A Letter To An Unknown Chinese Mother

     As my daughter’s twelfth birthday approaches, I am drawn once again to the mother on the other side of the world;  the mother who gave a piece of herself away the day they dropped this bundle at the gate of an orphanage.  I wonder if this day is set aside as a day of remembering, or if the memory of her lost one is buried deep within heart, to painful to touch. If so,  I pray the Lord touches that wound and replaces it with a peace that surpasses all understanding.  

(Originally posted November 5, 2014)


I pull the brush through her long, thick hair and watch her reflection in the mirror.  Her lips never stop moving as she shares a story from school that day.  She pauses and looks in the mirror and asks, “I wonder what my birth mom looks like?”

And this question steals my breath and quickens my heart as I search for the perfect words to say.   Because I desperately want to shield her from her early story and the unknowns that international adoption offers.  I want to rescue her identity from words like “abandoned” and “orphan.”

So I take these moments to teach her of God’s amazing ability to weave a more beautiful story through the events that make up our lives.

Because God reveals beauty in the words that fall hard at our feet.  He has taught me not to hide from them; instead I have learned to embrace the hard.

When the world says abandoned, God says  “chosen.”

When her little friends say orphan, God says, “my precious one.”

When the world says unloved, God says, “securely wrapped in my never-ending, forever love.” 

This adoption process goes on much longer than the two year paper trail and the flights across the world.  This adoption process is a continual recognition and enlarging of God’s unconditional love for us;  His chosen and much-loved children, grafted in to His family through adoption. 

God has taught me, and is teaching her, to embrace Him in the unknown edges of her story.  Because international adoption offers more unknowns than answers, and leaves us with questions that will never be answered.

And it’s at these moments, that I think of you, an unknown Chinese mother.  A mother living with her own very hard unknowns.  It’s at these moments, that I pray the Lord will reveal His great love for you and redeem the hard parts of your story;  that He will fill the void of the unknowns of your life.

You will always tug on the edges of her story, the story that is shaping her in to the woman God created her to be.

Her story will always include you.


And as I stare at her reflection in that mirror, and take in her features that are so clearly not mine, I smile.  I can’t say for certain, but I can say with some confidence,  “Look in the mirror, Grace.  I think she probably looks a lot like you.”


The Anchor for Our Souls

“We will not hide them from our children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”  Psalm 78:4


I read the email while spaghetti boils over on the stove and garlic bread threatens to burn in the oven. My neck tenses and an ache settles deep within my stomach and heart. We are three months away from our next move with the military, and I’m not ready.

A glitch in our housing arrangement at our next duty station. A longer than expected wait for our home. A list of temporary apartments attached at the bottom of the email. I can’t bare to click it open.

What seems too good to be true ends up being just that.

The dominoes begin to fall. I allow my mind to run alongside them.

A longer wait for housing means our son’s last summer before going away to college will most likely be spent in a hotel or navy lodge.

Our dog will need to be shipped off to stay with a family member.

The thought of living out of a suitcase for an extended period of time exhausts me.


One email opens a pit of panic so deep, I fall hard and fast.

I throw dinner on the table and retreat to my bedroom for a quick moment to pull myself together.

I am aware that my family’s climate heavily depends upon my attitude and a frazzled and anxious me does not make a peaceful home.

Before I can talk anyone else off the ledge, I need to take a step back and anchor myself to a firm foundation.

I go to the only place I know to go. I don’t have it in me to make it all happen. I need an anchor that can steady this rocking boat and promise safety amidst the strongest of storms.


I know this anchor. It has proven strong and faithful. This anchor is sure to steady me in the most tumultuous of seas.

Recognizing God’s hand in our past, and confident of His hand in our future, is that anchor.

We are mandated to remember the mighty hand of God in our past.

To recall his mighty deeds in days by gone, and remember his miracles of long ago.

To not only remember what the Lord has done, but also to share His mighty works with the next generation, our children, and our children’s children.

We have a history to remember.

We have a responsibility to etch the handiwork of our God in to the hearts and minds of those who come after us.

Our God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He will not fail us now. Our past has proved it. Our future relies upon it.

