Adoption: when you know the gotcha day is just the beginning

Not quite two years ago, Mark and I were packing our family for a trip to Uganda to adopt Gabrielle.  We were eagerly anticipating our “gotcha day”. For years we had been crying over videos and stories of the first time parents met their adopted children. It seemed like everyone with an adoption blog had a video full of beautiful music, anticipation, rejoicing.

Our first day with Gabrielle was not quite like this. We arrived in Uganda late in the evening and spent the night at a hotel near the airport. My husband was throwing up all night. In the morning, as we were driving towards the baby home in Jinja, one of our little boys started throwing up. By the time we arrived in Jinja, we were exhausted. We walked into the orphanage – where we lived as a family for the first weeks in Uganda – and were met by one of the caregivers holding a mostly naked, tiny baby girl: “here’s your baby”. Just like that, we had our fourth child. There were no cameras. There was no inspirational music.

The first weeks with our newly adopted daughter pushed our family to the brink. We were staying in an orphanage full of children. There were ants in everything. Our kids were eaten alive by mosquitos. I got malaria. Ella was hungry and needed to eat every hour or two around the clock. No one was sleeping. Everyone was puking. And this was just the beginning.

Adoption is hard. It is worth it, but it is hard.

All of this makes me wonder: what was it like for God to adopt us?

When God chose Israel to be His people, he knew he was in for a battle to win their hearts and their minds. He knew they would be unfaithful. He knew they would worship idols. He knew they would sin. He knew they would not understand His love for them. He knew they would complain. He knew they wouldn’t trust him. And yet he chose them. He adopted them. He was willing to fight the battle to win their hearts and minds.

In the same way when God called me and adopted me into his family, it has been a battle. I struggle daily to love God with my whole heart, mind and strength. I am unfaithful. I am an idolator. I sin. I forget how much he loves me. I forget that he has always been trustworthy. And yet he adopted me. He promises that he is with me, that he will fight for me, that this battle belongs to him.

Sara Brinton

SARA BRINTON is a writer and entrepreneur with a passion for reforming international adoption and orphan care. She leads marketing for Noonday Collection, a business that uses fashion to create opportunity in developing countries. Sara and her husband, Mark, live in Austin, Texas with their four children, including daughter Gabrielle who was adopted from Uganda.

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