The Week Before CourtSo, our adoption did not turn out the way we wanted.  Quite the opposite really.  I guess some people in our situation would not look at the outcome in quite the same way as we have.  Maybe with more resentment, anger, bitterness.  Perhaps my younger brother expressed it best when he said – “We did all that paperwork for nothing!”

But let me tell you, it was not ‘for nothing’.  There was so much good that has come out of it.  Probably more in the spiritual realm than I will ever realize.  There is a lot my parents took away from the experience that they have shared with me, and it has really impacted my whole outlook on the way things turned out.

Months before traveling to Ukraine, in the midst of all the adoption paperwork, we worked to prepare a place for Sasha.  Since I have my own apartment out of state, I gladly said my old bedroom could now be for Sasha.  At the beginning of the year, I emptied out the entire room to make the space completely his.  My parents enjoyed planning his room, with all new paint, furniture, and even a huge decal of a Chevy Camaro on the wall, Sasha’s favorite car.  Picture frames around the house started to include 4 children, rather than only the 3 that were there before.  The physical transformation in the house mirrored the transformation in our family… we were preparing a place for him.  A place in our family of 5 to become a family of 6.  A place in our hearts for him to be a son and a brother.  Even our extended family was looking forward to having a new grandson, nephew, and cousin. We had prepared for him a home and a family where Sasha could be forever.

We loved Sasha so much.  We did not know everything about him.  We had no idea about his past – where he came from, the things he had done, or the experiences he had gone through.  But we loved him anyways.  He did not need to do anything to earn that love.  And that love was so great, that it took our family to extremes no one ever expected even 12 months prior.  

Going into the court hearing, where the adoption would become official, ‘Z’, my parents’ interpreter and Ukrainian godsend, gave them some great words of wisdom.  He told them, as they went into court, they had to think of it as if they are extending their hands to Sasha.  They are offering him the opportunity for family, for a new life, and great hope for his future.  They did all they could do to make that offer possible, and the last part was up to Sasha to accept the offer or not.  My parents were obedient and faithful to do all they could for Sasha, but they could not force him to make any decisions. That most important, fateful one was left up to Sasha. 

Z told my parents they needed to approach their adoption just in the same way that God extends his love to all people.  This is one of the greatest spiritual truths that has come alive to me in a new way from this experience.

God has prepared a place for us.  He has gone before us and made everything come together so that we can forever be with him. 
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:3 (NIV)

God’s love for us is unconditional and unending.  It does not matter where we have come from or what we have done.  His love covers it all.  It does not stop him from wanting us as a part of his family.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”
Ephesians 1:4-5 (NIV)

And, just like the adoption decision was left in Sasha’s hands, God leaves that decision up to us.  He does not force it upon us.  He allows us to accept his hand of forgiveness, hope, future, and love.  All we have to do is say yes.
“…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)

It is heartbreaking that our Sasha did not choose us and a new life in America.  But we still love him and would be so blessed to have him if he were to change his mind …and if it were legally possible. 
And what about Christ’s offering of new life?  If we as humans were heartbroken about Sasha I can’t even imagine how God feels when people do not choose the new life he offers.  He has so much more to offer than even the most loving family. 
In all ways, choose life!

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
Matthew 7:11 (NLT)