Almost a year ago, we brought Samuel home. We'd been in the adoption process for three awfully long years, and we had completed all of the adoption related training that we were required to do. Seminars, books, documentaries. We'd bought a few things that we'd need for a child, and we got several things while Samuel was in the hospital right after his birth. However, there were several aspects of having a newborn that James and I were not at all prepared for. Some of those things were things that most new parents face - like the struggle to treat each other with kindness when we were both sleep deprived.
I have come to realize that Satan hates the things that God loves. God loves children and he loves the fatherless. Satan hates it when Christian couples add a child to their family. Satan hates it when Christian couples adopt. The Bible calls Satan the father of lies, a murderer, the deceiver of the whole world, our adversary who seeks someone to devour. Those are very strong words. Satan is not the cute red character that people dress up as for Halloween. He is evil, cunning, deceitful, and dangerous. When we began the adoption process in 2009, we had no idea what the road would hold for us. We were hopeful, prayerful, and well, naive. When we answered the call that God had put on our hearts to adopt, Satan entered our lives in a new way and we were blindsighted. After our first failed referral, I was heart broken and angry that God had not chosen to let the little girl live after we had pleaded for her life. After our second failed referral I was even more heart broken and began to wish that we'd never considered adopting. We went to counseling for a little while during that time. In the midst of all this, there were losses and hardships in other areas of our lives. I lost a job and broke my leg (which is fine now), and we lost three people that we loved. A third referral came and fell apart after we'd met her in Ethiopia. A dear saintly Ethiopian couple read James and I the story of Abraham and Sarah and assured us that our child would come to us. Our hope was restored. A fourth referral failed and we both knew that it was time to step out of the international adoption program. We had our son in our home about 3 months after we switched to the state side adoption program. Our social worker told us that our adoption story makes little sense outside of the work of God. God gave us a desire to adopt, and he was faithful to give us a son. He also allowed us to walk through a terribly dark valley with Satan quick on our heals, wrecking havoc.
After we brought Samuel home, James and I had some hard times in our relationship. We argued more intensely than I can ever recall. It has always been important to us that we attended church together as often as possible, and we have always enjoyed it. Sundays suddenly became one of the worst days of the week. On the days when I had to go to work, I usually managed to get myself and Samuel ready and get our dogs taken care for the morning without an undue amount craziness. You'd think that Sundays would be simpler since I had James home to help me get Samuel ready. That was not the case. We'd get so angry with each other just trying to get ready to leave for church. There was one Sunday that I asked James why we were even bothering with church if all we did before we left home was argue. It was then when I saw our Enemy's work.
Here's my advice for couples considering adoption, waiting in the process, and adjusting to having a newly adopted child in your family:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
Do not expect for the things God call you to do to be easy and without sacrifice. There will be hardship, pain, and suffering. But there will also be blessings, grace, and mercy beyond measure from the God of Peace.