweet to open up his entire home of empty beds and toys for us to enjoy! It really felt like the biblical hospitality you only read about in Acts!

The home church we visited on Sunday 2/16 morning, at the V family's house, was so encouraging. We brought boiled peanuts, which allowed much amusement as our northern brothers and sisters had never even heard of them before. The all day fellowship was sweet and the cute northern accents and different phrases kept me smiling! "Oh my stars! Where is my pop?" We even borrowed one of the V family's sons to visit America's Largest Christmas Store in Frankenmuth, MI. We enjoyed his company, presents and jellybeans!

Thank you again, Nicholas, for joining us! 

As Monday 2/17 rolled around we were actually sad to leave our new MI friends. GC was too sweet spending our last morning there playing many games with our kids while Brian and I responed to emails, cleaned up and packed all our stuff back in the RV. We were about to have to make a decision about whether Brian would head back home to work, leaving some or all of us in MI to wait, when our attorney said she was sure she could get us approval to leave today! We were on the road headed south by 3pm, a little anxious we would be wasting gas and have to turn around, but trusting in our good God's perfect will and plan this time.

At 4pm that Monday the email finally came! We could go home!!! We weren't done jumping through ICPC hoops just yet though, more awaited us in FL. Our attorney forwarded us the email from ICPC: "Praise The Lord and leave Michigan now before they want something else from me. -CT" 
"Florida is providing PROVISIONAL placement approval for this family
to return to Florida with Turner.

Florida requires an updated addendum to include face-to-face private
interviews with the children within 30 days."
We drove all night! 1000 miles from 4pm to 9am, stopping only for one more to-go dinner at Skyline Chili in OH, coffee and gas. We definitely felt your prayers as we drove through a snowstorm, ice and 25mph wind. Brian was able to make it in to work a little after 9am Tuesday 2/19 and we made it to our Classical Conversations weekly class. It was so nice to be home! No more snow! No more cold, it was 70 degrees and sunny, I packed up my snow boots and dawned a pair of flip-flops! 


Home Sweet Home!

State of FL law says that a child must be in your home, monitored by a social worker, for 90 days before you can legalize the adoption in front of a judge.
Stay tuned for "Turner's Adoption Story Journal - Part Three - Forever, Love and Family" as I journal the next 3 months up to the day Turner officially becomes our adopted son!

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Turner's Adoption Story Journal - Part One - Paperwork, Prayers and Miracles!

This is a story of God weaving His perfect will into our lives:

I inquired about a child on Tuesday 12/3 after seeing this sentence shared on a Facebook page: "I know of a 7 yr old boy (originally adopted from China 3 yrs ago) here in Michigan that is looking for a new family. Please private message me for more info if you are homestudy approved and interested in more info! Thanks!"

I messaged right away, even though we didn't have a current homestudy. Something struck me about this ad. Everytime our kids pray for us to adopt again they pray for a boy (to even out the number of boys and girls in the family) and they pray that he is Risa's age but a little older (that way every one has a "twin"; Anthony, 11, is just older than Mirabel, Titus, 2, is just older than Maggie). Even if we weren't the family for him, I share children in need on our "5 kids 6 months" page on Facebook so I wanted more to this little guy's story. The lady from the adoption agency, let's call her HD, sent me two documents, one had pictures and one had a description:

"Turner" – 7 year old boy (almost 8), adopted from China in 2010.

Turner was adopted with a nevus on his face. They have started surgeries to have this removed for cosmetic reasons, but stopped when Turner had a strong emotional reaction to the last surgery. He also has a tumor in his mouth, but the doctors are not concerned about it and do not feel it needs treatment.

Turner is an optimistic and cheerful, energetic little boy. He has a sweet, endearing personality and loves to talk. He is obedient and eager to please, and is always ready to hold your hand. Turner loves books. He is intelligent, and has no difficulty meeting grade level expectations. He is curious, and always eager to be involved in activities going on around him. He loves to build, and enjoys imaginative play, both alone and with others.

Weaknesses and concerns:
Turner is easily swayed by peer pressure. He has trouble remembering rules and following routines when not directly under adult supervision. He needs help identifying and owning his emotions, as well as regulating his emotions. Turner often lacks the confidence needed to challenge himself. He prefers to be babied rather than be independent. When Turner feels threatened, he plays a passive aggressive role in what he perceives to be power struggles. Turner has been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and PTSD.

Best Fit:
Turner would thrive in a family who has a strong support system, and who is able to devote the time and attention to Turner's emotional needs. Ideally, I would recommend a placement with a family who does not have any children younger than or close in age to Turner, in order to not perpetuate the simulation of an institution. However, I believe that in an experienced family with a good support system, other children may not be as much of an issue."

