Everyone wants to see photos, but we decided before we came that we'd wait till after we had court papers in hand to share those ... we want it all to be official before we make it official! But I did want to share a little bit with you all, since you have prayed for and supported this journey up until now.
On the day we met our son, I had a complete come apart. I cried. I railed at Heaven. I mourned. And then I sought God and found peace. Why? Because it broke my heart to see this precious boy so obviously bearing the brunt of a broken system. Our son has been lovingly cared for by an amazing director and a team of nannies who love him. There is very little I can complain about on that front.
But the fact that he was abandoned at all broke my heart. I hate that there have to be orphans at all. I hate that it took us so long to get here.
Before we ever met him, God clearly told me to be ready. To brace myself. For when I saw my son, I would see GOD more clearly. For indeed, He was created in the image of God. In my oh-so-human heart that excited me and I set up unrealistic expectations.
I expected to see a child who, in spite of the overwhelming odds against him, was flourishing and victorious. I pictured a boy who had been miraculously healed and was smiling and whole and ready for his new family.
Instead I sat in an office and heard about how he had been doing so well, "But...." And then they filled in the "but". The "but" made my heart hurt, but I still hoped.
And then I met him. This amazing boy God had brought us half way around the world to meet. This boy I had dreamed about, prayed for, and loved beyond reason or explanation. And he was smiling. He is ready for a family. But.
But he was worse off then I imagined. The last year was not a great one for him. And it hurt to see that. And then came the still, small voice after I processed my emotions.
"Can you see Me yet?"
What?!?!?! See YOU? Where? All I see is a child in an orphanage that in a perfect world would have been in a family since his birth.
"Keep looking. Made in MY image, reflecting MY likeness."
It took a while, but I finally saw. Every time I look at my son's face, I see GOD now. It's so clear, so blindingly obvious to me. I am just in awe.
I see that by man's wisdom we would describe God as perfect, and then we would go on to mean that to be attractive, strong, victorious, admired, etc. But God chose to come humbly, as a babe. He chose to come humbly, as a servant. He chose to bring life, through death. God's ways are not our ways.
And when I look at my son, and the other orphans here in this Eastern European nation, I see God. I see children who are not forgotten. God knows their names. I see children that the world calls disabled, retarded, damaged, and forsaken. God has never left them. I see children that are hidden away because they are disfigured and different. And yet God said, "It is good."
I look at our son and I see these truths. I see the impact of sin in a depraved, fallen world. That is why he is where he is. But then I see God in his eyes -- in that purity of spirit, the humbleness of stature, the unrestrained joy in response to love. It's beautiful.
Our son reaches for us eagerly when we walk into the room. He doesn't berate us for being late. He doesn't judge us and find us lacking. He is just thrilled we have come. God is like that. Our son laughs and delights in our company, even when we don't do anything particularly delightful. He just wants to be with us. it is enough that we love him and want to spend time with him. God is like that. Our son is sad when it is time for us to leave, often sheds tears when we walk away. It leaves a gap in his life when it is time to be separated. And there is an expectant joy for the day when we won't have to be separated every again. God is like that. Our son seems to come alive when he hears other children laugh. Nothing brings him greater happiness than the joy of those around him. Our God is like that.
Made in the image of God? Oh, yes, Lord I see it!