James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” In observance of November as National Adoption Awareness Month, we are sharing stories of adoption, rescue and redemption that have touched our heart and that we hope will touch yours. You can read Shane & Kelly’s story here and Brian & Beth’s story here.
Almost exactly a year ago we met our son for the first time. My husband and I boarded a plane out of Nashville on a Tuesday in November and flew across the world to Uganda where we were met by that hot Ugandan air and that sweet African smell. We were also met by rain, which in Uganda almost always means no electricity, and so we stumbled through our dark house, went to the bathroom by iPhone light, slept to the many sounds of Africa and just relished in the fact that we were really here and we were going to meet our son. And meet our sweet son we did.
Most days I feel like our life is so normal. We are a family and we belong together. Period. And so it’s painfully beautiful to be asked to share your family’s story for National Adoption Awareness Month because adoption obviously holds a gigantic piece of my heart, but I’ve also lived through adoption now and I’ve seen some dark, heavy stuff. Adoption is what made us parents. It has stretched my heart and utterly changed my faith. Adoption has become this living, breathing, complex thing to me- full of beauty, heartbreak, grief, redemption, growth, and tension. It’s almost overwhelming to try and put it all into words.
Over the last year I have watched a tiny baby lose his everything and grieve so intensely that it’s almost scarred me for life in a way. I have grieved over the loss of a birth mom, the choice she made, and the loss my son will carry forever. I’ve lived through months of not being able to soothe a heart because grief is a total jerk like that. I have held my breath as mourning turned to laughter right before me. I have watched beauty erupt from ashes. I have honored losses while simultaneously celebrating gains. I’ve witnessed healing in my kitchen and redemption in my backyard. I have learned that adoption is forever- it’s a face, a name, it’s a life that is being lived, and it’s writing itself all over the walls of my house and the insides of my heart.
Because adoption has shown me that Jesus is indeed in the business of redemption and restoration and healing. Adoption has taught me that we love not because it makes sense or because it’s easy but simply because He first loved us. I’ve come to believe that we as believers are supposed to assume adoption always, not to save or rescue because we have been saved and rescued but because kids belong in safe families every single time. I’ve learned that adoption isn’t doing anything special or great or brave… It’s just love and the gospel in action and love and the gospel always make sense. Adoption has taught me that you don’t have to be qualified, you just have to be willing- willing to go and willing to love.
And so we find ourselves on this journey again because it just makes sense. Every fiber of my being believes that Jesus can redeem broken stories and can heal hurt pasts. Deep in my soul I am certain that no matter what continent we reside on we all are purposed, we were all marked for His glory and for His greatness. I am convinced that every single one of us was designed for something beautiful and to further His kingdom. And so we will assume adoption until God tells us otherwise. Because they will know we are Christians by our love.
Wyatt buddy, sometimes I can hear God whisper in my ear, “Look what you could have missed out on.” You were purposed and you are marked for greatness. You are a light in a dark, dark world. You are my reminder that Jesus gives good and perfect gifts. You are an orphan no more. You are a treasured son.
Courtney Koctar is a mom to Wyatt and a wife to Dustin. She loves Uganda, coffee, really great stories, adoption, and SEC football (roll tide). She is currently living the suburban dream in Franklin, TN. Courtney writes about marriage, parenting, adoption and life with a two year old at Stories We Tell.