I don’t know how to process the news that we got yesterday regarding Maria. It was not good. Our chances of having Maria remain in our family are very slim. February 22 is already the set date to hand her over to her great aunt. Cindy met with her and told us that she could not professionally recommend that Maria remain with us. Case closed – we have no say in the matter and that doesn’t seem fair. Life isn’t fair. I’m not even going to stake my claim on life being just – justice according to our system of law would have Maria belonging with her blood family. I recognize this painful reality. I’m staking my claim on grace and I’m holding out hope that God in His sovereign will could change her great aunt’s heart to see the future that our home holds for Maria. I do think that justice ought to allow us to have a hearing with her, as personal as possible, to declare our love for Maria and what type of future we hope for her to have with us. She needs to know what she could have with us, and she needs to weigh this evidence, if indeed Maria’s future is her main concern. We also want a relationship with her blood relatives. We want her to know her roots and we want them to see her grow up and become a young lady and adult. This is part of the risk God was asking us to take – that’s why we pursued adoption this way. Now, before I list some of the things that I would like to say to Maria’s great aunt, I need to stop and acknowledge the Lord’s sovereign will in this.
Since the first day we have had Maria, we have daily prayed for her future. We have said, “God, Maria belongs to You. You are her Maker and You are her Father. We trust her into Your hands because You are faithful, loving and perfect in all your ways. But if it be Your will, we would like her to belong to us too. We want to be representatives of Your hands and heart of love. We would like her to be in our family forever – to give her a new name, Maria Joy Born, a new future, one of hope, joy, peace and love, a new inheritance, all that we have is hers, and a new position as the child of our delight, bringing her into our large circle of friends and family. We want to delight in her and train her up in the unconditional love of the Lord – to come to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and be adopted into His family as well. “Not my will, but thine be done.” Those words were said in the Garden of Gasthemene as Christ was drawing near to the cross. His will was not granted, and I painfully will follow in Christ steps if God wills it. I must trust Him – is there anything else I can do? Here are some of the things we have prayed for her and continue to pray:
• Protect her from evil, and from the sins of her forefathers. Keep her from sexual, emotional and physical abuse. Keep her from any unnecessary pain, rejection, instability or dysfunction in her home life.
• Keep her mind healthy and strong, protecting her from any mental disorders.
• Place her in the home where she will come to know You as her personal Lord and Savior, and where this faith will be modeled and nurtured.
• Place her in a home where she knows and thrives in the fact that she is the object of her parents’ delight.
• Place her in a home that has a loving father – she needs to know the unconditional love and wisdom of a father.
• Make her more influential in this world than we will ever be. Make her a leader for what is right and good. May she live a life that has eternal impact.
• Give her a voice to sing your praises.
• Give her a heart of compassion.
• Make us these parents and this home by the power of Your Holy Spirit living in and through us.
I could go on with this prayer, but these are the things that we are pleading with the Lord to answer. Here is what I would like to say to Maria’s great aunt.
We consider Maria to be one of the most beautiful and precious gifts that God has given us. We know that according to the law, she should go with you, but we want you to know what she means to us, and what we would like to offer her, and hope that you would weigh that into a decision that has Maria’s best interest in mind. We are not trying to compare the love that you would give her with our love. Unconditional love levels the playing fields, and any child will thrive in this love. I would like you to consider what Maria presently has, and the future she would have if she remained with us. We would like you to be a part of that future as her Great Aunt. We also hope that she can know her birth mother some day as well.
We delight in Maria, as does our entire circle of friends and family. It would be overwhelming to name them all. She has been flooded with so many gifts, so much clothing, so many people rushing over to meet her that first week – people who want to know and love her. Julie and I both broke down and wept that first week we had her as we opened card after card with generous gifts and words of love. Maria doesn’t just have a home with a mom and dad and brother, she has 8 sets of cousins her age, 5 sets of aunts and uncles, 2 sets of grandparents, countless friends, and a whole church family that has overwhelmed both her and us with their love. In addition to this circle of friends and family, we offer her this home on this 10-acre orange farm in Redlands. It is more than we could ever have asked or dreamed, but whatever we have is hers. I hope that she might want to own a horse someday. Her grandparents live on the same property – a stone’s throw away. This is like the old-fashioned America where family is not just close, but right next door. Perhaps the greatest thing that we have to offer is a healthy family with both a mother and father, and an older brother who is absolutely crazy about her. More than anything, I want to be a father to Maria. I absolutely delight in her. I want to be there for her everyday, cheering for her when she wins, comforting her when she looses, protecting her from harm, seeing her thrive in my delight, the security of my love, and the confidence that she is beautiful and priceless in my eyes. She’s already got me wrapped around her finger. I would ask that you watch these video’s of pictures we have taken with her in our home. I think they capture the joy and love that Maria has had during her first 5 months of life with us. It was as if Maria were my very own that first day I spent with her on August 31st. Yet we have never claimed that Maria belongs to us and we don’t claim it now. We have just prayed that God in His grace would grant us the privilege of being her parents. We have trusted that wherever she goes, she is in His good and loving hands. We have given her all the love we could possibly give. His will be done.