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Category Archives: God’s goodness
I pulled the covers over my head this morning because I did not have a morning assignment. I did not want to get up and go to work! I’ve had a heavy workload recently between school and the thrift store and needed some rest.
I spent much of the morning doing chores and listening to verses about how God gives us strength and about the way the Lord comforts us.
Then I needed to get ready for an afternoon assignment at the high school. In my prayers, I called forth blessings for the day and prayed that God would direct his love through me and to me and accomplish His purposes.
I woke from a restful sleep and lay in bed, thinking about the day ahead. Soon I drifted off again and dreamed. A teenage boy who looked about fourteen years old sat at a large cherry wood desk, concentrating on a book. Though I had never met him, I felt a sense of intimacy and familiarity with him.
Then the Lord spoke to me, saying, “This is your son.” Startled by this message, I moved in to get a closer look at this studious young boy with brown hair and glasses. The Lord spoke to me again, “I have a plan, a special purpose for him.” Then a feeling like cold water hit my face, and I woke.
I shook my husband. Stan, “We’re going to have a baby, a son!”
“Huh?” he said and rolled over, unimpressed. But as I thought about the dream, seeds of hope dropped into my heart.
At forty-two, despite major surgery and other medical interventions, I had never been able to conceive. My husband had two grown children, but not having a child of my own grieved me.
My husband and I directed a ranch, in Vista, California, for street men from Los Angeles trying to get their lives back together. Part of the summer program included a camp for kids. Under close supervision, teenage counselors shared kitchen duties with the street men.
One day, Jack, a 30-year-old former Los Angeles street gang leader and drug addict, told us about a sixteen-year-old junior counselor named Robert who shared kitchen responsibilities with him. Robert’s foster mother, exasperated by her inability to control him, abandoned him at the ranch. Since she suspected he stole and lied to her, she turned him over to the police and they hauled him off to a boy’s detention home.
Jack pleaded with us, “Robert’s mother abandoned him at age eleven. He has been shuffled from home to home since that time. He needs a stable place. Please take this boy in, otherwise, he will end up like me. I want him to have a better chance than I did.”
Our hearts went out to Jack and Robert, but homes for troubled teenagers are almost nonexistent. The staff at the Ranch prayed and searched for a month, but nothing happened. Jack persisted. “How can you not take care of him when you call yourselves Christians?”
My husband began to be convinced that God wanted us to take Robert into our home. I didn’t have parenting experience. I wanted to start out with a baby, not a teenager. Additionally, at the time, I battled “chronic fatigue syndrome.” I didn’t think I had the strength to handle the challenge of a teenager, let alone an abused and troubled one.
Finally, after processing my fears with my husband, I prayed, “Lord, if this is your will, then I will yield to it because I know that every path you lead us on is fragrant with your loving-kindness and truth, even if it is a hard path. I don’t want to miss the blessing you have in mind.”
One week after this prayer of surrender, we took Robert in. We faced the challenge of working through his problems with him and ultimately adopted him. A few months after that, I remembered the dream and wondered if this was the fulfillment of the son promised in the dream.
Robert grew up, married, and became the proud father of five little girls and one boy. Two years after he left home, we thought about adopting another child. We had learned a great deal in the tough challenge of raising Robert, and he was worth it! After what we had been through with him, we thought we could handle anyone.
We asked the Lord to show us if He wanted us to have more children. Few people adopt older children, yet older children yearn for the love of a family as much as the younger ones.
We contacted a Christian international adoption agency since we learned that some countries have fewer time and age restrictions. Since my husband was fifteen years older than I, we explored this option and they accepted us. Three weeks later, they sent us a picture and information about Alex, a fourteen-year-old boy from Brazil.
Alex had a tough background. His father abandoned him at birth and his mother severely abused him and later abandon him. Despite these negative influences, he had many outstanding characteristics, such as being caring and considerate, a good student, and being cooperative.
We decided to adopt him, and the mountain of paperwork began. When we discovered the costs, we blanched. We did not have those kinds of resources.
Discouraged, we talked with a friend in Dallas who adopted two older children. She adamantly told us, “Don’t let the lack of money stop you. God has ways of providing. Go forward. Begin the process with what you have.”
So, we began the adoption process trusting God to provide. Through a series of miracles and help from others, God made a way for us.
After six months of paperwork, we received approval. We flew to Brazil to claim our son. We arrived at the airport and hastened to the courthouse. I wondered how long it would be before we met him. A thousand questions went through my head. Is this really God’s Will for all of us? Are we sure this is the right boy for us and us for him? Will we bond? Will he like us? Will we like him? How will we communicate with the language barrier?
Finally, after lengthy preliminary visits with the social worker and psychologist, they ushered Alex in. He anxiously hugged us and sat down. We talked through an interpreter for forty-five minutes, and then we all rose to leave. My husband and the social worker left the room. As Alex got up to leave, he put on his glasses for the first time. I gasped. Stunned, I ran out of the room to catch up with my husband. I blurted out, “That’s him! Alex is the boy in the dream I had years ago!!!”
During our stay in Brazil, our hearts knit together, and we became a family. About a month later in the States, a friend who spoke Portuguese asked Alex, “Weren’t you worried that you were nearly sixteen, the cut-off age for international adoptions and hadn’t been adopted?”
Alex said, “No, I told Jesus the kind of parents I wanted, and He gave them to me.”
© 2002 Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul
All Rights Reserved
My reflections on the story: God gave Alex, a child longing for love, the parents he desired and gave me, a woman longing for children, a special son.
“He opens His hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 145:16 (NIV)
My father gave me the best gift a father could give to a daughter.
To this day, people benefit from his decision to use his gifts, talents, and abilities to care for others. A man I have never met, wept on the phone when he talked to me. He wept out of gratitude for what my father had done for him and his tribe.
Over 60 years ago, my father heard the voice of God. In obedience to God’s voice, he took his young wife and two little girls into the jungle of Africa. The people there nicknamed them Mama and Papa Obedience.
“I can’t believe it!” I heard a young woman exclaim as she grabbed the glass Christmas tree sitting on the shelf. “This is exactly like the one I broke that belonged to Grandma!”
I stood in the aisle at our local Goodwill store on New Year’s Day. I had watched her reach down to pick up the glass Christmas tree. She turned to her young son and showed him the tree. Then she picked it up and cradled it in her arms like it was a long-lost treasure.