Well, it's not really the end. But since Darya's been home for 2.5 years now, I feel it's time to end this blog. I will try to update it once in a while (but you see how bad my record has been).
As I reflect on the past three years, from the time we committed to adopting her to today, I am humbled, amazed, overjoyed, grateful, and a plethora of other emotions of how God has brought Darya into our family. Was it all easy? Heck, no! Was it worth it? Absolutely! I have absolutely no regrets of adopting Darya. She brings us so much joy and yes, a lot of headaches, too! That's what having kids - adopted or biological, typical or special needs - does to parents. I like think think she has no memories of life in the orphanage. Our youngest son, Nate, will often say he can't remember a time that Darya wasn't a part of our family. Of course he remembers her adoption journey, but I think what he's trying to convey is that it feels as if she's always been meant to be a part of our family. She belongs with us, and I couldn't agree more. I will sometimes think of her biological family, and my heart aches for them. I wish they knew what a treasure she is. Whatever their reasons for giving her up, I am thankful that God saw it fit to lead us to her. Her story didn't end with her being lost in the Ukrainian orphanage system, eventually ending her days in a mental institution. But her new life is with a family who loves and treasures her.
My prayer is that our adoption journey, and that Darya, will bring glory to God. For our adoption story is just a small reflection of our adoption as God's children. Earthly adoption is a beautiful picture of the gospel story of Christ! Darya's adoption has preached to our hearts, and our children's hearts, on our own redemption and adoption. When we had to make the decision whether or not to pursue Darya's adoption, Joel was reading through Ephesians 1 and it confirmed in his heart to say yes. We recently, as a church, memorized that passage and was reminded of the beginning of our journey. Here is the part of the passage that we memorized (ESV), bold faced my doing:
"4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory."
Well, I don't want to make this a super lengthy post (so kudos if you've stuck with me this far!). But as I bring our adoption story to somewhat of an end (or better yet, the beginning of another chapter), a new adoption story begins. Our long time, very good friends, whose son Andrew inspired us to adopt a child with Down syndrome are now starting the adoption process themselves! The Franciscos are hoping to adopt a little boy with Down syndrome. You can find their family profile here:
I'll end with a few cute and random recent photos of our Ukrainian treasure: