14 Apr How This Painful Video Brings Me Joy
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated in this world. Beginning last fall was a fairly difficult five to six months for our family filled with financial difficulties, unemployment, endless sleepless nights, sicknesses, death and grieving just to mention a few. We’ve been down hard roads before but that doesn’t make the next one any easier. Although, the experiences and the lessons we learn in those messy and painful trials give us a new perspective with which to face the next challenge.
I love analogies and visuals. It just makes so many things easier for me to digest and understand. I enjoy using sports examples because it’s so often a perfect analogy for life, and it’s how God taught me so many important lessons. I’m learning quickly that children, parenthood, and adoption are also pretty amazing illustrations.
Zoe and Zadok cuddling on the playroom floor.
Zadok is now 14 months old. Over the last two months, my husband and I would watch him and then tell each other things like, “This is the age Zoe was when we first met her,” “This is the age Zoe was when she came home,” and “I can’t believe Zoe was this old when she came into our family.”
The day we met Zoe was about two weeks after her first birthday. So she was still very much a baby, but yet old enough to know her caretakers from strangers and have attachments. Her whole world, everything that she knew, changed completely in a single day. I cannot even fathom. I watch Zadok now, and try to picture if he had to go live suddenly with someone else. Yes, I cry every time. The thought alone breaks my heart into a million pieces, but I have to let my heart go there because Zoe’s really did. And Dakaia’s will, too.
So I want to share with you a short video that may seem disheartening when you first watch it. But stay with me and I’ll explain how while it still hurts to watch, I can now see that it’s filled with hope and encouragement that leads to joy.
This video is the very first moment we met Zoe. She was terrified. She didn’t want anything to do with us, especially me, and she even tried to leave the room. The woman you hear narrating is our sweet guide and now friend, Amy, and the woman holding Zoe’s hand is the orphanage director.
Zoe had never been outside of the orphanage walls. Then suddenly one day, she was taken on an 8 hour car ride and given to people she had never seen that look different and speak a language she had never heard and did not understand. She had no idea what was happening and was terrified. I would have been, too. I was for her.
Me with Zoe in our hotel in Guangzhou, China.
But we knew something Zoe didn’t know. We knew she was finally going to have a family. A FOREVER family. We knew she would be loved and given the very best care because we were going to give it to her.We knew that it would be scary and it could be a rough transition, but we were prepared to love her even if she didn’t love us in return. We knew the plan for Zoe’s life from that point forward was to be our daughter. We knew being part of a family was better than life confined in an orphanage with no one to love her unconditionally. We knew. But she didn’t know these things, so she feared, tried to run in the other direction, wanted anything but what we could give her.
What I saw in Zoe in those first moments is what I see in myself sometimes, especially when things get hard. Life is unpredictable and sometimes downright scary. We can’t always see the road ahead, if a curve or a cliff is coming. Some days the fear of not being able to see the next step is enough to make us want to throw it in reverse and hightail it back the way we came.
But the good news is there is One who knows the plan for our life even though we can’t see it. The One who gave His own life for us before we even knew Him. This same One who is preparing a place for us already. He loved us first.
That’s how it had to be with Zoe. We loved her first, prepared a place for her, brought her home to live with us and loved her through all of the pain. Today she is a healthy and happy 3 year old thriving in every way. She is loved and adored by her family, and she loves so big in return.
I’m not using this analogy to say adoptive parents are like God or are saviors. It’s quite the opposite as we are still sinners being sanctified daily, and we had our own selfish motives in adopting- wanting to be parents. I’m using this example because I see myself in Zoe. I see how far she has come and how much she has blossomed. But if she had gotten what she wanted and high tailed it out of that room, not only would her life be drastically different, but so would ours.
Zoe has been such a blessing to our family,. She and Arella are more than sisters, they’re best friends.
That thought really pounds it home for me. When I trust God and move faithfully forward in the direction He wants me to go, even when it’s scary, I will not only be impacting my life but others as well. And if I trust God to do good things through the work He has for me to do, then I must trust that that good work will go well beyond myself and pour out onto others. If I throw it in reverse and run back with my tail between my legs, not only will I miss out on some awesome blessings, but how many others will as well?
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