A few months ago after a typical midweek dinner, I had a thought. A prompting actually. I asked Judah if he knew what the word "adopted" meant.
Judah and his younger sister were adopted from Ethiopia in 2011. After a calling from God to adopt, a subsequent excruciating infertility journey, and a 22-month adoption process, God gave us Judah Abebayehu and Addise Aster Tarike. Judah was 2 1/2 years old and Addise was 11 month when they came home January 15, 2011.
Now, Judah and Addise are thriving nearly 4 years later in our family. God's restored so much in our lives and theirs. After dinner that night, that question blurted out of me:
Me: Judah, do you know what the world 'adopted' means? Judah: Yeah, it means that you take someone into your family and you love them forever. Me: That's right buddy. That's exactly what that means.
Heart. Melted. Yes, that's what adoption means.
Over the past nearly 4 years, we've been diligent toward opening conversations about their adoption. Their names carry their birth country and birth names. We celebration Melkam Gena (Ethiopian Christmas on January 7th) every year. We frequently discuss their adoption and answer their questions as they arise. Their whole stories are important to us...and them. Their birth country and families are paramount to their story.
This journey has been anything but easy. When I think about the first 6 months Judah was home, it levels me to think about how far he's come. Judah's one resilient boy. He's lost so much - a birth country, a language, a people. But he's also gained health, a family, and hope for life.
At 6 years old, he gets that adoption is more than a legal process. It's about love and forever and commitment and a future. As I watch him in this moment contentedly watching a Batman cartoon, I can't help but to smile in gratitude for how far God's brought us all.
I also remember a conversation we had last month. Together, Judah and I were folding laundry and for whatever reason I said,
Me: Who's in charge of our family? Judah: You guys (mom and dad)...WAIT! GOD! God's in charge of our family. Me: Let's certainly hope so. Judah: Yeah, because God makes everything better. Because he's the King!"
God really does make everything better. We trust him in the midst of an orphan crisis. And we trust him when God brings those orphans into families and everything turns upside down. We trust him in it all because he is the King.
I was invited to be a World Adoption Day Ambassador, and couldn't be happier. Adoption matters. Even in the midst of great loss and grief, restoration is the end of the story. And today we smile because of the goodness adoption has brought our family.
One the first #WorldAdoptionDay, I hope you'll join our family as we celebrate how God restores families, even in the midst of brokenness and loss. See more of what's happening globally with this movement here: WorldAdoptionDay.org.
Judah and Addise, we love you no matter what. Our hearts - and hands - are smiling because you are a part of our forever family. XOXO ~ Momma and Dadddy