King Family Adoption
The Kings are adopting from China! All money raised through this campaign will help cover orphanage fees, document filing fees, and travel costs.
Scroll down to read the full story.
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About the campaign
If you would have asked me during the course of our first adoption what the most difficult thing about adopting was, I would have said the process. In the 9 months it took us to get to our daughter, Elliott, it often felt like my heart was taking a beating. I ached for her. I thought nothing could be more difficult than the race to get to our daughter. I thought it was inside of that time that God was changing us and molding us the most. I would have been wrong though. The months following bringing Elliott home were hands down the hardest thing either Russell or I have ever done.
Although we had been educated by our caseworkers, we had read books, and we had done hours of online training, nothing could have prepared us for what was coming. We didn’t anticipate the amount of trauma she would have, the way her fears would consume so much of our every day, and how overwhelming it would be to navigate things like indiscriminate affection, her dislike of children, or her struggles with the transitions that happen in everyday life. We didn’t anticipate how little she would know or understand about being in a family, how long and hard the road to build trust would be, and really just how selfish we were – how much of our own ugliness we would see as we were stretched in this way. We didn’t anticipate how overwhelming her grief would be to our whole family, how long it would last, and how scary simple things like sleeping and eating would be for her.
For months, she would cry for hours and hours at a time. Not wanting me, but not wanting to let go of me. She would cling to me, clearly angry at me the whole time. We held her during meals, while we slept, while we went to the bathroom, while we cooked. And yet for all the hours we spent trying to soothe her, she remained scared and angry. We were pouring out everything we had, but the reality was, it felt like she was hurting far beyond what our small efforts could impact.
There were moments in the first couple months where Russ and I looked at each other and wondered if all five of us would make it through all of this. It felt like her needs and hurts were so far beyond our abilities. In the beginning of February, when Elliott had been home about four months, God reminded me that it isn’t my job to redeem her life. It is my job to be obedient to Him and let Him do the redeeming. Elliott was His. She had always been His. It felt like a weight lifted as we decided to wake up every day, love Him, each other, and our kids the best we could, and let Him do the redeeming.
Around the beginning of March, it was like all the little efforts we were making began to amount to something. It was like we were able to begin to physically see things heal in her. Pieces that were broken and fragmented were being put back together and made whole. She went from being a child who clung to me in her sleep to sleeping peacefully. She went from having to be held at every meal to being willing to sit in her own chair to feed herself most of the time. She went from showing anxiety often to having a sense of calm. She went from being frantic to get attention from every person she saw, to showing that she knew where she fit in our family and show more and more contentment with that. We saw her begin to communicate, begin to show trust, begin to show love for her siblings, and begin to show confidence that her needs really would be met over and over again.It stopped being hard because of her trauma and fears. Now when it is hard, it’s mostly because she’s three (and pretty strong willed!)
These days, I marvel over and over again about what love has done. Eleven months ago Elliott lived in an orphanage and spent most of her day in a crib. Last weekend she sang a very adorable version of “Happy Birthday” to her big brother and had the time of her life at the trampoline park celebrating his day. Nine months ago she would only sleep on top of one of our chests at night. She would cry if any part of her body touched the bed. Tonight, she sleeps soundly in her own bed in the room she shares with her big sister. I see her have victory after victory – some big and some small – and I am overwhelmed at the power and goodness of God. He didn’t just bring an orphan home to a family; He is restoring the broken parts of her life in front of our eyes.
As Elliott healed and transformed from an orphan to a daughter and our lives started to look more normal, we sort of breathed a sigh of relief and began to try and get back to our normal selves. We invested ourselves back in ministry, in friendships, in the life that had gone on around us for the past few months. But going back to normal was harder than we thought it would be. From the very beginning, even when we were still in China, we talked about adopting again. What we have seen and learned has changed us. We can’t go back to pretending we don’t know. But we assumed that would be a future conversation; something for future Russ and Kristin to think about. We would talk about it from time to time, but we never really allowed ourselves to fully entertain the thoughts.
We love God and have been so privileged to serve Him in ministry. We have seen Him work miracles in peoples’ lives. Serving Him and being a part of what He is about is overwhelmingly the desire of our hearts. And yet nothing has ever meant more than what we have seen in Elliott. In nothing have we ever seen God at work so powerfully. Nothing has ever felt as sacred, as holy, or as worthy of laying our lives down for. We learned so much through her adoption about who Jesus is and how He works. He was not flashy or showy. His miracles were often quiet. There was no fanfare. If He was among us today, we believe He would be meeting the homeless and the desperate in the dark alleys. He would be running towards those with lifestyles that most of us run away from. And He would be holding the terrified orphan girls for as long as they needed to heal the broken parts in their hearts.
As we moved past all the transitioning and the first months of Elliott being home, making efforts to reengage with life, we kept getting stuck. We had been changed by what we had seen and gone through. We struggled to go back to life as normal, yet it seemed like God was keeping us from diving into things that seemed like “good” things, and we couldn’t shake what we had learned about who He is and how He works. We both had the question in our mind about what God might be saying to us through all of this, but saying yes this time seemed to hold even more weight. While we know more about the great need for adoption and the plight of the orphan, we also know the hard reality that can come with it. We know that saying yes comes both with enormous blessing and a cost.
Eventually we stopped avoiding the question and finally looked at each other and said the things we had both been avoiding saying: Are we crazy or are we being obedient? Could we really do this again? Could we do all the fundraising? Could we do all the paperwork? Could we do the travel? Could we trust God to provide and direct and sustain us in the hard moments all over again? And as much as adoption is always terrifying, as it always feels risky, the answer is yes. Yes, Lord. We will go wherever you lead and we believe you are capable of equipping us with every good thing we need as we go there. And so we said yes. Again. And we cannot wait to bring our son home.
What an incredible, beautiful, exhausting ride adoption has been for our family. For us, adoption has not just been something we have done or a way to add to our family, it has altered the very structure of who we are and how we know God. We are grateful and humbled that in this life, God has called us to run these races to get to our children. We are currently anticipating traveling to China in the spring of 2017. Two adoptions in two years has stretched us financially and we are working hard to make up the difference we need to complete this adoption. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with MudLOVE in raising funds to bring home our son!