Words don’t even begin to convey the amount of joy and gratitude we experienced today.
Two days ago we celebrated “Gotcha Day” – the sixth anniversary of the adoptions of two of our children. We splurged on a family meal out, celebrating the gift of these kids to our family, and the gift of a glimpse into God’s heart as our Adoptive Daddy.
It feels like so many more. And yet, we have had them longer. Liz joined our lives as a seven-year-old in 2nd grade. Matt joined our family as an eight-year-old (though I’d met him once in a playgroup when he was five or six). We had no idea in that play group or Jeremy’s 2nd grade class that we had children in those two groups. But God knew!
Today, Liz gave us one of the best gifts ever. It’s not really a gift for us, but it was and is a gift all the same.
On her own, Liz pursued getting baptized through our home church in Kandern.
And today was the day.
She asked Jeremy to baptize her. The “little” girl raised without a father has found, not only the love of a father on earth, but the indescribable love of her Heavenly Father.
This is her story.
She shared her testimony in front of all of her peers, her teachers, her friends, her family, and her church community. She spoke the truth of her story, pain and hope, mourning and joy, as eloquently as she always does. During the ceremony, Hannah leaned over and asked, “Why is everyone crying?” Tears had been streaming down my face since her song began.
(On the anniversary of her adoption, May 6th, Liz and a friend sang her favorite song, “How He Loves Us” and shares why. You can watch them perform during the BFA Talent Show (with a brief prelude as to why this song means so much to her.) The worship band then sang this song just before her baptism… which is how early I began crying about the whole thing!)
I answered Hannah’s question about the tears, while they silently streamed down my own face, “Because it’s a beautiful story.”
She pointed out the people in the audience crying. The worship band members crying. Then she heard the tears in Liz’s voice as she shared her testimony. “Is Liz crying too?”
“Yes, my dear… it’s a beautiful story.”
A story birthed out of darkness and pain and confusion and hurt. A story that no child should have as their first chapters (or any chapters). A story of a little girl who’d never heard of Jesus, never heard that anyone loved her, never knew that there was hope.
Until one day… all that changed.
(Hee hee… Hannah recently had a Newsies birthday party and I just had to throw that line in).
I’ll let you watch and listen for yourselves. The camera isn’t close enough to see our tear-strewn faces but I did manage to avoid a public ugly-cry. The power of this moment was too much: too precious, too beyond-my-imagination good.
That the pouring out of ourselves into the lives of our children could have such foundational moments of joy and hope and peace. A glimpse, again, into the Adoptive heart of our Daddy. My own adoption into a family I don’t deserve.
Only by His love.
Liz has grabbed hold of that Love.
Join us on her and our journey with the video below. Happy Mother’s Day to me! (And all other mamas out there).