Author Archives: Tiffany Barber

The Great Unknown

wagi 2I woke to see this quote this morning on my Facebook feed.

“Christians outnumber orphans 15 to 1. All we need to do is have 1 out of every 15 Christians adopt, and the other 14 come alongside and help. I believe we can actually do this.” – Pastor Randy Frazee.

At first read it sounds like a simple solution to the orphan crisis. Assuming Randy’s statistics are correct, if 1 out of 15 Christians adopt we can address the orphan crisis in one full swoop. I agree with Randy that Christians need to rise up to address the injustice of children left helpless not only because they are without birth parents but because they remain without any parents willing to care for them. If the answer to the problem is so simple, why don’t 1 in 15 Christians rise up to meet this need and eradicate the orphan crisis? I do not profess to have all the answers, but I do suspect that there is one reaction that hinders a response to the orphan cry. Though adoption is the easy answer, it is the hard solution.

Don’t get me wrong. I agree with Randy. Christians must respond to the cry of the orphan for a place to belong, a place to be protected and a place to be connected. But there is one reason NOT to adopt.

There is a cost.

It will cost you everything.

And if you have adopted you know what I am talking about.

Jesus did not say in this world, I will send you to do easy work. He said, In this world you will have trouble.

So why are we surprised when the process to make an adoption happen is costly? Why are we deterred when the road is not easy? Why do we stop trying when the path is blocked by hindrances? Why do we doubt that the mountain ahead of us can be traversed if we but keep our eyes on our guide?  And why do we quit before we begin?

Let that sit for a moment in your mind. What is it that makes the call to adoption possible? Is it our money? Is it our time? Is it space in our home? Is it our desire? Or is it merely our willingness to go to a place that is HARD?

I have always treasured the story of Peter walking on the water. Peter was my kind of guy. He was a bit of a hot head. (I can relate). He was a regular guy. A fisherman. Nothing special in the world’s eyes. But Peter had faith. He had the kind of faith that took him to unknown places without suitcase or a credit card. Peter followed Christ wherever he went, even out of the boat and on to the water.

Peter did not follow Jesus in the water; he followed Jesus on the water. It was an experience that defied gravity and made history. Take a look.

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:22-33).

I do not get the feeling that Peter sat in the boat when he saw Jesus coming and thought about the impossibility of what he was about to do. It does not sound like he spent much time contemplating all the reasons he should not climb over the edge. He saw Jesus and simply asked, Lord if it is you tell me to come.

Tell. Me. To. Come.

How many of us are asking this of the Lord? Tell me to come Lord and I’ll get out of my boat— my safe, comfortable, spot and I’ll head towards the impossible. All because I have faith that you are the creator of the universe, and surely you can bring me to the place you have called me to.

That seems like a crazy idea to me, but Peter’s account is there to point us toward out of the boat experiences. Sometimes our call to follow Christ makes no earthly sense! I can relate. When we were called to adoption we were in the midst of a financial crisis, contemplating selling our house and closing our business. The pursuit of adoption defied our reality, but Jesus clearly called us to a place of trust without borders. Adoption is a calling to walk upon the great unknown, defying gravity by the One who created it. It will not make sense. It will not be easy, but Jesus makes it possible, to do the impossible. When it comes to the hindrances that keep us from following Him, it really does not matter how contrary the obstacles it only matters that we follow. You see we can spend hours debating why the adoption process should be shorter, simpler and less expensive. We can talk all day about how many obstacles we have in our lives that prevent us from the pursuit. We can excuse ourselves with our ‘if only’ scenarios, or we can fast and pray and listen for God’s call. If he says come, we need only fix our eyes on Him and go.

What about you? Have you been called to help those who have adopted? Or have you been called to climb out of your boat and be 1 in 15? Either way, I can promise you it will not be easy and more likely hard, but if you focus on the impossible you will never leave your comfortable spot. Look up. Keep your eyes fixed and your faith will take you the great unknown!

