Friday, November 8, 2013

An Adoption Story | The Harrisons

It's Friday! I love Fridays because they are our Guest Blogger days and there is nothing more encouraging, humbling, challenging and real than sharing people's personal adoption stories. Each and every one of them has been a blessing to my heart and is a testimony of the Lord's faithfulness, goodness, provision, and sweet Fatherhood. This one is no different. It is my absolute joy to introduce ya'll to Kimmie and Grant Harrison!

Though I have never met Kimmie, I have been surprised to learn that we actually have several mutual friends (Stephanie McKee, Becky Hall and Katharine Elkins to name a few!). Each time I told one of these friends that we were adopting from Korea, every single one of them pointed me to Kimmie and told me that I just had to get in touch with her. And boy, were they right! The Harrisons are adopting through a different agency than us, but their journey has looked much the same and Kimmie has been such a sweet encouragement to me in this season. Her and Grant are just a few steps ahead of us in the process, yet they are still waiting for their little boy to come home too. Because of this, she has been able to relate to me in a way that is unique; a way that few others have been able to. She is not yet on the other side of adoption where all the paperwork and waiting are blissfully forgotten about. She is still in it (and has been doing it longer than me), so she is quick to relate, encourage, and offer up scripture to bless me in my own season of waiting. She is faithful to check in on me, ask questions about our process, and share in our excitement over getting matched with and receiving pictures of Moses. I cannot even tell you how much of a joy it is for me to hear updates about her son. Each time she sends me pictures of him, I literally sit in front of my computer and squeal with delight. There is just nothing like walking through this process with someone else; it bonds you together in such a special way.

We have never met in person, but Kimmie is so much more than just my email friend. She is a sweet sister in Christ and has been such a Godsend to me. For the Lord to connect us through our adoptions is just so sweet, personal, and loving of Him. He did not have to give me the gift of this friendship, but I am beyond thankful that He did. 

For those of you who are either in process or considering adoption, I pray that this story is an encouragement to you. Kimmie writes with such raw emotion, yet her hope is steadfast in Christ. She is real and transparent and honest about what this process has been like, even in the nitty gritty, and yet her story is a testimony of what it looks like to cling to the Lord in the unknown. Be blessed, friends! 

Kimmie, I love the fact that our boys are in Korea together and pray for their homecoming to come hastily. We love you guys and are praying for you this week!
“My endurance has perished: so has my hope from the Lord…But this I call to mind, and therefore, I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
Lam. 3:18, 21-25 

There is such value in one’s story.  I am amazed by how the Lord shows that to each of His children.  Our story is none more important than another’s, and my prayer is that I am able to fully give testimony to all the ways He has been evident, faithful, and good to us in ours.  His Story has sustained our own daily, really moment-by-moment.  Truly the gift of life guiding us in our journey to a new little life.

Our journey to adoption seems to have begun long before we were even aware.  The ways the Lord works on our behalf without our knowing is something I am constantly amazed by.  Sometime in the beginning of our journey of going to the Lord on behalf of our longing for a child, the Lord gave me Romans 4 to cling to.  He showed me the testimony of Abraham’s faith and how “without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about 100 years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.  Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.” Although the Lord had not given me the promise of having a child by way of natural birth, I still could cling to the promises of who He was and His word to be faithful to His people. I had begun to live out for myself the truth of Mark 9 as I cried out “I believe…help my unbelief.” Longing to trust He had a plan and He was leading, but still having days I struggled to believe. Yet, His faithfulness is true.  He was pruning and developing our family tree in ways we could not have known.  Asking us to have faith when we could not see.  And continuing to sustain us with His Word, allowing us to truly experience the fact that,  “blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”  He was pruning and being the true Vine, bearing fruit in us, and allowing us to realize the reality of John 15 that apart from Him we can do nothing. We were at His mercy to fulfill our longing to have children.   It was a temptation to look at our journey to having children as a drought; dormant; barren.  However, we stand in awe of Him who has sustained and allowed us to see that He was forming a child for us all along.

The Lord brought us to international adoption from Korea in March of 2012 after having walked through an intensely difficult season wrought with the pain of infertility.  We began our paperwork that spring and soared through the next several months of waiting eager to see what God had in store for us on this new path.  We experienced the richness of His love throughout the summer as we had an outpouring of support abound.  It was an extremely refreshing time, especially following such dark days in our struggle years prior.  We sailed into the fall and then we were matched with a precious little 6-month old boy on October 17th of last year.  Our Lyle.

Here we are a little over a year later and can say that our weariness is showing in our days of waiting as we have yet to have the privilege of bringing him home.  Throughout my journey with infertility, the testimony of Abraham was mightily used in my life to encourage me to hold fast to the faith God had given me.  I was striving to be commended for my faith as I attempted to walk the path of infertility well.  As we were lead into adoption, I still had these Hebrews 11 faith heroes as my example.  Yet, as we get further into the unknown of our wait and our longing for our son, the days seem to get increasingly more difficult.  I continue to say that the Lord has made Himself mightily known in our struggle, but that does not diminish that this has felt like some kind of fight.  Where I once longed for the Lord to build much in me, I am realizing that all along I merely needed to make much of Him.  Where I clung to verses of simple faith being rewarded, I now am yearning for the truth of His power being made perfect in my weakness.

We have watched our son grow over the course of the last year through 3 videos, 3 written updates, and 8 sets of pictures.  The Lord has given us such a profound love for this child.   We have not even experienced the fullness of joy in this union and yet I cannot express how we have experienced God’s love in these days of waiting.  We have been given a timeline of roughly 6 months until we could have a court date in Korea.  We have learned to hold these timelines loosely, but we are thankful that each day is one day closer.  I’m thankful for the Lord’s revealing to me throughout our journey that His times of waiting are not merely times of passivity.  He has used this time to prove Himself trustworthy, faithful, loving, gracious, and Sovereign.

Each day I wake up and my mind drifts to a land an ocean away.  It is an honor to serve a God that has chosen to show me in the most intimate way that He truly has the whole world in His hand, even my precious little 18 month old.  What a gift God has granted us through the beauty of adoption.  We will wait as long as He asks us for it is my greatest privilege to walk this road with His presence so rich for the great blessing of mothering this child.  I have never experienced the miracle of carrying a child in the way a pregnant woman would. But, I believe that what God is doing in my family's life is nothing short of such.  We await the day we can share with A Beard for A Baby folks a picture of our precious son with his momma and daddy!

For to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Eph. 3:20-21

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