Thanksgiving has come and gone. The halls are being decked. The trees have been trimmed. It's the same traditions that make their way into our lives every year, but this Christmas for the Morales family is much different. No, we don't have another stocking to hang from our mantle (except for Swanson's), and we're not shopping for baby clothes, but our hearts have been filled with love for a child we do not yet know, a culture we've never experienced, and the hope of our family to come.
One year ago today, we began our journey to Judah.
We had no idea what the future would hold for our family as we hit "submit" on our application and signed the first check, but we knew we had to do something, and this is is the "something" that God was calling us to. We hoped, and continue to hope, to make one child one less orphan.
If I had to choose one word for the past year, it would be "LEARN". I have learned so much. From learning about the adoption process from the inside, to hours and hours of education. From adoption book shopping sprees on Amazon, to redirecting ignorance and inappropriate things people say. From changing jobs and working in foster care, to hard conversations with Jason and our families when the wait time extends. It's been a huge learning experience, a journey that the Lord has taken us on, guided us through, and used to sanctify us in ways we didn't know were possible.
I've always heard people who have gone before us as adoptive families say that it's not for the faint of heart. I'm not sure if I truly believed them. I didn't go into this thinking it would be easy, but I definitely didn't realize how not easy it would be. They were right. Adoption cannot be done out of altruism or because you want "save" a child. That's not enough to get you through the hard days, because there are hard days. And at the end of the hard days, there's also a child - a child who has lost everything and been entrusted to you to raise. No, altruism won't cut it. Only the gospel is strong enough for us to lean when the hard days come.
I'm so thankful for the past year. It's been a roller coaster of emotions for me, but the Lord is working, He will provide, and He will sustain us through whatever comes our way. We don't know how long we'll be waiting, but we will continue to pray for Judah each day until he's in our arms - and then we'll pray with Judah for the rest of his life. I'm so thankful for those who have joined with us in prayer, offered us encouragement, given to us financially, and walked with us along this journey. The love and support of our families and community means more than I could ever express adequately with words.
If you think about it today, please pray for the years head that we wait for Judah. Pray that we wait well, and that in His perfect timing, we will be matched, we will meet our son and bring him home, and by God's grace there will be one less orphan.