Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Can Be Kind Of Bossy

Adoption is the most mind-bending, beautiful, rock-my-socks-off surprise. It's hard and it's easy. It has taken everything I once knew for sure and sent it skidding across the kitchen floor like a wayward toy top.

Right around the time that we were realizing the age-old discussion of "Will our kids have your eyes and my ears?" might be altogether pointless, my mom told me something that I will never forget. "God knows exactly what your family picture looks like."

I cannot tell you the peace that brought me. He already knew. It was already planned, from the beginning of time. It wasn't because we had failed somehow or because something was wrong with us. It wasn't because we were extra-brave or good-hearted. It was just the plan. It had always been The Plan.

From that day on, I began daydreaming about eyes with the slope of an almond and hair that could spring up to half its length. We didn't know the details and we didn't care, but to cover all of our bases, we pictured a little bit of everything.

Little by little, God reveals to us our family picture.

Little by little, God reaches down to a child who appears to be an orphan.

He wraps that baby up and carries him across the ocean and her across the river and then, the baby is HOME, with the family it was always meant to have.

Last weekend, talking to J, Calvin said, "I remember looking out of the airplane window and everything looked different. I didn't recognize anything. And I knew my life was about to change forever."

J scrunched his eyebrows together and asked, "Does he really remember that? How old was he?"

Well, he was not quite 5 months old and no, I don't think he really remembers any of it. Not really. But you know? His story is different than mine and maybe God put a really valuable memory in his little heart and maybe he knows more than we think he does. Maybe he does remember the moment he came Home.

I almost cried when he said it. I had never heard him say it before and I have never described it to him in exactly that way. He was speaking from his old-soul heart. His words were cooked-down truth.

So many of you have told me that adoption is on your heart. Well, I'm here to say that it's quite possible that your family picture looks different than you think it does. And there may be a child somewhere who looks like an orphan right now, but really isn't. The outcome depends on your willingness to step out of the life you know right now and embrace the beauty of so much more.

Dn't let fear or indecision hold you back. Match the courage of that precious boy or girl. Find their faith and hope and meet them there.

In the meantime, I'm asking for your help.

This is Danielle and her family.
They are working to bring their boy home.

Remember: He is already theirs, and they are already his.

His name is Sergey and right now, he lives in an orphanage in Eastern Europe.

He has Down Syndrome.

He needs his Mama and Daddy.

Right now, they are standing on the tallest ladder, reaching up to grab hold of faith and provision because that is The Plan for them.

Click here to donate $10 (or more!)

There are loads of amazing prizes being given away as part of this Dream Big fundraiser, but you and I both know that the prizes don't even matter in comparison to being a part of God's Big, Crazy, Mind-Bending, Grace-Filled Plan.

Be a part of something Big today.

And keep thinking and praying about that picture hanging on your own wall. Because maybe there's room for one more in there. Maybe it's not as complete as you thought it was.


  1. This gives me chills. I was just in the shower thinking of this very thing. AND I wonder what God has in store for us. MAN! Your mother is smart!

    Running to get my check card! :)

  2. You are so cool. We pray that will God will make our family look like HE wants it to look. Beautiful.

    And you know I love your comment "God already knew." I can not count the times I have said that in my mind, in my heart and on my blog.

    God already knew.

    I have plenty more to say, but I will stop now before Silas graduates from college.

  3. I love dreaming about what our next kiddo will look like, and thinking beyond our eye color, hair color, and skin color.
    And it's crazy to me sometimes when I tell Abigail's birth story (I was in the room at her birth) and forget that I wasn't the one who 'gave birth' to her.
    I LOVE adoption and what it means to be a family, and how it showed my heart the way God feels about me as His daughter.

  4. Mmm-hmmm. I love adoption too. I can't wait to find out what child will join our family next!!! If, of course, God wants another face in our family picture....

  5. I just love ya. :) You're so awesome, Shannan, and with such a big heart.

  6. THANK YOU!!!!! I am so grateful to you for sharing our story! I love that quote from your mom "God knows exactly what your family picture looks like." I look at the picture above and it's missing Sergey, it's not complete yet. But it will be soon! I truly appreciate this!


