Joy. And pain.

Blog_SunAndRainWhen my friends share stories of the joys and labor-pangs accompanying childbirth, I can only offer a blank stare in return. My journey to motherhood did not involve the physical pain that characterizes the hospital labor room. And while I was spared the typical ordeals of delivery, I can say the emotional and spiritual travail that come with adoption equal and possibly out-measure the challenges faced in the average neonatal ward.

Whatever the path by which one arrives at parenthood, all share very similar tribulations when it comes to parenting. No heart is immune to the ache of love, the raw desire for our children to grow and live to their fullest potential. The exploits and outcomes of child rearing can be summarized in two words.

Joy. And pain.

The Bible speaks of a time of great tribulation come upon the earth, equating the related events to birth pangs.

We have a heavenly Father who adopts those who accept his offer of forgiveness. He loves us to the point of dying for us. And he uses any and every circumstance to birth the best in us and through us. Often that means allowing trying events to awaken a remembrance within us that a greater glory is yet to come in our eternal home with him.

The ultimate glory is not in the here and now.

And so, as it is written, comes “nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…famines and earthquakes in various places…an increase of wickedness.” Calamity upon calamity. Hatred and persecutions. The full outcome of human will independent of God. And love grown cold.

These things must come, it says.

They. Must. Come.

A woman must endure the pains of labor to experience the joy of holding a newborn baby.

And the world must travail that greater things would come to birth.

Joy. And pain.

Our Father desires that none perish and all come to repentance. What circumstances will bring lost, treasured souls into the adoptive care of our loving father? What will bring our own souls closer to him than ever before?

And what tribulation must come to bring us to the fulfillment of the ultimate promise—that of an everlasting home in which “he will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 22:4).


Photo Credit: Rain, River, Sun from Wallpaper Flare, labeled on Google Pics as free to use or share

The Thorns of Motherhood

Blog_ThornsAndRoseFor many years I prayed for the gift of motherhood. Yes, my prayers were answered in due season. Abundantly answered. And I think God is laughing about it.

You see, he knew, way back when I was on my knees, that there would be a time when I’d be too tired to get on my knees after a day of chasing my super-active children. He knew that with my answered prayers would come piles of diapers and dishes and diapers and laundry, and did I mention diapers? And he knew that the journal I used to pour out my prayers would become home to haphazard scribble marks penned by the very ones I prayed into my family.

It’s possible his heart was heavy, too. He knew that once the waiting ended and prayers were answered on one end, a new season of waiting and praying would begin. He knew that with my children would come countless trips to the hospital and multiple therapy appointments. He knew I’d be up nights in the emergency room begging for a miracle when no medicine and no doctor could cure my son.

And he knew I’d be up reading the latest headlines, grieving that my preciously innocent and peaceful children have to grow up in such a hostile world. He knew I’d have to release them again and again into his hands, entrusting to him what he entrusted to me. He knew I’d have to believe against all odds that they have a future and a hope in this war-torn world.

Motherhood is a gift. And yet it bears thorns. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was told a sword would pierce through her own soul. Her own precious child would bear the sins of the world, carry them to the cross, and die that we could be free.

Something about the years of praying and waiting has made me all the more grateful for being a mother. I see the beauty, and yet I also feel the thorns. And these thorns help me to treasure my gift that much more deeply, knowing my answered prayers were wrought in pain and tears.


Photo Credit: Red rose among the thorns | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

The Painful Side of Mother’s Day

Blog_CactusFlowerMother’s Day is not a bouquet of fragrant flowers for everyone. For some, it feels more like a fistful of pain-inducing thorns—an unwelcome reminder of things lost. A day meant for honoring mothers becomes a time of remembering the one who was never there, or the one who left to soon. Or it maybe it awakens the droning ache of unfulfilled longing for motherhood.

For many years, that ache was my Mother’s Day companion. Though I was blessed with a good mom who inspired in me the certainty there was no greater calling than motherhood, I was unable to have children in the biological sense. Adoption was always something my husband and I had desired to pursue, so it was no hard decision to journey in that direction. The process, however, was another story.

