As I lived the first few months of my life in an orphanage on the other side of the world, God had a plan for me. He planned to change my name from “Orphan” to “Hannah”…that I would be adopted and brought across the waters to another land. God planned that I would have a family; one that loved Him and that would teach me about His love through loving me. God planned that I would have parents who had a heart for the fatherless and who had the desire to take an orphan in under their wing. God planned that two, married Americans would save my life.
These two Americans wanted children, badly. They had prayed and prayed and prayed for years. Up until 1995, God decided not answer that prayer for a child. Instead, God placed the desire in their hearts to adopt a from another country…to adopt a child who needed it most. My Dad remembers praying for me at about the same time as I would have been conceived, in the very place I sit as I write this piece. Through CCAI, an adoption agency, my parents were matched with me. My parents saw, and chose me. They wanted me. They had compassion on me. And they waited for me.
They liked the girl who had nothing to offer. They wanted the girl who had nobody. They prayed for the tiny, sick, little girl they were going to adopt. They chose to love and cherish the child living across the ocean who they did not know. They said, “I want her.” While at the same time, I hadn’t the slightest clue they existed.
In the midst of moving the household across the country, and all the chaos that comes with that, my Dad left the States with my Grandma to travel to China. He came to hold me. To love me. To feed me. To take me home and redeem me as his very own. This whole adoption thing is kind of how Jesus redeems us. Jesus paid for me despite my helpless and unworthy state, leading me to the Cross and loving me in a way that I never, ever, deserved or could have earned. He made me an heir, and loves me and calls me His very own.
God decided to give me a family…not just any family, but one that lived in the United States. He decided to give me a family who loved Jesus and His Word. He gave me parents who would take joy in raising their new daughter as one of their own, without the distinction of being “the adopted daughter”. I would grow up being simply “Hannah”; one whom they loved and treasured dearly. They made me laugh and learned my quirks. They made the effort to know me in a way in which my birth parents never will. They are the ones who encourage me when I am on edge to cling to Christ, and who hold me when I need it most; something that my birth parents never can do. They love me when I am introverting hard and inspire me to keep on chasing my dreams; something that my birth parents will never understand. They call me out when I have decided to sin and be a jerk and remind me of Christ and His love. They refuse to let me throw in the towel after a bad day, and forgive and love me daily in the same way that God does; only something that can be done through the love of parents who truly care. I am so unworthy and so richly blessed by every little thing I have been given in the life. I certainly do not deserve it. Not one bit.
I sometimes have the brave souls who approach and ask if I want to meet my birth parents. Alternatively, I talk to those who say it must be hard for my parents (and sister – born to my parents) because all they have for kids (or siblings) are adopted people.
I try and not to be offended by the latter—I am sure they don’t know what they’re saying nor mean it in a hurtful way. However, why should anyone look at me differently because I am not blood related to those I live with? They seem to assume through their choice of insensitive words that it would be emotionally challenging for those who wanted to add me into the family, as if I was their only option & last resort…as if they adopted me, but not really wanting to. The decision, on my parents’ part, to adopt and have the heart for it, did not come through haste, but instead through much thought and much prayer and much waiting. They decided to love before they knew and trust before they saw. Perhaps I was their only option at the time, or I was their last resort. But that certainly doesn’t make their care for me any less than the care they have for my sister who was born to them.
About finding my birth parents, I have no desire to lay eyes on them, or know them, if they are still living. It would be hard to face the people who gave me life and know that I will never be able to love them in the same way I love my parents now. It would be hard to look the two in the face, the ones who share the same laugh and the same smile, and know that I could have lived with them but do not. For me, if I saw them again, there would be the threat of bitterness, hurt, and resentment in the back of my throat and in my eyes…I am sure of it. But perhaps, maybe, there will be a day where we will cross paths again…and if that be the case, I will choose love them fully, because Christ first loved me fully. And I am His.
(to be continued)