One of the questions people ask me a lot these days is, "How will you handle coming home without your child after the first trip?" For those of you who don't know the adoption process in the country from which we are adopting, law requires that adoptive families meet the child in person before they accept the referral. Then, there is a 1-3 month wait for the court date in which the child is formally adopted. So we will make two trips; the first to meet Sarge and accept his referral, and the second to adopt him. We will return to the U.S. between trips without our son. That is probably the most difficult part of this whole process; at least I anticipate that it will be the most difficult part.
However, God has given me a word that has provided me with so much comfort. Recently, I was in a Bible study on angels. I was raised in a church that really didn't talk much about the Holy Spirit or angels. All of that seemed kinda mystical to me as a child, and even into my young adulthood. As I've gotten older and studied more about spiritual beings, I know that they are real and that God provides comfort and guidance to his people through the Holy Spirit and angels.
During our study, the teacher, who is an older man of great faith, shared the following story. One of his best friends had a child with Down Syndrome. This child was born during an era when children with disabilities were often institutionalized, much like the children in Eastern Europe of today. When this child was born, his parents were encouraged to put him in an institution. They were told that they would never be able to have the life they always wanted if they raised him at home. The father was a collegiate level coach, and he and his wife already had four daughters. This child would surely be too much to handle and would interfere with his success as a coach.
The young couple thought about the difficult decision and just couldn't bear the thought of sending the child to an institution. They decided to raise him at home. They met a lot of resistance from others, but they never regretted the decision. However, the father felt really anxious about how he was going to be able to take care of this child. Remember, this was in the 60's and there wasn't much support available for children with special needs.
One night as the father lay awake worrying about whether or not they could raise this child, he heard babbling coming from the baby's room. He went to check on his son and as he walked into the room, he was shocked to see not one, but two babies in the crib. They were playing and "talking" as babies do. He hurried back to his bedroom to wake his wife, but when they went back to the baby's room, there was only their son in his crib.
The father knew what he had seen. He knew that God had shown him his child's angel to give him reassurance that he could raise this child and not to worry because this child was in God's care. He said he never worried about whether or not they had made the right decision after that night. God also allowed the father to see the angel again later in the child's life.
Something that you should know about this father; he is not the type of man who is given to mystical hocus-pocus type stuff. From what I know of him, he is extremely down-to-earth and matter-of-fact. His personality is not given to dishonesty or fantasy that is often associated with stories of spiritual beings. In fact, had the story not been from him, I might not have believed it myself. But because of his very nature, I cannot help but believe every word, and I take great comfort in his story.
When I think about Sarge, and all of the other precious children with Down Syndrome who have been orphaned, I think of this story. It gives me incredible peace to know that they have angels watching them, playing with them, giving them companionship and comfort until their mommies and daddies come for them.
(Sidenote: Are these pictures the cutest or what?!? I love them!!! Those precious little chunky monkeys with all their angel garb on...I could eat them up!)