de Blecourt adoption

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.

_____________________________________________________

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

Why I Wrote “Until We All Come Home”

The most common question I am asked nowadays is “Why did you adopt?” The second most common question I’m asked, especially if the person asking knows anything about our adoption journey is “Why are you writing a book about your adoption?” Today, I’m tackling the second question…why did I write “Until We All Come Home?”

Our adoption journey has been described by a fellow writer and friend as “a terribly, beautiful story of love for a child.” The beautiful part is understandable. A family gained another member. A child gained a family that adores him. Adoption can be a beautiful thing. The terrible part comes along with our journey to get our son home. Perhaps the one sentence description I used to describe my book to agents and editors says it best: “Our adoption journey was like “Not Without My Daughter” meets “The Hunt for Red October” and “The Hiding Place.””

I was simply trying to get the son we had just adopted, home to America. There are still serious post-Soviet overtones throughout my son’s homeland of Ukraine and nothing there is simple. It was only through my faith in God’s heart for the orphan that we were finally triumphant, almost one year later. During that time, I learned Russian, I tried to keep a low profile and most of the time, I lived in Ukraine without my husband and daughter. For perhaps the first time in my life, God became my everything.

Jake (Sasha) watching life happen outside the orphanage

 

Ukraine is where many dear friends live, it is my second home and the birthplace of my son, so there is no revenge theme here. We were made a solid offer for the rights to publish our story, but profits from the book go to a favorite non-profit of ours, Food for Orphans, so it wasn’t for the money. And since I had posted our adoption journey on Facebook, our story wasn’t a secret. Our journey even attracted a casting director from the Oprah Winfrey Network, so our story was already in the public eye. Later, I was interviewed for a nationwide NPR show. That interview is still online and part of an iTunes podcast — so again, no secrets here. But to re-live it all again? I would have to have help. I could barely function, let alone construct sentences. So not only the ‘why’ but the ‘how’ became a question. So then, why did I choose to tell our story? Wouldn’t it had been better buried deep?

Group #4 Izmail Baby Home 2009

When we finally arrived home on Sunday, April 25, 2010, I was numb. I had lost over 40 pounds. I could no longer cry. I was hearing things that weren’t there. I could hardly talk. Yet through all my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms and the relief of being back on American soil, there was one thing I was sure of — I was to tell the story of my Deliverer. At times it was if I could feel God’s hand on my back, gently leading me forward through the publishing maze. When I wanted to give up, and believe me, there were many times during my publishing journey I wanted to do just that, He led me forward. My time in Ukraine had attuned me to His voice. I no longer questioned, I simply followed.

Since being home, I have heard the ‘confessions’ of those touched by our journey. One couple has started attending church again. Other friends, who claim no knowledge of Jesus Christ, have confessed they have started to investigate Him again. God works in mysterious ways. If the often painful re-telling of our story leads someone one step further towards heaven, then it is a journey I’m willing and happy to make.

Make no mistake, I am NOT a saint. Only God knows my imperfections better than I do. Many are revealed in my book. But, if God can use me, in spite of myself, I am His. I have nothing to boast about except Him. And I can talk about Him, all day long.

So there it is — the answer — I wrote a book about our adoption journey to show you my God in action. To bring attention to the orphaned children of the world He loves so dearly is a bonus. To raise funding to feed them, an honor.

Soli deo gloria.

X