I have known my husband for 30+ years and I have never seen him cry. It’s been an ongoing joke just wondering what would make me finally see a tear. He is one of the most compassionate people I know. He just doesn’t cry. Like ever. I’ve thought his tear duct was just broken. That is, until he watched this video this weekend. It happened! I saw an actual tear on his cheek and he said I got him! Wow! 30 years! The video at the bottom of this blog is the reason. God is the reason! What God has done in our lives, in our children’s lives is the reason.
Here is a little back story first….
In 2008 our family jumped on the adoption bandwagon like so many. I really do feel it was a nudge from God to MOVE while the door was open in Ethiopia. We had no idea how much that decision would change our lives and our hearts forever. We were blindly stepping through a door that led to our life call and destiny that we knew nothing about at the time. All I knew was that I felt something deep within me that was constantly tugging at my heart. It’s like there was this pool of love boiling inside me that God had been stirring throughout my life. Each life experience I had gone through added to that pool allowing Him to keep stirring and perfecting it until it began to mirror His love. That’s not easy because His love is selfless and sacrificial and I naturally just really enjoy my alone time. At a certain point that pool had grown and was ready to boil over and it needed a place to land. At that time I was a wife and a mother to 5 beautiful biological children, and to my surprise, God was calling me to be a mom to another. All along, He had been storing that pool of love inside me to give me the opportunity to pour it out to the most vulnerable in all the earth. There was a child across the world that needed a mom and dad. He lived in an orphanage and needed a home to call his own. And thus the journey began.
There is much more than I can put in a simple blog post but that journey has molded us and shaped us in ways that we never could have imagined. It has been an honor to be used by God in our son’s life, but also to see how God used our son to lead us to his birth family. It is so important for Nathan to know how God has used his life to bless so many! I think of the story of Moses and how his mother had to make the bold sacrifice to blindly set him free in a basket down a river to save his life. God used another to find him and step in and raise him. God worked miracles in the meantime and later sent him back and used him as a vessel to help his people. There is something powerful in returning to your homeland. Our son may be growing up in America but he was born in Ethiopia for a reason. He has had no choice but to adapt to our culture, a culture that started out completely foreign to him. So why shouldn’t we take time to adapt to his culture and keep it a part of who he is, which then, becomes a part of who we are. We have come to realize it wasn’t just Nathan who needed us, it was his sister, his birth mother, his country, the people in his country. This eventually led to the launch of our organization, Ordinary Hero.
But even more, WE NEEDED THEM. They have opened our eyes to love and sacrifice and a beautiful culture and sense of family that we never would have known existed, but has now become so much a part of who we are.
His family’s story of losing him is heartbreaking. When a child moves into our world it is easy to keep our focus there without ever really thinking about the circumstances that led them to us. It is important to realize both sides of the story. There is a family that has endured great loss that we may never know about if we don’t take time to search and ask. What a gift to be able to turn that loss into joy and redemption and show our son how loved he is on both sides of the ocean.
I realize that not every story has a happy ending wrapped in love, but with every adopted child, they have THEIR OWN story to behold. I feel the responsibility as an adoptive parent to give my children THEIR story. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly…it is their story and they don’t have to be afraid to own it, embrace it, welcome it. God works all things together for good in ways that we could never imagine. We just have to give Him the chance and welcome each new opportunity to peel back another layer of our child’s past and help them explore it.
To learn more details about Nathan’s story you can visit a previous blog post.
I now give you this video of Nathan’s Story, 10 years in the making..it’s a powerful one. It made my husband cry and he just doesn’t do that.