Our adoption journey started simple enough. Both my wife and I have always loved kids, and in fact, my wife had said that my love of kids was one of the things that first attracted her to me (it definitely was not my considerable wealth…I drove a Ford van at the time). A few years after we were married, we had a little girl biologically but it was not easy. I came from a family of four boys and my wife from a family of 3 girls, so I think it was natural for us to want more than one child. When we tried to have another, it just wouldn’t happen. We were a little discouraged but not crushed. We were so thankful for the little one we had, and we knew that there were other options. One of our pastors had adopted two little boys and we had talked about adoption even prior to marriage. Through the process it became clear to me that I needed to see how adoption can not just be about me and wanting to have another little one, but it had to be about God’s glory. Adoption, like having kids biologically, is about stewarding little lives for God’s glory. These lives are entrusted to us so that we might, as my Dad once said, “help them become eternal worshipers of God”. Through the process we attached ourselves to the same agency our pastor had used years before, a tiny adoption agency in Japan. Adoption from Japan may seem a bit odd to some, since it's not a third world country where children a lacking the the basic necessities of life. Japan is wealthy and rich by the world's standards, but one of the very sad realities is that abortion is a very real option for women in this “civilized” country. Japan is a dying population and kids are seen more and more as an inconvenience. The ministry of the agency we went through is to give women the option of adoption, literally saving lives one adoption at a time. The reality of death for Japanese children does not come from malnutrition, but before they ever see the light of day… in the womb. We saw adoption as an opportunity to allow a woman to bring a child into this world and for us to care for that child. Secondly, though Japan is a wealthy country, spiritually it is bankrupt. It is estimated that only about 1% of Japanese are Christian and the reality is that this child would have either been aborted or placed into a family where most likely they would have never heard the Gospel. We were excited to adopt, that we might proclaim Christ to this little one. We were given the great blessing of bringing the mission field into our home. These became our Godward hopes in adoption.
In December of 2010 we were entrusted with a precious little girl that we named Piper. She is named after an author who speaks to the incredible joy that we are to have in our relationship with Christ. My early prayers for this little girl are that she would be a tremendous joy to others. To be honest, when they gave her to us she was so serious, and did not live up to her name. I guess being in a crib for three months with with her Mommy, Daddy and big sister 3,000 miles away, she had built up a tough little disposition. However God was generous and answered my prayers; within about 2-3 weeks this icy exterior melted into the most joyful little kid I know.
Through this adoption process, God revealed to us more of His glorious grace and plans. First, we saw His provision. Adoption from Japan is considered the most expensive in the world and our specific adoption was expensive even by Japan’s standards. All told it was over 50k. And since we did not have 50K, it seemed an insurmountable sum.God’s peace was with us, and somehow we knew that He would provide, and He truly did. He surrounded us with people who would financially help out and spiritually support us through prayer and counsel. He even provided a brother in Christ who insisted on us using his frequent flyer points for our plane tickets to and from Japan. God’s provision was extravagant and we were overwhelmed by His goodness. It seemed that he provided nearly exactly what we needed for the whole process.
God also showed us that His hand was upon this adoption through the blessing this little one would be for my wife’s family. You see, during the adoption process my wife’s father was diagnosed with cancer so we stopped the process to help care for him. This became a tremendous opportunity to love and share Christ with my wife’s dad. He died the day after Christmas 2009, but not before putting his faith in Christ. God was so gracious to bring her father into His kingdom. This brought us tremendous peace, but at the same time we grieved at not having her father physically in our lives. When we brought Piper home on nearly the one year anniversary of my wife’s father’s death, she was able to bring a little joy in what otherwise might have been just a very sad time. Piper's middle name is Dawn, named after her grandfather, Don.Though she never met her grandfather, we know that this little girl would have brought a smile to his face like she does to the rest of her family.
More recently, God has shown us His grace by revealing to us that Piper has high functioning autism. In honesty, when I first heard she was autistic, I was sad. I thought about the weight the word “autism” carries with it and how her autism would affect her future relationships. I wondered how she would make friends and if she might ever get married. God was quick to remind me of His sovereignty and that everything He was doing in my life and hers was a part of His good story. One sister in Christ explained to us that in Japan, people with autism are not looked well upon and even shunned. She probably would not have received the love and care she needs if she would have remained in Japan. With us here, we are able to provide for her help but more importantly the love of Christ. God again has provided for us in surrounding us with people who want to support us through prayer, counsel and even expertise in the area of autism. This adoption has continued to be a revelation of God’s glorious plan.
To wrap it up, we are hopeful for the day when Piper will receive Jesus. That through her adoption into our family she might see a glimpse of the greatness of adoption into her Heavenly Father’s family. That, as sinners, God saves us and not only brings us into His kingdom but makes us His children. We go from enemies of God to His actual sons and daughters. My hope is that people will see the importance of adoption. I hope more people will adopt or help support adoptions in some way. A verse that was close to my heart through the process was James 1:27. It says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” God’s word shows that he cares for those who cannot care for themselves and loves them, in part, through you and I. Kelly Kira (Art Director of Zoe Clothing)