As the day inches closer that we will take off on a plane to meet our son for the first time, Dustin and I both grow more and more excited to hold him in our arms.
Our travel dates have been moved forward a week so we are 16 days from leaving as of today. That seems unreal to me in this moment. We have been staring at this picture since October and it almost feels as though that's all he is..a picture. I have no idea what emotions I will feel the first time we see him. What scares me is the emotions he might have. Dustin and I have said over and over "what if he doesn't bond to us?". I know it's not a thought that people like to think about, but it is a reality. It was pretty quickly that we had to stand on the promises that God has given us. God has picked this child out and said "This is your son". With that we have to know that God is preparing his heart for our meeting, just as He has been preparing ours.
During a bible study at church a few weeks ago we began to talk about what the disciples must have felt when Jesus was telling them He would be leaving. They clearly did not understand. They did not know what they would do without Jesus by their side. In fact they were pretty terrified. He continued to explain that He was going to prepare a place for them where they would live forever with Jesus once their separation was over. Jesus had poured so much time into building relationships with these disciples who followed Him so closely and now they felt He was leaving them to fend for themselves in this world that already had nothing promising for them. If these men could not understand this time of separation then how can a small child?
I think about what it will feel like when we spend a week with our son just to leave him. We can tell him over and over that we have to go back to where we came from to prepare a place for him. A place that will offer love and shelter and a family, but essentially a place that he can't imagine because he's never seen it, or heard of it. It's heartwrenching to know we will bond with this child who has longed for a family for so long then we will leave him just like we never met him (at least he'll think so). We'll be home working so hard to bring him home, but he won't know that. We very likely will become a distant memory in his tiny world.
Sure we will leave pictures, and a teddy bear, and a blanket, but in no way will that replace physical touch and time spent together.
Often I imagine these older children with their picture books of the families that have come to adopt them. How after this family leaves they show all of their friends these pictures and explain how these people have come to save them from this place, to show them unconditional love, and to adopt them. How proud they are to "show off" their new mommies and daddies. Isn't this a great picture of what God has done. God sent His son so that we could be adopted into His family. We are co-heirs to the throne along with Jesus. And even though physically He is not with us right now, He has left us all of these things to remind us that He is coming back for us. His scripture, much like those picture of families, we should look at daily and is a reminder of His love. The Holy Spirit, just like those blankets that wrap us with comfort and security, we turn to in moments of uncertainty for guidance. Shouldn't we be just as excited to share with everyone we meet our Father who has paid our ransom and come to rescue us. It is a love unlike we've ever known and we should want all of our orphaned friends to understand all we have to do is say yes to receive this love. Don't you think every child in an orphanage would say "yes I want that love" if they knew that's all they had to do. We don't have to wait for a family to choose us because we've arleady been chosen!
It is my deepest prayer that our son knows we are coming back for him. That he doesn't feel abandoned at the end of our week. That he can look at our pictures and understand that Mommy and Daddy are working so hard to bring him home. It is my prayer that we can show him a love that he's never known before. I've been reminded by so many wonderful adoptive parents that have gone ahead of us to take things slow. To make sure we go at his pace, which will certainly be slower than ours. It will take so much time for him to learn he can trust us. I'm even certain there will be times he will test our love and commitment to him, much like we do with God. I'm reminded of a beautiful scripture in Malachi 3 when I think of this happening. God was dealing with a rebelious people who had done so many displeasing things. But God said "I the Lord do not change". Essentially saying no matter what you do, I'm not going anywhere. No matter how bad you are, I still love you. There's nothing you can do to make me love you any more or any less. What a wonderful picture of God's love. I hope our son understands this. Nothing he can do can make us leave. Our love for him will not change. Sure their may be moments of frustration but we will be his family. FOREVER.
It is because of this love God has shown us, that we in return are able to show this love to a child who so desparately needs it. Because God adopted us we are able to adopt these beautiful children. I have seen a quote going around on social media a lot lately and it speaks so loudly. "We adopt not because we are rescuers but because we have been rescued."