_____________________________

DSC_0587

Tiffany Barber

Tiffany is a wife to Kirk and mother of eight including six biological and two newly adopted from China. With a looming financial crisis at the outset of their recent adoption, God took their family on a journey of faith. Having been home just over ten weeks, they are currently working through the transition phase of their new adoption. Tiffany writes an honest account of challenges of adoption and the redemptive work of her savior Jesus Christ at Extravagant Love. Though her faith and limits have been tested, she points that adoption is paving the way for her to grow and experience God’s presence as never before.

Let the Grief Begin {Summer Flashback}

“When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? That faithfulness is holding the fort? That playing it safe is safe? That there is any greater privilege than sacrifice? That radical is anything but normal? Jesus didn’t die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. Faithfulness is not holding the fort, it’s storming the gates of hell.”
–Mark Batterson

Let the Grief beginWe have been home almost exactly two months. It’s kind of funny how I let myself think that since some issues haven’t surfaced yet—they are not going to. Not! I have seen grief this week, like never before. I was not expecting it, yet somehow I felt prepared for this moment and did not react negatively when the grief was displayed in a manner directed towards me. Emotions erupted over small issues that could have easily been mistaken for something other than grief. Thankfully the Lord has given me the discernment to see beneath the surface of these outbursts.

My response? I did not take an ounce of this personally. I let the emotions purge from a broken heart and sat, just sat (almost silent). I was determined that I would not shrink back in fear of what I was seeing. I sat for hours, watching as ugly outbursts erupted like a volcano. Words and feelings were often directed towards me, as if somehow I was responsible for the pain, yet I could see that I was just a safe place to let it all out.

This is one of those posts that well, might seem like too much information. Still, I share it because for those praying us through you can know exactly what we need and for those who are in the same place or who will be soon, it’s good to be prepared for the grief.

You see as beautiful as adoption is—it is also very ugly.

In order for us to have the privilege of adoption there had to be great loss for our children. This is the part of adoption that tends to be glossed over when we talk about going across the world to become a father (and mother) to the fatherless. It all seems so wonderful and good that surely it should be easy right? They will see just how much we have done for them and wake up every day and thank us from the bottom of their hearts. Only they cannot. They cannot thank us for security when they cannot begin to understand what security is. They cannot begin to trust when their trust has been repeatedly broken.

This is the part of the journey that I had prepared for and understood fully that I would never really be able to prepare for it. I recognize that this is just the beginning. There is more to come, I am certain of it. So, what then? I can fear this grief or trust that the tears, the anger, and the hurt are the path to healing.

Pain precedes comfort. It’s part of the process. It’s the step where the hurt is purged making way for the comfort.

So often when hurts come we don’t want comfort—what we really want is to be comfortable. There is a difference. Comfortable is the state of ease, but God does not promise us that. In fact, he offers us the opposite, “in this world you will have trouble.” When we are grieving, the process of healing comes through feeling the pain. It literally hurts. Comfort comes as we are strengthened through our pain, not necessarily out of it.

So, as I sat yesterday, waiting and watching the torment of emotions purging from my child, I was helpless to remove the pain, but I could be present hoping that in some way it would offer some small comfort in that not-so-comfortable place.

Though I cannot change the circumstances, remove the hurt or even begin to fully understand the pain—at least I can be present. Having a mom to be present in the midst of hurt is something new for these little ones. It is what I have to offer. So I bring it, praying my actions will point towards my comforter—Jesus.

Grief hurts. It hurts to watch and it definitely hurts to experience.

Though I cannot fix it, I am reminded that in the moment when I love my children despite their unlovable behavior, I am the tangible evidence of God’s unconditional love. What better way to teach them about the gospel? After all, unless I live out the gospel message in the day-to-day moments, it remains just a story in a book; but faith lived changes hearts.

I pray that God would strengthen me to be faithful in this journey.

