Last night, Chris and I had the opportunity to be filmed for some promotional material to be used by a non-profit foundation designed to provide grants to adoptive families. This organization provided our family with a grant last fall, when we were pursuing Hannah. It was a new experience for both of us. It is difficult for me to articulate all that I want to say in a situation like that and I know I didn't fully express all that my heart desired. I much prefer to ruminate and ponder, type, and save, and walk away. You can't do that when someone is filming you. They asked us to share some intimate details about our adoption journey and the work God has done in and through that process. Again, the pressure of the moment made it really difficult for me to fully express myself, but I do hope that somewhere in there (and through the magic of editing) they are able to pull out the heart of what I was trying to say. One of the final questions they asked was, "What was most intriguing or surprising to you in your adoption journey?" I had the answer to this question almost immediately and began answering it right away. Sadly, my first answer didn't even make it to film since they had yet to begin recording, but I did my best to try to stumble back through it and recreate my answer for the video (the first was far better than the second). It got me thinking quite a bit last night.
Adopting Hannah changed us. It changed me in a way that I can't ever and will never be the same again. All in good ways, but I will never be the person I was this time last year, eagerly awaiting the arrival of our LOA. I think that is what I found the most surprising about our journey. I entered into the adoption process expecting to change Hannah's life, but really, we are the blessed ones and we are the changed ones. I was not fully prepared for the sanctifying work God was about to begin in my life through our adoption journey. The depth of my understanding of the gospel has reached a level I've never experienced in my life. I have come face to face with an understanding of the magnitude of the sacrifice, the cost to achieve it, and the pain that accompanies it. I've experienced the pouring out of unmerited grace and love--a depth of understand of just how unworthy, how undesirable I am and yet how profoundly powerful His love is to look beyond that and accept me. He has used Hannah's presence in our home to draw me into His presence in ways I never knew. My reliance on Him and desperate need for Him is overwhelming. I simply cannot do it. I simply cannot weather the storm, season, or circumstance alone. I am not equipped and I am desperately nothing without His grace, His mercy, His adoption of me into His eternal home. Daily I am confronted with raising a child who is hurt, broken, and perhaps unaware of just how desperate her state was and still is. Love heals a myriad of wounds, but eternal adoption....my love can't conquer that, only Jesus can.
The fact of the matter is that yes, outwardly, we changed Hannah. She has a place in our family, she is a Burris and always will be. We helped her with her special need and provided her with the surgical changes she needed to thrive, but ultimately, that isn't what it is all about, is it? What I want to change most is to pierce her heart. Yes, I want to flood her heart with love, compassion, grace...all the tenderness only a true Mama can provide, but ultimately, I want this little person to feel the penetrating power of the gospel at work in her own life. I want her to know Jesus in the way He is daily revealing Himself to me. I don't know that I would know Him this way had we not brought Hannah home and I will forever be thankful for His grace to call me to adoption and then so intimately and lovingly provide me with a deeper level of understanding of Him. I was hungry for more of Him before Hannah came home. Now, I am daily hungering and thirsting so desperately it can only be filled by Him.
I was changed through the adoption process. Deeply changed. I am daily changed by the adoption process. I am daily changed by Him. If you hear the call of adoption on your heart, please know that He has so much more in store for you than just simply the rescue of an orphan or the giving of a Father to the fatherless. Those are great things and so desperately needed, but His plan for you, through adoption, is far greater than what you can see on the surface and so much greater than what you have to offer to your child to be. What we have to offer Hannah is so meager compared to what only He can give, but somehow, I get to be part of that story. He allows me the honor of accompanying her on her journey to seek to know Him and it fills my heart with overflowing gratitude to be invited into just a small part of that story. We gave her an earthly home and family and we get to watch her as she learns about and realizes how much she needs to seek an eternal family and home. Yes, you will change your child, but hear my heart and know this truth...you will be changed. You will experience spiritual warfare. You will be stretched and you will come face to face with the gospel in unexplainable ways. You'll have a choice. You can press on, trusting your call, and clinging more deeply to His promises than you ever have, or....you can push it aside and resist the feeling of being a piece of clay in the Potter's hands, you can fight the filling He offers for His vessels. Adoption changed me. Adoption changes things. Jesus changes everything.
**If you have any questions after reading this blog post about how to be a part of God's eternal family or how to enter into the adoption process, please do not hesitate to contact me!**