Adoption and The Gift of Hope

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And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13: 13)
My children tell me the story of when they were in the orphanage in Ethiopia and how they had lost hope that a family would adopt them. We adopted three children who were siblings. Most of the adoptions they had seen were of one child at a time. So they had lost hope. I have been told stories of children who were near death and ended up living once they found out they had a family coming to adopt them. They had hope. I have heard of children dying due to lost hope. “Why should I fight? I have nothing to live for!” is what they would say when asked to continue to defy their illness.
I have been thinking a lot about the concept of hope when it comes to our children. This scripture talks about putting childhood behind us to think like a man and mature to a place of knowingness: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) Hope means confident expectation. There have been times in my life I have been so sure of something that I truly carried a confident expectation into a situation. But true hope has been rare in my life. Hope is something I believe comes easier to children. When you have most of your life ahead of you, you have a lot to expect.
My kids tell me that once they found out they had a family they were filled with hope and excitement for the future. We sent them gift bags with photos of our home and of their brothers and sisters. Our daughter Grace was excited to have a baby sister and a teenage sister. She confidently expected to be happily living her life in unity with them. My son Jared had always hoped for a big brother…he got one.
We left the orphanage after a going away party in Addis. We were all dressed in traditional Ethiopian whites. As the door slammed behind us from the compound that held the orphanage, we walked down the broken road toward the taxi, which took us to the airport. Grace turned to me and said, “America go now?” She was excited and had hope for the future. When she got on the airplane she couldn’t sleep for the 22 hour plane ride. She now says she was too excited to sleep. She wanted to see America so stayed up constantly looking out the window hoping to see it.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us. (Romans 5:4-5)
When we were about to land, Grace was beside herself with joy. She looked at me and gave me a big hug and said, “Mommy I very very happy!” Her heart had held onto hope.
We teach our children all about faith, hope and love—the greatest being love but the most overlooked is hope. But hope is what brought love to our kids. Now as they get older we teach them one special fact. Hope is not something that can always just appear to another person without it being carried into the life of another. As children of God, we bring hope to others. For us that meant bringing hope to three children who had lost everything. I hope that what we have taught our children is that hope is a powerful thing and they can be life changers by encouraging others who have nothing, expect nothing and could possibly die with nothing. So we use our hands and feet to bring confident expectation to other people who could die without hope. Grace now says she wants to go back to Ethiopia one day to help the orphans and tell them they can be someone important one day. Her life has changed since hope was brought to her, she tells me. She now brings the gift of hope to others.

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