why I'm neither brave nor gracious

I've been called a lot of words I don't deserve in the past week: beautiful and obedient and gracious and grace-filled and sweet and honorable and passionate and amazing and courageous and inspiring. (In case you missed it on Friday, here's the post that prompted those kind words.)

You want to know the word that best described me the night before I posted our adoption news?


The week before, I sat trembling in my Bible study group because I knew God was moving in us to do something about this orphan named Jesse who would be renamed Zoe Amanda. I just didn't know how to tell anyone. I didn't know how to explain myself.

I thought we would be called crazy. (And a little part of me thought that we'd deserve that.)

I thought our friends wouldn't stand by us. (How I misjudged you!)

I thought our choice would be considered reckless, when we already had two young children and when I was still recovering from knee surgery and when I seem to collect chronic health problems. (No one brought up any of that.)

Friends knew we planned to adopt someday, but we had no homestudy started yet, we weren't on any waitlist, and we hadn't narrowed down a country or special need or age or anything else yet. We were caught by surprise, so we knew other people would be too.

I'm smiling in this picture, but I was so scared of how y'all would respond to the news.

the picture we shared to announce the news!
A little blond girl who is wise beyond her years was the one who gave me the words, days after our announcement.

We sat with my brother-in-law's family, and they asked why we were doing this. I tried to answer, and I stumbled over my words: "Well, this wasn't the country we expected, or the special needs we expected, or the age of child we expected, or the timing we expected, but..." I couldn't find the words to finish that sentence.

Jocelyn, who now dotes on her sister with more love than I thought she was capable of, jumped in. "But God said to do it, so we're doing it."

oh, how I love her!
You see, the reason I don't deserve any of the words at the beginning of this post is that I know myself. I know that I am as damaged and weird and hopeless as any of the orphans Pat Robertson dismissed last week. I, too, am broken by life in a fallen world, fractured by my own sin and by the sins of others along the way. I know my sin too well to boast of any of the words used to describe me since my post went live in the wee hours of Friday morning.

I can boast of the Savior who rescued and redeemed me, turning my broken places into cracks through which His light can shine. He does make all things beautiful in His time, in the words of Ecclesiastes 3:11, and I'm both humbled and thankful that He has allowed us to be part of His plan for bringing beauty out of the brokenness that began Zoe's life.

in our hotel room in Taitung, on the day she was discharged from the hospital in our arms.
(that was six weeks ago, and she's three pounds heavier now than she was then.)
Oh, how I love being her mom!

P.S. - Zoe has an EEG this morning at 8am Eastern time to check out some possible seizure activity. She hasn't had any as far as we know, but her kind of brain damage increases the likelihood that seizures could occur, thus the test. Please pray for clear and conclusive results!