The room is big with cribs lining the walls. In the center is a huge playpen with 8-10 babies inside it, playing, scooting, and observing their environment. They eat. They sleep. They cry. They wait in the playpen. Every day. Of course there are workers who smile at them and occasionally hold and kiss them but there are babies that need to be fed and children that need to be cared for. She is just one of many. She plays in that pen with her mismatched clothes, lower lip sucked in, and thinning hair. She is serious, her brows furred over her chocolate brown eyes as she observes those around her. She has no mother, no person who cares enough to learn more about her then her name. No one has taken the time to discover what makes her laugh, what her favorite food is, or that she loves to dance and be held. She is alone.
Weeks later she is lying on her tummy in the middle of a crowded living room thousands of miles away from her home (and yet miraculously she is also home). She is surrounded by people who have loved her the moment they heard her name. People who want to play with her, learn her favorite foods, discover what makes her laugh, dance with her, and hold her until the sun goes down. That night she drinks her bottle in the arms of a mother who loves her more than anything, falls asleep in her arms, is kissed by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who can’t wait to watch her grow up, and wakes to a world of people aching to be with her.
Her life took a complete 360. Over the next few weeks she transforms from a skinny baby to a fat baby. A serious baby to a joyful baby. A scooting baby to a crawling and then walking baby. A baby with thinning hair to a baby with thick gorgeous brown hair.
And God allowed me the privilege of not only witnessing it, but playing a part. Katie Davis (adoptive mother of 14) described adoption as “the gospel in my living room.” Why am I so in love with Africa? Orphans? Adoption? People ask me all the time how it all began and I’ve only just been able to track it back to my cousin Ana. Ana was the first time I got to witness the miracle of adoption and seeing her transform under my aunt’s loving care spoke more to me of Christ’s redeeming love then any sermon I have ever heard.
Ana is the most beautiful child I have ever met. Ana is the most challenging child I’ve ever met. She makes me laugh. She makes me cry. She makes me want to adopt. She makes me doubt that I will ever be a good mother. God has used Ana to teach me so much.
I’ve tried several times before to write a post explaining what it is about adoption that is so beautiful to me, but words just can’t do it justice. You have to see it. You have to experience it. You have to live it. Adoption is hard and oh so challenging. Adoption is beautiful and one of the most rewarding things you can do in this world. For me adoption is the closest I am ever going to get to understanding the gospel message.