Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Can I ask for adoption prayers?

No, not for my family. Our boys are not final, and the chances of Bee ever being an official Blandings are slim to none. I lay these things before the Lord multiple times a day, and I know that a whole host of believers does the same.

The adoption road has been rocky for our family, but there has been movement alongside the frustration. There have been developments and motions and all other manner of things slowly meandering their way to a family that can look into forever and see one another in it. We have hearings. Visa applications. Adoption agreements. These are the labor pains of a family birthed through love and law, not flesh and bone.

Not everyone has this, even on the slow motion scale that our family has become accustomed to. There are some adoptions that are simply stalled. Like a mule who has decided he will not travel a single step more, some adoptions sit on the side of the road and languish. There are many, many reasons for this; most of them are far too politically and legally complicated to even begin to outline. In the end, of course, it is the parents-in-waiting who suffer. And, most of all, the children.

Say what you will about "ripping children from their home culture" or "denying a child their biological surname," I believe that God intended for every child-- every child-- to know the love of a family. Cultural identity, knowing that you have Grandpa Bill's smile, and seeing folks with your skin color every day are great. But ultimately, the love of a family is preferable. It's God's ultimate gift and desire for all of us as we walk on His earth:

Here, beloved child. People who love you almost as much as I do.

Of course, life doesn't always work out like that. Children are mistreated. Unloved. Tragically orphaned. Born into places where to survive infancy is nothing short of a miracle in itself.

And this is where adoption becomes a gift that is separate but equal. Mirroring God's relationship with us, children can become a precious part of something greater. Some people decry adoption as a lesser thing, or even a heartless evil thrust upon a helpless child. I'm not going to argue that here. Instead, I'm simply going to offer this: show me a child who doesn't long for someone to love them. Show me a child who would trade his family for the ability to say, "I speak the language of the country I was born in."

Family matters. And children long for it. Waiting is, I think, hardest for them when an adoption hits the brakes. They know that they're awaiting the miracle that will change their lives ... but when?

In that vein, I want to do a completely unsolicited and somewhat unorthodox thing. I want to ask for prayer on behalf of people that I do not personally know, but find myself lifting up daily.

The first is Luke Holzmann, who blogs for Sonlight and has a personal blog as well. Luke and his wife Brittany have been in process with an international adoption for what probably feels to them like a lifetime. They have been matched with their children, but can't sing them songs at bedtime, bake their favorite cookies, or watch their faces light up as they witness the beauty of fall foliage. They know their names and faces, but can't yet tell you what books they love or whether they like pepperoni or pineapple on their pizza. Last Christmas came and went, and I know, know that Luke and Brittany took down their decorations and whispered in their souls, "Next year, when the tree goes up ... next year, we'll be together." But folks, Christmas is fast approaching. And Luke and Brittany don't have their kids at home. And darn it, I want them to have their kids at home. I want it almost as much as I want Bee here when December 25 rolls around, believe it or not.

The second family belongs to a blogger who has shared her heart for adoption in a way that is so raw, and so real that I some days I personally want to call her agency and tell them, "Bag it! Just get that baby home, for Pete's sake!" Melissa Lorenz and her husband, Rick, have both been personally touched by adoption; Melissa spent time in foster care as a child and was eventually adopted by her stepfather, and Rick was adopted as an infant. The Lorenz family is adopting Liza, a beautiful little girl who happens to have Down Syndrome. They've been run through the wringer that is the world of adoption paperwork, and they're just getting started. The attack on this family has been ferocious, but Melissa's spunk and drive don't ever seem to flag. I want this family to succeed. I want to read the update that says, "Liza loves her new bedroom!" and see her laughing on the pink comforter, holding a rag doll and wearing her pigtails slightly askew.

If your heart has ever been tugged at by the thought of a child who longs for a home ... if you've ever looked into the eyes of a parent who aches to hold the little one God has chosen for their family ... if you've ever been a prayer warrior at all ....

Will you commit to pray for these families this fall? Ask God to move mountains. Fight battles. And bring those children home to the parents who want to tuck them in at night. I know God can do this.

My heart's desire in posting this is simply this: by Christmas, I would love, love, love to see some movement for these families. Maybe it'll be something like money flowing into the Lorenz's account to cover the costs of adopting Liza. Or maybe it'll be something along the lines of the Holzmann's finally getting a date by which their children will be home. Maybe the walls will crumble and these families will be standing shoulder to shoulder celebrating Christ together on Christmas Day.

I don't care what it is, frankly. Small, large. Something. Anything. Just some tiny shred of hope for these families as we approach the birth of the One who came as a child so that we all might know the love of the Father.

Neither family knows that I am posting this today. No one has asked me for publicity, money, etc. This is a simple prayer request from the heart of a mother who knows what it is to wait, and to love, and to know that God's will for you holds good and wonderful things that come from the most unexpected places.

Thanks for praying.


Jamie said...

A resounding YES! We will pray.

Tara said...

Amazing! I was just praying for Liza's family/adoption journey on Sunday. Reece's Rainbow is a ministry dear to my heart and I often spend time praying for the waiting children and their forever families! So, YES! I will continue to do so. In countries like Liza's, if children with Down syndrome are not adopted by the age or 4 or 5, they are sent to mental institutions where many do not survive their first year.

ThyHandHathProvided said...

Thanks for reminding us of all the families out there waiting. May their strength be renewed as they wait upon the Lord and their children.

redkitchen said...

I will pray. We are hoping to bring our little girl home from China for this Christmas. May we all be filled with patience and peace as we wait on God's timing.

Luke said...

[tears in my eyes]

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Mary Grace.


mom said...

Thank you for your heart for adoption, Mary Grace!

Adding to your blogger list Kimmie @ Over the Moon with Joy as they go through the process to adopt a beautiful twelve year old girl who has captured their heart!

Tammy ~@~

Melissa said...

Oh, Mary Grace :) Thank you so much! This brought tears to my eyes this morning. To know that we are being lifted up by so many has really helped me to be at peace through all of this. I KNOW she will be here with us soon, maybe not in my timing, but I feel that it's coming. Thanks again!