While we were at New Day, we spent the majority of our time in preschool, meeting the kids, playing with them, and just generally experiencing Cooper's daily routine there.
We fell in love with the kids there- it wasn't difficult at all. We expected that we'd love the kids, and New Day.
What I didn't expect was how much God would teach me as I spent a few days at a Chinese orphanage.
Each day, the kids would hop in our laps, ask to be held, want us to play with them and pay the most attention to them. Each of them desperately wanted and needed a mom and dad.
As I was in the preschool, I realized that because of their situation, there was nothing that these kids could do to MAKE someone come for them. It didn’t matter how smart they were, or well-behaved they were, or hard-working they were or how kind they were (and they were all those things and more), none of that made any difference, because they were completely unable to initiate the relationship they so desperately needed and wanted.
In order for them to have that relationship, a family, often halfway around the world, had to love them SO much that they would go through a long, difficult process, travel a great distance, and incur fees that totaled a high cost to adopt them and make them a beloved son or daughter.
I was also looking around and realizing how deep the needs of the kids in the room were- kids whose needs were very obvious- like Philip, who rolled around preschool in a make-shift wheelchair and needed help to do many simple tasks- but also kids who on the outside looked like any typical child, like Robert (now Jace), but who had unseen, and often life-threatening heart conditions.
And, as I was realizing they there was nothing they could do to MAKE a family come for them, I was also realizing that these kids, with these deep emotional and physical needs, couldn’t be TOO NEEDY for someone to come. In fact, I knew as I was standing there that several of those kids who were in that room had parents who were going to be coming to pick them up VERY soon in spite of whatever their needs were. They loved them so much.....nothing could keep them from coming!
And in the weeks and months that followed those days in the orphanage, God helped me to understand on a much deeper level what J.I. Packer was talking about when he said that “Our understanding of Christianity can not be any deeper than our grasp of adoption”.
You see, the situation of those orphans in that preschool classroom so closely mirrors our own, doesn’t it?
We all need a relationship with the God who made us, but we are unable to initiate that relationship. There is nothing we can do- we can’t be smart enough, or kind enough, or hard-working or well-behaved enough to earn that relationship. The gap is too big.
But, because God loved us SO much, he sent His Son a great distance to pay the ultimate cost- His own life- so that we could have a relationship with Him that gives us hope and a future.
No matter how broken we are- either deep below the surface where no one can see- or out there in a big messy mess for the whole world to see, NOTHING would have stopped Him from coming. He loved us too much to leave us as orphans.
As we left New Day, I felt the love of God in a way I had never felt it previously.
It was an experience that forever changed me.
**On a wonderful note....nearly all the children in these pictures have either been united with their forever families or are matched with a family that will be traveling to pick them up soon. The only three children pictured here who are not currently matched are Caleb (the baby Scot is holding in the second picture), Josiah (the baby in the last picture), and Philip (sixth picture). Please pray with us for Philip to be matched. He has seen many of his preschool classmates and even one of his foster siblings be adopted. He is desperately longing for a family of his very own. Will you pray with us that he will be matched soon?