*Turner is a child that was adopted in 2010 from China and due to family stresses and attachment issues the family that adopted him no longer feels fit and able to parent him. This is called an Adoption Disruption (read an article here). Out of love and wanting the best for him they contacted the agency that originally helped them bring him home from China to help find him a new family. I sympathize with the family, God alone knows their story and God loves them as much as He loves Turner.*

We were the only family that had inquired about him. I thanked HD and told her we would be willing to adopt him but we are not homestudy ready and we have three younger children so we don't meet the adoptive family's (lets call them AF) qualifications. We would begin praying for Turner to find the perfect family. On Thursday 12/5 at 9am I emailed five very close people to join with us to pray for this little boy. We prayed that God would raise up the perfect family for him.

God moved that same day! At 4pm HD, from the agency, called to let me know that a family with older children inquired and was very serious about adopting Turner. Again I got to see God's power (so far almost every child we inquire about finds a better suited home right away!). HD told me she would submit the new family's info to the AF on Monday 12/9 morning and asked if we wanted to submit our family bio as well. I told her that we prayed God would raise up another family and that we didn't have a homestudy to submit. I thanked HD for her time and praised God for His will for this child!

The end.

That should be the end, and I kept meaning to send a second email to my fab five to thank them for praying with me.

But God wasn't done.

I received a call Tuesday 12/10 at 3pm from HD. She said that she presented ‎‎the willing family to the current AF and they asked if there was anyone else who inquired about Turner. HD then asked if she could submit us to the AF as another willing family. I thought she wanted to do that maybe to be able to say to the AF, "See this only other family that inquired (us) doesn't meet your requirements." Done deal. End of story.

I said "Sure, I don't have anything written up and our homestudy isn't ready." She asked if she could just show them our blog. I agreed. I didn't think another second about it, didn't think I would receive a ‎call back. They would see by our blog. They would see that we had young kids. They would see we are a large, busy homeschool family. And we didn't have a homestudy.

HD did call back at 5pm the same day. ‎She thanked me for letting her show our blog to the family and said it made their decision easier. Her next sentence almost made me drop the phone, "They looked over your blog and fell in love with your family, they know you are the family for their son!"

I am still in shock and awe of what God is doing! 

But worries began to run through my mind. We don't have a current home study done. Can we get a home study completed by the end of the year? 
We don't know what all the cost involved is. Could we raise the money it will take to bring him home?

First, the homestudy. I spent the entire next day, 12/11, on the phone with two agencies in our county. I spoke to 5 people and all said that it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to complete our homestudy before late February. One lady nicely called me crazy for even thinking it could be done before Christmas. Also the private domestic homestudy that this adoption would require would cost $1500-1800. It was a dead end. They needed homestudy ready family for Turner, for sure they wouldn't wait on us.
"God, if you want us to adopt Turner you are going to have to get this homestudy done." 

Then I got one last option. There is this private social worker, JB, that does homestudies on the side, maybe she can do it. For sure if we couldn't afford the state's fees, we couldn't afford a private worker's fees. I called JB with little hope. I explained our situation, how we have all our paperwork ready, we got our fingerprints done, we went in for our physicals, we did our background checks, we just need a home visit and the final written report. She said she can only do one homestudy at a time, but it just so happens that the very moment I called she just finished and hit "send" on the only one on her plate and she had no others lined up. She said with everything so far along she should only need 2 weeks to complete it and she would only charge us $500. I am totally in awe!

Is anything impossible with God?

On Thursday 12/12 we got to meet Turner's adoptive parents via a video conference call with the agency. They told us more about Turner and their long road of therapies and attachment counseling. They asked us about our knowledge of RAD, our upcoming move, our homeschooling and our support system. We shared our struggles, our parenting strengths and mistakes and our love regardless of behavior that only Jesus gives us.  I really have a heart for this mother. She is in a place I have been. She feels isolated and rejected by her child, friends and others. She feels "emotionally bankrupt." The call ended on the note that they are 99% sure they wanted to move forward with us, they just needed to talk about it and get back with us. It was also agreed that once they tell Turner (no, he doesn't know anything is changing yet) they don't want to prolong the move. Although our prayers are with the AF, we are 100% sure we will take Turner if they choose this route.
JB called later in the day schedule our home visit for Saturday 12/14 and to encourage us to get in touch with an attorney, named CT, she uses for adoptions. We made an attorney consultation appointment for Tuesday, 12/17 and the first fee would be $100. Then my mind ran back to the financial worry. Where will we get the money to see this through?

