By Sherri Ausbun
I cannot believe that one year has already passed! It seems like just a short time ago Daniel and I were checking our packing lists (several versions due to my Type A personality), medications (an entire medicine cabinet), flight tickets a world away with our two oldest children (Yikes, what are we thinking!), and precious 12-month outfits for our soon-to-be daughter. The transformation of love is remarkable. I have been full of nostalgia this past week, thinking of our hundreds of friends who prayed for us, supported us, loved and encouraged us, and even gave their own money to help us get our daughter.
I think of the first time she was placed in our arms, tearful but curious. We gave her a lollipop and she didn’t even know what to do with it. She just held it in her sweet little hand the entire first hour during our “Gotcha Day” paperwork. She would smile sometimes, but didn’t even know how to respond to being tickled. She would stare at us like we were crazy. She only liked rice soup called “congee” and wouldn’t take a bottle at all the first three days we had her with us in China.
Esther didn’t know how to relax in our arms, or put her head on our shoulder. She threw baby dolls across the room because she didn’t understand or know how to love by “pretend play.” She didn’t know who to trust. We were unfamiliar, yet we loved her so much. We had been praying for her before we ever saw her face, before we knew she would be our daughter. But our Sovereign Lord knew who she was and where she would belong – “God sets the lonely in families” (Ps. 68:6).
Esther didn’t know how to relax in our arms, or put her head on our shoulder. She threw baby dolls across the room because she didn’t understand or know how to love by “pretend play.”
Now that Esther has been with our crazy clan for a whole year she understands a family. She loves to be carried around by her older brother and sister. She loves to be snuggled at night before bed while we pray and sing how Jesus loves her. She cries for her Mommy or Daddy when she gets hurt and wants us to console her. Every day she relaxes into our family more and rests her sweet head on our shoulders. She pretends to feed her babies and changes their clothes and plays dress up and tea set with her older sister. She understands how to “pretend love” because she is loved.
She trusts that we will take care of her needs, that she is our precious girl. Love can transform lives.
Just like love has changed Esther’s life, Jesus’ love can transform our lives if we trust Him, know Him, and spend time with Him. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).
Just like love has changed Esther’s life, Jesus’ love can transform our lives …
This past Sunday morning the message was about God’s omnipotence and omnipresence. Just as children trust their parents, we should trust our Almighty God. God knows the whole picture and if we rely on Him more than we rely on ourselves, “He will make our paths straight” (Pro. 3:6).
On July 28th we will celebrate our sweet baby girl. We will rejoice that she is with our family forever. But this special time is born from great loss. Esther will never know her birth parents. She will ask questions as she gets older and will wonder about her past and the decisions her birth parents made when she was a baby. Jesus sees our painful pasts, but He can provide us a new life through His salvation. Isn’t it amazing that adoption paints the perfect picture of God’s love? “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5:8b).
This first year has been challenging, exhausting, and hard as our family has adjusted to four children, but it has also been amazing. Esther has been under anesthesia on six separate occasions. At times I am sure she has wondered if we are crazy, putting her through so much pain. Yet this past month she began to walk on her flat feet for the first time in her life. She is determined, strong, and so resilient.
This first year has been challenging, exhausting, and hard as our family has adjusted to four children, but it has also been amazing.
Our precious girl is amazing and we are so blessed to know that our friends and family continue to pray for her health and her soul. We are humbled to know that our story has in some small way inspired others to consider adoption. If you are considering adoption, if you feel God leading you down this road, don’t hesitate. It is an amazing journey we would do over again in a heartbeat to complete our family.
This post originally appeared at danielausbun.org.