_____________________________

DSC_0587

Tiffany Barber

Tiffany is a wife to Kirk and mother of eight including six biological and two newly adopted from China. With a looming financial crisis at the outset of their recent adoption, God took their family on a journey of faith. Having been home just over ten weeks, they are currently working through the transition phase of their new adoption. Tiffany writes an honest account of challenges of adoption and the redemptive work of her savior Jesus Christ at Extravagant Love. Though her faith and limits have been tested, she points that adoption is paving the way for her to grow and experience God’s presence as never before.

Knowing When to Say Yes to an Adoption Referral

It was just over a year ago that I answered the phone call that changed the trajectory of our lives. It was the call from our adoption agency family coordinator letting me know that she had two referrals for us to consider. As she began to describe the children my heart raced. This was it! This was the moment I had dreamed about and anticipated for so long. Could it be, that I was about to be introduced to my children for the first time?

It had only been the day before that call, that, I had received a text from a close friend, letting me know she had a dream that Kirk and I were walking out of the airport holding hands with Lily and Liam. Both children had excitement and a bit of worry in their eyes—but more excitement. She elaborated and said, “But the look on your hubs face, it was priceless!” She encouraged me that our referral was coming, “But not when you think.”

I woke the morning of January 16, 2014 at 5:30am feeling impressed to get out of bed. I was tired, but felt urged to read my Bible and pray. I’m not even sure how I came to this next verse, but when I did, I felt sure there was a hidden message in it for me. Habakkuk 2:3 says, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and not delay.” I wrote it down unsure what it meant. I had no idea that the calling we had been given, to adopt a boy and a girl, was about to be revealed but in the way I expected.

At 10:33 am my cell phone rang.

I saw the (703) area code but it did not register. Ashley (our family coordinator) was calling to let me know she had two referrals for us to consider.  I was beside myself when I realized who it was and why she was calling! After she explained the purpose for her call she gave me some preliminary information about the children to allow me the option of reviewing their files or waiting for another match.

She started by saying, “Okay, I have a little girl that is considered special needs. She is almost 8 years old. She has a vision problem, (crossed eyes). Would you like to review her file?

I swallowed hard. “Yes!”

“Okay.” She went on, “There is boy almost 10. He is only three months younger than your youngest child, would that be a problem if your children are in the same grade?”

“No.”

She proceeded, “Would you like to review his file?”

“Yes!” I squealed.

“Okay, I’ll send you their files. Examine them with your husband and let me know if you’d like to proceed with a full review.”

After the longest ten minutes of my life, I had their information in my inbox.

I was floored with emotion as I opened those files for the first time. This was the moment I had waited so many months forI can still recall the intense emotions that sunk deep into my chest, as I looked blurry-eyed at their photographs for the first time.

Time stood still.

He was a handsome boy, an older child whose only special need was that he was older and harder to place and she an adorable little girl with what appeared to be a minor vision problem. I called my husband and forwarded the files to him. We were both at work, so we agreed to look them over together later that evening.

During the waiting, I had envisioned what it would be like to receive my children’s referrals. I wondered, how would I know if they were mine? Would I feel a connection immediately, or would that sense of knowing they were mine come gradually over time? The moment of discovery had finally come.

Months earlier we had discussed the list of possible special needs we felt comfortable with. I had done research on the various conditions and reviewed the information with Kirk. Somehow checking the boxes of special needs that we both were comfortable with felt awkward, but this was a required step. Part of the home study is designed to evaluate and approve a family to care for a child with special needs. The family is assessed by the social worker to determine if they are equipped to care for a child with needs noted on the list. Kirk and I had agreed that only special needs that we both were comfortable with would make it on our list. If one was okay with a special need but the other one not, then it was a no. It seemed simple enough.

At first glance the needs of these two children appeared to fit within our list of approved special needs. Yet, as we read through the little girl’s file more closely, we discovered she had significant developmental delays. This was an immediate red flag. We were adopting two children at once and we already have one child whose needs will require life-long support. Neither of us felt comfortable taking a second child whose needs will likely necessitate the same.