This anchor is trustworthy and connects us to hope beyond our circumstances.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only true anchor for our souls. He is the One who knows all things, and He is faithful to walk with us through all things.

We must be deliberate in slowing down, moving toward a posture of trust, reliance and remembrance.

When the anchor is entrenched deep into the sea bed, only then is the ship stable.

This anchor keeps us from floating aimlessly out to sea.

We rely upon its dependability, having full confidence in its ability to protect as we move forward in to the great unknown.

Then and only then can we face these uncertain times with godly certainty.


“For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” Psalm 117:3

“May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.” Psalm 90:17

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77:11


When the Inevitable is on Your Doostep

“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” Psalm 18:32


There are days you wake up and you are completely aware that the inevitable is going to happen. That performance appraisal, the teacher conference, or those loads of laundry that must get done. Whether the task at hand excites or exhausts, you wake to the knowledge that this, today, is your reality.

For me, today is that day.

What started as an arbitrary date on the calendar, has now inched forward in to the realm of inevitability. We are a military family, so we expect a move to occur every two or three years. We rely on it, most times look forward to it, and usually embrace it.

But this time is different.

This time, we dug in deep and settled comfortably on the shores of the Florida coast. For the first time in almost twenty years, we had family mere miles away. We celebrated holidays and birthdays, attended graduations, and spent time together for absolutely no reason at all.

We had schools that were completely compatible to our goals and desires for our children; my husband had a job that was satisfying and good for the family (no deployments); we had a circle of friends that lived and shared life together.


Now, this going all in doesn’t seem like much fun.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to stand aloof on the outskirts of community, unengaged and ready to skip town as soon as orders were cut?

Wouldn’t it have been easier to not expect my sister to be around the corner any time I needed her, when I knew all along it was temporary?

Surely it would have been easier to walk away had we not engaged to the level we did, right????

Although these questions plague my sleep, I am still one hundred percent confident we lived well these four years, and we lived the way we were meant to live; fully engaged, fully in relationship, refusing to live under the shadow of lack of permanence.

We knew what we were doing.

We knew it was going to hurt when we left.

We knew the sting a band aid leaves when you rip it off your skin.

We knew, but it was worth it.

Every lump in my throat at the thought of leaving, is worth it. The Lord was and is in it. He was in the friendships, the family, the schools, the ministry, the job.

And He is in the middle of the goodbye.


When you are standing in the middle of His will, the pain always has purpose.

Perhaps it is for you to be a comfort to those who are facing the same hurts and pain you recently faced.

Perhaps it is a time for you to rekindle your relationship with the Lord, the One relationship that will not fail you, the One that goes before and behind you, the One that never leaves you.


So I wonder, how do you dig up firm roots without causing some stress to the plant?

The answer is you don’t. You will surely cause some trauma when relocating a plant.

But, if done correctly, that plant will be nourished by the new soil, the new space, and spread its roots deep into that rich goodness.

A new growth will happen, taking the nourishment from the previous soil and making the plant stronger because of the old, in to the new.


It is a temptation to take this hurt and loss and carry it to our next home. To stand back and refuse others access to our safe little circle of influence.

We guard our hearts against this. Fight against it with all our might. Because we know there is a beauty to be found wherever God leads.

Before our move, we prepare. We intentionally focus on the positives, we search them out as if in a treasure hunt for lost gold. We build collages and tape little nuggets of information about our new location to that board. We make lists of places we would like to visit and interesting facts about our new home. And little by little excitement overtakes our sadness.

Because, after all, it is inevitable. Time will not stand still, orders will not keep us here, and that moving van will show up on our doorstep.


I, for one, don’t want to miss the next adventure because we were looking back.

What is inevitable today in your life?  Ask the Lord for the strength and resolve to move well through whatever it is you are facing today.

“God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things.” (2 Corinthians 1:4, 6 NLT)




And So It Begins……

“We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”

The Pursuit Of God A.W. Tozer


In the beginning.

In the beginning, He created.

Male and female, He created.

In the beginning, the whole of what was to come waited in pregnant pause.

With an exhale of His breath, flowers blossomed, rivers burst forth, birds took flight, and mankind woke to the world’s sunrise.


