1 Month Home..

A month ago today, we boarded the plane that would take us on the last leg of our journey from Uganda to Tulsa.

Zion and I were tired but so, so excited to be almost home.

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And in my arms was a daughter. Our Selah.

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There is so much of her story still to tell. So much still to process.

Last June, Nate and I weren’t sure if we would ever adopt from Uganda. We were looking at waiting kids in every country we could think of and researching special needs. A year later, we have a five year old son and a one year old daughter. We are making school decisions and doing our first night time feedings. We are tending to two broken hearts and uncovering the ugliness in our own.

We have tried to live like the promises of God are true. We believe that they are. The path of faith has lead us here- to this longed for son and this dearest of daughters.

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Selah’s adoption was very different from Zion’s. His took over three years. About five months in to the process the second time around, Selah was in our arms.

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We gained two children in less than seven months. That’s fast by any standards. We are still finding our way, trying to listen for the voice of God, to press in towards loving His people, and to apply the truths we know in this new place He has for us.

The Gospel has been sweeter than ever before. And, oh, how we love our daughter.

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In just a month she has started to walk and learned to snap, give high fives, and blow kisses. She has stolen her Daddy’s heart and made us all laugh a thousand times. She loves music, jewelry, getting dressed, playing with balls, laughing with Zion, doing somersaults  with Daddy, and singing “God Makes Messy Things Beautiful.” She knows the answer to the first catechism question, and she can say all of our names.

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There will be many more things to say as we try to record Selah’s story, reflect on adoption and families, and remember the things God is doing in our hearts. For now though, I just wanted to acknowledge this milestone.

There were many moments in her short adoption when it seemed like we might never bring home a daughter. As I write, she is sleeping in my bed next to her brother.

And if she cries, I will pick her up, and I will hold her, and I will whisper truth to her again.

You are not alone. Mommy is here. I’m not leaving you. You’re staying with me. 

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And the Gospel triumphs again and again in the face of brokenness, as my heart learns to love and the fatherless are gathered in to families.

I will never leave You or forsake You, He says. And we learn how to walk through adoption in our family as we live life together in His.

Thoughts about Christmas…

Two thousand years ago, God became man. His birth was what J. R. Tolkien called “the eucatastrophe of human history.”  Eucatastrophe is Tolkien’s word for a sudden joyous turn in a story that looks as though it’s all going hopelessly wrong.The presence of God with His people was a sudden, unexpected, world-altering joy in a world that was brim-full of sadness, anger, loss, and hate. So much sorrow…then God. With us.

I think that’s why I love Christmas so much. It pushes me to think hard about a God who is not far away, but near, so near. Near enough that a woman, like me, once held him in her arms and loved him the way I hold and love my son.  Near enough that He reaches out and holds my right hand. Near enough that every tear that falls from my eyes is caught in His bottle and written in His book. Every last tear.

The psalmist said, “It is good to be near God” (Psalm 73:28). Before Christ, the Old Testament saints could draw near to the temple, reach out in prayer, call up to the God of heaven. In Christ, God has come to us- taken it upon Himself to close the gap between finite and divine, given us His nearness through the gift of His presence. It is so unspeakably good to have a God who is with us, Who will never leave us.

Adoption can take you to some dark and difficult places, especially at Christmas. But we are not alone. God sent His son on a lonely night into a sin-sick world so that we never ever be alone again.

Our son arrived home six weeks ago. We are giving thanks that he is home this Christmas. We are grieving that he spent so many Christmases in hard places. We are growing slowly but surely into a family.

This is the Christmas gift we want to give him. This knowledge that he is not alone. That there is a God who burst into human history and changed everything. That this God has not forsaken him. He needs to hear that message over and over and over, until it sinks into his heart, etches itself into his soul. He is loved, chosen, wanted by the King of Kings, and the Baby King in a manager gives us chance after chance to tell him these truths.

The holidays are not an easy time to add a child to your family, but the Christmas story is what our son needs to hear. Not just this Christmas season, but day after day after day.

And it’s what I need to hear. On the days when adoption stretches me in ways I thought I could never stretch, tears at me in ways that ache worse than I ever imagined, I need to remember that I am not alone. God is with us. With me.

Joy to the world indeed.

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