Despite the red flag, we both felt paralyzed to make any decision.

We questioned ourselves. Was God calling us to take on more than we had planned or anticipated? Or was our discomfort a signal meant to offer us direction? Either way, we were not ready to decide as we both felt unsure.

We immediately bathed our decision in prayer and then sought additional information to help guide our steps. We started with requesting an update from the orphanage. We sent a list of ten questions, and waited for their reply.  Next, we obtained an expert opinion from a physician who specializes in reviewing adoption referral files. Next we reached out to the adoption community, requesting feedback regarding ‘how to know when to say yes’ to a referral.

The orphanage updates were a mix of good and bad news. The boy’s update stated he was on grade level in school and appeared to be healthy in all respects. The little girl’s update indicated that her delays had prevented her from attending school and she was unable to speak full sentences. This news heightened our hesitancy about accepting her referral.

Next, we sought the opinion from a physician who reviewed adoption referrals. She stated very matter-of-factly that in her opinion, the boy was a healthy older child with the exception that he appeared to be very small for his age. She pointed that the little girl had significant delays that would likely prevent her from ever living independently. She held nothing back and gave me the worst-case scenario to think about. At first, I was a bit taken aback by her negativity, but later I realized she had done me a favor by making me see what I did not want to see.

While all of this information weighed heavily on us, we were eased by the encouragement we had received from the adoption community. So many families responded positively regarding how they had come to make hard decisions. Some told us of ‘knowing’ it was their child the moment they saw a picture.  Others said they did not know right away but came to their yes more slowly. Others told of stories where they did not accept the first or sometimes even the second and third referral they were given. I was comforted by the fact that there was more than one way to ‘know’ and that not everyone accepted the first referral. It became clear that there was no perfect formula we needed to use, we just had to keep asking, praying and waiting until a clear answer was revealed.

Why was this so hard? The answer I discovered was painful.

In that period of waiting I came to understand that part of my hesitancy to not saying ‘yes’ to adopting this little girl, was the implication that our lack of a ‘yes’ was really a ‘no’.

That was it. I knew that I was struggling with saying, ‘no’ to a child who really needed a family. Despite my gut feeling that this was not our little girl, I was not comfortable sending her file back and saying—no.

I wrestled with this one for several weeks until I found some encouragement from a book I was reading, Kisses from Katie, by Katie Davis, a (single) adoptive mother of fourteen former-orphans in Uganda. As I read her story, I found answers to mine.

After adopting her eleventh child, Katie had decided not to adopt any more children. She felt her family was complete, until the Lord made it ever so clear she was to take another and not just any child. The child presented to her had significant delays. Katie described how she was hesitant to take a child with limited mobility since she already had a large level of responsibility to her other eleven girls as well as to the people she ministered to in the villages. Having a child who could not walk would mean she would have to carry her everywhere. But then one day the Lord made his plan so clear Katie could not deny it, and once more she embraced a new daughter.

I connected with this story, and wondered if this was my answer. Did God want us to take on more than we had planned but not more than He had planned?  Though I felt willing to move forward with her, my husband did not. I wondered at this discrepancy. We would have to move on this  decision soon. Although the adoption agency had given us a lenient two weeks to decide, the clock was ticking and we would have to give an answer soon.

January 27, 2014 “Not every child that came to Katie was Katie’s child.”

Those were the words I heard the Lord speak that morning as my husband prayed for God to show us his plan for these two little ones. One would become ours and the other one not.

After hearing from he Lord, I recalled the rest of Katie’s story. I realized that many, many, many children came to Katie for help. Sometimes people would bring children to her or ask her to adopt them, but she did not adopt every girl that she ministered to or every girl that needed adoption. Katie adopted only the girls that were her children—the ones that God had chosen for her.