Tucked neatly in to His creation, God reveals His purpose for human kind. Our purpose simple: to walk with God in the shade of the blossoming apple tree, to trust and bask in His presence.

Easy sleep and fulfilling work.


No shame, the world unfolds before their very eyes.

And it was good.

Amidst the goodness and peace of the garden, desire seeps in and jumbles hearts and minds for all of creation.

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8

Wanting the one thing God held back from them. Eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Succumbing to the ways of the serpent, Eve looks at the forbidden fruit and desire fills her belly. Desire for her own way, desire for the sweet flesh that will grant her wisdom, so she thinks.


She takes it, eats, and passes it along to Adam.

Shame is birthed in to all creation.

Immediately, their eyes flicker wide in shame.

Naked and embarrassed, they hide from God.

And just as it always does, sin morphs from one into another; disobedience, into blame, and ultimately dropping the responsibility at God’s feet.

“The woman whom YOU gave me, she gave me the fruit….” (Adam)

“The serpent deceived me….” (Eve)

Afterward, God searches them out, knowing full well where and why they hide.

And then, he compensates.

He clothes. He provides for. He offers a great plan of rescue.


This story we are weaving, although the names are Adam and Eve, this scene is reenacted throughout History and hearts over and over again.

This is the Story of us.


The allure of God versus the allure of the world and all that is in it.

Homesickness settles deep in to our bones for that intended communion with God. We wander aimlessly, searching for something, anything, to fill the deep chasm of longing.

So we buy more, we eat more, we consume more, we take more, we use more, yet we still ache more.

An unquenchable thirst for more.


Nothing under the sun can satisfy a hunger that was meant only to be fed by God.

There is no need to go in search of; no need to DO anything. There is just a turning of the head toward a God who waits in eager anticipation of relationship.

From the beginning of time, God made His intentions known…..to know us and be known. To quench our thirst with living water (the Holy Spirit) so that we will never be thirsty again.

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

And then, once we have been filled to the brim with His living water, we can walk with Him and be wholly content amidst His creation.

For more time with the One who quenches all thirst: Isaiah 55: 1-2;  Proverbs 2:1-6; Psalm 139;  Psalm 138:3


When Enough is More Than Enough




It is the Friday before Father’s Day and I have yet to pick out a father’s day card for my dad. I stop at Walgreen’s and dig through the already picked-over Father’s Day cards looking for one that “says it all.”

A little boy pushes his way in front of me, grabs for a card, flips it open and says “this one.” He and his mom walk to the cash register with the first one they read and walk out hand in hand.

People come and go, and I’m still standing there reading canned sentiments about how much our Father’s mean to us.

How can someone else’s words REALLY convey what my father means to me?

How can I make my father understand the breadth and depth of love swelling in my heart for him, with the words another wrote?

Grandpa and Grace

Grandpa and Grace

So I attempt to put in to words what no greeting card has yet to convey.


The love of my father was always laughing, and joking, and putting food on the table.

The love of my father was quiet and strong.

The love of my father was consistent and  freely given.  

The love of my father was showing a strong work ethic, and possessing a loyalty that one does not see much in this life.

But mostly, the love of my father was always more than enough.

Grandpa taking Kyle to a Liverpool game in NYC

Grandpa taking Kyle to a Liverpool game in NYC

His love was enough to help me walk out in to this world when I didn’t want to and it was enough to allow me to come back when this world tired me out.

La Maddalena Italy

La Maddalena Italy

His love allowed me to widen the circumference of my life bit by tiny bit. Because, I was this skittish child who was afraid of my own shadow and I would have liked nothing more than to stay tucked away in the safety of his home. His love, and that of my mom, gave me the confidence and solid footing to know that, wherever I went, whatever mistakes I made, he would be there.

Along the way, he has fixed more light fixtures in my home than I can count and picked up my DOG!!!!! at the airport more than once.

He has driven hundreds of miles only to drive me right back again.

He has flown half way around the world and been to Countries he probably had no desire to see, only to be with us.



My father taught me not always with words, but with actions. Big actions, full of love.

And it was always enough.

