May 2018

Love Courageously

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

The international adoption of our youngest was anything but typical. However, our God is faithful, and after living in a Russian sector of Ukraine for almost one year, God brought my son and I home to Holland, Michigan. What a year that was . . .

I am often asked how I did it. God asked me to be patient. I tried my best to trust him.

During that time of heartache and separation, I learned about the character of God. Our God is multi-faceted, and I continue to learn more about him as I study his word. However, there are three characteristics of God I have taken away from our adoption experience.

We serve a God who never leaves us.

Oh, he may allow us to grow in our faith. It may feel like our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, but in reality, he is right beside us the entire time. When I felt I could not remain separated from my husband and our daughter another day, God sent me encouragement, usually through another person. When I became fearful we would never get to be the family our son so desperately needed, God moved our adoption forward, however slight. When I became fearful of being imprisoned in a foreign country, God comforted my trembling heart with peace and sleep. He allowed my shaky faith legs to gain strength, but he never abandoned me.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

We serve a God who loves us beyond our understanding.

God loved us while we were still covered by the filth of our sin. God loved us so much, he sent his son to live on earth and die by crucifixion – that was the cost of my adoption to his family. I cannot imagine sacrificing a child of mine for someone else like that. When I consider my whining, how uncomfortable I was outside of my own country, and my stubbornness…I do not understand why he would do this for me. His love mystifies and overwhelms me.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We serve a God who calls us to imitate him.

I am more convinced than ever that God allows things in our lives for reasons only he understands. He whispers for us to follow him, to become more like him, and to imitate him. God loves others through us. God ministers through the work of our hands. God embraces this hurting world through our open arms. This is an area I still struggle with – what exactly am I to do? God only calls me to learn more about him, and love accordingly. I am his disciple.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 37-39

We have been called to love others in an unconditional way. Whether sharing our testimony reveals parts of our story we would rather others not know, or not. When we know what we are doing, and when we don’t. When we are being asked to do what the world considers crazy, and doing it anyway.

We have been called to love with a courage only God can instill. God asks us to love as we have been loved. Nothing more and nothing less. Tricia displays this beautifully through her life and her book.

For me, to truly love courageously meant I had to come to the end of my human ability. That’s when God’s love took over. That’s when I finally released control, and gave our adoption journey to God. And to His glorious praise, that is when I became wholly His.

When we come to the end of ourselves is when we meet God.

What does loving courageously look like in your life? If you don’t know, continue to ask God to help you learn more about him. Ask him to reveal himself through his word. Ask him to help you see others through his eyes.

He is trustworthy. He will not leave you wondering. He will answer you.

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Revised version of original post featured at TriciaGoyer.com, Walk It Out Stories: Loving Courageously

The Future of Intercountry Adoption

CAFO CONFERENCE

Last week, I was able to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans annual conference, entitled SUMMIT. It has been referred to as “the show” of orphan care conferences. I have found this to be true, as it covers subjects ranging from foster care to intercountry adoption.

The conference theme was “What Matters Most” and it was shared among most keynote speakers during the General Sessions. It was encouraging those in attendance to pray about what was most important to them, and focus on those items in (orphan care) ministry that truly “matter most.”

I found each keynote address different and inspiring. Ranging from the importance of long-range perspective (in foster care and adoption) to justice being a gospel issue (not a social issue).

THE WORKSHOP

I was looking forward to many of the breakout sessions at Summit. one in particular entitled, “Changing the Trajectory of Intercountry Adoption.” Friends were also looking forward to hearing the workshop via Facebook Live. One even messaged me a question to ask during the session. Watch the video HERE.

There are important issues facing the adoption community. Intercountry adoptions continue to decline. There was an overall feeling of hushed depression (and maybe a little anxiety?) in the room.

CONCLUSION

Each representative gave their opinions, some more freely than others.

The rep from the National Council for Adoption seemed to highlight changes yet needed in our national government. What were your takeaways on what he had to say?