God made his plan for us clear that morning. Our first referral for a girl was a no. She was not ours. My wrestling was over as quickly as it had come. In that moment of prayer, I knew this little one was not my daughter. I realized that even though I was not called to be her mother, she was His child. It wasn’t up to me to save her or any; I only need be obedient to the calling he set before me.

If you are waiting on a referral, here are some tips on how to get ready for your yes:

  1. Pray for your child while you are waiting. (I am in awe at how our Lily’s personality matches the prayers I had prayed over her exactly).
  2. Seek the Lord throughout the process and follow His lead. (Getting behind God instead of running ahead was a hard lesson for me at times).
  3. Seek godly men and women in the adoption community to offer their wisdom when you need help, support, encouragement or direction. (This is vital!)
  4. Seek to understand your spouse’s concerns about the adoption. Move forward only when you both agree.If one spouse is in on board and the other not, take it as either a no and move-on, or a wait-not-yet, but do not push. (There was a lot of waiting I had to do. God will move in a spouse’s heart, you just need to get out of the way and then wait.)
  5. Be prepared that if you do not accept the first referral that comes your way, there may be some people that will not agree with your decision. You may feel rejected and judged, but do not be discouraged. It is only God you need to please.
  6. Do not adopt to try and save anyone. That is God’s job and only He can do it. Adopt out of obedience to your calling then rely on Him to carry you through. (It is hard work but oh so rewarding!)
  7. Realize there is no perfect formula for deciding to accept a referral or what special needs (if any) you’re equipped to handle. “Pray like it depends on God and then work like it depends on you,” (Mark Batterson).

One last note–one of my concerns in writing this is that it would discourage a family from adopting a child with significant delays or offend someone who already has. So before I leave anyone with any negative impression of how we feel about children with severe developmental delays, let me clearly state that we highly value all children, but especially those precious ones with significant needs. They need families too! We are parents to a child with special needs and he is our pride and joy! Our hesitancy to say yes to another child with significant developmental delays was based on what we felt we could manage in the mix of our other responsibilities. We prayerfully considered it and do not want our decision to discourage anyone who has been called to embrace a child with significant developmental delays. Go and do what you are called to do and if you already have, then Amen!

_____________________________

DSC_0587

Tiffany Barber

Tiffany is a wife to Kirk and mother of eight including six biological and two newly adopted from China. With a looming financial crisis at the outset of their recent adoption, God took their family on a journey of faith. Having been home just over ten weeks, they are currently working through the transition phase of their new adoption. Tiffany writes an honest account of challenges of adoption and the redemptive work of her savior Jesus Christ at Extravagant Love. Though her faith and limits have been tested, she points that adoption is paving the way for her to grow and experience God’s presence as never before.

Let the Grief Begin

“When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things? That faithfulness is holding the fort? That playing it safe is safe? That there is any greater privilege than sacrifice? That radical is anything but normal? Jesus didn’t die to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. Faithfulness is not holding the fort, it’s storming the gates of hell.”
–Mark Batterson

Let the Grief beginWe have been home almost exactly two months. It’s kind of funny how I let myself think that since some issues haven’t surfaced yet—they are not going to. Not! I have seen grief this week, like never before. I was not expecting it, yet somehow I felt prepared for this moment and did not react negatively when the grief was displayed in a manner directed towards me. Emotions erupted over small issues that could have easily been mistaken for something other than grief. Thankfully the Lord has given me the discernment to see beneath the surface of these outbursts.

My response? I did not take an ounce of this personally. I let the emotions purge from a broken heart and sat, just sat (almost silent). I was determined that I would not shrink back in fear of what I was seeing. I sat for hours, watching as ugly outbursts erupted like a volcano. Words and feelings were often directed towards me, as if somehow I was responsible for the pain, yet I could see that I was just a safe place to let it all out.

This is one of those posts that well, might seem like too much information. Still, I share it because for those praying us through you can know exactly what we need and for those who are in the same place or who will be soon, it’s good to be prepared for the grief.

