Today was the deadline to turn in our adoption testimony and pictures to Show Hope – Steven Curtis Chapman’s orphan care ministry - who generously gave us a grant that helped with some of our adoption expenses. I thought I would share it with you all, along with this word of encouragement – If you have ever considered adoption (and perhaps even if you have not) but out of fear, obstacles or finances you have not pursued it…take that first step today towards the most amazing, beautiful and miraculous experience of your life!
Sunday May 17, 2009 was a stellar day for the Lambdin family! It was the day that the Lord placed into our loving arms, through the miracle of adoption – our newest daughter – Christiana Michelle Lambdin.
The journey that began 19 months prior and consisted of mountains of paperwork, home studies, interviews, exhaustive investigations, steadfast determination, hope deferred, patient perseverance, government bureaucracy, faith, fundraising and flying thousands of miles from California to Tennessee….came to both a joyous end and exciting beginning when we looked into the eyes of the most beautiful, perfect and precious six-week old baby girl. The tears flowed from everyone in the room as we rejoiced in the most amazing gift we were ever chosen to receive!
Yes, we were chosen! Is there anything better than being the one chosen? Throughout life we rejoice when we or our loved ones are chosen to – be on the team, win an award, get invited to the party, attend a desired college, be promoted at work or be honored for an achievement. It is such an amazing moment when you realize you have been the one chosen. For decades we have experienced the joy and fulfillment of knowing that God has chosen us for His purpose, His glory and His kingdom but I must tell you that being chosen to adopt this sweet baby girl was a pinnacle moment in our life!
- We were chosen by the birth mother to raise her child in a loving Christian home (she specifically wanted “church goin’ folks” for her baby).
- We were chosen by the adoption agency, Life Choices as a qualified family to adopt one of their beautiful babies.
- We were chosen by Show Hope to receive a grant to help with the financial needs of this adoption.
- We were chosen by friends, family members and even strangers who believed in us enough to give of their money to cover the remaining expenses of adoption that we did not have available to us.
- We were chosen by God to experience firsthand what it means to be adopted by Him – “He predestined us to adoption as children through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” Ephesians 1:5 “…you have received a spirit of adoption as children by which we cry out, ‘Abba Father!’” Romans 8:15
And yet there is more…
- We were chosen by Christiana!
With every smile, every wet kiss, every squeal of delight when I walk into the room, every time she calls me “Mama”,everytime she lays her head on my shoulder to cuddle or surrender to sleep and even when she is hurt and will not be comforted by anyone else….I am struck by the fact that she has chosen me!
As we prepared for this adoption many questions were asked along the way by those all around us regarding different aspects of adoption. Often the questions would include concern as to if we thought we might find it difficult to love a child who “was not our own”. I summarily dismissed these concerns for several reasons:
- First, my husband is obviously “not my own” (biologically related to me) and I love him just fine. (and vice versa) Anyone who believes they cannot love someone who is not biologically related to them better take a second look before marrying.
- I had already birthed seven children all with different personalities, weaknesses, annoyances, challenges and flaws…I had managed to love each of them despite these hardships so certainly I could love any child God gave me through birth or adoption.
- I do not believe that love – true love - is a feeling but rather it is a choice. Don’t get me wrong, feelings are nice but they are not a good foundation for love because feelings are also fickle…they can be really beautiful one minute and unbelievably ugly the next. Anyone who has been married for five minutes can attest to the fact that loving “feelings” come and go. No, love is a choice to act in a loving way no matter how your current feelings happen to be fluctuating. Love is making a lifelong commitment to a person to be faithful, kind, self-sacrificing and giving. We knew that we could make a lifelong commitment to love an adopted child.
What I had never considered was the unconditional and undeserving love that would be poured out to me from my adopted child. You see, I thought she would have to learn to love me over the years. While my “bio kids” appeared to come out of the womb attached to their Mommy & Daddy, I assumed because I had not birthed Christiana that I would have to “earn her love” through my actions of love, care and service. Was I ever wrong! From the moment she was placed in my arms, she looked up into my face and her eyes overflowed with joy, acceptance and love. That love has been poured out to us daily, growing because she is learning more ways of expressing that love as she develops into a darling toddler, yet it has been there in her heart and in her eyes ever since that first day. Yes, we have been chosen by Christiana to be freely and unconditionally loved and that love has changed us profoundly.
As a large family who is in the full time ministry of Christian education we never thought that we could afford to adopt a child. Yet, we stepped out in faith and the Lord provided. We are so grateful for those donors who give to Show Hope so that they can provide grants to help with the often overwhelming expenses of adoption. We know that the Lord used this wonderful organization to increase our faith and help us to move forward towards adopting our precious gift from God. You who have given to this ministry have been chosen by God to partner with Him and others to participate in the miracle of adoption. Our gratitude to you is overwhelming!
If you have adopted a child or been adopted yourself, I would love for you to share your adoption story in the comments section of this blog in hopes of encouraging others to consider opening their hearts and homes to become a forever family to a waiting child. Adoption is truly an amazing miracle and a priceless gift! Maybe God is choosing you to be given a miracle and gift too!