Yesterday at around noon my life changed quite a bit for the weekend. My grandparents came to visit and watch my sister play volleyball, and they brought my seven year old cousin. I love that little girl with all my heart, but you see, I've only known her for two years.
Brief story on Emmalynn:
I don't know all the details on her story but here is what I do know. Two years ago my uncle and aunt adopted that sweet little girl. She was living in very poor conditions, sometimes in a car. She didn't go to school like she was suppose too, and the love she needed wasn't there. My aunt and uncle had been trying to have kids, but couldn't so in return they took in Emmalynn. She was behind in her education and learning abilities and was very apprehensive. She had learned to be very self efficient.
Now with that said, remember that was the first 5 years of her life. In my opinion the first 5 years are crucial to being loved and cared for. My aunt and uncle are two of the most loving people I have ever met. They are totally self-less. When they took in Emmalynn, their lives changed dramatically. That can't be easy. They were thrown into parenthood in just a couple weeks. CRAZY! She has amazing manners, she is brilliant, and knows Jesus. Can you say awesome parenting in two years? A total gift from God right there.
Now let me tell you another story. You see Emmalynn's new daddy is my dad's brother but he looks nothing like my family. My grandparents have eight kids. Five biological children and three adopted children. Here's a story my grandpa tells about the adopted uncles and aunt.
Excerpt from John Burgeson's blog. Some story about Samuel!
He heard the very voice of God!
I've many times wanted to have that experience.
Never have though. But yet --
I'm going to tell you a story.
Think about January. Remember what it's like?
Picture with me a downtown street in Seoul, Korea
Friday, January 25, 1974. A few years ago.
Snow -- ice -- slush -- maybe freezing rain --
Dark. Gloomy. Unlike Durango!
An unpleasant time of year.
Two children walking along that street.
the boy is four, his sister is just two.
Her birthday was four days ago;
it was not a happy time.
The boy's right hand
(his left one is hurt)
is holding on tightly to little sister..
And her hand to his.
It's a miserable day
to be out in the cold.
It's a terrible day to be homeless.
It's a ghastly day to be orphans,
in a culture where orphans are "nobodies."
Last year was a disaster.
The little girl had been badly burned.
Mother died of "the sickness" last spring.
The boy's left hand mutilated in a farm accident.
The worse time of all came, however,
at Christmas time,
in the car crash,
when dad died.
The boy had seen it happen.
He remembered the flames.
Their home was a rental,
their possessions few.
A neighbor took them in for awhile.
But she couldn't keep them.
Now they are walking along this dismal city street
-- to an orphanage.
They'll be looked after there, more or less,
raised to adulthood, if they live;
the mortality rate is said to be 50%.
No family to love and nurture them;
adoption is not part of the Korean culture.
Their future is an institution;
the only love they will experience
is that which they have for each other.
It's cold in the city.
Two small children trudge up the dirty steps
of an impersonal, poorly-funded, overcrowded
government institution, their lives shattered.
Hand in hand they go.
Holding ever so tight to each other.
It's a dreadful day. Nobody cares.
God cared. He had already been at work --
Sunday, August 12, 1973. The previous year.
Delray Beach, Florida.
With a growing family,
Carol and I had bought an unfinished house.
We were spending every available hour working on it,
keeping just ahead of the city building inspector!
It was a bigger job than we had imagined.
That Sunday we decided to skip our own church
for one down the block
where we could "sneak in/out" easily
and get back to the job early.
The kids settled in Sunday School,
we walked into the only adult class.
A retired missionary is going to lecture on a Psalm!
What have we done? Will we be able to stay awake?
Maybe we should go have a cup of coffee?
I don't remember the guy's name --
Don't remember his message!
But, oh my! I do remember the Scripture!
God's word. It burned! Deep.
Psalm 127: (Paraphrased)
Unless the Lord builds the house,
their labor is futile who build it.
It is useless for you to be early in rising
while being late in sitting up,
eating the bread of toil;
for he gives to His loved ones sleep.
Behold, children are a legacy from the Lord;
the fruit of the womb is His reward.
As arrows in the hand of a mighty man,
so are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them.
Back home, Carol left on an errand,
the kids to whatever activities kids do,
on a warm Sunday afternoon
when dad's orders for house-building chores have mysteriously stopped.
I sat at the kitchen table
and pondered the message I had so clearly heard.
We had six children already, one adopted.
Resources were at the limit.
All the practical reasons in the world to ignore this word from the Lord.
That wasn't possible.
I drafted a letter to the adoption agency,
asking them for -- specifically -- a brother/sister pair;
I could "see" them as I wrote. Then I stopped.
"How am I going to explain this letter to Carol?" I asked myself.
Carol came in -- "I've just written a letter..." I began -- she stopped me.
(Here I'm reading from her notes, written shortly afterwards).
"Please let it wait.
I need to tell you of the most fascinating thought I had.
I think God is trying to tell us to have two more babies from Korea, a boy and a girl.
That lesson we heard this morning seemed to really speak to me!"
I showed her the letter.
The letter, signed by all the family,
down to the very youngest,
not quite four,
was mailed the next day.
The Lord had a test -- and a confirmation -- for us.
Now it's five months later. Monday, January 21, 1974.
A letter from the agency;
we were approved! Praise the Lord!
(Bureaucracies don't generally move that fast!).
Then, turn to page 2.
They had no brother/sister pair to fit our family!
They were suggesting a single adoption.
But this was wrong!
The Lord had told us differently!
Had He, really?
On Wednesday, January 23rd, 1974,
after considerable prayer,
we wrote back.
In essence, we said:
The Lord had promised us.
Two days later,
on January 25, 1974,
our beloved son
and our beloved daughter,
Byung Tae Jung, and Byung Tae Soon,
(David and Mary Lee),
entered the orphanage;
shortly after, they arrived into our home,
We just did the physical stuff.
Oh God! What if we had left that class that day!
When I was a boy in Sunday School,
there was a hymn we sang.
I did not appreciate it then.
I believe it --
really believe it now:
When you walk with the Lord,
In the light of His word,
What a GLORY he shines on your way...
I have seen that glory...
Will you sing that hymn with me now?
You see adoption has run through my family. My grandma says that people ask her why she adopted Korean babies, and her answer was "i know what white ones looked like" I think we take our hardships, our trials, our bad days, and we act like the world is going to end. ((Now please know this I am not talking about serious trials and hardships) but what I am talking about is, when the day isn't going OUR way. When we get mad because life isn't how we want it. There are children all over the world who might not ever get a day that is even happy. They might not ever experience love and peace of a home, or even a place that they feel unafraid. ((are we all that lucky to have that, no, so I'm talking to those people too))
This is a long blog and I'm sorry, but last night as I was laying by my sweet little cousin... I realized that I serve a God that is beyond all my crappy/bad days. And that I have it GOOD! She said the sweetest prayer before bed, so I know she now has a peace, and she knows she is home. So my question is, are you home? Adoption isn't just getting a child and bringing them into your family. It's making a place a home, and God is our home when you take the gift of salvation, so have you ever had that feeling of being HOME?
So my challenge is not to go out and adopt (although if you want to GO FOR IT), but rather take all those crappy days and make them into good ones because we have it SO good. And if for some reason you can't make those happy days good, ask yourself are you really HOME?