Welcome home, Little One: Reflections on our adoption

Anne Dahlhauser blogs at Front Porch, Inspired about surrendering everyday living for sacred purposes. She and her husband, Jay, are founders of a ministry called The Bridge, focusing on missional living, training, and intercultural relationships. She holds an MA in Teaching Languages (English and Spanish) and is a lover of words and the Word, culture and communication. Jay and Anne have four young kids, a front door that can’t stay closed, and an abundance of messy, holy chaos at their neighborhood center/home in Iowa – of all places.

Over the past year, I’ve written long and hard in my little office, trying to process the ways of God as he cares for his children and the depths of the Gospel played out in an adoption scene. I couldn’t share it here though. And this blog became quiet.

I was not sure how to write about my life when one of the biggest things happening to me had to be kept confidential. I didn’t know how to write about my children, unsure if I was a mom of 4 or 5. I didn’t know how to write about much of anything I had once been certain of, as nearly everything suddenly was seen through new lens. But then, finally, May 9th came, the day we’d longed for and dared hope for. On May 9th, we officially welcomed a new little girl into our family.

And so today I’m breaking the silence, sharing just a few of the journals I wrote last year. God’s been good to us.

March 5, 2015

Love walked up our front porch on brave little legs with nice ladies on either side. One of them handed me a grocery bag with some of her little clothes. She looked too small, yet her eyes reflected images beyond her years. She had her arms wrapped around a box of cereal.

April 7, 2015

Those first days felt a lot like labor. I recognized somewhere in the fog that much was at stake, and something life-changing- or life-giving – was happening.

There was pain. Heart pain, head pain, and more heart pain.

And exhaustion. Physical, emotional, spiritual, mental exhaustion.

Yet, I sensed a protection, a epidural of divine numbness that made the pain and fatigue bearable. There was a strength, a gift of patience, and a love radiating from me that I did not recognize as my own.

The pressure and the reality of the pain was still here, yet the fullness of it was not for me to experience because of His grace.

It was one hour at a time, one phase at a time, in order to transition this little life into a new world of hope and love.

February 22, 2016

I hold her close and rock her at night. She buries in under a blanket on my lap, no matter the temperature. We listen to the same songs as we rock: “How can it be” by Lauren Daigle, “Call on Jesus” by Nicole C Mullen, and “I am not alone” by Kari Jobe. Every night, these ladies sing her to sleep with promises of Jesus’ love and His presence and that she will never be alone as His little girl.

Together we repeat 10 truths, ticked off on her little fingers, every night. She speaks out loud that Jesus loves her, that she’s not alone, that she has a mommy and daddy who love her, that there will always be food, that no one will hurt her…

There’s a court room scene playing out in my mind. It’s one in which the judge finally slams down the gavel and declares her adopted – safe, belonging, wanted, loved. Then, it will be done. I want those smiling pictures of a family finally together.

I long to be able to whisper to her finally: “you are home, Little One.”

As I watch her close her brown eyes, and press her cheek in her favorite place – right against my heart – I see the Gospel taking shape. Here, a belief takes on flesh and snuggles up on my lap.

God is pleading her cause. He’s defending His daughter, and winning her back. It’s a beautiful rescue scene and simultaneously messy in every way.

Redemption isn’t what I expected, to be honest. I thought I understood the Gospel and understood how this story played out.

Simply put, I thought we’d love her and care for her, yes – but I didn’t count on it changing us so drastically. In the loving and the pouring out, I see Jesus more clearly. I’m not a rescuer, and I don’t bring redemption. But I can better see the picture of redemption now, and it doesn’t exist without pain, unconditional love, and sacrifice. Jesus knew that full well.

I’m coming to understand the cost of the Gospel a little more.

He took on our sins, our burdens, and made them his own. Just like my heart races and my anxiety increases at the secondary-trauma I experience in hearing of her wounds. Just like we wake every couple of hours to enter in to her night terrors. Together, we bear through the melt-downs and the triggers. We face the flashbacks, and we sit in the pain, together.

Lately, I’m not sure I’d understand the Gospel at all without these little ones.

And, I’ll say it again:

Redemption has a cost, and Love is just another word for sacrifice. Click To Tweet

May 9, 2016

She came to us as Da’Khiyha.

I love names and words, and I almost immediately started googling her name. I found some spelling variations, like Dakaya, Dikaya, Dikaia, or Dakaia.

Then, on her first Sunday in church with us, we read from Romans 3 in the Bible. As a language instructor, I like to look up the words in their original Greek and Hebrew, and that Sunday I found myself drawn to the word “righteous,” as it was repeated numerous times in the chapter.

I found the original Greek word for “righteous and just” to be the word dikaios. The definition of dikaios is “upright, righteous, just,” as well as “innocent, guiltless, faultless.”

And ones of its forms is dikaia.

Upon more searching, I learned dikaios is also one of the names of the Messiah, meaning the Just One and the Righteous One.

We then began to pray specifically, according to her name, that the One who is Just would bring His justice to her case. Through many months and many court dates, we saw God defend her and clear a way for her to be cherished and loved forever.

Today, we welcome Dikaia into our family.

We know it’s God Himself who ordained her name at her birth. It’s His just ways that have brought us all together, forever. And, we look forward to seeing His justice and righteousness continue to be displayed in her life, to His glory.