Every year brings change, sometimes significant, sometimes subtle. We've been in the same little house for ten years now, but we add some kind of change to it every year (paint color, new flooring, landscaping, decorative touches, etc.)
This year will be my fifteenth year at my school, though I've taught three different grades and age groups. Teachers and administration come and go, but there are a few of us that have stuck around and put our roots down. The relationships and trust you can build with the families when you stick around is pretty amazing.
David has stuck with the same soccer team since about fourth or fifth grade, and he's grown up and made memories with several of the same kids from church since he was in early elementary school.
Mike has had two different jobs while here, and he maintains a close relationship with his coworkers of his first job.
When things get tough, we've learned to stick it out and not bail at the first sign of difficulty. We're long-haul kind of people. We are committed. And I hope we've taught David that commitment means contentment. Contentment with where God placed us and a belief that He placed us there for a reason.
When we jumped into the adoption process, we knew it would be for the long haul. We didn't know it meant a long haul of pain, heartache, and loss. When the adoption failed the first time, I remember so many caring people telling me they could help us find another avenue to adopt a child. But I'd already commited my heart to Juan David and Laura, and I believed with all of my heart that God led them to us for a purpose. I had to see the story through. Julian had already entered the picture, anyway, so I knew God had to be up to something. Even when it looked like we'd lost everything, we stayed grounded and followed the dark path ahead.
This week as we got Juan David moved in to DBU and walked away, leaving him there to start this next chapter of his life, I couldn't help but feel nothing but a deep gratitude for that long-haul commitment. Surprisingly, I didn't shed a single tear as I hugged him and walked away. I felt such joy in watching how God continues to play out his story. Especially when I started to walk away and happened to overhear his very next conversation with one of the upperclassmen helping out that day, a fellow Colombian.
In his dorm room
A pic with one of his roommates (the other one hadn't arrived yet)
The bed he chose and quickly made up
Getting ready to leave
Out in the foyer area of his dorm
Outside his dorm
His new Colombian connection
What if we'd thrown up our hands in surrender and said, "No. It's too much."
What if I'd never pursued that relationship with Julian?
What if I'd stopped praying for Laura and forced myself to move on and forget about her?
What if we never tried again to adopt Juan David, too scared and still angry from the first attempt?
Two texts I've gotten from him late at night this week. :)
Without a long-haul commitment, these pictures would not exist today.
Will he make it in college? Only God knows. We're just going to take it a semester at a time. But he's there, and I'm grateful because I know God led him there.
Classes start Monday. Keep him in your prayers!