But, for some, father’s day is a reminder of what they missed. Because some did not have a father teach them to play baseball or change the oil in the car.  Some did not have the constant presence of a father in their life.

A father’s absence can leave a gash that never seems to heal;   a gap that no one seems to fill.

Yet, there is ONE that can fill the void. ONE that consistently fills in the gap these here-on-earth dad’s leave behind.

The creator of heaven and earth, our heavenly Father, is the only ONE.

Because only He is the perfect Father. He is The only Father who loves flawlessly, and has our best interests ever before Him. His patience knows no limits, and His forgiveness washes away every stain and blemish.

For this reason, I pray Father’s Day is a day of great security for ALL of HIS children, whether you have known the love of a here-on-earth dad, or not.  My prayer is that today we all experience the fierceness of God’s love.  

Today, this is my prayer……

“For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3: 14-21









Roadsigns and Writing


There has been a wide berth of white space here in this little corner of the internet. I can list off a number of excuses to account for my silence. But if I am honest with myself (and you), I must admit that this writing brings things out in me that I prefer to keep buried deep beneath my line of sight. Insecurities, doubt and lack of purpose wrestle with each other, trying to gain traction and halt my movement forward.

Because checking numbers and stats, followers and “likes” can make this “comfortable behind-the-scenes-girl” very uncomfortable.

I recognize the comparison game that creeps in as I watch more polished, purposeful, high profile blogs flourish and reach a broad audience. I can only imagine my words stretching that far.

We women have a special knack for comparing ourselves to each other, don’t we?


Do you find yourself comparing your marriage? Your kids achievements? Your job progression? The scope and reach of your ministry? Facebook, social media and the blog world can shake the most self-confident person loose.

I find myself slipping down this very dangerous path, and it paralyzes me.

Then I find these words hidden in a passage of Scripture I have read a hundred times before.

I read about one whose life was meant to be lived in the shadows of one bigger and better. A life with the sole purpose of shining light on the One coming after him. “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30)

John the Baptist, the forerunner for Jesus Christ. The one who prepared the way for Jesus Christ. In his lifetime, he never performed a miracle and he watched his ministry dim as Jesus’ life and mission shone brighter.

What did John the Baptist think of his diminishing in order for Jesus’ purpose to be fulfilled? Did he fight to keep his voice heard above the rest? Did he quit when he realized all of his followers were now following Jesus?

Someone approaches John and asks him this question:

“Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan-the one you testified about-well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him.” (John 3:26)

Jealousy, fear of losing position and influence could have overwhelmed John.

But it didn’t.

He was secure in who Christ made Him to be and for what purpose He served.

To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.” (John 3:27)

What platform has the Lord given you to point others to Him?

It may be highly visible and attract hundreds or even thousands. But it also may be one or two little ones at your feet, smearing peanut butter on your pant leg. Your workplace? Neighbors? You child’s teacher?

It matters not the size of the platform, but only our willingness to be faithful to that which He gives us.

Is what I’m doing pointing others to the Savior of the world?

When our lives are in unison with God’s purposes, we are simply road signs pointing to our heavenly Father.

At the end of the day, what really matters most is what our heavenly Father thinks.

Numbers fluctuate, comments turn negative, and friends can sometimes “de-friend” you.

Go in search of the applause of heaven, rather than the temporary applause that this earth offers.

“We fix our eyes not on what’s seen. But on the unseen. What’s seen is temporary. What’s unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Can we say at the end of our lives, “With what you gave me, I did my best to make you know.”

With that spoken, my prayer for each of us is to one day enter the gates of heaven and hear, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”


When Time Flies

Thailand 027

My firstborn turns seventeen years old today.

I wake before the rest of the family, and sit in the darkness of the morning, pondering the speed at which these days race past.

Oh how fast 17 years fly by.

Like a caterpillar morphing in to a gorgeous butterfly, these children of ours sprout wings long before we are ready.


This raising of children never ceases to amaze me. Because how can we be in such a rush for them to sleep through the night; to be one minute, deep in knee-bending begging for a night of uninterrupted sleep, and all of a sudden it’s gone?

In the blink of an eye, prayers for a solid eight hours of sleep morph in to more gut wrenching prayers for safety as they take that first solo drive in the family car; for the hurt that will come with that first breakup, and the rejection when they don’t make the team.

