teenagers and a lesson from Jacob.

I come to you humbly asking for prayer. Especially for my three oldest daughters, and for wisdom for me! All mommas know it: teenagers are hard. Three teenage girls are harder. Three teenage girls from different tribes and cultures and pasts trying to live together in one bedroom are harder still.

In an effort to be real, I want to tell you. Adoption is wonderful and beautiful and the greatest blessing I have ever experienced. Adoption is also HARD and painful. Adoption of older children is a beautiful picture of redemption. It is the GOSPEL in my living room. And some times, it just stinks.

As a parent, it stinks to not know when your daughter took her first steps or what her first word was or what she looked like in Kindergarten. It stinks not to know where she slept and whose shoulder she cried on and what the scar on her eyebrow is from. It stinks to know that for ten years of her precious life you were NOT the shoulder she cried on or the Mommy she hugged.

As a child, it stinks to remember your biological parents’ death, not matter how much you love your new Mom. It stinks to have your mom be a different color than you because, inevitably, people are going to ask why. It stinks that your Mom wasn’t there for all the times you had no dinner and all the times you were sick and all the times you needed help with your homework. It stinks when you have to make up your birthday. It skinks when you can’t understand the concept of being a family forever because your first family wasn’t forever.

And every single day, it is worth it. Because ADOPTION IS GOD’S HEART. He sets the lonely in families. Adoption is the reason that I can come before God’s throne and beg Him for mercy, because He predestined me to be adopted as His child through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day, it is not what I am doing to “help these poor kids out.” I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because to whom much has been given, much will be demanded. I adopt because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for HIS sake will find it.

Some days, my friends, it is not easy. Today, it is not easy. The HURT in my daughters’ hearts is big and real and as their mother, I want to fix it and know that I CAN’T. So I lay it at the feet of my Father and rejoice to know that if we are children, then we are heirs – of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings – in order that we may also share in His glory. And I call out to the Holy Spirit knowing that He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for us.

A sweet friend pointed me yesterday to Genesis Chapter 33. Esau and Jacob are meeting for the first time in a long time. As Jacob approaches Esau, with his many children following close behind, Esau asks, “ And who are these with you?”

Jacob’s reply: “These are the children that the Lord saw fit to bless me with.”

We get all the questions. “Why do you do it?” “Why so many?” “How in the world…” “Why these specific girls?” “Why the number 14?” “Do you think its ok to adopt as a single Mother? Don’t they need a father too?” “Do you think they will have issues since you are not the same race?” We also get the compliments. “I don’t know how you do it!” “Good job!” “You must be so responsible!” “Your girls must be so well behaved.” We get crazy stares and huge smiles and every look in between.

Adoption is beautiful. Adoption is hard. Adoption is the Gospel of Christ and the promise of God’s love and redemption lived out in our lives. So I ask for your prayers. Prayers for understanding and peace and trust and the power of God that is more than all I can ask or imagine. And to the questions and the comments and the compliments, this is my reply: “These are the children that the Lord saw fit to bless me with.”

144 thoughts on “teenagers and a lesson from Jacob.

  1. Praying for you! With just one teenage adopted daughter I know that some days are just really, really hard. So, I can imagine that with three it would be even harder! But, we have a really big God, with an incredible heart of love. He will do a mighty work in your duaghter's lives (certainly He has already). Praising Him for what He is doing and will continue to do. So glad that you are loving on these precious girls.

    Blessings,
    Sarah

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  2. Katie,
    I anxiously check your blog each and every day hoping to find new words from your heart and am thrilled each time I see a new post. Your writing speaks to me and pierces my heart like nothing else ever has and has caused great change in my heart over the past 8 months. I am truly not the same person I used to be because of you and the way God is using you. I will lift your family up in prayer tonight, just as I do so many nights, knowing that He will answer our calls!
    In His name, Jenn

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  3. Thank you so much… I saw your button on the (in)courage site and am so grateful to God I came over. This post and the last one are so encouraging, especially as I'm waiting and praying for God to move some mountains that need to move soon as my husband and I leave suburbia for missionary training Sept. 1. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me of God's incredible faithfulness!!!

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  4. May God bless you and these wonderful young ladies. You are such an inspiration and you put this in such beautiful text. life is not always going to be roses but if we humble ourselves to HIM he will see us through. I have always wanted to adopt and if it is God's will then he will change my situation. Praying!!!!

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  5. You are right. It is so hard to be a mom when we want to take the hurt away from our children. But God tells us to give it to Him, to lay it at His feet. Praying for you and your family, Katie.

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  6. beautiful words and post.You are blessed to have these girls, but it will be a challange. Just remember God gave them to you and he will see you through. Will be praying for you and the girls.
    Blessings in the name of Yahshua.

