in Him we were also chosen…in conformity with the purpose of His will…” 

When God told us to adopt three children from Ukraine, we had never seen a photograph of them, we had never met them. Though we had been to Ukraine, we had never been to the village where they lived and had never seen pictures of the orphanage where they lived.

We knew a little about the orphanage, and we had been trying to help American missionaries who had been trying to help the children in the orphanage. We knew that conditions there were not good. We knew a whole lot of children were crammed into a small space and that the orphanage diet was not good. The beds were end-to-end and side-by-side. Almost forty children were in one room with a partition down the middle, one side for boys and the other for girls. There was no privacy. From toddlers to teens they were all mixed together.

The American missionary couple, Todd and Sherry, provided money for food so that the children had some vegetables and fruit from time to time. They occasionally bought meat. It was not a good situation in which to grow up. As much as the missionaries did to try to improve the circumstances there, it was not a place where you would want to leave any child.

While the orphanage was certainly a much better place than these children would have been in otherwise, the people who worked there knew that the children needed a family of their own. It was through the efforts of Ukrainians who cared about the needs of orphaned children that these children had become available for adoption to an American family.

At the time we made application to adopt children, only three of the children in the orphanage were available for adoption. They were a sibling group, and God made it clear to us that they were supposed to be ours. They were to come and live in our home and be our children. It was strictly out of a desire to be obedient to the Lord that we made application to begin the adoption process. It was quite a process and quite an ordeal.

We were very pleased that after we had begun the process, we received photographs via the internet of the children. Lo and behold, the oldest boy looked like me. He looked like his daddy. The girl could easily pass as our daughter. The littlest boy looks like our oldest son, fair haired and blue-eyed. Paul’s coloring had completely surprised us when he was born.

God knew before our adopted children were born that they were going to be ours. If you look at a picture of the thirteen-year-old boy, he could have been me at eleven. There was obvious developmental delay due to malnutrition, and the son who was about to turn eight had just lost his first baby tooth. Needless to say, that type of development is far behind by American standards.

There were no opportunities for proper hygiene at the orphanage. Sherry and her husband installed the first toilet. The children had head lice routinely. Boys’ heads were shaved. There was an appalling lack of medical care. There was no evidence of any dental care. We couldn’t have imagined what their lives were like. They couldn’t have imagined what our lives are like.

In order for us to make them ours, we had to go where they were. That’s exactly what God did for us. He came where we were. The difference is I didn’t have to die on a cross to make these children mine. I didn’t have to give up my son and watch him die on a cross to make them mine. As much as I love these children, and my heart is full of love for them, God loves me infinitely more. God is so much more eager for me to be His than I am for them to be mine that it blows my mind.

I know how much I was willing to give and to sacrifice in order to make these children mine. Adoption is costly. International adoption is even more costly. When I hear my children call me daddy, it’s all worth it. I love them, and I have not regretted anything that we have given in order to have them in our family. I have a new perspective on the Father’s heart and a new sense of what it means for Him to be my dad.
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