“Mom, can I ask you a question even if it might make you mad?” my daughter asked as she began her schoolwork at the kitchen table.
“You can ask me anything you want, sweet girl,” I replied.
She took a deep breath and nervously began scribbling at the top corner of her worksheet.
“Why did you pick me?” she asked. “Out of all the kids in the orphanage, why did you pick me? Was I really sick? Was I just really cute? Why me?”
It is a story my husband and I have told our children a hundred times. We have even made picture books to help them remember, but sometimes their hearts just need a gentle reminder. On this particular day, my daughter needed to hear her story. Reaching for her hand, I put her pencil down, smiled, and started at the beginning.
“Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl …”
My husband and I became global workers before we had children. According to our grand plan, we would spend three years serving in Haiti and then head home to Tennessee to secure well-paying jobs and start a family. God, however, had other plans.
Six months in, we became parents to a two-year-old girl. A year and a half later, her older brother joined us. Almost two years after that, I gave birth to a baby boy in our little Haitian home. Not at all what we had planned.
Being a global worker is tough. Being a mom is tough. Being an adoptive mom while navigating life in another culture away from the support of family and friends is REALLY tough—but God has never left my side. Not once. In fact, I daily feel as if He is taking the lessons I am learning while raising my two oldest children and using them to mold me into a better global worker.
Let me explain.
Adoption has made me more compassionate.
I have always been a very compassionate person. If you are a global worker, chances are compassion is a gift of yours as well. Still, sometimes I must admit I get burned out from caring so much. Constantly taking care of the needs of others is exhausting. Then again, I guess that is parenting in a nutshell. In the beginning, having compassion for my children’s ever-evolving needs was challenging. I often felt my compassion bucket running dry. Then just when I thought I was out, God would always fill it back up again. Slowly I began noticing that the more compassionate I became inside my home (with my children), the more compassionate I became outside my home as well. The result? Adoption has helped me to become a more compassionate global worker.
Adoption has also helped me to better relate.
In my ministry, I work with a group of young adults who had all been abandoned as children. It has often been difficult for me to relate to the emotional struggles of these youth. My children are nine and seven, and both are at stages in their lives where they are beginning to ask all sorts of questions as they try to form their identity and sense of belonging. Helping them through this process in my own home has helped me to better understand those going through the same feelings and challenges outside my home, thus making me a more relatable global worker. The result? Adoption has given me a personal glimpse into the heart of a child who has been disconnected from his or her birth parents.
Adoption has helped me slow down and enjoy the small victories.
Life as a global worker is so unstable. Monday never looks like Tuesday. Every day looks different. Some days I go to bed feeling like a superhero while other days, I wonder if I actually accomplished anything good. This used to really bother me. I felt like a failure if I was not out saving the world at all times. Then I become an adoptive mom, and I learned that the small victories in life are actually some of the greatest. When my oldest son first hugged me and meant it—HUGE. When I first learned how to braid my daughter’s hair—HUGE. Hugs and hair may seem small to the rest of the world, but to our family they were monumental achievements. It is the same in our ministry. Small victories on the field are often some of the greatest. A teenager who is normally uninvolved during house devotionals offers to say a prayer—HUGE. A neighbor who daily ignores you finally waves hello—HUGE. The result? Rejoicing with my children through these seemingly small (but huge) victories has helped me learn to rejoice through the small (but huge) victories of my ministry as well. This has made me into a much better global worker all-around.
If you are an adoptive mom serving somewhere in this great big world, oh how I wish we could hug and schedule a coffee date, because God knows we need each other. Since we cannot, let me encourage you virtually. You are doing a great job. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, but you are. I promise. Adoption has the ability to teach us so much, and today let me challenge you to prayerfully consider how God has used adoption to grow you as a Christian, as a mom, and as a global worker. You may be surprised how He is using your adoption to better equip you to love and serve those around you, just as He is with me.
Question to consider: What things have God used “to better equip you to love and serve those around you”?