Day Three – Joy for Mourning

Please note that names have been changed and some details made ambiguous in this post for the protection of the children involved.

We’ve often said that we don’t make families; God makes families. He brings people together, chooses their children (whether he knits them together in a bio family, or knits them in their birth mother’s womb knowing they will become part of another family), and weaves their lives close together.

The making of a family, however, isn’t without challenge and heartache when it comes to adoption. The reality is that adoption only happens when something along the way has been broken. Perhaps a birth mother has no support and places her child for adoption because she hasn’t enough resources to feed herself more than one meal a day, let alone her children. Perhaps parents have died. It may be drugs, war, poverty, lack of social acceptance or myriad other things that cause a child to become an orphan. All of these are heartbreaking, and wounding to our children.

Ah, but the good news is that God can and DOES exchange beauty for ashes and joy for mourning. How can it be that we and our children can take our pain and brokenness before Him, and He gives back to us peace, joy, and contentment, even for a moment? It’s not a fair trade, but this is the God of the second chance – the God of new beginnings…the God of redemption and wholeness! As an aside, this is one of the best things we can teach our children. God knows them, and knows their pain. They are important to Him. He can restore their spirit and soothe their heartaches, no matter their past and no matter their age. Please don’t think I’m Pollyanna about this. It doesn’t come without hard work and mourning on their part or ours. But that’s another post.

Back to God making families…

Our son is in the first grade. His school has many adoptive families yet he’s still a minority in his classroom. It challenges him, and gives us many opportunities to have the “I wish I were white” conversation. Again, that’s another blog post.

Recently, his dear teacher, Ms First Grade (I don’t use that condescendingly; she is WONDERFUL) came to me to let me know that a new student would be joining Jude’s class. His name is Dawit and he is from an African country. Knowing how scary adoption transitions can be, and that going from a predominantly brown world to a predominantly white world can incite much fear, she thought that perhaps Jude would wish to pray for a befriend Dawit. I knew that Jude would be glad to have a brown friend as well.

Ms First Grade shared that when Dawit’s mother brought him to meet her, Dawit was very fearful and that he would not speak to her; he was entirely in his little shell. We set to praying for this dear little one who had just come home to his Forever Family. We prayed, and the first grade class prayed. We prayed as a family that our son would be a good friend to Dawit and that he would help him make other new friends and that he would show him how to do things at school and help him learn English words better and better. With my passion for adoption, Dawit had my mindshare for weeks before he began class, and when I saw him on his first day, I saw that his mother stayed in the classroom with him for the day. I prayed that he would enjoy the other children and that his English would progress steadily. I prayed that his mother would know he was safe and that she would feel blessed by the children embracing him.

Imagine my delight when I dropped of my son the following morning, Dawit’s second day at school. Dawit came out of the classroom with a delightful smile on his face and exclaimed to one of the children, “Michael! My friend!” and he patted little Michael on the shoulder, grinning ear to ear as Michael turned and greeted him enthusiastically. I praised God for answering the prayers for fifteen first graders as well as my own. This little one who had been so timid had felt so welcomed by his classmates that he delighted in being at school. God had made a family for him, and had created a community that would envelop him to such a degree that this frightened little one could smile with glee.

This is what God does through adoption. He exchanges joy for mourning, blesses families, and makes children thrive in safety and stability. Dawit is not through his adoption transition by any stretch of the imagination. However, he has found joy and acceptance in his classmates; he has found a community that embraces him and a family that is committed to him. That’s God at work.


Child laughing

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