While the outcome of adoption is always beautiful and miraculous, the process is the emotional equivalent of the pain and exhaustion involved in pregnancy and labor multiplied exponentially and drawn out for years. Despite all the toil and sacrifice, there were times when I wondered if it was ever going to happen. And more times than that I was tempted to give up.

My daughter turns nine this month. Her favorite past-time is playing with her four year-old brother. I sit here now, laptop on the kitchen counter, surrounded by bags of clothes they’ve outgrown. Exhaustion is setting in after a full morning at the laundromat and an even fuller afternoon of dishes, potty training and more. I spent the evening cuddling my son and reveling in my daughter’s smile, knowing God turned all my tears in to songs of joy. My children were worth the wait.

Through all my waiting, I learned that every tear sowed waters the ground for joy to spring forth. And that is my prayer for those who suffer on the painful side of Mother’s Day. May God give you eyes to see through your sorrow, and ears to hear him speak peace to your storms. May you know that our God is the lifter of heavy burdens and the comforter of all who mourn. He is able to sustain the weary, uphold the weak, and repair the broken, turning tears of sorrow into seeds of hope.

Source: The Painful Side of Mother’s Day

Photo Credit: Crown of Thorns, white spiked cactus with little red flower

Road Trip

Blog_RoadTripI took a road trip to California once and afterwards vowed I’d never do it again. While the drive there was scenic enough to warrant 36 hours strapped in a tiny car, the drive back did me in. Something about it diminished my tolerance for anything beyond a few hours’ ride.

Maybe the terrain had something to do with my change in outlook. On the way there, we had mountain vistas to keep us occupied; on our way back, we chose an alternate route through the desert. Beautiful as the desert can be, it’s not so inspiring when you’re exhausted and want nothing more than to get HOME.

Halfway through I called my sister, on the brink of tears, lamenting, “We’ll never make it!” When we finally crossed our state line, I thought, “Maybe we’ll make it after all.” Until I realized we had another six hours to go, and might I add, the longest six hours EVER.

At the time, my hub and I were in the midst of our second adoption and very much in a similar state of mind—exhausted, wearied by the journey. Thinking maybe it would never happen even after all our efforts. Doubting we could endure what remained to make it happen.

Yet here we are. We made it home after that endless road trip, and have made a few others since. And we made it through our second adoption. If you know my son, you know how worth it that journey was.

Since our adoption finalized, I’ve met several couples on the verge of giving up on their own adoptions, and I was able to encourage them to persevere. Maybe now I can encourage you, too, in whatever journey you’re in.

Don’t give up!

You’ll make it through the barren wasteland if only you choose to persevere. And when you come to the end of your journey, you’ll look back and see that it was worth it. You need only look beyond this present, weary moment to the greater end that WILL result from your endurance.


Photo Credit: Free stock photo: Desert, Highway, Roadtrip – Free Image on …

Memorial Day

Blog_CherryBlossom.jpgFlower petals fall like snow from the tree outside my window, and I remember. I remember a time when I didn’t have a daughter telling me these flowers have come to celebrate her birthday. I remember a Memorial Day not long ago, holding her in the hospital room, falling in love with her precious face, praying that difficult prayer—“God, I so desire this child to be your answer to my prayers. Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

I remember how God so faithfully carried me through the difficult years preceding, my life and my home ever filled with children, never my own. My hub and I spent a good fourteen years working with children in the inner city. Our lives had been so full with that ministry, it wasn’t until my health slowed me down that I felt a deep down yearning for the opportunity to be a mommy to a child who needed one.

We weren’t wealthy by any means, so we knew that heeding the call to adopt would involve much sacrifice and hard work along with the miraculous intervention of God. I could tell story after story of what we let go of to take hold of this little pearl of great price. And I could write story after story about God’s perfectly-timed provision all along the way.

