Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How God works- Part 1

I have been anxiously awaiting the chance to share more publicly how God has been working in my life and the lives of our growing family over this past year.  

So, rather than making some sudden big announcement, 

I thought I would like to start at the beginning and share with you a glimpse into this journey we've been on.  

If you've been sharing this with us from the beginning, you will remember that it wasn't even a year ago that the Lord burdened our hearts toward adoption.  Mere days after that, we saw this face for the first time:

As I scrolled through the big online file of "aging out kids", I found myself pulled to these eyes.  I remember going back to this face over and over.  I remember feeling like I wanted to take my hands right through the computer screen and hold those cheeks in my hands.  There was something so beautiful and innocent about this boy!

I printed out his photo and a brief paragraph about this child and walked downstairs where my husband was watching TV.  Seeing the serious expression on my face, he muted the television and gave me his attention.

I handed him this picture and after reading through it, he replied, "Really? A teenager?"

I told him that I thought this was the child that we were to bring into our family.  He looked at the photo again and he knew.  He knew that this was our son.

 This was Good Friday, 2011.

The rest of the "Race to Colin" has been documented in great detail on this blog, so you can read here, here, and here if you want more on that early phase of paperchasing.  

Colin's adoption took a record breaking 4 months. EXACTLY 4 months from Good Friday when we first laid eyes on him to his "Gotcha Day" in August when we met him for the very first time.

There was no doubt in our minds, not even once, that we were meant to bring this boy home and be his parents.  Now I confess I did often wonder why.  Why us?  Why now? And I even wondered how?  Many times. But, I never wondered IF.  And, given the number of unique elements to this adoption, the IF was a big question for everyone else. Everyone except us.

God was so gracious in giving me total peace about the IF. Thank you God.

So, as the story unfolds, we were about 2 months into our adoption journey when I saw another powerful face.  In fact, it might be the most beautiful referral picture I've ever seen.  So pretty, in fact, that once again, I found myself stopped in time staring at it.

Now seriously, is this not a stunningly pretty child?  This boy, according to his records, was 13 and about to age out just like our Colin.  So, being completely uneducated and naive about how this "adoption thing" worked, I emailed our agency to see what might be involved in getting both of these boys at once. (Yeah, I know. CRAZY with a Capital C!)

We were told that given the timelines for each boy, that we would be jeopardizing Colin's age-out date (his 14th birthday) if we attempted to get this second child approved also.  
Well, there was no way we were going to purposefully do anything to put Colin's adoption in jeopardy, so we considered that a clearly closed door from the Lord.

I prayed that the Lord would bring this boy's family to him SOON.  None of these children should grow up living without the hope and love a family can provide, but there was just something so very special about this particular boy and I knew that this fate was simply not acceptable for him.  

Believing that we were not that family (or so we thought at the time), we moved forward and focused our energies on completing Colin's adoption in time.  Of course, God's timing is always perfect, and we did get him in time. Seven days before his 14th birthday, we arrived in China and met our son.

If you had asked us then if God was at work, we would have said, "Yes. He is clearly at work here."  
But, with 6 months of hindsight to our credit now, I can honestly say that I did NOT know just how the Lord was preparing our family, and 
my heart 
in particular, for the amazing journey to come.

I look forward to sharing more about this transformation in my next few posts, but for now just know that God, the master planner, has been working in some incredible ways and has led us to a very surprising place.  Stay tuned.


Jennifer said...

Loving this! God works in amazing ways!!!

Elizabeth said...

My family, a little older with a young biological son, are in the process of our first adoption. I found your blog through Cornbread and Chopsticks and have scoured your blog, analyzing every post for insight...I'm waiting with baited breath for your next installment! :)

Mom2Six said...

Stop torturing me! I hate to wait! I have loved watching all the miracles in your life this last year and I can't wait to find out what else God has planned for you all moving forward.

Jenni said...

I have enjoyed following along on your journey this past year and am excited to re-live these memories with you!!

The Rylands Family said...

Jennifer-Thanks, and YES HE DOES!!

Elizabeth- Please give me a call or shoot me an email anytime if I can provide encouragement or guidance into this for you. I am thrilled that you are following along.

D.O. You crack me up!! This is certainly not meant to torture anyone, but I really wanted to give due credit where it is so deserved and since the Lord laid all this out over time, it is hard to properly share it without a little drama...LOL

Jenni- Love you lady!

Blessings to you all,

Sherri said...

Love reading all this Angie, since I didn't "know" you back then! We're 17 days to birthday....SO excited!