Matt loves to surprise me, but not in a way that I appreciate. He’ll frequently come up to me and say, “Close your eyes and open your mouth,” so he can surprise me with a treat. I can’t stand it when he does this. It’s not that I think he’s going to put something gross in my mouth, it’s that I don’t know what to expect. Sweet? Salty? Spicy? Crunchy? Gooey? Small? Big?
So, instead of readily closing my eyes and opening wide, I close my eyes, then peek, then close my eyes again, then peek, then close. Then I open my mouth as little as possible and cringe as I await the mystery food.
Which leads him to say, “You don’t trust me.” And, I tell him I do. I do trust him. I just hate the unknown…not knowing what to expect…which makes it look like I don’t fully trust him.
In reflecting on our adoption journey to Miss L, I feel like that is a perfect picture of what my faith looked like. Cringing, cautious faith.
Faith that was caught off-guard by a God who clearly answered our prayers to lead us to a third child, if that was His will for our family.
Once we committed to moving forward with Miss L’s adoption…in faith…I still found myself guarding my heart and doubting it would or could all work out. Humanly speaking, there were a lot of reasons to be cautious and to doubt because no US adoption agency works with her country. I would have to figure out how to do an independent international adoption, so I immersed myself in researching immigration laws and adoption requirements and learning the US definition of orphan. I spent months gathering documents from the other side of the world.
Each potential road block I encountered along the way, He leveled. Every question, He answered. Every dark path, He illuminated. Each time I learned of a new requirement or necessary document, He provided it.
When it became clear that hiring a lawyer who specializes in US orphan immigration law would be a wise idea, he provided a the lawyer who had experience with this country. (No small task seeing as only a handful of adoptions from this country have ever even taken place.)
When it came time to get our visas and book our travel, He worked out the details and put us in touch with people who went above and beyond to help us.
When we were told to expect it to take one full week in-country to get her passport, He provided it the same day we applied for it…within hours.
When it seemed as if we’d be stuck in her country for a few extra days waiting for an open departing flight, He provided just enough seats on the plane to get us out ahead of schedule.
When we were waiting to pick up the results of her US-required medical exam, He provided a group of US adoptive parents in the waiting room who gave us important information on dealing with the US Consul@te.
When we arrived 15 minutes after the office closed to apply for her visa at the US Consulate, He provided kind officers who were more than happy to allow us in anyways.
When we expected to have to wait at least a week for her US visa to be approved because hers was such a unique case, He provided it in one day.
When it appeared like we would miss our flight back to the US due to insanely long and slow security lines, He provided an officer who noticed my tears stress and allowed us to move ahead in line to make our flight.
In more ways than I can list, His fingerprints were all over her adoption and our trip. And yet my faith seemed so small. So filled with doubt and uncertainty. Will it work out? What if they won’t issue her visa? What if we run into snags? What if our trip is longer than expected? What if? What if? What if?
Small faith cringing with each new call to trust and watch Him work.
So when people see our family or hear our story and say, I could never do it, my first thought is: Yes, you could. If God calls you to it, you can do it. I am proof that He doesn’t call only those with no fears, no doubts, and no worries. He doesn’t limit his blessings to only those who have unwavering, bold faith.
He calls and equips and blesses even those with weak faith. His grace covers our doubts. His strength enables us to walk through our fears.
I don’t look at either of our adoption journeys as displays of how strong my faith was or is. I look at them as displays of how strong my God is. It was His power that was on display for all to see. His power at work through a weak and worried woman who had just enough faith to take the next step.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,