  7. i adore children with old souls. my ari has one seeping out of her every breath. sometimes i curl up next to her and just listen. listen to a heart that knows more than her years could ever carry. i absolutely ,totally and completely aggree with you. sometimes i think God parts the clouds in special ways and gives gifts and words that are beyond what we know... like little road signs... 'great things ahead'. :)

  8. I get a little nervous every now and then thinking about challenges that might come our way when we begin to try to start a family (I'm a worrier like that)...and I can honestly say that finding your blog has had the most settling influence on me. The way you guys live your life and love your family has given me great faith that no matter what, our family will be whatever it's supposed to be. So thanks :-)

  9. My dearest friend who picks flowers grown on her farm (tears). Danielle's family picture is about to become more blessed than her family could have ever imagined. I have an inside scoop on these matters. I'm heading over right now to be apart of reuniting this family, because faith say's it was always meant to be.

  10. I love your mom's comment! I will definitely keep that in my head when I start asking God, "Why? Why me?" Thank you!

  11. I have watched these little ones on Reece's Rainbow and prayed for them. I see little ones with DS everywhere now that we had Ollie. Why didn't I before. Thank you for this post. I love your heart.

  12. will do, thank you for sharing and for the adoption encouragement, specifically the reminder that God knows what our family looks like. it's been almost 2 months since we submitted our profile book, no word yet but trusting in God's plan

  13. As always, amazingly beautifully written--speaking straight from your soul to all of ours. it's pretty amazing what can happen when souls speak to each other. LOVE your family, love your passion, and hope many others are moved toward that direction themselves. you are a blessing to many, shannan....

  14. Done. Ask and you shall receive ;)


  15. I have such a love for those who adopt. My sister is adopted and it is such a blessing for all involved.

  16. girl, you are speaking some truth over here tonight. And lucky for me, we're visiting honduras in a few weeks with adoption weighing heavily on our hearts. looking forward to the day we meet our next child. this encouraged me greatly...ever read that verse in romans 1....."And I pray that the way may be opened for me to come to you, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another's faith." well, you traveled your way tonight and I hope to one day travel back and encourage you.
    sending you much love,

  17. "The plan" just leaves me speechless sometimes. You put it into words so well. Thank you. Happy to be a teensy-weensy part of the plan for this family.

  18. amen!I am so glad there are people willing to be a voice for adoption!Thank you! We are waiting to be matched with our sweet little one...
    Blessings to you!

  19. My husband and I have been planning to adopt 2 children from Africa for the last year and a half. We are in the middle of a three year financial plan to get us there. I'm starting to feel a call towards fostering.

    My parents have fostered since I was a child, and instead of empty nesting when my siblings and I moved out, they spread their arms and took in four new kids. So it's kind of in my family to foster. Right now Mom & Dad have five boys ranging in age from 5 years old to 18 years old. Four are high needs foster kids and one is a foster kid who lived with them for a year, was sent home, then left his old life and came back on his own and they have taken him in as their own son. My dad's house is often inhabited by past foster kids who have come back to spend holidays or weekends with them because they know plain and simple, it's a safe, comfortable place with food, a hug, and some tough love - but love, nonetheless.

    I'm starting to see fostering in a new light, after years of telling myself I could never do it, seeing so many bitter and hardened kids slip through the cracks. Take into account, though, that my dad runs a high needs treatment home for boys whose next stop is a group home. So we see the worst cases. But it's been so hard. Perhaps I'm limiting my own fostering path by assuming mine will be the same.

    My dad is a saint, it seems, of lost-cause kids. Maybe my path will be completely different. Maybe I'll just have one kid for a huge chunk of time and will make all the difference in his or her life? I don't know. It encourages me so greatly to read your green letter quote, because it stills that inner back-and-forth within me. It reminds me to ask God what He would have me do, and skip all the inner torment and just get on the path already...

    I'm writing a post on your post, and I'm sorry for that. Your post really got me thinking and I hope it's okay I did it "out loud." I really respect you as a mom and would love to hear your thoughts on this avenue of creating a family.

  20. beautiful. perfect. thank you.

    xo, jenny

  21. Your words on adoption are the truest I have ever read. I have two boys that were adopted from different corners of the globe. I love how God can bring a family together from worlds apart and yet everyone fits just right. I can't wait to see who he adds to our family next.
    I love reading your blog and hearing about your adorable kids!

  22. Our adoption story looks completely different from yours, but it is truly God's perfect plan. We cared for many children through the foster care system, and we knew the exact moment that God had given us the one we were to keep. He looks like my husband spit him out, and he acts just like me! Just an hour ago, he began asking questions about the foster children he remembers, and why he got to stay and they didn't. My heart broke in two. Praying for you and your sweet family.

  23. LOVE this post. I love the way you interact with the Father and the way you love your family. You have such precious kids.