The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

Tag: adoption

Baby Belly

I knew someday the questions would come, but I didn’t expect them so soon.

He’s only a smidge over three years old.

But here we are.

“Mama, was I in your belly?”

“No, sweetheart, you weren’t in Mama’s belly. You grew in another mama’s belly, but she couldn’t care for you, so God let me be your mama.”

His face was so sad in that moment. How could a 3-year-old even begin to comprehend the implications of having another mama? How will he reconcile the knowledge that the one he kisses and declares “I love you, Mama” isn’t his only mama?

Of course, to look at him and then look at Luke and me, you’d think that it’s obvious that we’re not his biological parents. It would be extremely rare for two white parents to birth a black baby. (Let alone two in a row.)

But to Kai, we’re the only parents he knows.

So of course he should have grown in my belly. And of course he’s sad that he didn’t.

So it begins.

The joys of adoption mingle closely with the sorrows.

But we press on, because it’s worth it. God redeems sorrowful situations. And maybe they don’t stop hurting altogether, but we see His glory shining through the brokenness.

A Letter on Adoption Day

Our adoption of our sweet little Malachi was finalized on June 15, and this is the letter I read in court. I wanted to share it with you, because this is the story God has given me.

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My story began in 2001, when I spent 10 days in Romania with a group from Cornerstone University loving on a bunch of abandoned babies in a hospital there. My eyes were opened not only to the big world outside of Michigan, but also to the brokenness in this world. I wanted to bring all those orphans home with me. At age 18, with 3-1/2 years of college ahead of me, it just wasn’t practical. But it planted a seed way down in my heart, a little thought that said, “One day, maybe I’ll adopt.”

Life went on. Luke and I got married. We had babies. We loved our church and our life together. It was good.

But during my first year of BSF, studying the life of Moses, I felt a tugging in my spirit. I didn’t know what was in store for us. I didn’t know what this uncomfortable prodding of the Spirit meant. But I told God that I was willing to do what He asked of me. And then began a period of waiting to see what He would do.

And we all know what He was preparing us for. He started tilling the soil of my heart in 2001 and again in September 2014 in preparation for the birth of a tiny little boy on November 7, 2014.

Malachi Charles, I wanted to adopt a baby from Romania in 2001…but I didn’t know at that time that God had my sweet son in mind to be born much later. You were worth the 15 years’ wait!

Today as you become officially ours, I have to give all praise and glory to God, who created you and blessed our family with you. His plans are so much richer and more beautiful than ours, if only we’ll step out in faith.

I can’t imagine our family without you – your sweet smile and infectious laugh. It is my heartfelt desire that someday soon you will learn about the awesome God who created you, and about His Son, Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty for our sins. I pray that you will grow to be a man who loves Jesus and serves Him with his whole heart. Your name – Malachi – means “messenger of God,” and it’s my prayer that you will have a beautiful testimony of His grace in your life to share with others.

On this special day, I have some people to acknowledge. First, my family. Luke, it has been so amazing to see the way God took your steps of obedience and turned them into a true, deep love of a father for his son. It’s such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us…and I get to see it played out before my eyes every day.

Grace, Caleb, Ava, and Jaden…I love you. You are awesome kids. It has been so fun to watch you with Kai – the way you loved on him from the very beginning and always treated him like your baby brother. You are such great helpers with him, and I know you’ll continue to help teach him how to be a godly boy. I hope you 5 will someday realize how blessed you are to have each other.

To our extended family – thank you. Thanks for praying for Kai and the rest of us throughout this long process. You’ve prayed for this for over a year, and I want you to know that we don’t take that for granted. And thank you for treating him as part of the family from the very beginning. We’ve been blessed with some pretty stellar family members.

Dana…you were the one to bring Kai home from the hospital and love on him through seemingly endless hours of crying. You sacrificed your Christmas with the girls to snuggle him in the hospital for 2 weeks when he was very, very sick. You endured my not-so-subtle attempts at seeing his sweet self after I’d fallen in love with him, but before I had the courage to say it. You loved him with a mama’s love for 7 months before he came home to us, and for that I will always be grateful. Thank you for being a living example of Christ’s love for the orphans for the last 9 years, so that when it was our turn to step up to the task of orphan care, it was much less scary.

To our other friends who have gone before us into foster care and adoption – thank you. The Simonises, Sturmans, Perrons, and Perrys…your steps of faith and godly examples gave us courage to obey God’s leading. When you chose to love the orphans, you didn’t just change the lives of your children. You’ve impacted the lives of those around you, including us. Thank you!

And last, thank you, God, for adopting us into Your family when we were unlovable. While we were still Your enemies, Christ gave His life for us so we could become your sons and daughters. What’s happening here today is just a picture of the beautiful thing you’ve already done for us. May we bring you glory as we strive to live for you.

To My Son’s Biological Mom on Mother’s Day

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“Children born to another woman call me ‘Mom.’ The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” -Jody R. Landers

I think of you often.

Our lives are so very different.
I grew up in a loving, stable, Christian home. You didn’t.
I have an amazing husband “to have and to hold.” You face yours days without that blessing.
I live in a part of our town that’s considered wealthy. You don’t.

Sometimes I think I should be angry for the way you conducted your life that led this sweet baby boy into foster care. Shouldn’t I be righteously indignant? Don’t you realize that your misconduct left lasting consequences for him? And yet, the prevailing emotion when I think of you is sadness. Sadness for you.

Your baby boy is simply amazing.

He looks like you, you know. The way his face is shaped. His eyes and eyebrows. His lips. He looks like his birth mama. I will tell him that he looks like you, with a little bit of his biological daddy mixed in.

He’s SO smart. Just a couple of days ago, he started to learn sign language for the chorus of “Jesus Loves Me,” complete with blowing a big kiss at the very end. He keeps us laughing, that’s for sure.

He can also be quite sassy and opinionated, and I wonder if that’s a trait you share?

I’m sad that you’re missing it. You miss out on all of his milestones, his moments of discovery and learning, his developing humor and wit. If your life had been different…you would have loved these moments. You would have savored your time with him. You would have delighted in him.

I’m sorry you can’t now.

But I promise to do my very best to raise your boy to be the very thing that God created him to be. I can already imagine the way he will change the world for God’s glory, and I can’t wait to see it play out.

It’s my heartfelt prayer that you will both come to realize your need for Christ, so that even though you can’t spend these special moments with your boy in this lifetime, you would be able to spend an eternity next to him, praising God.

And may that gracious, loving God hold you close this Mother’s Day.

He Redeems

Four years ago, Amber and I started a study together. Every Friday, we would get together and discuss God’s Word and His design for wives. Our many small children would swarm around us as we opened our Bibles and sipped our chai lattes.

As we challenged each other, and kept each other accountable…as we shared our hearts and did life together…we forged a deep friendship. Of all the people in the world, Amber is one I know I can confide in, count on, and confront if needed (and I know she’ll do the same for me).

Through the highs and lows of life we have walked these four years.

It was a simple question I asked her not too long ago: “What was the date when Carter came home?”

They’re in the process of adopting a little boy, and I wondered about the official date of his placement in their home.

And that is where I want you to join this story of God’s redeeming love.

Let’s back up to three and a half years ago. Amber found out she was pregnant with their third child. Of course I was thrilled for her! She had two boys…would this one be a girl or a boy? The joyous anticipation began.

But she didn’t ever find out baby’s gender, as she lost him or her to miscarriage on October 6, 2011.

It was a sorrowful day.

The months to follow were hard. She longed for another baby, and yet her womb was empty.

She knew she should take down the crib and move her 2nd son into a “big boy” bed…but she couldn’t bear to see the nursery empty. Every time she walked by, she was reminded that there was supposed to be a new child bringing life and joy to that room. It was a season of weeping.

