Shortly before beginning the process to adopt a little girl from China, I stumbled across this scripture verse; “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8: 15-17). These encouraging words from the scriptures were significant on so many levels; touching on my concerns of becoming a family through adoption, to my anxiety of traveling half way around the world. What I did not yet know would be how God would use my own adoption as his daughter, to help me bond with mine.
The entire adoption journey would test my trust in God like nothing I’d experienced before. It was this verse however that I would turn to again and again throughout the two-plus year adoption journey. “Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Psalm 34:3-5). The desire of my heart was to adopt, and I was fully committed – as obstacles and issues arouse, all I could do is trust that God would bring us through.
SUFFERING THROUGH REJECTION
The first weeks with my daughter, Faith, was more difficult than I ever imagined because she completely rejected me. She and I could not even be left alone without her crying herself into a frenzy and become physically ill. I was heartbroken, especially after nearly two years of waiting, including six agonizing months of having her adorable picture, knowing she was joining our family but not being able to get clearance from China to travel there and bring her home. Here I was finally able to be with her and start to build the mother/daughter bond I’d been dreaming about, but she wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. Exasperated, I turned to Our Blessed Mother, in earnest prayer for consolation and guidance.
THE TRUST CYCLE
As an early educator for over 15 years, I knew that trust bonds were built by recognizing a child’s need, meeting it quickly and efficiently, and repeating that cycle – again and again until trust was established. Determined to win my daughter over, I told my husband that for the remainder of our time in China, I would be in charge of every possible need Faith might have. These acts of love were even more important for building a relationship with my daughter, because she is deaf, and had not yet acquired any communication skills. So for nearly two weeks every bath, potty break, tooth brushing and morsel of food came exclusively from me. The doctor on the trip assured us the rejection of one of the two parents was completely normal (and actually expected); to be persistent and she’d come around.
SEEING THE OTHER SIDE
One particularly difficult morning, as I literally cried out to God in my distress, He gently reminded me of how distant I had been from him for so any years. How I, like my daughter, had completely spurned him. Yet God had continued to watch over me and generously provided in my needs. My rejection of His tender mercy and love was really no different than from what I was experiencing with Faithy. Just as He had faithfully cared for me, showing me again and again his trustworthiness until I was ready to accept him in my life; I would do the same for her.
And I did dutifully and lovingly for over three heartbreaking weeks, until one day something stirred in Faith’s heart. She was sitting on my husband’s lap; she looked up at him and then at me; then she ran across the room and crawled up into my lap and cuddled up against my chest. How grateful I was that the Father had blessed me with a far shorter wait to have my loved returned than I had given Him!
BONDING WITH GOD
The trust cycle God created for bonding his children (man to woman; parent to child; friend to friend), also builds our bond with Him. Where can you see God providing for you or your family and not just in your basic needs but in delighting to give you the desires of your heart? Anxiety and plans go awry have a way of testing our trust in God, especially when you feel you are following his will. As ‘Abba, Father’, we may expect him to spoil us – providing all that we ask and protecting us from heartbreak. Trusting is recognizing he does all that and more, but only insofar as it is in our best interest. Do not be afraid, commit to his ways, and watch what he will do.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017