You see as beautiful as adoption is—it is also very ugly.

In order for us to have the privilege of adoption there had to be great loss for our children. This is the part of adoption that tends to be glossed over when we talk about going across the world to become a father (and mother) to the fatherless. It all seems so wonderful and good that surely it should be easy right? They will see just how much we have done for them and wake up every day and thank us from the bottom of their hearts. Only they cannot. They cannot thank us for security when they cannot begin to understand what security is. They cannot begin to trust when their trust has been repeatedly broken.

This is the part of the journey that I had prepared for and understood fully that I would never really be able to prepare for it. I recognize that this is just the beginning. There is more to come, I am certain of it. So, what then? I can fear this grief or trust that the tears, the anger, and the hurt are the path to healing.

Pain precedes comfort. It’s part of the process. It’s the step where the hurt is purged making way for the comfort.

So often when hurts come we don’t want comfort—what we really want is to be comfortable. There is a difference. Comfortable is the state of ease, but God does not promise us that. In fact, he offers us the opposite, “in this world you will have trouble.” When we are grieving, the process of healing comes through feeling the pain. It literally hurts. Comfort comes as we are strengthened through our pain, not necessarily out of it.

So, as I sat yesterday, waiting and watching the torment of emotions purging from my child, I was helpless to remove the pain, but I could be present hoping that in some way it would offer some small comfort in that not-so-comfortable place.

Though I cannot change the circumstances, remove the hurt or even begin to fully understand the pain—at least I can be present. Having a mom to be present in the midst of hurt is something new for these little ones. It is what I have to offer. So I bring it, praying my actions will point towards my comforter—Jesus.

Grief hurts. It hurts to watch and it definitely hurts to experience.

Though I cannot fix it, I am reminded that in the moment when I love my children despite their unlovable behavior, I am the tangible evidence of God’s unconditional love. What better way to teach them about the gospel? After all, unless I live out the gospel message in the day-to-day moments, it remains just a story in a book; but faith lived changes hearts.

I pray that God would strengthen me to be faithful in this journey.

_____________________________

DSC_0587

Tiffany Barber

Tiffany is a wife to Kirk and mother of eight including six biological and two newly adopted from China. With a looming financial crisis at the outset of their recent adoption, God took their family on a journey of faith. Having been home just over ten weeks, they are currently working through the transition phase of their new adoption. Tiffany writes an honest account of challenges of adoption and the redemptive work of her savior Jesus Christ at Extravagant Love. Though her faith and limits have been tested, she points that adoption is paving the way for her to grow and experience God’s presence as never before.

Beautiful and Hard

It has been some time since I last blogged. I have been busy being mommy and not had much time to write about it. But God is working in me through this new chapter of my life and I felt it was time to share it. So here goes…

Beautiful and Hard 1

I anticipated adoption would be hard, but I was unprepared for what has been revealed as my toughest challenge.

My transformation.

Let me be real. Adoption has brought a new level of responsibility that at times overwhelms me.

My response to this calling is often not a reflection of His work in me. As much as I’d like to say its going great and I’m doing fine, if I am honest its much harder than I had imagined, but not in the way you might expect. Lily and Liam are doing so well that I am in awe of how smooth they have assimilated into our family. The splendor is in the effortless love that is developing between these two precious hearts and mine. Each day our connection grows a little more and a little more and a little more. It is moving to watch them enjoy so many firsts, to hear their giggles and to witness their smiles. It is hard to discover their wounded hearts more each day and know I cannot fix it; but seeing them grow to new depths and new heights despite their difficult beginnings makes all the hard work of transformation worth the pain. They are beautiful and happy children and I am falling in love with them more and more each day. Oh they are not perfect, and we have had some bumps in the road, but overall their transition has been incredible to witness. So what’s the problem then?

Me.

I humbled by my weak human flesh.