Well, with 5 kids I can't sit too long on the worry train so life went on. We stopped by a local thrift store that we regular for the kids to shop for Christmas gifts with their hard earned money. The kids of course blurted out to a manager we know and love there that they will soon have a new brother. I caught her up with the events God was seeing through and she asked how much money would it cost. After telling her she loaded our car with boxes of brand new items donated from Walmart for us to sell to raise some of the money.

Amazing. Again, only God!

As soon as we got back home my phone rang, it was HD from Turner's adoption agency. She wanted to announce that the AF had for sure chosen and felt confident in us to complete the adoption. She wanted our attorney's information so we could move forward. Good thing I had called an attorney earlier that day and had one to give her!

We were chosen!

This story is getting long huh? As I was updating all the events above little Maggie popped up on my lap. She pointed to the boy in the picture. "That is Turner, sweetheart."
Her huge green eyes met mine, "Ter-ner" she says very carefully, "black face".
"Yes, sweetheart, Turner does have some black on his face."
"Yes, baby, like Titus' skin. Turner has yellow and brown skin. Turner needs a home, can he be your big brother?"
"An-ton-ee big bruda."
"Yes, Anthony is your big brother, can Turner be your big brother too?"
"Yesh! Ter-ner bruda."
Mirabel after watching the sweet reaction of her baby sister added, "Mom, I think Turner will like it here, we have all been through what he has been through. We have all had his behavior and RAD issues. We will be able to show him so much love." Our kids have all been ecstatic from day one, we have kept them in the loop this entire time.

This is feeling real.

This will change our thriving family dynamic. This will alter all our lives forever. I will be the mom of 6 precious lives. I put all the kids to bed and fear gripped me. I am human. I get scared. I cry. I weep. I feel inadequate. I wonder if I am truly following God's will. I still struggle with a desire to be a perfect mom. I realize how weak I am. I still require grace minute by minute. Then He shows me, again, His strength, His refuge, His love. God has been so good. I am so thankful He gave me the grace to embrace His will. I am more thankful He gives me the grace to sustain that same will.

Now to wait, begin fundraising, and get to Tuesday without more mental breakdowns.

It's Wednesday 12/18, God has provided $600 through generous donations for this adoption so far! That is exactly the $500 for JB's homestudy cost and $100 for the attorney consultation fee that we needed to move forward!

Only God can make this adoption possible!

The meeting yesterday with the attorney, CT, went GREAT! CT is so sweet and knowledgable on foreign, interstate, disruption, private and domestic adoptions! She said she will work with us on all cost involved. Friday is also the perspective date of a conference call between all MI and FL workers working on this adoption. They will discuss the best route for Turner's adoption and the timeline of events!

Oh my! It is Friday 12/20 and our homestudy is completed! We had to have it to our attorney by 12pm today to have in notarized and sent to Michigan before everyone is closed next week!

At 11:15am I received a call from our social worker, "I am sending the homestudy to you now but I need it signed by you and Brian and to the attorney by 12pm."

I was driving kids to Nanny's house, so we went home to print signature pag
e at 11:25am it still wasn't in my inbox.

So I drove to Nanny's to drop kids off and print it out there, after traffic and a computer boot up I had signature page in my hand by 11:55am.

Drove to Chick-fil-A, cut in long lunch line to interrupt a woman giving Brian her order, "Sign please! So sorry ma'am, we are adopting a child and this has to be to our attorney in 60 seconds! Thanks Hon! Bye!" By her stern look she didn't care, oh well.

Thankfully attorney's office was just up the road and I ran in at 12:05pm. They waited on me and sent it to MI.
I promised God that I wouldn't rush this process due to excitement or hinder it due to fear. I would follow any timeline He places on the agency's heart! We were told a homestudy done before Christmas was impossible. Well, the impossible just happened because only 9 days later our homestudy is completed and in the hands of our attorney!
"Nothing is Impossible with God" is certainly not just a cliché! (Luke 1:37)
We were told not to expect to hear anything until after January 1st. So now we wait.
It's Tuesday, January 14th. There has been lots of miscommunication, missing information and waiting. We still don't have an exact timeline but it's been busy in our home, seems like God has sent us lots of healthy distractions to keep me from being incredibly impatient. 

I did finally speak with our attorney it is understood we will have to fund more than she originally thought. We need $2500 in her hand before she can proceed through the court paperwork, she said by Friday, 1/17. Once we have funding and she starts the process Turner could be with us in 2-3 short weeks! God hasn't let us down yet. It seems impossible to raise that much money in three days. If this is God's will and plan He will see it through. We will just wait.

The Lord will provide!

Our $2500 for the attorney was due 12pm today, 1/17. Guess what!?! At 11:50am we had $2500 EXACTLY in our account! This is not the end, only the beginning step. There is still remaining attorney fees and travel cost to get to Michigan, wait on court to release us and come back to FL. So far God has provided and He will again! We promised we would not rush this adoption or hinder it, we will let only God in His grand provision move it forward!!!

