|My guest Renee Sanford|
My guest today is Renee Sanford, her husband and adoptive daughter Anna are contributing authors to my book FINDING SARAH FINDING ME, just as I was a contributing author to their Focus on the Family book THRIVING AS AN ADOPTIVE FAMILY.
Adoption: Called to Love by Guest Author Renée Sanford
David and I stood excitedly at the screen door on that unseasonably warm April Day. As soon as we knocked, we heard a happy voice call enthusiastically, “It’s my family!” Little steps pounded up the stairs. The foster mom opened the door, and the child we had hoped and prayed and waited for jumped into our arms.
When we first hugged our daughter, we knew the road ahead would be hard. We knew our love would not be enough to erase the pain she already had endured. We knew we would need the love and support of our family and friends and the wise experience of professional counselors. And we did. We needed them and they gave love and counsel and support in marvelous ways.
What we didn’t know is the road would be a hard and singular path. A path where we would look over at easier parenting roads and wonder how we could have not done better. Then again, a path where we experienced the intimate companionship of the Lord.
When you chose to love an abused child, you are stepping into the shoes of the Father who loves us, His broken children.
When a child pushes you away, continues to hurt herself, can’t stop hurting others, and yet you know you will do whatever it takes to help that child grow up, then you experience what God has experienced in loving us. And sometimes that is all that you can point to for why you continue. Obedience to the calling to love.
Some people admire us for bringing a broken child into our home, as if we are truly amazing people. They haven’t been there when we’ve lost our cool and doors slam and we have to apologize—again. Some admire what we’ve done, but pity us for the pain we’ve brought on ourselves. Others just think we’re fools, I’m sure.
So I ask myself sometimes: Why did God lead us to adopt this child? I know His leading her to our family was His will. I know my calling to be her mother. I know my weaknesses. No matter how much I studied and learned and tried to parent in the way she needed, I know where I fell short. Where I failed her and my other children, too.
What is the point if I can’t see how my love and parenting have made a difference in her life?
The point is that I am seeking the Kingdom of God because the Kingdom of God belong to such as these. These little ones whom others’ have hurt. This is my path for seeking God’s Kingdom, and I must follow Him however He leads. Regardless of how He leads others. My calling is to love and protect this child, and I will obey, whether I ever see the results or not. For now that love and protection means accepting that we have done all we can and letting her live away from us in a program that can give her what we can’t. A strange way to parent, but the path God opened.
The point is that, as I bring that hurt into my own life, I am identifying with the Lord Jesus who is the one who truly took all our pain. The only hope I see for my girl is if she truly accepts that Jesus took all the pain and horror and shame of what was done to her and what she has done to herself. But maybe she will see and understand it in our love and sacrifice for her.
The point is that I am called to love my child, not to fix her. This is true for all my children. Only the Holy Spirit can do the incredible work of saving and healing and changing. Adoption itself doesn’t fix a broken child. But adoption rescues him and brings him to a place to experience what he has never had before. Only God can heal any broken heart.
The point is that, after all is said and done, anything done in love lasts for eternity.
Verses to Ponder:
The only thing that counts is
faith expressing itself through love.
Galatians 5:6b NIV
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV
Authors and Adoptive Parents,
David and Renee Sanford
Renée Sanford is the mother of five children and grandmother of ten, who live in British Columbia and four states. Renée works as a Child Welfare social service specialist in the state of Oregon and is passionate about supporting families and children in the adoption journey. Renée also is passionate about teaching Scripture and encouraging women through her writing and speaking. She and her husband, David, are the co-authors of the 400 pages of devotional / application notes for the Living Faith Bible (Tyndale House, 2000), co-authors of the book How to Read Your Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2005) and general editors of the Handout on Thriving as an Adoptive Family (Tyndale House/Focus on the Family, 2008).