Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Adoption From Heaven's Perspective

Desperation overcomes me as I now come to grips with the fact that I am dying. Everyone else is already gone and it is time for me to surrender my child into the hands of God with no other assurance of her careful upbringing other than the faith that I possess. A fear grips me and a heartache that is inexpressible. "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." So I will commend my child into the hands of God and trust that his body will tend to the needs of the widows and the orphans and treat others as they want to be treated. I give my child as the widow who gave her last coins to God. A most perfect gift...

As I walk away leaving the best of myself in a simple Ethiopian orphanage named Kids Care a miracle begins that will only be completed when my child returns to me one day in heaven. At that moment, as I turn away, a divinely constructed tunnel opens from Addis to America and my precious daughter will be carefully placed into the hands of another woman who will tend to her, nurturing her just as I have. She will sing her songs of Jesus in a language that I do not know, but God knows and my little girl will learn. She will rock her when she is scared and will heal her broken heart. I do not die in vain because the crosses I placed around my daughter's neck before I left her represent the best continuity I can give to her...Jesus. My love will stay safe and unbroken although my body will be gone. So I will give my sister in Christ her new daughter with tears in my eyes, not from regret, but gratefulness and joy as I look forward to our reunion in heaven when we will both hold our child forever in a liturgy of love. This is the miracle of adoption from heaven's perspective.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Further Investigation

I am soooo exhausted today!! Last night my husband and I did a little further investigation into Orthodox Christianity. At least three of our adopted children have either been baptised Orthodox or are coming from a country that celebrates this religion as its main form of Christianity. In order to understand them and where they come from culturally we want to understand what they have been taught. So last night we went to experience a three and a half hour Midnight Pascal Service at a local Orthodox Church and all I can say is...WOW! It makes what we did with our family at Easter look almost pagan. Now don't get me wrong we do celebrate the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but this service was like going from one dimensional worship into three-D without modern technology. You entered the Church and the lights were low, candles were given out and lit which gave a solemness to the atmosphere. Many women wore scarves as a form of reverence to God. The people seemed close to one another and warm to us who were visiting their body. The entire service was sung acappella in harmony as they repeated the story of what Jesus had done to redeem mankind. I closed my eyes and felt like I was listening and participating in the heavenly celebration of the resurrection. As the priest encircled the congregation with the incense that represented their prayers being lifted up to heaven it smelled robust and ancient and gave me a sense of holiness I have never really experienced. The liturgy was at various times throughout the night read or sung in at least three or four languages because so many people groups were represented. There were Russians, Greeks, Dutch, Ethiopians, Scots and many others. It gave me a sense of what heaven will be like. The communion was taken by the people not in the way we do at our church as a memorial, but as if this were mysteriously the actual body and blood of their savior. And as I watched them take the bread with their arms crossed over their chest and their heads reverently bowed I wondered if I was missing something...an internalization of Jesus that dated back to the first church? All the senses were in play at this service: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. It was exhausting to us who are not trained in this type of worship since you stand in reverence for all except for the Homily. I was amazed at the women with babies in their arms and the quietness and participation of the children(no Sunday school entertainment going on here...just kids learning to worship like their parents).

By the end at 3am we were tired, but we came away with a better understanding of what this religion looks like and feels like. The congregation would continue their celebration long after we went home. Their 50 day vegan fast would break once this service concluded and they would feast together. We went home and slept for four hours before we got up and went to our own little church that meets in a grange hall. I love our fellowship and the things God has taught us, but I couldn't help but feel as we shared our little cracker and grape juice memorial of the Communion sacrament that something was missing...
maybe further investigation is needed....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happenings in Heaven and on Earth

As we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of our children's referrals from Ethiopia here is a little information that could shed light on the happenings in this beautiful country. This in the week of Pascal, the equivalent to our Easter...sort of. Here as Christians we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Ethiopia they do as well, but we may be wise to take note of the authentic reverence built into their religious ceremony. To give you an idea of some of the goings on:

-Last Saturday: Remembers the death and resurrection of Lazarus. This is the foreshadowing of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
-Palm Sunday: The service of the bridegroom
-Holy Monday: Bridegroom service
-Holy Tuesday: Bridegroom service
-Holy Wednesday: Holy Unction...Confession, Communion, and the Anointing with Holy Oil. (Mary washes Jesus' feet with her hair and anoints them with oil before Jesus' death)
-Holy Thursday: Passion Gospels are read
-Holy Friday: The unnailing and lamentation service
-Holy Saturday: Pascal vigil and midnight Resurrection service
-Holy Sunday: Agape service

Because our children are born in a country that has Orthodoxy as its form of Christianity, we have been getting to know this religion as a way of understanding the culture our kids are coming out of. Our son from Russia was also baptised into the Orthodox faith. As I learn more and more about this ancient form of Christianity I am amazed at its beauty and worshipfulness. I have come to understand my own faith's origins more because of the study we have done as a family.

So although our referrals may not yet have arrived I am at peace knowing that the Christians working so diligently on our paperwork are focused this week on the most important event in all history...not only the adoption of our children, but the means that makes it possible for all humanity to come into the family of God...the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. AMEN!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just A Peek

I was so excited this week to see the AWAA blog with a message from the Ethiopian Transition House!! (http://adoptedbydesign.typepad.com/) The older children were able to celebrate one of the boys birthdays. There were party hats, pizza, and ice cream and smiles to match the festive occasion. It made my heart joyful to know that these children are being taken care of so well as they await their forever families.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Healing the Broken Heart

As I continue to remember what it takes to bring new children into our family through adoption I look back on a journal entry from 2005...

How is it that God loves us so much that he wants to entrust us with his most precious gift...the heart of a child, and it is only our selfishness and fear that keep us from receiving it. We have a notion that it may be a bother, or worse a difficulty, or we are not qualified, or it is too costly... I am so happy we were not afraid to take this leap of faith in adoption.

Isabelle has been here two years now. The nighttime has always been difficult since we first got her. I am sure that her orphanage at night must have been a very scary place to be. She often is so disturbed that she awakens crying out, "I want Momma!" I go in and comfort her and she goes back to sleep. But tonight as I rocked her we had a little talk about China. I asked her if she remembered China? She said, "Yes!" I asked her, "What do you remember?" Isabelle said, "The cribs!" I said, "What did you feel in those cribs?" She said, "LONELY!!!", and she put her hands up by her face and sobbed and sobbed! (She always kept her hands up by her face when we first got her. Her little hands would bar her face as a safety zone.) My heart broke for this baby of mine. She then cried, "I want my Mommy!" I told her with tears in my eyes that I came as quickly as I could. I also told her for the first time that she came out of a tummy of a beautiful lady in China...her own China Mom! She seemed so happy when I told her this. She knew her sister Abigail had come out of my tummy. I told her that her China Mommy loved her so much, but she could not keep her and she knew God would give her to someone very special and that was us!

I rocked and rocked my baby that night until she fell asleep, safe in her mother's arms. I wondered where all the other little baby girls from her orphanage were just then. And who would help them heal their broken hearts when there is no mother or father to keep them safe and protect them from the terror of night. No one to comfort or explain to them that God loves them so much that he sent his only Son so they could be safe for all eternity? Jesus' words ring in my ears..."When he saw the crowd around him he had compassion on them for they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples,'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field." Is the church so busy with their "ministries" that they can not see the ripe harvest waiting to be brought in? Will the harvest die before it is reaped? Please Lord, send them!