I grew up in Catholic Schools. We prayed for orphans, hosted penny wars to feed children near and far, and heard from missionaries who traveled to orphanages, yet the reality of the need didn't seem to hit the core of our souls somehow. It was as if we were desensitized to the “cry of the orphan,” perhaps because it was so far from our reality. I didn't personally know people who were adopting and sharing their stories. I didn't see families turning life upside down to show a child in need that they were wanted and unconditionally loved. And I definitely wasn't capable of seeing how adoption was the living Gospel, allowing God to tell his story of love and redemption in a very tangible way. I didn't see how adoption was a gift for far more than the child being adopted.
Years later, my husband would plant the seed of adoption in my heart. He simply mentioned the possibility, and then I began to see more and more families stepping forward. I read a few books featuring the beauty of God's hand in adoption, and I started to look longer at the pictures of kids waiting for families. I began to look deeper into their eyes and I found something I could relate to - a longing to be unconditionally loved, wanted, and cherished. And suddenly the tears poured from my eyes as I realized we could be the “Yes” that changed the trajectory of these kids’ lives. I felt the Lord asking me to allow Him to show me that the struggles of growing our family could be an invitation to a journey much greater than I could ever imagine. I heard the Lord calling our names and inviting us to join him on a great adventure filled with hills and valleys, all while relying entirely upon HIM.
Our precious youngest daughter has been with our family for three years now, thanks to adoption. She is a very intentional gift from the Lord. The Lord's hand is evident in her personality, her expressions, her heart - she is a Lieser to the core. Only God could write this story. Yet, I remember the days of discernment, confusion, and fear as we “talked” about adoption. I remember how easily we could have missed this precious gift, and the tears immediately form and I shudder to the core. Missing the gift of our precious daughter would have been the greatest tragedy for our marriage, our children, our family, and our relationship with the Lord.
In the last four years, we have had countless people tell us, “we always talked about adopting” and I am suddenly reminded that we always talked about adopting, too, and I see so clearly ALL that we would have missed out on, if we hadn’t said yes. This, my friends, is at the core of why I am here creating this community, because I cannot handle the thought of you missing out on ALL of THIS, there are kids waiting for YOUR yes!
This Saturday, November 9th is World Adoption Day, followed by Sunday, November 10th, Orphan Sunday. You will see people draw smiley faces on the palm of their hands, as the international symbol of adoption. Go ahead and join them. Write those smiley faces on the hands of everyone you know. Tell them about World Adoption Day.
On Sunday, we will join in prayer for those 153 million children who will not attend Mass with a family, who will not share a family meal around a table, who will long for the warmth of the embrace of a FOREVER family. Who yearn for the confidence that comes with the support of a family. I challenge you as you see those faces of adoption, the eyes of the kids waiting, and the weariness of the parents in the middle of the storm, to ask yourself, can you feel their pain? How is the Lord calling you forward?
Lord, allow us to hear their cries, see their tears, feel the pain of their hearts, and help us to discern your Call...and our ability to be YOU to them.
Go forth my friends to love and serve the Lord! Rise Up!