Her hand clung tightly to my back, and her tiny frame snuggled closely against mine. She breathed deeply in slumber, eyelids fluttering. Meanwhile, hot tears streamed down my cheeks, and I shook with muffled sobs. You see, this three-year-old in my arms is my daughter. But with many months of waiting and thousands of miles behind me, this was the first night that I held her close to my heart.
Psalm 68:6 promises that, “God setteth the solitary in families…” Soon after the birth of our first child, the Lord began to press our hearts with the idea of adoption and the care of vulnerable children. Setting out to present our “religion” as “pure… and undefiled before God and the Father (James 1:27),” we quickly agreed to grow our family by welcoming the fatherless into our home. Slipping our hands into the hands of the Savior, we prayed that He would guide our steps and use us to touch lives as He saw fit.
We began with a need close to home and became licensed foster parents in our county. We realized that state care is imperfect, often flawed, sometimes unjust. But the grim reality is that there are thousands of children lost and insecure within this system. They need loving, secure families to care for them. After the hours of training and the home study process, we received a call about a toddler in need of a temporary home. Admittedly, we were hesitant to welcome a child into our hearts who would soon leave us. We weren’t sure if we could bear the pain of loving, only to suffer loss.
However, I was reminded of the powerful image of Christ in Matthew 19, little ones clustered around Him and perched onto His lap. I imagine that He was smiling and holding them close. Maybe He was recounting a parable, using colorful character voices. Maybe He was teaching them a peppy psalm of praise. The Bible doesn’t go into such detail, but we can infer one thing:
The disciples rebuked these children for wasting Jesus’ time. But the Savior responded with, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven (v. 14).” My imagination took it further as I imagined Jesus scooping up one of those precious children and holding him out toward my husband and me. How could we say no? At this point in his life, this child couldn’t get much closer to Christ than to be in the loving home of Christ-believers.
Matthew 6:34 resonated in my mind. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself…” If I were too worried about tomorrow’s emotions to love a child today, this would reveal a complete lack of faith in God.
A few days later, the social worker carried a blonde-haired boy with wide eyes to our front door. I remember watching through the front window, quickly wiping away tears and struggling to gain composure. I was overwhelmed by the innocence of this baby and the frailty of this situation. If it weren’t for God’s grace and His saving power, that could have been my son uprooted and placed into the home of strangers. My heart ached for this boy’s bewilderment and loss. We loved and delighted in him for the six months that he was with us. Then he was gone, reunified with his parents.
I am confident that during those six months, Jesus was placing His tender fingerprint of influence upon that little boy’s life.
And upon mine.
(Our story doesn’t end there. To be continued in February…)