After the miracles that Jesus performed in scripture, he always told the people to go and tell what God had done for them. This challenges me. God has performed miracles through our adoption journey, real tangible miracles. Why am I not telling our story to everyone that I know? It is an amazing story, but the truth is I am scared. I am scared to expose deep feelings and emotions that I am not even sure that I have processed. These feelings are still raw and I can honestly say that I have been shaken to my very core. So I am laying it ALL out and giving God the glory he deserves.
I cannot be completely transparent without sharing a little back story. From November to January, I was doing the Beth Moore Daniel and Revelation studies. Here I was diving in deep scripture, but I was pushing God away. I mean really pushing him away. I was further from God than I had ever been. I have shared this before, but I knew what God wanted. He had been tugging at my heart for quite some time for orphans, specifically older orphans. This was not in MY plans. It is not that I didn’t want this; I just did not think that it was the right time. I knew that he wanted to mold me in to someone that I was not sure that I wanted to be. I thought that if I just put God on the back burner, he would leave me alone. During this time, I really felt that the devil was coming at me from all sides. He had tried to attack our marriage, my health, my parenting, EVERYTHING. Something changed. I am not going to go into much detail, but I encountered evil like I have never experienced before. God opened my eyes. He showed me that not only is he constantly pursuing me, but there is an evil one that would love nothing more than to get me out of God’s will. I began to pray like I have never prayed before. I gave complete control to God. All of the things that I thought I wanted, I found myself not wanting anymore. It was at that time that I started praying about the adoption of an older child.
Throughout this journey GOD MOVED MOUNTAINS, huge giant ones. I cannot stress this enough. We had so much against us from the very beginning. I mean, who deliberately decides to go to a country in turmoil with Russia? There were so many times that I wondered if everything would work out. During all of the waiting, satan tried to get us to believe his lies. We had people tell us that we know nothing about raising a teenager. We had people tell us not to go because it was too dangerous and Russia was taking over Ukraine. We even had one person make terrible comments about us taking the little boys. It is funny how the devil will use everyone in your life to make you feel alone and start to doubt what God has made so clear. But God sent people in our lives to encourage us and keep us on track. I keep a list on my phone of all of the miracles that we saw God perform. I keep it to remind me of his faithfulness and provision. There were so many things that confirmed to us that we were right where God wanted us, but I am only going to share a few. It would take all day to share everything. Let’s start at the very beginning…we officially started pursuing this adoption on February 20th. We had to get all of our paperwork turned in by his 16th birthday on March 1st (keep in mind that there are only 28 days in February.) in order to get him. Guess what? We turned it in WRONG! I mean, completely wrong. I think we were just so nervous about messing up the paperwork that we messed up the paperwork. We were pushing it for time but we submitted new paperwork on the 23rd. I am talking 5 DAYS before we absolutely positively could never ever have the chance at adopting him. We raised ALL of the needed money and completed our home study and Dossier in two months….TWO MONTHS! That can only be God. $33,000 in just two months! That blows my mind! Our whole international adoption process took us only 6 months. Looking back, I have absolutely no idea how we got everything done so quickly. Wait, yes it do…all God! One day, way before we were fully funded, I started doubting that God would provide. I made a list of all of the non-adoption related expenses that we would need for a teenager. I prayed over that list. Wouldn’t you know it…God took care of that too. In our mailbox the very next day was a check for a little more (just a few dollars) than the amount that I prayed over. It came from Baptist Hospital as a reimbursement for the birth of our youngest son, Banks, 16 months after he was born! How insane is that? We became very concerned about the amount of time that Ryan would be allowed to take off work. God got that one too! Ryan’s company allowed him to use all of his vacation time and sick time for a total of 28 days. Not only that, but they gave him two and half weeks paternity leave! We have been so blessed by this company. They not only talk about being family friendly, but their actions prove it. At one point in our paperwork, we were at a dead stand still. We desperately needed our passports to come in so we could complete the rest of our documents. It was supposed to take 3-4 weeks. We would have lost 3 weeks of precious time just waiting. Yep, taken care of….one week after submitting paperwork for our passports they were in our mailbox. In May, we had a small garage sale to raise a little extra for travel related expenses. The VERY FIRST person to show up was a woman that used to live in an area close to Ukraine, spoke fluent Russian, and used to work with orphans. She offered to help with teaching him English. Last but certainly not least was our protection in Ukraine. We were only about 3 ½ hours away from where all of the fighting was happening. It was very scary worrying every day that we might get a phone call that Russia had moved into his region. Not to mention, there was a plane that was shot down two days before we left. Every day from February 20th until now we just prayed for hope for that day to keep us going and he always showed up. All I can say is God is so good!
We set out to change a life, but I can tell you that it was our lives that were changed dramatically. We were headed down a destructive path. We had become so wrapped up in success, money, and stuff. It wasn’t until we were there, that our eyes were opened. I am no longer the person that I was before going to Ukraine. I see life through a whole new set of eyes. I saw God, heard him, felt his presence in ways that I have never experienced, nor can I explain. I truly believe that adoption is God’s heart. I mean he adopted us, right? About two and a half weeks in our time in Dnepropetrovsk, I was really struggling internally. Adoption is full of push and pull. Sometimes for a lot of kids at random points, their instinct is to push you away. We just happened to be dealing with a slight bit of “push”for the first time. It was almost as if everything that I knew to be truth was thrown out of the window. For a split second the devil was trying to make me think that this journey was about me. God knocked me on my knees, literally. I found myself praying selfishly about the fact that I needed connection. I was frustrated that I was pursuing a relationship with my son and he was pushing me away. Think what you want…but I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me.
“Sarah that is how I feel about you. Every single minute of every day I pursue you. Every single minute of every day I seek connection and a relationship with you and YOU PUSH ME AWAY.”
Wow!....Like I said, ON MY KNEES. I was in tears, huge tears! God knew exactly what I felt and more importantly, I knew how my son felt. Adoption comes with so many emotions that change from day to day, so it gets hard to put it all into words. So much of the adoption journey is spent grieving, for everyone. My husband is grieving. (Side note: My husband has such an amazing heart. I fell more in love with him through all of this.) My son is grieving his home and his former life. I grieve for the people and the country that we left behind. I grieve for the kids that I fell in love with, that I know are waiting on someone to step up and love them. I grieve for one of the boys that sends messages everyday asking if we have found him a family. I grieve that Ryan bought the boys new school pants because they just couldn’t sew up the holes anymore. I grieve for so many reasons for my son. I grieve so much loss, but God reveals so much beauty. There are moments of incredible beauty that just take my breath away. Like right now, as all three of my sons are playing and laughing with each other. Being home is tough. I get so angry at times with our society and how money instead of Jesus is what defines us. WE NEED TO WAKE UP!!! Life is so simple in Ukraine. They have so little, but guess what? They are happy. I am determined to bring that home with me. I find myself being torn between the old me and the new me. I pray every morning for God to remind me where I have been and what I have seen. I want it to mold me and shape me. All my life I have worked to fit in, but now for the first time ever, I want to stand out.
We are adjusting. Things have gone pretty smoothly. I have taken on many new roles, including teacher and soccer mom (a GIGANTIC thank you to those that have brought us or are planning to bring dinner. It has truly helped tremendously). Things are busy but we are enjoying every minute. A MILLION, BILLION thank yous to all that made this possible. We love each one of you.
Now…. I am very proud to introduce our new son (formerly known as Slavik) Dominic Cole Musick