Sunday, June 6, 2010

Twice Adopted

Last weekend, the most beautiful thing took place. Katya and Nastya were baptized. The fullness of what has happened in their lives is really the most incredible thing ever. And you know what? We are not responsible for it. Not even a little bit. It is NOT because of us that our daughters now have eternal hope, joy, love, and peace in their lives. Nope - we could never have accomplished something like that because it is outside of our abilities to do so. Instead, we have been privileged to be a part of the wonderful story of their adoption into our family and into God's family forever. We followed God on this crazy adventure of adoption that He called us to and gave Him the little we had to offer (and believe me, it was only a little), and He has truly done big things in it.

Eighteen months ago God made them our children forever. Zach and I, with much fear of doing it all wrong, began to teach them about God's love for them. Sometimes it made them furious at first. When I would tell them that He saw them as beautiful girls whom He had created and loved since before they were born, tears would stream down their faces as they shook their heads in disbelief that they could be so lovable. When I would tell them that God had been with them even when their lives were literally hell on earth, they slowly began to see how even in the midst of abandonment, severe hunger, verbal and sometimes physical abuse, God protected them in so many ways. He sent caring people who were angels to them to care for them. A young teenage girl took them under her wing and would feed them, bathe them, house them, and just be a friend when their Ukraine family would not or could not do these things. And eventually they were removed from this terrible situation and placed into an orphanage with some truly caring people who helped them to begin healing from all that and preparing them for what was next in their lives. When I would tell them that He loved them so much that He didn't want them to do things that would hurt their bodies or minds or spirits, it often resulted in anger or rebellion at first. When I would tell them that certain videos, music, magazines, immodest clothes, etc, was hurtful for them, there was major resistance to my authority or God's authority in their lives.

We could tell them all these truths about His love, but it was with a heart of fervent prayer. Prayer that God would reveal Himself to them. We could say the words but it was only God who could really open their eyes of understanding.

But then, the truth of God's love and grace began to take root in their lives. The resistance that we had seen (more in one than the other) began to melt away, and they began to see God's incredible love for them and that He had always loved them. They began to see that this world is hopeless and broken and that the only hope that any of us has is in His power in our lives to turn our ashes into beauty and our darkness into light. They began to know and experience, deep down inside, that His love is real and complete and they began to experience the healing that can only come from our Lord. And He more than answered our prayers. They began to seek Him on their own and to receive the truth that He began to reveal to them. We began to see their lives transformed as they surrendered to His love.

And so, it was with great joy that on this past Sunday, Zach had the incredible honor to baptize Katya and Nastya in the San Marcos River. It was a beautiful symbol of the new life that they now have in Him and how it is their desire now to share His love with others and to live their lives for His glory. They are not only our daughters but now our sisters in Christ.

I just stand in awe of how God has fulfilled the vision that He first gave us of what He would do in their lives. Thank you Lord. To You alone be the glory!!

He has done and is doing what is impossible. But nothing is impossible with Him.

Isaiah 61:3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

And as if this day wasn't sweet enough as it was, it gets even better! Their sweet friend Galina who was adopted recently into the family of our dear friends (see previous blog post for this
amazing story), was baptized by her father on the same day. She has the sweetest faith in the Lord and we are so thankful that she too has been 'twice adopted'.


Holly said...

Love it!! Can't wait to write the same post a few years down the road.:) Beautiful girls...beautiful hearts...and a beautiful display of adoption into His family.

Rachael said...

beautiful, amazing. I love this!

MamaPoRuski said...

YEAH! God is so good! Our O wants to be baptized too once her brace is off her leg. God is good to draw hearts to himself!

Caceres Family~ said...

WOW what an awesome post! I have been reading your blog for sometime and appreciate your openenss. It is an ecouragement to my husband and I as we press on in the process of adopting 2 sisters from Ukraine. you have blessed us more than we can say.
God bless you and your beautiful family.
In Him,

MomInTheTrench said...

This is beautiful! God is our Counnselor, Physican, and Comfortor. Abba Father.

He is close to the broken hearted.

My husband gets to baptize our two newest Ukrainian children this summer. It is a priviledge to get to see Him work in these broken lives.

Jason & Melanie said...

Oh, I am filled with so much joy reading this! This is just wonderful! Please tell them we said, "hello".

Gabi Dickinson said...

I hope you don't mind me leaving you a comment. I noticed you have a heart for Him and are a follower of Katie Davis' blog. I'm a 26 year old woman from England who has been called of God to become a Mama to many Ugandan children. I move to Uganda in January of next year and will be taking in children & loving them, just like Katie. I wondered if you might perhaps be interested in my blog. The link is:
If you aren't, please just ignore this message. 
Have a lovely day!

Cindy said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing and I'm continuing to pray for you all!

jeri said...

Stephanee, i loved this story of the girls baptism. i cried all the way thru. love you all, mommie