It is uncomfortable to say. But if I am being real, it is my sin that has been unearthed in this life altering excavation. You see as I try harder and harder each day to endure the pressures of all these changes it feels overwhelming and I go to that place—that place where I think I can control the outcome. When life is out of control, I seek to put it back under control—or so I think I can. Only I can’t. But instead of leaning into the Father’s arms and seeking Him more, I turn away and try to fix it on my own.

Only I’m powerless. Instead I battle whispers of failure in my head. Yes, me who has faith to move mountains for this unlikely adoption, but who cannot live daily with strength to make it through the afternoon. I am a warrior fighting for the hearts of my children. I long for them to seek and love God more than anything. I want them to make right choices, be respectful, kind hearted and obedient. When I do not see immediate results to all my parental efforts—well, let’s just say it isn’t pretty!

Then God reminds me…

“Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” Zachariah 4:6

In my helplessness I finally recognize that I am striving to do this alone—in my own strength. And then I recall the epic story. David, barely more than a boy, fearlessly conquered Goliath. How did he do it? Faith. He used what he knew best—a sling and a stone. David’s combat history with wild beasts had prepared him for the confrontation with Goliath. As a shepherd he had experienced encounters with fierce animals that threatened his sheep. If one of his flock was carried off by a lion or a bear, David went after it, striking the beast dead. This time would be no different—David would use his experience to face his enemy while giving credit to God for the victory. So it is no surprise to note that when David saw Goliath moving towards him, instead of shrinking back, he ran forward to attack. With one precise shot, a single stone centered on Goliaths head and the 9-foot giant toppled over—dead. Victory was in the hands of God’s people because of the faith of one young man who understood that this unmatched battle was not his to win. He needed only to move forward and do his part and trust God to make up the difference.

I must admit that there are times when the work of adoption feels like my Goliath. It is a giant that looms over me threatening to take me captive. Yet I am reminded that I need only use my talents and strengths to do my part and God himself will make up the difference. It is ultimately not my battle to win. I may not be a parenting expert, but I am a decorated warrior fighting for the hearts of my children. I am not perfect, but I serve the Almighty who is able to use my small efforts to bring about His plans for these children.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11

Beautiful and Hard 2

Beautiful and Hard 3

Satan wants to use fear of what I lack to cause me to shrink back. He places doubt in my mind—just enough to let fear threaten to become my adversary. But God has planned victory for those who move forward despite the threats that appear to overpower. Nothing can stand against the Almighty. David did not move towards his enemy because he was powerful, rather his faith stood in the power of the Lord who had already delivered him! I love that David faced Goliath with such radical boldness.

As I embrace each day working through the transition of my new life, I recall that God has prepared me for this day. This is not my battle to win. I need only move forward in faith moving towards my enemy (fear)—firmly trusting in God to see us through. As I grow through this season of change, I feel the work of Him pressing me back down into a lump as he labors to refashion me. I sense his gentle hands drawing me into a new shape. I am still the same lump of clay being transformed for a new purpose through this season of change. It is uncomfortable being made into a different vessel and I wish I could say I was not fighting against it—but it hurts—and I resist letting go of my false sense of control. But I have not been called to this adoption because of my perfect self, rather because of Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all that I can ask or imagine.

He is revealing my heart day-by-day, bit-by-bit. He is the potter—I am the clay.

Life as I knew it is no more. Despite my weak flesh, God is in control here, not me. This transformation of them and me, all of us…

It’s beautiful—and hard.

“But those that wait upon the Lord, they will mount up with wings as Eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

“Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

_____________________________

DSC_0587

Tiffany Barber

Tiffany is a wife to Kirk and mother of eight including six biological and two newly adopted from China. With a looming financial crisis at the outset of their recent adoption, God took their family on a journey of faith. Having been home just over eight weeks, they are currently working through the transition phase of their new adoption. Tiffany writes an honest account of challenges of adoption and the redemptive work of her savior Jesus Christ at Extravagant Love. Though her faith and limits have been tested, she points that adoption is paving the way for her to grow and experience God’s presence as never before.