Forever Families: Bird’s Eye View Featured

Written by  Jennifer Reuter Tuesday, 30 August 2016 01:52

baby CardinallsI have a clematis vine that climbs the outside of our screened-in porch. Unfortunately, from the inside we can’t see the beautiful flowers, only bare vines and a few green leaves. It's not very pretty, but it does a nice job of blocking the view of a busy road. A while back I noticed a couple of cardinals spending more than their fair share of time on the vine. Then a nest snuggled in its branches. And most recently, two sparsely feathered babies, instinctively craning their necks toward the sky. So tiny and magical. The kids set up a little viewing stool on the porch and starting referring to them as “the babies.” And suddenly from our side of the screen we were no longer staring at bare twigs, we had a birds-eye view of miraculous.

Where we live, it’s rare to get a peek inside nature like that. It can feel even rarer to get a peek inside God’s thoughts and plan for our lives. We know God is good and loving and wise, but we’re often at a loss to understand his loving plan, especially when it includes suffering. Deaths are particularly difficult in that respect. This March marked the nine-year anniversary of the death of our daughter, Mayah. We were in the process of adopting her. China had sent us her referral almost a year prior. In the meantime, we had completed mountains of paperwork, sent letters and care packages, filled her closet with clothes, and plastered her pictures all over our refrigerator (not to mention our friends’ refrigerators.) We were head-over-heels in love. Then she died suddenly, about three weeks before we were set to travel. We never got to hold her, hear her voice, nor in many ways even properly mourn her death. In 25 years of being a disciple, that may have been the closest I’ve come to leaving God. Not storming off in a rage, just quietly succumbing to the deep mistrust that was brewing in my heart.

Thankfully, I had lots of people in my life who helped me to hang on. And lately, God has been giving me my own glimpses into the miraculous. Those Holy Spirit nudges that help us make sense of God’s plan. What I discovered was this: Somewhere along the way, a cosmic shift had happened in mine and my husband’s lives. Early in our marriage, adoption was a means to an end (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that).

But after Mayah’s death, we went from desperately wanting a child -- wanting to fill OUR need -- to feeling a passion to meet others’ needs. Mayah reminded us that Jesus didn’t stay in safe places. He went into the darkness and heartache. She taught us that every child deserves to know what it feels like to be loved and to be safe, even if it’s only for a short time. Because when kids are loved and safe, they can focus on other things. Things like playing and learning and eventually maybe even seeking our Creator. Wouldn’t that be something?

Those baby birds are almost big enough to leave the nest. I saw one perched on the edge the other day. Our little family is also about to start a new adventure as our social worker stamps “approved” on our brand-spanking-new foster parent license. When you’ve adopted a couple kids and want to foster a couple more, people generally think you are either crazy, or a saint. We are a little bit crazy, but trust me, we are far from saints.

There were days, soon after Mayah’s death, that I wished we had not loved her. Wished we had not wanted her or even known her. I was convinced that God could have spared me a lot of unnecessary heartache. But not anymore. Now I feel sure of just a few more things than when we started this journey. Sure that the fatherless are meant to be a huge part of our personal ministry. Sure that God used our daughter’s life (possibly considered of little value by many) to ignite a passion in us that we didn’t know existed. And sure that she is still making an impact today.

Read 1855 times Last modified on Tuesday, 30 August 2016 10:22