The following was submitted by America World mom, Carleigh Koper. The Kopers adopted two children through America World's Haiti program. We are grateful for Carleigh sharing her insight and hope this provides encouragement to you as it does for us.
We brought our kids home last year in May. They were 4 and 2 years old. We already had a 9, 7, and 4 year at home. To say that the last year has been hard would be an understatement. Hard doesn't even begin to describe how difficult it is integrating two complete strangers (with trauma) into an already functioning family. From food gorging, to sibling rivalry, to all out tantrums in which you thought this new child was a wild beast instead of a person. We saw a lot, not all, but a lot.
Everything I once knew no longer counted for anything. These kids needed way more than I ever anticipated or wanted to give. Forget cute smiling pictures posted for all to see, I could barely get out of bed in the morning from the sheer weight of my sin. Can God use selfish people? Why yes, He sure can. And He can take that selfishness and use it for His glory. I'm seeing it with my own eyes, and in my own heart as He transforms what was once lost into something that is now redeemed.
"Adoption is not for the faint of heart" is something you often hear but that's exactly what I was when God called our family to adopt. Oh, I didn't think I was faint of heart. In fact I thought I had it all together. A neat tidy little three-child family, I home schooled, cooked and baked from scratch, had a nice clean and tidy house. And just for good measure, I threw God into the mix too.
Don't get me wrong I was, and still am, a Christian but not the type of Christian that was useful to God. I did every thing in my own strength. I could handle all this and when life got a bit overwhelming I'd just scale back or take a day off. God really got second place in my life. I don't like to say that out loud because it just sounds so awful. I loved God but I didn't really know the depth of what it was that He had done for me. I knew I was a sinner. It wasn't until we brought our kiddos home that I really saw my sin for what it was, and saw the depravity of my heart. It's one thing to know you are a sinner, but another thing altogether to actually see your sin the way that God sees it. That's exactly what God has been showing me in the last year. But even in my sin I am loved by God!
Not only am I loved by God but I'm also forgiven. That's something that I'm still grappling with and can't quite wrap my mind around. But God poured out His wrath, all of it, on His beloved Son and that means that there's none left for me--just love and forgiveness. Again, as a Christian I knew this but never really grasped the tremendously wicked heart condition that I was forgiven of. I knew I needed a Savior but never realized my heart's true condition until we took a leap of faith and said "YES" to adoption.
So, all that to say, if you are feeling like you are faint of heart and you couldn't possibly adopt for whatever reason or excuse, think again because it's the faint of heart that God wants to use. If you don't know it yet He'll be sure to make it known to you in some way if you are truly seeking after God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Don't ignore the calling of the Spirit.
I can truly say that after one year life is looking "normal" again. It's new kind of normal for us, but normal none the less. The new additions to our family are thriving. They have learned to trust us, and are learning that they belong. This will be a messy place but a place where you can be yourself and still be loved because isn't that what we all want? In the mess of it all, to be loved...to be accepted? Bonds are being formed between siblings and lives have been transformed. God truly is good.
It's not always easy. In fact, God tells us in His word that to follow Him means we have to pick up our cross daily. God has called us to accept the hard. He has called us to sacrifice. And He called us to love. So let's get down in the trenches daily and learn what God wants us to learn while serving Him with our all and may God get the glory. All of it.
From the heart of a thankful, broken, and humbled Mama of five.
P.S. In the midst of all the hard there is also true joy and lots of smiles.
If God is calling you and your family to step into a "new normal" and adopt, there are countless children who are orphaned and need a Christ-centered family to be a part of.
If you have questions, please contact us at Info@awaa.org or call 800-429-3369.