It was definitely a surreal experience to be sitting in that soviet-style government office back in the fall of 2000. My husband Stephen and I had flown to St. Petersburg, Russia, to complete our first official trip in the painfully slow process to adopt our son and daughter, Pasha and Kristina. Like so many of you, we were not prepared for scope of what would be required of us to bring our children home. There was the financial and time out-put, of course. The paper work alone was a huge source of stress and effort! Anyone else out there know the tune to that song?! But there was also a considerable and unmeasurable emotional and spiritual cost as well. Joyfully given, but as I said, unforeseen.
So, that morning sitting across the desk from the stern woman who seemed to hold the fate of our children in her rather intimidating hands, Stephen and I were already experiencing a sense of relief at being so close to the finish line of a long race. We eagerly awaited the official approval of our adoption, sure that we had dotted every proverbial "i" required of us. So, what happened next totally took us by surprise.
This woman slammed her fist down on the desk and in a severe tone said, "You cannot adopt these children." When our translator and amazing advocate, Sasha, explained to us what she was saying, we were absolutely dumbfounded. How could this be? What else could we possibly do? We had jumped through every hoop, and some of those hoops more than once as the time passed.
It was then that Stephen experienced one of those moments that you remember and tell about for the rest of your life. He said that as we sat there, with this dread coming down on us like her fist on the desk, that he heard the Lord's voice as clear as ever he has heard it. Our wonderful, kind Lord met with us right there in that ungodly office--He is indeed EMMANUEL! GOD WITH US.
Stephen said out of the blue he heard God say,
I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. (Revelation 3:8 NIV)
Dear friends, the call to adoption is an open door that Father God placed before us and our children. Undoubtedly many of you, like us, have had similar occasions when someone has come along, and with some authority of their own, reached out to slam that door shut. And I am not just talking about the part of adoption that is the process of getting your child into your home, all the official paperwork finally completed and officially approved. For if adoption is the transformation of an orphan into a true Son or Daughter, then to some degree many of us are still adopting. As we parent our children, loving them through their grief, trauma, attachment issues, and search for identity, you and I enter into the powerful and efficacious expression of the love of the Father that we call adoption, both for our children and for us.
It is good for me as a mother of 7 to remember how the Lord intervened in that Russian government office all those years ago, for since then there have been many different versions of that scene played out over the years--times when the enemy has tried to stop the process of my children living in their full inheritance as a true son or daughter. That door of adoption God opened for you and me will not be shut!
And that spot right there, in the center of that doorway, is where this mother will take her stand!
Father God, together as a community of mothers and fathers, we thank you for the open door of adoption through which your love continuously flows to us and to our children. We are in total reliance on You God, for we cannot open that door, nor can we keep it open over the years-- BUT YOU CAN AND YOU DO. May each child represented by each reader of this post enjoy every single bit of their inheritance as a True Son, a True Daughter. Amen.