I am awesome,”
said Katya as she admired herself in the mirror Sunday night. Wearing a Jasmine dress and a tiara she brought from Ukraine, she was very impressed with herself.
God did make you amazing, Katya. Actually, before he formed you in your birth mother’s womb, he knew you. He knit you together in her womb, and he knew you. Actually, every day of your life was written in the Book of Life before one of them came to pass. (Psalm 139)
He knew the day that you would be abandoned by your birth mother.
He knew the day that your grandmother and grandfather would make the decision to bring you home and raise you as their child.
He knew the day that your grandfather would die leaving your grandmother without a husband, and without options.
He knew the days, and weeks, and months, and years of faithfulness and beauty and perseverance that your sweet grandmother would pour out over you before her own health began to fail.
He knew the day that she would be make that heart-wrenching decision to place you in the orphanage, much like Jochebed of Exodus place Moses in a basket trusting that God would take care of her precious one.
He knew the days of pain and heartache that you would experience as you single-mindedly focused on survival in an institution.
He knew the two weeks of hope and promise you would experience in your first trip to America with sweet Lindsey and Daniel who still love you, pray for you, and watch you grow from a distance.
He knew the months of struggle you walked as you wondered if you would ever have a Mama and a Papa.
He knew the exhilaration you felt when you heard that you would be going back to America for three weeks – this time with a family that had six children.
He knew the anxiety you felt when your Mama and Papa drove you to Dulles Airport and put you back on a plane to return to Ukraine, to an institution, to a life of potatoes, and hair pulling, and tears on your pillow.
He knew the weeks and months of longing. “When are you coming Papa? Are you coming next week Mama?”
He knew the shyness you felt at the Odessa Airport as you stood pretty in the dress Mama had sent back with you to Ukraine receiving enthusiastic hugs from your soon-to-be siblings.
He knew the confusion you felt when Mama, Papa, and all the brothers and sisters left you at the apartment with the red door promising to return. Promising to bring you home.
He knew how you felt when you returned to the orphanage with the hope of a family in your heart, but the reality of an institution encroaching upon your dreams.
When you heard that your Mama and Papa were returning, when you were quarantined for fear of swine flu, when they came and swept you up in the arms and you became the movie star at the orphanage for once. He knew.
“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)
And when you were walked from government office to government office, when you declared, “I want to leave Ukraine and go to America with my Mama and Papa and my sisters and brothers,” when you said good-bye to Mama and Papa one last time and watched them fly away, across the ocean, to America, he knew.
God was there, and he had a plan. (Jeremiah 29:11)
God did make you amazing. You are awesome. In your Jasmine dress and tiara. Telling me between screams and fists that you want to go back to Ukraine, the Disneyland of all Disneylands. Singing with your third grade class, “Helen of Troy.” Sitting in the dentist chair having teeth pulled and filled. Doing head stands in the kitchen while I make your favorite potato soup. Counting as I pull lice out of your hair, and your sister’s hair, and your brother’s hair that came with you from Ukraine. Filling up plastic tubs with water for you and Piper to take your Polly Pockets for a swim. Sounding out “Go Dog Go,” and “Guess How Much I Love You,” and your red Bible. You are awesome.
I came back to get you. I brought you back to America, back home to Papa and Piper and all your brothers and sisters. Just like I promised. I came back.
And there is One who always comes back. Who will never leave you or forsake you. Though the Land is full of giants. Though there is good reason to be afraid. This One says, “Be strong and courageous. I am with you. I will never abandon you.” (Joshua 1) And he won’t. Ever.
Your Mama and Daddy don’t know what the future holds. This year has brought challenges, and change, and transition. This year has rocked the world as we have known it. But it hasn’t rocked him. You see, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:6) He is the rock.
He is the same, and he, in fact, hold the future in his hands.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:11-15 NIV)
Though it makes no sense why you should be born in Ukraine to a mother who abandoned you… Though it makes no sense why you should have to suffer the pain of being left by your sweet grandmother in an institution… Though it makes no sense why we should have to wade through court cases and judges taking vacations and fax machine bribes to claim you as our daughter… In the Kingdom, it makes all the sense in the world, and far beyond. All of this is so that you will know God. So that you will know him and proclaim the reality of his adoption work.
You see, what God did in bringing you into our family, he wants to do for everyone. He longs for all to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth that each of us can, in reality, be adopted into HIS family. (1 Timothy 2:4 NIV)
God did make you amazing, Katya. You are awesome. And your Daddy and I, we’re so happy that you are our daughter.