Did God forget her?

“I say to God my rock,
‘Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning…'”
Psalm 42:9

I have a vivid memory of hugging her, crying, and reminding her, “God has NOT forgotten you. He hears your cries. He knows your heart.”

Sometimes when we can’t stand on our own, we need our brothers and sisters in Christ to hold us up and remind us of the truth.

Well, much to everyone’s delight, after months of prayer, God granted her wish for another baby, and a beautiful baby boy was born in May 2013.

That same fall, God planted in her heart the desire to adopt a blue-eyed, blond-haired baby boy.

The process was long. Lots of paperwork, training, home visits. They thought he would come home months before he actually did. They didn’t expect delays.

But it was God’s perfect timing. Because when I asked Amber that question…”What day was Carter placed with you?”…she had to go back and check. And she re-checked, just to be sure.

In those details she saw that God is truly the God of love. He cares so deeply for her, he wants to so completely heal her heart, and he redeems.

Carter was brought home on October 6, 2014, exactly 3 years after her miscarriage.

God redeemed that day and gave my dear friend a reason to rejoice on a day that used to hold only sorrow.

What can we do but praise Him?

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(Epilogue: I am eagerly awaiting the impending arrival of Amber’s baby #5…hoping that her four boys will gain a sister, but not going to be surprised if another little guy joins the crowd. If you’re wondering, she’s about to have 5 kids ages 5 and under!) 🙂

Consecrated and Sustained

One of the biggest blessings in my life since September has been Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). It’s an international organization, where groups all over the world are studying the same content at the same time.

This year, we’re going through the Life of Moses. We are done with Exodus, and have two more lessons on Leviticus before we move on to Numbers.

Have you ever studied Moses’ life?

Wow, what a blessing it has been to take a really in-depth look at parts of the pentateuch. And not just because Moses was a fascinating case study.

Because GOD. He is everywhere in the pages of this narrative.

I mean, how can we not be blown away by the fact that God Himself wants to dwell among His people? Incredible.

So, this past week we talked about the consecration of the priests for their service in the tabernacle. Our teaching leader, Maria, pointed out that this event was totally life-changing for Aaron and his sons. Not only was priesthood now their permanent vocation/duty, but there was a gravity to serving as the mediator between holy God and sinful man.

She asked, “Have YOU taken on work for the Lord and realized that though it’s honorable, it’s hard work?”

I couldn’t help but think of some of my friends who have recently taken on the hard work of adoption.

My friends Terry and Sommer added three sweet kiddos to their family through adoption. Their youngest has some health issues, and I know that some of her days are just plain hard. But God called them to this journey, and God will give them strength for each new day and each new challenge.

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My friends Craig and Kathy are super involved in vocational ministry in our local church body, and their kids are really close in age to ours. (In fact, starting with their oldest child, we will have 8 straight years of graduation open houses between our two families!) 🙂 They will finalize their adoption of a baby boy this year who has some respiratory and feeding challenges. His sweet smile and pleasant personality are such a joy to be around. But every day will not be easy.

My friends Ted and Amber added a little guy to their house of boys. Now they have four boys ages 5 and under…and baby #5 will be born in five weeks. They will have five children ages 5 and under. (I feel crazy just typing that!) Their adopted son also has some medical challenges, and again, sometimes the days are just hard. Sometimes the days are overwhelming.

But GOD. He called them to this journey, and He will sustain them.

I’m so thankful to know that through Jesus, God has consecrated us to this life. He delights in our service to Him. And He holds us up when our tasks are difficult or overwhelming.

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Keep an eye out for an upcoming book review. This one’s for all you weary women out there…I’m excited to get my hands on a copy of the new book Nourished by Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph. I’ll read it and let you know what I think of it, and I’ll be holding a giveaway so that one of you can get your hands on a copy, too!

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