Amazing Grace

It’s a really hard position to be in, that of adoption. As the days and weeks creep by I realize that we are moving ever so close to seeing our kids. Though we are still in the very early stages of adoption, the power of my prayers affect me in ways I wasn’t altogether expecting. Every night I pray with the kids the prayer my family said at night together. “Now I lay me…” at the end we always ad lib a little bit. I remember when we were younger praying for our neighbors’ dog, Toby, who had died a couple days before. Toby was in our prayers for quite a few months as well. So I always get excited to see who/what Trysten has on his mind when it comes to bedtime prayers. They can truly range anywhere from “My new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle,” to “People who are cold outside.”

We talk a lot about the adoption in our house. I don’t want the whole thing to blindside anyone and the fact of the matter is, we’re all really excited. But it still surprised me two nights ago when Trysten said, “God, please watch over my brother in Ethiopia, tell him I love him.” I had to hug him so he couldn’t see me cry. I too have found myself praying for that. Since we will probably be adopting at least one child of toddler/preschool age, there is a very good chance he/she is already born. So praying for him/her is not an altogether premature prayer.

But as I was praying last night the magnitude of it all hit me. When I pray for God to watch over my newest children, I’m actually, in essence, praying for something horrific to happen to him/her. Though I also pray for his/her biological family, I have no idea if that means I am praying for them to ascend into heaven when they die or if I’m praying for them to make the impossibly devastating decision to give their child up for a better life. I have no qualms about saying the best-case scenario for our little ones is that they grow up with both of their parents. Happy and healthy, loved and cared for. Unfortunately it’s just not possible sometimes and I will be forever grateful for the sacrifice his/her family is making. A sacrifice I know I’m not strong enough to make. I will forever love and be entwined with people half a world away for blessing my life while simultaneously destroying at least part of theirs. I will forever mourn for them, the devastating scenario that played out in order for us to be a family.

It reminds me of when a friend of mine had his little girl in the PICU at UIHC. The little girl was not doing well and needed a heart transplant. I was pregnant with Trysten at the time and never handled seeing kids in that situation very well anyway, let alone when I was all hormonal. My friend said something that shocked and affected me to my core, “I don’t know how I got here…my prayers have turned into begging for a new heart for my little girl. What that means is I’m actually begging for another 15-month-old child to lose their life so they can give my girl hers.” His little girl ended up dying a few months later. Though I hope I’m never in his exact position, I find myself recognizing his impassioned pleas. To me, mine resemble asking God to save and protect my children too.

In all reality, my children whether they grew in my belly or heart, are His children. So asking Him to watch over my future kids is really about watching over their transition from earthly parents. I truly hope they will grow to realize we are all the kids of a much larger force than our own parents. That though my kids might have different biological parents, we all originated from the same Creator who knit us in the womb the same way. The beauty of this adoption is that my kids will be able to witness firsthand that though they have differences, their very essence stems from the same place. And that is a truly beautiful thing.

This Sunday at church a friend of ours sang, “Amazing Grace.” He’s a blues singer and holds a special place in my heart. When he was singing the words, I was deeply affected by what he was saying. We’ve all heard those words a million times. For the most part I find the old hymns, unless taken on by new arrangements, don’t call to my spirituality the way newer ones do. But this old song hit me on Sunday. Perhaps it was just the place I’m in with regards to everything. But man is His grace good? The fact that I am with a man who feels the same passion to expand our family this way is amazing. To have the kids that I do who not only accept that we are going to be adding to our family in a unique way, but are excited about it and pray for it, it doesn’t get any better. So perhaps instead of praying just for my children who may or may not have been born thousands of miles away, I can just pray for His grace. Because His grace is such a beautiful, powerful thing.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see…

T’was Grace that taught
My heart to fear
And Grace my fear relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far
And Grace will bring us home.

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