It is called “the second orphanage.”
It is the place Will would have spent the rest of his life.
In 2013 we had just returned home from China with Maggie and Lucy, when we learned about Will. He was Maggie’s foster brother, was 10 years old, was blind and he was still waiting...
but we had seven kids...
Maggie and Lucy were both nine years old and both had cerebral palsy and our family was busy as we managed life with doctors and therapists and soccer and school and 7 kids...
but Will was still waiting...
For five years I advocated for him.
For five years we prayed for a family for him because… life was busy.
For five years the Lord worked on our hearts, exposing and transforming those bitter parts that tend to hold us back from allowing Him to have total control. We were works in progress and at times that progress was painful, but it readied us.
In November of 2013, just a few short months after bringing Maggie and Lucy home, my husband was laid off and all at once, we learned what it was to be completely dependent on the Lord’s provision.
It was during those years that we began to let go of our American Dream and began to embrace His dream for our family.
We learned the importance of time well spent with Him, in His word, and about trusting His answers to our prayers and His provision for our family. That time was full of hard but so full of growth, a glimpse into the kind of love that transforms the courses of lives.
By the Summer of 2017, Will was still waiting and the Lord began to change our prayers for him.
No longer were we praying for any family for him. We were now praying and asking the Lord if we might be Will’s forever family.
Life was still busy and Will was still blind but our hearts and our dreams were not what they once were.
By the Fall of 2017, Will was almost 14 years old and in a few short months, would age out and begin the rest of his life in “the second orphanage”... a dark reality that so many children face after families who could be their "forever", turn away from God’s call on their lives, distracted by the expectations of their familiar.
We learned more about Will, how he loved to laugh and play music. We were told that he was kind to the other kids and funny, so very funny. We saw a video of him playing the piano for a visiting team of volunteers and were told that he knew, he knew that he was literally playing for his life. This was his last chance and he was nervous and he wanted to impress and we found ourselves beginning to understand a bit more about our journey and with each new revelation, the Lord prepared us.
By November of 2017, we knew what the Lord was asking of us and by His patient preparation, we were ready to say yes, ready to race to get to our son before he aged out. We had very little time but we had seen so much of the Lord’s goodness and power and sovereignty, that there was never a doubt that Will would come home. By His grace, we made it to Will the day before he turned 14, the day he would have aged out and been left with no hope for a family or a future.
He came to us nervous but ready. He spoke no English and could not see but somehow he knew and together we began to get to know one another. We laughed over the crazy google translations, we shared his very first birthday cake, we bonded over first amusement park rides as well as first plane rides and trust grew as he relied on us to be his eyes.
Will has been home for a little over three years now. He attends school, is learning braille, serves in Beta Club, plays the trumpet, has composed music on the keyboard, made All County Band, and is killing it in math! He is also a member of our high school’s marching band and serves as an inspiration for all who know him and marvel as he plays by ear and stays in perfect step on that football field!
How could the transition of a 14 year old boy into our family who is blind and spoke no English have been so amazing?
Looking back on those times in our lives when we had to wait, when we had to endure hardships, when we learned to lean into Him and depend on Him for all of it, every last bit of it, when we finally realized that the American Dream is really not the Lord’s dream for our family...
we understand now that it was our hearts that needed transitioning.
Sometimes it is hard to understand why we have to wait, why a sweet, funny, talented little boy in China had to wait 14 years to feel safe, to know hope and to be loved. I don’t think that we will ever know all of the reasons why but we know enough of the Lord’s goodness to trust in that un-knowing.
Scripture tells us to care for the orphan. Scripture also tells us that He has good plans for us, plans for a hope and a future. From what we have learned about the “second orphanage”, it is a place of hopelessness and abuse, a place that so many enter and never leave, unless they can escape, but life on the street is just as hopeless and just as filled with abuse.
It is easy to turn away.
It is easy to be busy.
It is easy to get discouraged by well-meaning family and friends.
It is easy to live that American Dream...
but once your eyes have been opened and your hearts completely shattered, there is no excuse that satisfies.
Older child adoption is not always easy but scripture also tells us not to expect easy. As a matter of fact, the Lord clearly tells us that if we have embraced Him and His plans for us, we will have trials, and that it won’t be easy, but in a way that only God can do, that “hard” is completely blessed and blessed in a way that is transformational and eternal.
As I watched this breathtaking commercial during this year's Super Bowl, I was reminded of the power behind that one simple word...
Maybe the Lord's power is just waiting behind your "yes"...