Adoption Story

by Lindsay Smith

My story of motherhood begins with a childhood dream of becoming an attorney. Confused already? Don’t worry; I have been too. In fact, if I’m honest, my journey to motherhood felt like God was confused at times. Did He forget about me? But I know the truth of scripture. God remembers His faithfulness. His ways are perfect. He will not forget His children.

My story of motherhood is about the grace of a perfect Father covering the steps (and sometimes dragging feet) of this mother.

I made every preparation for law school following college. I was set to achieve my dream of becoming an adoption attorney, and I was perfectly on track, until God asked me to lay that dream down. The release stung. Every part of me felt like God forgot me, but He was remembering me in ways I couldn’t yet see.

Fast forward 3 years to April 2014, I was still subscribed to the email list of the adoption agency I had dreamed I would be working for by that point in life. I opened my email: “Urgent Need for families in our South Korea Program.” I’m not often (never) spontaneous. Besides the Holy Spirit, I have no explanation for how I picked up the phone that day without making my typical pro and con list. After rambling about every reason this was a crazy time for our family, I asked the lady “So can we start?” and surprisingly she said, “Yes.”

My husband and I had talked and prayed through the idea of adoption many times in our four years of marriage. We knew we were open to it one day, but we never “picked” this timing or a country half way around the world. Truthfully, I have a huge fear of flying, well known to my family and friends. Were we hearing God correctly? Once again, it felt like God forgot some key details before writing this story.

But God was actively remembering us. We somehow completed all the necessary application steps in a few months’ time. We were told, once our home study was complete, that it could take 6 months to be matched with our child. I decided I could handle 6 months. I would write a well-thought-out email to friends and family. I would research grants to cover expenses. I would pray often to ensure God’s will. I could handle 6 months. Only problem with my logic was our 6 months turned into only a few days. God wasn’t forgetting my need for predictable structure; He was remembering our son immediately.

Several months passed. Being an adoptive mom in waiting is an odd place to be. Your day-to-day goes on without change, but you’re deeply aware of this growing and changing child halfway around the world. Your body doesn’t bear witness to the new life, but your heart feels the stretching. In some ways it feels like many have forgotten you’re even on this journey. It was in the midst of these feelings that I answered my phone to the questions “Are you with your husband?” and “Are you at home?” Immediately, my soul stuttered, “God, have you forgotten us?”

In that phone call, we learned there were some unknowns and significant concerns about our child’s health. All we were told at first was that he wasn’t using his right hand. It would be months (and many doctors’ consultations later) before we discovered our son was fearfully and wonderfully made with a neurological delay. Through much prayer and wise counsel, we decided to continue pursuing our son through adoption. We didn’t have all the answers. Most days it didn’t feel like we had half of the answers, but we trusted a God who did.

In February 2015, I remember asking God, “Have you forgotten us? Can we care for this child?”. I journaled God’s response to my heart:

The ability of my son to move or hold something in his right hand will never be the most important question. I serve a God who promises to take hold of my son’s right hand and take hold of my right hand. He doesn’t ask me if I can hold onto Him tightly enough because I am sealed by the Holy Spirit who cannot let go. David understood this truth, “Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.” (Psalm 73:23)
David was confident of his position with God not because of his own works, merit or ability to hold on tightly, but because of God’s promise to hold David’s right hand.

Our son has been home for just over one year now. This last year has been one of the most beautiful and full years for our family, but friends, it has not been without hardship. Adoption is a gospel-response to brokenness. It is redemption of a story, but it does not remove pain from that story. We’ve experienced many sleepless nights and watched our child mourn what he lost and wrestle with fear. We have spent more hours in doctor’s waiting rooms and therapy offices than I can count. Daily, I have clung to the promise that God will not forget me and promises to hold my right hand through it all. We’ve also seen our child transform from a shy, timid boy to an extrovert who shows off his favorite toys and new words any chance he gets. We’ve been humbled as he chooses to trust us over and over again. He teaches us daily about choosing joy despite every worldly reason to be bitter. His life is a gift. The Lord has not forgotten him.

There is one more part to this story, a person actually, a selfless, courageous person without whom this story isn’t possible. I don’t know her name. I may never meet her, but she first made the decision to not forget our child. She carried him for 9 months and then made a sacrificial decision that I can hardly fathom. Wherever she is today, I pray she is reminded that our Lord has not forgotten her. He loves and remembers her. I pray she will experience His redemption as well. To our son’s first mom, Happy Mother’s Day, our God remembers you and we will always ensure our son remembers you.

If you’re a birth mom reading this, “Happy Mother’s Day,” not because you are without sorrow but because the Lord has not forgotten you even in your mourning (Matthew 5:4).

If you’re a mom in waiting reading this, “Happy Mother’s Day,” not because you are without weariness, but because the Lord has not forgotten your wait and promises to renew your strength. (Isaiah 40:31)

If you’re a foster or adoptive mom reading this, “Happy Mother’s Day,” not because your home is without turbulence but because the Lord has not forgotten to show you mercy in these moments as you extend that mercy to your children (Matthew 5:7)

Happy Mother’s Day, dear moms. No matter your story; you are not forgotten.

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