Last night the world said good-bye to 2012. We watched as millions of people gathered at Time Square in NY city, dressed in big blue hats and shiny glasses shaped to make the numbers 2013. The announcers walked around like they do every year and asked some of the people what their hopes are for 2013. I was disheartened by some of the answers, they seemed shallow, the kinds of things that I'm sure everyone wishes for every year. Things that don't need to even be mentioned, like losing weight, a house, a puppy (really?). None of those things are wrong, they are just so..... earthly.
You see, 2012 gave me more then I ever bargained for. It ruined me for a normal life. As Ryan and I sat in the comfort of our home, playing games, sipping sparlkling cider, and somewhat listening to what was being brodcasted from Time Square, I couldn't help but think about the wishes that matter. The wishes that wont be heard by the world because their hiding in hospital rooms, locked away in their mama's tummy, or adandoned in orphanages.
Wishes for life.
Some parents couldn't care less, about the size of their house, all they want is to bring their child into something that they could together, as a family, call home.
Some babies speak their wish, not with words, but the fact that everyday their tiny body is growing and developing in miraculous ways. Ways that are meant to sustain them for a lifetime that their mother is contemplating not allowing them to have.
There were children that went to bed last night, not even knowing that a new year is upon them. Every year, everyday is the same for them, hopeless and alone. They have no family to teach them of the joys of change. They have no idea what it means to pass from one thing into something different.
What about them?
Can we so easily forget about them because our focus is on, getting that new job or building that dream house? Or here's a noble cause, actually doing some of the Pinterest projects you have pinned?
2012 led us to a strange place. In a sense, we feel like God is offering us our normal back. We have been told that after Landon's next surgery he will have a two ventricle, normal functioning heart and will not need anymore surgeries in his future. This is such a miracle! I can't lie, my heart almost burst when it heard the word "normal".
It was like the mention of an old friend.
But the more I had time to think about it the more I realized that "normal" is no friend to us at all. All she did was distract us from the things that really mattered. "Normal" made us selfish and shallow. Don't get me wrong, everybody has their own normal, but the normal I'm talking about is the one that society tries to pin us with. The one that can never be attained, but is like a mirage in our minds and leads us to believe that every one else has already attained it.
I don't want that for our family. Call me crazy, but I don't want that for Landon. We want him to know that there's so much more to life then just his accomplishments.
So we're not going back to "normal", not even just to look around and remember what it was like to not be burdened by the injustices and pain of this world. Yes, it might make for a nice little vacation, but we know that it's way to enticing. Ryan and I know that we could so easily get sucked back into the stress
of our old life. Chasing things that don't matter because they promise
to make us happy, but only leave us unsatisfied because we also need
this "other" thing to actually seal the deal to happiness. Nope, we're not falling for that one. You're sly "normal", but you underestimate the power of the cross.
Sorry church, but God didn't call us to pick up our la-z boy recliners and follow him. What?!? Nope, He didn't even call us to pick up our 72" TV and follow him. No, it doesn't even make a difference if you got it on a Black Friday special and you paid for it with cash. That might make Dave Ramsey proud, but it's not going to get you any crowns in the Kingdom of Heaven... sorry.
We are called to pick up our crosses. There's no getting around it... we're called to suffer in this life. We're called to put others needs in front of our own. We're called to die to ourselves. We're called to not conform to the world. We're called to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.
So as much as Ryan and I would like to live carefree lives, where we could ignore the fact that innocent life is being abused and murdered,
I wasn't planning on telling you guys this until after Landon's surgery, but I feel like God is saying "do it." so here goes...
2013 holds so much hope for us. We feel as though God is closing one chapter, but it leads so perfectly into the next it's as though one chapter is ending mid sentence and the next chapter is picking up right where it left off.
Our sleepless nights, our fears, our need to be our child's advocates are far from over. In fact, we feel as though they are truly only beginning.
God has brought us face to face with children no different then Landon. Children that have been labeled because they have some kind of special need. The difference between these children and our Landon is the fact that we chose to love whereas these children's parents chose to abandon. For the most part, society has looked on our Landon with lovingly concerned eyes, but for these children, their society has looked on them, pointed a finger, and said "worthless." Landon has been able to get some of the best medical treatment out there, but these children have been transferred to a mental institution at the age of 5, where they will spend the rest of their short life confined to a crib.
God has BROKE our hearts more over the past 6 months then I can even explain with words. Each episode of brokenness has led us further and further down a path of total surrender. A path that feels so right, it's as though we are taking steps into footprints that God already fitted perfectly for our feet.
Ryan and I have known since we were dating that someday we would adopt. We knew that we would likely have more adopted children then biological. We had even talked about adopting our first child. That plan obviously didn't pan out since I got pregnant a month into our marriage.
But here is the part I am very ashamed of.
Before Landon, I NEVER would have considered adopting a child with special needs. I justified my prejudice with thoughts like, God calls special people to parent children like that. Then God did something I thought was mean, He didn't even give me the choice. He just placed a special heart in my womb and through it, He taught me what unconditional love truly looks like. It looks like loving your child, not for their looks or their abilities, but just because they are your child and there's nothing that could quench the love you have for them.
We were all labeled special needs before Christ died for us. We were helpless, ugly, and had no worth, but God didn't care. He loved us despite our sin. He reached down and chose us, not because of what we could do for Him, but simply because he loved us. (period!)
God has asked us if we are willing to demonstrate this kind of love for a child.
Armed with everything God has taught us about love and life in 2012, we are entering 2013 as completely different people then we were New Years day last year. Last year, I held a change in my womb that I didn't choose nor want, but this year, God is giving us the choice between "normal" and "transformation" and we're happy to announce we're choosing the latter.
This is going to mean a lot of things for our family.
It means that we need your support more then ever before.
I know many of you are going to exit out of our blog in this new year, yelling at us in your head, telling us that we are absolutely nuts! That's okay, we probably are, but we have no doubt that God is going before us down this crazy path, leading our way.
No, it is not the ideal time for us. We told God when we would pursue adoption....
After I'm done with school.
After Landon's last surgery.
After we get a house.
After we pay off our student loans.
Then he replied by showing us the faces of two precious boys that may not have a year.
So yes, we may be crazy, but if Landon's life depended on some family across the world being crazy and adopting him when everyone else was just waiting for him to die, we wouldn't care how crazy and how uncomfortable it may make their life. We would just beg them saying, "this is our son! Please go to him. Please love him."
That is exactly what God has told us. "These are my boys Ryan and Natalie. They don't have time. Please go to them. Please love them. I will give you everything you will need, all I need from you is your willing heart."
Our hope for 2013 is for a miracle. A miracle that will bring two more miracles into our home.