Thursday, March 13, 2014


From Beth:

Adoption has been a precious gift in my life. To be a part of God's redeeming and extravagant love for children, to be a part of the eternal work of the transformation of an orphan into a son or daughter--WOW! This is the ride of a life-time, and it only gets better with time--not always easier (sometimes, but not always), but definitely more powerful as the work of adoption reaches the deepest places in all of our lives. 

What has gotten me so excited once again about adoption? It has been 14 years since we brought our first two children home, so you might think that the deep satisfaction and excitement might have worn into an every-day kind of thing.

But there come these special moments when I feel the Holy Spirit whispering to me, "Hey Beth, take a look at this! Are you seeing what I have been doing here? How beautiful is this?! Is not the love of God amazing?!" 

My daughter Kristina and I hosted a Russian tea recently with lots of Russian chocolates and other special goodies to help celebrate Russian Women's Day. 
Celebrating Russian Women's Day

Our guest of honor, Judy Grout who was visiting from Russia, was the missionary who taught Kristina English lessons in the orphanage. She shared the wonderful testimony about how she had been trying to get permission to minister in the orphanage our children were in for years and had been turned away repeatedly by the director. When Stephen sent her an email after finding the Vyborg Christian Center on the internet, and we developed a friendship, she went back to the director and asked if she could teach English to the two children who were being adopted by an American family. 

The director agreed, and from that time on Judy has had an open invitation to minister in that orphanage. Many children have come to know the Lord, and many have experienced the love of God through this one door of adoption. 

Beloved friends, we do not know what other amazing things God has on His mind when He calls us to adopt. We see that He is doing a work in us and in our child, but you can be sure that His plans reach deeper and farther than even the amazing depth of His love for your child and for you. Many of these stories won't be told until we are together in eternity, but I am quite sure they will be told, and that our wonderful God will get all the glory. To our family, this one story is a taste of heaven.
Kristina and Judy

I sat there in our living room and looked at a sight that left me in awe again at who our God is. 
Kristina, Elena and Veronika

These three beautiful young women all told a little of their stories of being adopted from Russia and Ukraine. Kristina (on the left), Elena, and Veronika sat together as friends who have been given a future and a hope through adoption. Just seeing them with those beautiful smiles spoke to me of hope and God's extravagant love. 

For those of you who are in the earlier stages of adoption and raising your children, know that there have certainly been some significant challenges in the lives of these young women and in their families. But also, be encouraged to see that in the midst of these challenges, adoption is doing it's work in your child, and in you too! And it is a beautiful work, filled with hope and a future. 

And then there is this photo--the story behind this never ceases to amaze me. It is a story of the "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." (Ephesians 3:20)

Jenny Grout with Kristina and Veronika.

On the left you see our dear Russian friend Jenny. She is married to Judy's son, Joe. They met and married in Russia and then decided to move to America so Joe could attend college. Jenny had worked, and even lived, in some of the places our children had lived. And of all the places they could go in the USA (the Grout family has no family or real connections in Georgia), they ended up in Toccoa, Georgia! Jenny became a wonderful friend to our family, and to Kristina especially. She helped her make the huge adjustment to life in America and to life in a family and to life in the kingdom. 

So, here is a young woman who not only is Russian, but from the same town as our children, who God sends to help them and us in the most amazing ways. Is this not extravagant? Seriously, I would never have thought to even ask God for such a gift. 

I hope that these stories encourage you dear friends. God is at work in our adoption stories. 

In the mundane, day-in-day-out realities of life, it is easy to forget that what is happening is a long story being told by the One who is The Beginning and The End of every one of these beautiful stories of sacrificial love. 

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