Today we rode a cable car up a mountain about twenty minutes from our hotel called Bayun Mountain.
We spent about two and a half hours walking on different trails around the mountain, seeing lots of signs for everything from a Natural Bird Sanctuary to an Exercise Center to Temples, but we never were able to find much of anything. Despite our inability to navigate using Chinese characters on signs, we enjoyed the cool mountain breezes and green trees up above the heavy city heat and pollution.
But the real highlight of the day was dinner when we ate with an adopting couple also staying at our hotel. Their names are Kelly and Adam, and they are from the Midwest. They are with a different agency, but they were at the adoptive center at the same time as we were last Monday and we both got our little girls at the exact same time. Their daughter has cleft lip and palate, just like Mia Grace, only she has not had her surgery yet. And while Mia Grace came to us as silent as the grave, their little one began to cry from the get go and hasn’t really stopped. Kelly and I have had snatches of conversations in the lobby or at group paperwork appointments over her baby’s head as she rocks, bounces, soothes, kisses, and wipes away tears. To say I like her is an understatement. She has the patience of Job and is truly a kind soul. Their daughter was in a really tough orphanage situation and has developed a lot of self-soothing techniques, fearful responses, and grief. She is a beautiful little girl behind all of her tears, and Kelly and Adam know it is just going to take time to slowly bond, attach, and build trust and love. They both are strong Christians, and their rock solid faith in the sovereignty of God is such a day in and day out testimony to our family here in Guangzhou.
Every day, we meet more families like Kelly and Adam who are willing to risk big and love well.
There’s the family I met at breakfast yesterday who is here adopting their 10th and 11th child, a three year old boy with dwarfism and a five year old girl with hydrochiphilis. The mom is one of the most joyful people I have ever met.
There’s the family who was also with us on Gotcha Day who has two biological boys at home and is here adopting an 11 year old boy with CP.
There’s the family Jason met by the pool several days ago who is here adopting children number 7 and 8 – two boys ages 10 and 11. The mom is here with her 13 year old son from Ethiopia who was adopted just four years ago and came to the U.S. without speaking a lick of English. The dad is home with the other five kids and her 13 year old son is here helping her out with the other two. He is the epitome of politeness and kindness and carries on a conversation like he is an adult. The mom had to call security a couple of nights ago on her newly adopted boys as they were really acting out. I saw her today leaning over the edge of the pool giving each boy a kiss saying, “I love you.”
And then there’s the family I met at the pool yesterday (we spend a lot of time at the pool – it keeps the girls from scaling the walls of our apartment). They are here adopting a little girl a few months older than Mia Grace and are from Mississippi. They sound about as Mississippi as one can get, and I love hearing their accents. He loves to fish and hunt and farm and watch football, and she’s from a big family in Starkville…and they live in Northern India. They have given their lives to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus in one of the most unreached places in the world in a place where they are literally the only foreigners.
And these families are just a few of the families represented here at this hotel. Every family has a story. Every family has had to count the cost to be here. And every family I see or meet displays a little bit more of the radical, beautiful, redemptive, sacrificial love of the love of Christ. I am in the minor leagues when it comes to sacrificial love – the Single A team (anyone who knows me well can tell you that – sacrificial love isn’t exactly my forte). But many of these families are in the Majors, and all I can say is that it is a privilege to watch and be humbled and challenged by their courage and self-forgetfulness for the sake of another.
Would you please take a moment and pray for Kelly and Adam and their daughter? Would you pray for healing and trust and deep attachment to form quickly? Would you pray for strength and continued trust for their family and for signs of progress to continue to be evident every day?
And would you pray for each of the families mentioned? Grace for the journey up ahead both for the parents and the children? And pray that their families would be a sweet fragrance and aroma to many of the love Christ displays for us? They truly are heroes and super stars in the Kingdom of God, quietly and selflessly serving and giving their lives away to those who can only repay them in the Age to Come. How beautiful are the feet of those who live to bring Good News…
Thankful for the Beauty of those feet,
The Baker 6