Now, I just want to freeze it all.

I want more time to savor his ideas and sense of humor.

I want more time to impart spiritual truths and confidence in to this boy.

I want to protect him from the demands and evils of the world.

But it is all rushing at us so quickly, and we are unable to stop it.

So I learn to savor that which is before me.


Because I have two little’s that are still in the throws of childhood. And although it seems like we have all the time in the world to mold and teach and train and send out, my eldest is a constant reminder to savor.

To appreciate.

To love big, and forgive easy. To teach intentionally, and hug long.

To spend time, and listen hard.

To parent with kindness and reach for their hearts.

To love Jesus and shepherd their hearts toward that end.

It is these moments that will determine our children’s desire to come back to us when they no longer have to.


This lighting of candles acts as a beacon of light in the midst of my parenting. A reminder to spend time on that which is most important.

Each day we get to brush their hair, and hear their ideas, and send them off confident in who God made them to be.

Each day is a gift.

It is a gift I choose to savor, treasure, and protect.

How are you treasuring those who are most important in your life?  



One Word Can Make All The Difference


The power of a word!!! 2015 has ushered in a new word for me……intentionally focusing on the power of a word.

To give adequate weight to the fact that a couple of random letters, strung together and laid upon one’s shoulders, could change the course of a life. For better or for worse!!!!

One word can light a fire and become a catalyst for change. One word can paralyze the most fearless person and stop them in their tracks. One word can motivate, place doubt, destroy, build up, or revive.

We have all had words spoken at or to us that drag us under, forcing the very breathe out of our lungs. The rains soak and a tangible darkness wraps itself around us, smothering our ideas of what we thought we could do.

Inaction results.

Fear grasps at our ankles, holding our feet firmly in the safe known’s of today.

Yet, we have also experienced that burst of life that bubbles up from the depths of our souls, when a loving person takes the time to speak a word of encouragement over us.

Like a fragrant offering it is.

Like the smell of honeysuckle swirling through the open windows on a warm summer day.

Breathing life!

Breeding possibility!

Building up!

The challenge to use my words for good, not harm. To love, build up, revive, refresh, and breathe life! This is what I want out of 2015.

Only with God’s help.

And this year brings forth one Word I cling to for my life and family: INTENTIONAL.

Intentional in the discipleship of my children-clearly laying out goals and vision and a path that will encourage their heart’s to bend to the voice of Jesus.

Intentional in what I read, and spend money on.

How I spend my time.

Intentional in my relationships and actively displaying the importance of those relationships in my life.

Intentional means to bring about with purpose….to work toward an intended goal.


Oh how I love setting goals. I love planners and goal getting and grand ideas of a better me.

It is in the follow through that I find my problem.

But this intentional way of living is more than setting and sticking to a set of goals, accomplishing more and checking off my to-do list.

This intentional living is an opening of my eyes to the most important things in this life. Placing those in our lives that matter most, in to a position of priority.

Because we all have just one life to live. We are all walking through this life with a number. A number of sunrises and sunsets that we will be here to see.

What will we do with that time?

Will we use our words to build up and encourage?

Will we use our time to snuggle our kids in close and read them that second chapter from their favorite book?

Will we stop what we are doing and consider it pure joy when we get that unexpected guest?

Will we make time to talk with that lonely neighbor?  

2015 I choose this intentional way of living.

Won’t you join me, too? Leave a comment to share how you are living intentional this year!

2 Corinthians 5:9 “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”



On The Receiving Side of Giving


The days of celebrating Jesus’ birth is a time when many of us intentionally look for creative ways to give back. Ideas multiply around the internet as we all yearn to teach our children it is better to give than receive. Unwrapkindness, Light Em Up and the Compassion gift catalog are just a few exceptional resources you can find to give back during this holiday season.

But, if you are anything like me, time slips away, money is spent a little too fast, and the holiday season is gone, along with our good intentions of blessings others in need.

It takes just one early morning spent with the Lord to press on me the need, not just the desire, to give, bless and, through those acts of service, show the love of Christ to someone in need.