At the attorney’s office today, Monday 1/20, for a conference call between all parties. We are hoping for some clarification on this, new to us, ICPC paperwork process. ICPC is the Interstate Compact of the Placement of Children. It was established and exists to keep track of all children crossing state lines during an adoption process. The ICPC paperwork begins in the “sending state” (in this case MI) then is sent to the “receiving state” (in this case FL) to be sure both states approve and accept responsibility for the child until they are legally adopted. In FL a child has to be in your home for 90 days before you can legally adopt them. During this time a licensed social worker will visit every 30 days for a total of 3 times to be sure all in the home are adjusting well. At this point the ICPC paperwork will be started and once it is completed and submitted it takes 7-14 days for us to receive a “consent of release”, basically a call saying, “come pick up your new son!”

Adoption is a constant "Hurry-up and Wait" game.

We rush to get additional documents signed and in then wait, rush to tie up some loosed ends then wait. It is almost February and we have been doing a lot of hurry-uping and waiting. We have to decide on travel to get to MI. We are debating between taking a week vacation with the whole family and traveling in our RV to pick up Turner or Brian and I flying directly to MI and directly back to FL with Turner. At this point we are leaving it in God's hands and His perfect will. He knows Turner best and what form of travel would be best for him. We will just pray that whatever money God provides for this travel we will use for His purpose. We will wait and see....

In just 4 days $1560 poured in through generous donations! That is a huge answered prayer and means we will plan RV travel from here on out!


It is Tuesday, February 4th and we have word that all paperwork was submitted to MI ICPC for approval. We are being told 2-3 days for approval then 2-3 days approval time from FL. Our prayer is if there are no hold ups and MI approves our paperwork by Friday 2/7 we will head up to MI to pick up our son and wait on FL's final approval. In the meantime we will begin packing our RV to prepare for God to move on Friday!

Friday, 2/7 at 3pm our prayers were heard and we recieved MI APPROVAL! We are loading up and will leave first thing in the morning! We take a nice slow drive up to MI, stopping in TN halfway and picking up Turner on Tuesday 2/11. We are hoping for FL approval by Wednesday 2/12 and we will make it a slow and eventful ride back to FL! Off we GO!

Stay tuned for "Turner's Adoption Story Journal - Part Two - Trials, Chaos and Hope" as I write about our travels, hardships and joy in Michigan!

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I Can't Handle This!

I remember being asked recently, "Shannon, are you really thinking of adopting another child?" As she softly touched my arm.

I responded with a quick and unashamed, "Oh YES, we are always open to adoption!"

Her hand retreated, "Oh Lord, Child, how many do you think you possibly handle!?!"

"Me, I can handle zero, but the Lord, He can handle an infinite number!"

She was right, I can’t handle this. I can’t handle adoption. I can't handle my current kids. Adoption is hard. Kids are hard. Love is hard. I have searched and inquired about so many children up for adoption. I have seen so many children's profiles that share information about their likes, struggle and needs. You read those profiles and think “that child is more than I could handle” or “I couldn’t take a child that struggled with xyz”.
But can you imagine what your profile would look like?

This is just a tiny sample of the profile my God in Heaven saw on me. He knows not only our outward deeds but our inward thoughts and the motives of our hearts. He saw me, with all my problems, issues and labels. With all my “special” needs and conditions. He pursued me anyway. He lavished His love on me anyway. He adopted me anyway. Is this the same God that adopted you into His heritage and inheritance through His Son, Jesus Christ? Is this the same God who loves and calls us all to care for the orphan? A God who teaches us how to love unconditionally, the way He does perfectly?
Shannon was ADOPTED in January 2009!
This God that adopted me and walks with me and indwells me is teaching me an amazing love like His. A love that is not hindered due to fear. A love that does not accept with conditions. A love that does not stop due to difficulties. A love that compels me to action. An active, working love. An adoption love.
Our journey through loving our adopted kids has been a journey of learning what it means to truly love like Jesus. To love sinners in their greatest and most painful sin. To love those who push away, even reject love. To love those who may never love us back. This love is costly with no return on investment. This love is called sacrificially love. This is the love of Jesus. This is the love of adoption.  

What does your profile say? What would be that one issue or condition too great, too sinful that would keep God from adopting you to Himself? What would be that one issue or condition too great, too sinful that should keep me from adopting my child? What would be that one issue or condition too great, too sinful that would keep you from adopting a child? Are we basing our view of adoption on fear, conditions or difficulty? Or are we basing our view of adoption on the sacrificial love of Jesus who can handle all things?