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  7. Oh how I love your heart and am hearing and feeling every bit of everything you're writing on your page. As I'm reading at all the Glory of the Lord and what he has done I realize the verse you're talking about it hanging in my very kitchen and I look at it wondering all time as I have said yes to God's calling to ADOPTION, what other children does he have for me out there?!!! Praying,praying,praying for you and your family!
    Kim

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  8. Thank you for this post. Yesterday the “biological” brothers we brought home from Ethiopia a year ago informed us that they did not know each other before the orphanage and that they were told that they would be brothers, and our youngest evidently had another brother and sister who he said “are in heaven”. It doesn't match any of the paperwork… and it stinks not knowing. But faith doesn't have to know first… it just trusts the one who holds everything in His hands. I am trusting that regardless of what I don't know… these are the boys who God sees fit to bless us with. Thank you for sharing your heart, it encouraged me today.

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  9. I so wish things were easier in these parts of the world. I am so excited for what you are doing, and so very much wishing there was more that I could do from here 😦

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  10. Praise God Praise God Praise God
    Oh Katie, we pray for you DAILY.
    Thank you for running the race to the finish….you are a LIGHT!
    I read this morning that light can only shine when it's surrounded by darkness…many times it is when we are amidst suffering, evil, darkness, that our light shines for Him.
    Love,
    Laine

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  11. I do not have any adopted children. We have 5 natural daughters and another one on the way and people still ask, “why so many?”
    Being a mom is just plain hard sometimes. There are lots of joys and lots of heart breaks. It helps to know we are not alone. I enjoy reading your blog. I always find it uplifting, even when you are sad because you always give God the glory.

    May God bless your heart, and continue to give you His strength, joy and discernment. ~Linda

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  12. Oh, me too, me too. I will pray for you…and me too, begging for God for the brokenness of my four children. You said it so truthfully, adoption is of God and IT IS HARD…so is single parenting!

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  13. WOW!I am amazed by the Lord and how much He loves you and these children. Father, bless Katie. Provide all her needs for her Father.Give her peace and understanding. May she feel Your presence through out her days. Guide her and direct her steps. May these children know you fully and completely. You long to be their all in all. Thank you Lord for Katie and the mighty work You're doing in Uganda! In Jesus' name,Amen!

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  14. Wow! I love this post. Several years ago my husband and I were trying to have children… God eventually… in HIS TIME.. blessed us with 2 boys – now 6 and 3- with help from medication… but from that time I always had a heart for adoption… just recently we learned that I am pregnant with another boy. My heart is still for adoption… for exactly the reasons you listed… it is God's heart… how HE redeemed us. What a perfect example of His love. Thank you for your faithfulness. I pray that the hard time has subsided. May our Lord continue to bless your family and your mission – His mission.

    Much love-
    Gretchen

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  15. Thanks You! God has been using many tools in my life to 'get my attention' and I wanted to let you know that you were one of them. My wife and I are now 'stepping out in faith' by not only adopting from Ethiopia (with 5 children now, we also get a lot of 'looks and questions') but by setting up an org. with friends to care for the orphans there and (Praise be to GOD) around the world. I just wanted to tell you THANK YOU and we will be praying for your family and HIS work through you.

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  16. Katie, I will be praying for you and your daughters. This is a wonderful post. You are truly living the way God wants us all to live. My desire is to do more for children in poverty. I sponsor a child through Compassion International, but have a burning desire to do more. You are a gift from God and a beautiful woman.

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  17. As a dad getting ready to travel to China next week to bring home a little girl and early next year traveling to Ethiopia to bring home another little girl – Thank you Katie. You are a blessing to me and to our family.

    Thank you for being the Hands and Feet of Christ and in the process inspiring me to do more.

    Bless you and your family.

    MJR

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  18. Good Morning Katie,

    Sitting at our breakfast table in Nashville TN. pouring out our prayers for you and your children. HE is the great provider; your kids are blessed to have such a soldier, for a Mom! MAy His peace , love and joy be showered upon you and your home. MAy He lift you up when you are weak, and “prop you up on every leaning side”.
    Be well.
    Shalom, Shalom~
    emil, jo and emily jo justian

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  19. We are leaving in just a short time to adopt our newest daughter from Ethiopia – and we are also white. My biological and Ukrainian adopted sons have prayed over what to tell people if they ask if our new daughter is their sister… “This is the sister God chose to bless us with.” We pray for you regularly.

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  20. That is seriously such a beautiful post. PRAISE GOD for all he has done, and for providing these girls such a wonderful mother. May we all learn to be so selfless.

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  21. Hi Katie, you don't know me but a good friend sent me your link. Although this is an old post, I found it very encouraging and inspiring!! I also have adopted children… 3. Two boys and a girl, 5, 2, and 1! Life is crazy. A good crazy! These kids are truly amazing and have a God given ability to little fighters. Hang in there and God bless!!
    Jen 🙂

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