Finding God’s Heart of Adoption by Meredith Cornish
If one hand is empty, someone must be missing.
This has become my mantra over the past few weeks as we’re integrating a 6th child into our busy little family. James is 3 years old and was born with Down syndrome as well as some complications from prematurity. He’s a sweet little blond haired, blue eyed prince who at first glance you’d never know wasn’t born to Michael and I. He fits right in with Kristopher, Brianna and Lynae, our three biological children, and in fact could pass for Brianna’s twin brother since they only differ in age by 7 months. James isn’t the first that we hear this about, though, since our other two adopted children, Emma and Micah, also look so much like the rest of the crew that we are often asked which children are biological and which are adopted. Micah and James are just one month apart.
God first spoke to our hearts about special needs adoption when we were dating, but neither Michael nor I felt we really knew we’d be able to do it until several years later. We wondered if God might bring us that direction, but were waiting for that yes from Him. Our yes came when Brianna was 2 months old and we received confirmation that she had an extra 21st chromosome, also known as Down syndrome. God had not only placed her into our family, but He created her perfectly and for His purposes within my womb. A clearer calling we couldn’t have asked for!
When Brianna was 2 years old we brought Emma and Micah home from Ukraine. We’d learned of the plight of orphans abroad with special needs and we sought out God’s heart for our family and followed His path. Children in Eastern Europe with Down syndrome were not given proper medical treatment for heart defects, were often malnourished, and had a life expectancy of less than 10 years. We put our yes on the table and He not only brought two little ones into our open arms, but fully financed it as well. Both children were severely malnourished and Emma’s heart was quickly declared inoperable once we returned home with them. God strengthened our family, our faith, and gave Emma a stronger testimony of God’s healing hand than I may ever know. She had that heart surgery and she is not only alive, but thriving!
With four little ones age 6 and under our hands were just as full as our hearts. Between diapers, dishes, laundry, school meetings, and doctor’s appointments I enjoyed playing on the floor, building puzzles, and helping the kids to work on their next skill goals. The reward at the end of each day was well worth it, as we saw Emma and Micah thrive and grow and learn and respond. Brianna and Kristopher took to them quickly and there was no question that God brought each of our children into our home with a purpose.
A year and a half later Lynae was born to us and the miracle of birth joined the miracle of adoption. Our family’s make-up continued to change but each child was an added blessing.
With a 3 month old baby, 4 other little ones, and a husband in Kenya serving on a mission trip for a week, God brought James into our lives when we least expected it. Michael and I had each given our yes to God both individually and as a family, knowing that God was calling, but we didn’t know what His plans might be for that. Just 2 months later we were introduced to the little boy that is to become our 6th child. Born here in the US, yet without a family able to care for him, James is another of the 1.7 million orphans in the world today. I like to think of it as 1,699,997. If only it worked that way… if there were no more children being orphaned…
Last weekend James came for his first visit in our home and I marveled at how big our God is. With ease he slipped right in to the family routine and we loved every minute of it. On Sunday when we prepared to bring him back to his foster home he started getting sick and throwing up. He spiked a fever. Driving 2 ½ hours to his home I worried and glanced in the rear view mirror as I pulled off of the interstate to pat his back, rub his leg, and wipe his little face after another episode of an upset stomach. I handed his little sick body over to his foster mom and drove home in a torrential downpour- my spirits not much higher. We’d had a great weekend, but I had to bring him back… and even more so, to hand him over when he didn’t feel well.
Though I know from our first adoption that falling in love with a child takes only a few moments, I was reminded how quickly James became ‘mine’ when I woke the next morning and was saddened by his empty high chair, the lonely toothbrush left in the holder and the carseat that never was filled that day. I waited anxiously to know how he’d done through the night and each part of the next day. I felt like I’d sent my child to a babysitter, though I know he was well cared for by his foster mom who had raised him since birth. Can you love an adopted child the same as a child born to you? Without a doubt!
Today I look back at the last 2 ½ years and the plan that God laid out for our family. I look at Kristopher and Brianna, now 6 and 4 years old, and at the journey we have had together as a family. They were the beginning, and God used each of them for great purposes already! I look at Emma and Micah, ages 7 and 3, and how far God has brought them from the orphan’s bed- alone, severely malnourished, and fighting for life- into a loving home where they are thriving by God’s grace. I look at Lynae and the gift she is to us all and how I look forward to seeing her grow in spirit and in stature. I can’t wait to see what God’s plans are for each of them. And I think of James, still an orphan but with a family that loves him and one day soon we can say that he’s our son.
God's prompting isn't always clear, and it doesn't always make sense to the ways of this world, but it is always the best path to take! His provision is endless and His grace is sweet. If you ever question just how big of a God we serve, step out in faith and trust that He will care for you and you, too, will see the miracles He works in everyday life!
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” . James 1:27