a single step

This picture.

6:33 am, january 22, 2005

So many things I can say to criticize it.

The lighting is terrible.  The angle is awkward.  Our grins are really cheesy.

And yet, despite all the flaws, it remains one my very favorite snapshots ever taken of the two of us.

For there is a Chinese proverb attributed to Laozi that states,

 [A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step]

I am so thankful we decided to stop on our way out the door to snap a photo.  It was almost an afterthought at 6:30 that wintry morning.  Back then we rarely ever set the timer on the camera to take a photo of us, but that day seemed special somehow.  We seemed to sense the significance of being up long before the sun on a Saturday.  Looking back I suspect we both had a feeling that the event we were getting ready to attend would change the course of our lives...though neither of us had any idea just how much. Captured ten years ago today, this very moment marks our single step.

That first step was out the door to our car.   The next series of steps saw us driving 100 miles across the state in the freezing rain to attend America World Adoption Association's Spirit of Adoption seminar.

Despite the stress of the conditions of our drive, we sat back and listened.  And just a few minutes into the presentation we knew.  We just knew.  And then the next steps followed...applications,  county, state and federal background checks, dossier preparation, research, waiting, waiting, waiting, travel, flights...

Oh how grateful I am that we asked ourselves, "Can/should we adopt?  We prayed long and hard and got our answer.  Just look at what we would have missed if we had not been obedient to God's guidance.

that's a whole lot of joy packed into Christmas pajamas!
I look at these five.  My five blessing from The Father.  Sometimes the intensity of my love for these little people catches me almost by surprise and it feels as though my heart will burst.  I am SO LUCKY that I get the honor of being their mommy.  Our house is filled with its share of squabbles, of course it is, we have five kids.  But it is also filled with tight hugs and sticky kisses and thousands of I love yous each and every day.

And yet my heart breaks for the millions world-wide who don't know such unabashed love.  For the children who are going to bed right now with nothing more than their own thumb to comfort them.  For babies, toddlers and teenagers who have never heard someone tell them how much they are loved.  For those whose everyday existence is limited to the sterile environment of their orphanage walls...or worse.  

I'm willing to bet that your heart breaks a little too.  And while the work is much to be done, take heart, there are things you can do.  Countless non-profits fight for the lives of the fatherless (email me if you would like suggestions...I have personal experience with several in China, in Honduras, and Haiti), you can shop to financially support families fundraising to cover adoption expenses, there may be a family in your neighborhood or church community that could use a meal upon arrival home with a new family member.  If you look around, you can find a way to fill in the gaps.  

BUT, that tugging on your heart for the cause of the orphan just may be a different whisper from God. A whisper to ask yourself, "Can/should we adopt?" And if you hear the whisper, spend some time in prayer awaiting God's answer. You just might find a passion for the children of China, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Ukraine, or some of the foster kids here in our own country. There are infants, toddlers, elementary age kids, and teens around the world who will go to bed tonight without having covers tucked under their chin and forehead brushed with a kiss because they don't have someone to call their own. 

You just might be that someone.

Don't let what is easy or convenient or what "makes sense" to the rest of the world stop you.
The road may not be easy. (In fact, it probably won't be).  It may not make sense to others (in fact it probably won't), financially or in how many kids you have or how old you are. (though I have friends who probably had less money in the bank, had more kids, or are older than you). But what I can promise you is that if God leads you to adopt, the journey of your life will never be the same again. 

But who needs "same" when you will see Him in each new gloriously challenging step!  


Lee Boyd said...

What a glorious post, my sweet friend! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi. I was wondering if you had a Instagram or not and I love your family.

The Ferrill's said...

I am crying because I miss Yall sooooooooo much. It's been way too long since I've checked the little fireworks blog...and I see these faces and ache with longing to be beside yall making french toast and drinking coffee and laughing at our babies....
DC last summer was not long enough!!!! I need to see Yall again! And I need you to get an Instagram!!!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease!!!!!! With sugar on top!!!!!!