The representatives from two adoption agencies appeared to be concerned regarding the decline in numbers of children being (or not being) adopted. What was said that caught your attention?

The representative from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption was strong on one point — parents that had adopted from other countries should make sure to complete every follow up report due. She emphasized that countries closed due to United States adoptive parents failing to file such reports. Did she say anything else that you remember?

The video will prove me out, however, I recognize I carry bias. I am passionate about the life-saving gift that intercountry adoption is. Perhaps I have become overly sensitive to what sticks with me, and what doesn’t?

I left the workshop session feeling reassured by one thing — my faith. My faith is in the Father to the fatherless. He alone holds the future, including that of intercountry adoption. This workshop did not encourage a bright future of intercountry adoptions, however, it will keep me in prayer regarding it.

What are your thoughts after listening to the video? Leave your comments below.

 

GIVEAWAY – New Adoption Bible Study

It’s giveaway week!

Today, the gift is for everyone. It’s a personal gift, as well. You see, the FREE gift is a two-week sample of my latest work, “I Call You Mine: Embracing God’s Gift of Adoption” from New Hope Publishers. It’s to be released on September 10, 2018. However, you can enjoy the sample today.

Following is an excerpt from Day 1 of the study:

“His name was Sasha, and he was three years old. He clung to the fingers of the middle-aged woman who walked him into the doctor’s office that summer afternoon in Izmail, Ukraine. Our son’s orphaned status was obvious. His shaved head, mismatched clothing, and downturned eyes pricked my heart. My first eye contact with him seemed to seal his fate to mine. He was ours, and I knew at that moment that my love for him was
unconditional.
It was during the adoption of our youngest that God led me to
understand my own adoption. I was not an orphaned little one in need of earthly parents as Sasha was. I had parents—but I lacked embracing and feeling the loving arms of my heavenly Parent. For most of my life I had been rebellious.
I served no one but myself. Although I had been raised in a Christian household, I was not a Christian. I felt ugly inside. I didn’t love myself, let alone others. I needed a Parent to rescue me, to save me. To adopt me. Unconditionally. Forever.

I’m overwhelmed when I stop to really consider the mess I was before God adopted me. It wasn’t just that I was headed toward an eternity without Him. I needed His loving care, guidance, and discipline in this life. Right here and right now. I needed to understand the goodness of healthy boundaries, the depth of unconditional love, and the safe feeling of completely belonging to a family who would never abandon me. I needed to grow up under the watchful eye of a Father who would teach me and keep me safe, who would continue to love me even when I made
mistakes.
When God adopted me, when He made me His and took me in as a full and privileged member of His forever family, it changed my life, my perspective, and my potential in a way I never could have experienced apart from Him. And it was all because of His unquenchable and overpowering love for me.
Having experienced that kind of love from God, I was able to reach out and adopt and love a child who also needed to experience that kind of love. I wanted to give our child in an earthly way what God had given me: healthy boundaries, the depth of unconditional love, and the safe feeling of completely belonging to a family who would never abandon him. And most of all, I wanted to introduce our child to the God who loves unconditionally—and who loves far better and greater than I, as a
parent, ever could.
I chose my son—just as God chose me. And just as He chose you.
God finds us first—before we even realize our need for a Parent and for a family. The orphan doesn’t select the parent. The parent chooses the orphan. That is how the family begins.
It’s the same with us. We don’t reach out in love for God first. He chose us. He loved us first. That is how we joined His family.
And it all began with love.”

How to Receive the FREE Sample

If you would like to receive your two-week sample, simply click here to visit my little SHOP and complete the pop-up form. The download of the two-week sampler of “I Call You Mine” will be emailed directly to you. You can read it on your favorite device.

Pre Order “I Call You Mine” directly from my publisher (by July 31), and they will also send you a FREE copy of Jennifer Phillips’ “30 Days of Hope for Adoptive Parents” devotional.

May you have a blessed week.

Attending the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ SUMMIT Conference in Dallas this week? See you there.