But if there’s anything I think of on Memorial Day, it’s the great sacrifice God has made for me to be called his own. The price I paid to adopt my daughter (and now my son, as well!) is nothing compared to the price God the Father paid to adopt me into his family. The overwhelming love I have for them is nothing compared to the infinite love God has for me.

Do you know that God the Father, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, desires to adopt you as his own, as well? He has made the greatest sacrifice for this to be possible, the life of his own son that all who believe would be called his children. Take time this Memorial Day to remember that God has remembered you first. You are not forgotten. You are wanted. And you are loved.

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)


Photo Credit: Cherry blossom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Painted LadyThey’re here! My butterflies have finally emerged from their cocoons in glorious splendor. Now they flitter around in their little habitat, having forgotten the caterpillars they once were.

It’s been miraculous to witness their transformation. Before I left with my family on a mini-vacation, the butterflies-to-be were still in their cocoons. As a matter of fact, I was wondering if they’d died. There was no movement, no sign of life. I thought we wouldn’t miss anything during our few days away, but I thought wrong. Those little things wriggled their way out while we were gone, and I came home to a garden full of butterflies.

The butterflies’ emergence reminds me of the season we endured before our first adoption. While I knew the outcome would be worth it, there were times when the waiting was unbearable. The worst part was not knowing if anything would happen at all. At times, there seemed to be no forward motion, or any motion for that matter—just dead stillness and deafening silence.

Sometimes waiting feels like being trapped inside a cocoon. There are times it’s difficult to believe anything good will come of it. But as the Bible verse says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” We are never without hope. There will come a time when we, too, will forget the cocoon that once imprisoned us.

Ten years after having started the adoption process, my husband and I have two kids. One is almost eight, the other is already three. That season of waiting is long gone and we have new promises to hold on to.

There will come a time when your waiting will be over and you’ll stand on the other side of your promise. You’ll behold the glorious transformation of winter to spring, death to life. I can’t tell you when your waiting will end, but I can tell you this one thing…it’s gonna be worth it.

Photo Credit: File:Painted Lady at Butterfly World.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

I Would Have Loved a Green, One-eyed Alien Child

Mother Child Shadow from Bing ImagesPeople say the most interesting things when it comes to the topic of adoption. Often humorous, sometimes rude, occasionally ignorant, but always interesting. Among the most interesting comments we’ve received is, “Of course you picked them. They’re so cute.” (Implying we chose our kids according to their most obviously endearing quality.)

Often, my response is a simple, polite smile. I usually don’t think of a good response until after the fact. As for the comment in question, I didn’t have an immediate reply except to say, “They ARE cute.”

And they ARE. Irresistably, impossibly, just-look-at-me-with-those-big-brown-eyes-and-I’ll-give-you-the-world…CUTE. But truth is, we had no idea what our kids would look like when we started the adoption process. They could have been green, one-eyed alien children for all we knew. We were ready, and willing, to love them—before we ever knew them. The fact that they happened to be so incredibly cute was an unexpected blessing.

Contrary to popular though immensely misguided belief, adoption is not about finally getting that much-desired bundle of joy. It’s not about filling empty, longing arms with a sweet, cuddly baby. And it’s not about picking a cute, lovable kid to add ascetic value to the next family photo.

Adoption is a permanent choice to invest our lives in a PERSON who will be part of our family…for life. That adorably innocent baby will one day grow to become a child, a teen, and, eventually, an adult. That’s why adoption is a long-haul commitment. It’s a binding decision to love at all costs, no matter what and for as long as we have breath. As with a biological child, relationship with an adopted child is a lifelong investment. They are loved, and they are family, no matter what they look like, who they are, what they do, or who they become. And their value is worth more than the greatest treasure we can imagine.

The Bible says God loved us before we were even born. His commitment to love runs so deep he sent his only son to die that we could be reconciled in relationship with him. And he willingly adopts us into his own family, should we chose to accept his invitation. This love is a binding love that doesn’t give up and doesn’t let go. No matter what.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5)

Source: I Would Have Loved a Green, One-eyed Alien Child