I have two former students whom God has joined together to be part of an amazing story. The first of my students is now married with a beautiful family. She and her husband had two beautiful biological daughters when God began putting the idea of adoption on each of their hearts, independently of one another. This young wife and mother began to blog about her story and many of us were able to share in the family's journey as they began the process of waiting for the child they believed in faith that God had for them. It was a far from easy journey. Rebekah and Nathaniel began to save their pennies, and Rebekah launched an online clothing store to help fund the adoption.The family waited patiently as others who had filed their paperwork after theirs saw their domestic adoptions move forward. The couple met with one birth mother and were certain that her son would be their son, but it was not to be. The disappointment and grief they felt during this time were very real. Then came the news about another birth mother in Louisiana. Their hearts were hopeful as they sat down with this mom and thankfully, this time the story had a different ending. Last year at the end of May, Caleb Nathaniel Wright was born. Here are some pictures of this precious family.
You can read all about their journey to adopt Caleb here...but don't stop now, there is so more to this story!
Shortly afterward Rebekah began to hint on her blog that God had something big in the works. If you live in Nashville and you know anything about adoption, you have heard of Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman and their amazing story (yes, their three oldest children were students of mine at CPA, as well) and the organization that they founded known as Show HOPE. It is such a God story, so vast, so mighty, and so powerful that it gives me chills to think about it. Led by their eldest daughter's unwavering passion for adoption and developed over their multiple journeys to China to claim their daughters, the Chapman's have been called to create and be a part of something amazing. From a tiny seed of faith, a mighty oak has grown. Countless families have opened their hearts to the idea of adoption and found support, encouragement, and funding from Show HOPE. There is also a very special home for orphans in China known as Maria's Big House of Hope. If you don't know the story about Maria and how the Lord is using a life that was short in length but great in impact, you can go here http://www.showhope.org/AboutUs/RememberingMaria/HerStory.aspx to find out more. It was in China at Maria's Big House of Hope where Rebekah's story begin to intertwine with another student's story at another level and in the way that God only can draw them together.
Flash forward from Rebekah's graduation from Christ Presbyterian Academy 12 or so years ago to a young woman sitting in my office at CPA ten years later with her parents. This girl with the big dark eyes and long dark hair is gently weeping as she tells me that she does not believe college to be in her immediate future, instead she believes that God has something different for her: she has a heart for missions that will not wait and cannot be denied. I watch as her parents swallow hard.
And so it is that this young woman, Caitlin Ruff, ends up living and serving in China in none other than Maria's Big House of Hope. I don't want to tell you how the stories blend together into one seamless strand that can only come from the Hand of God. I want you to discover it for yourself.
This is the story of a boy in China named Isaac and his journey to become, not an orphan, but a child who was chosen by and through the grace of God to be the son to Nathaniel and Rebekah and the sister to Anna Walton, Olivia, and Caleb. It is also the story of this couple who followed the calling of the Lord to make room in their hearts for more and then more. And it is the story of a high school girl who said to God when she was but a girl, "Here am I, send me." Yet ultimately, it always was and always will be God's eternal story. It is hope begetting hope. It is a story that we never tire of hearing, never tire of seeing come to fruition, never tire of dreaming of for others or ourselves. It is God's story that cries out, "Behold what manner of love the father has lavished upon us that we should be called the sons and daughters of God." For we are adopted ourselves forever into His glorious family, are we not, indeed?
I can promise you joy as you read Caitlin's words as she tells Caleb about the special family God had planned all along for him. After reading it, you will see why I think the story should simply be called "MINE!"
Go to I am a Child of God to read about Rebekah's perspective. Then go to Show HOPE's blog to Caitlin's entry entitled Isaac's Gift: A Profound Privilege, for the other half of the story. Then stand back and be amazed! Surely our God reigns!
All photos are taken from the aforementioned blogs