Because it was not that long ago that we were on the receiving side of giving.

Our lives looked a whole lot different then, with just one baby boy at my feet and a whole lot less money in our bank account; when this ministry to the military was a far off dream and our home swarmed with termites twice a year. We lived counting pennies and praying, dragging ourselves out of bed because our boy would not sleep.

It was in those moments that we saw God’s hand on our lives in high definition.

An infection in that little boys body, a prescription costing $98 which we did not have, and a one hundred dollar bill in an unmarked envelope in our mailbox later that day.

God in high def!!!!

And then there was this……our son’s first Christmas.

We were busy attempting to follow God’s call on our lives. My husband was in the midst of a four year seminary degree, I was at home with our newborn, all while living off of the meager paycheck from my husband’s telemarketing job.

We were more than broke.

And then the phone rang. It was our church informing us that they were going to provide “Christmas” for our little family. Their generosity knew no limits as they showered us with gifts for our son, gift cards for us to buy for each other, grocery gift cards to make Christmas dinner, and even a gas gift card.

We saw God in high def!!!

We saw Him use others to remind us of His constant provision.

We saw Him use others to encourage us on the path He set before us.

We saw Him use others to physically bless us.

We saw Him use others to show us the love of Christ in physical form.

So I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you a real need in your community and act on it. Because, I can assure you, the person on the receiving end of giving will see God in high definition through your act of kindness.


Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Blessed Chaos: A Journey to Instant Motherhood

Ashley Wells is a wife, proud adoptive mom, writer, speaker, and sweet tea addict. She blogs regularly at http://blog.ashleykwells.com/. On November 22, she celebrated her one-year adoption anniversary by releasing her newest book Blessed Chaos: A Journey to Instant Motherhood. This book is an inspiring memoir about Ashley’s journey becoming an instant mother to four children through foster care. Below is an excerpt from the book describing Ashley’s sudden introduction to motherhood.

blessed chaos

I see many new moms with their cute little babies, sitting around talking about which cloth diapers to use, or which bottles are best, or paying lots of money for beautiful cute clothes, or taking lots of pictures and sharing every milestone on Facebook. I think this is pretty common for first-time moms.

Here’s the thing: I was a first-time mom, but to four children. I didn’t experience motherhood in the same way most people do. I was an instant mom. I couldn’t worry about some of the smaller issues for Kyle( the baby) because I had three other children I was learning about and taking care of. I couldn’t focus too much on taking pictures in the first few months, because as soon as I would pick up my camera a toddler would be trying to climb up the refrigerator or ride a cat like a horse or something of similar urgency and my focus would get shifted.

In some ways I am sad I didn’t get the normal introduction to motherhood. I didn’t get to just enjoy Kyle in all his newborn-ness and cuddle him all the time. Nor did I get that experience with my other three children. Christina (13 months old) didn’t like to be held and the big kids (5 and 8 years old) were distant at first. I am sad about that. I missed so much of their lives.

Looking back now, I wish I would have had the time to hold Kyle more. I wish I could have been sure to look Christina in the eyes and make her laugh every day, experience those happy moments together. I wish I would have remembered to slow down and give Jazmine and Jonathan more hugs and kisses, despite how old they were.

I see families with these photo albums of everything in their child’s life. We simply don’t have that. We don’t have shared memories from infanthood on with all of our children. And honestly, I’m not sure if any of us will really remember those first few months together in the haze of chaos. I’m sure I missed countless opportunities for small, but meaningful moments in the mess of it all. We were all doing the best we could.

Adoption isn’t for the faint of heart. At times, especially in the beginning, I craved a normal introduction to motherhood. Kyle was easy to bond with, I wanted it to not be so hard with the other children too. On especially difficult days I wondered why the Lord had led me to this path. Why couldn’t it have been easier? Why couldn’t I have just given birth to children? Why did it have to be so hard?

I know God didn’t call us to an easy life on this earth, Jesus actually guaranteed to His disciplines in John 16:33 they would have trouble. In the same breath He gave them hope though, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He also gave the promise of peace to be found in Him just previous to the guarantee for trouble. If anything, my questions and struggles were an indicator I was living right where I should be, right where God wanted me.