It was almost two years ago that I “met” Paul and Missy Roepnack. We were both using the same agency for our adoptions from Ethiopia. From the first time I interacted with Missy, I knew she was a force to be reckoned with. She is strong, passionate, articulate, and an amazing mother. She holds fast to faith, and has walked a difficult road the last year and a half as she became the mother to two Ethiopians, in addition to her two biological children.
There’s only one thing you need to know about Paul and Missy. Their faith is so big, they can do anything. Several years ago, Jesus got a hold of them. They realized the sacrifice he made for them and how much he loves them, and they’ve never been the same. He truly created a new creation in both of them. They are in love with Jesus, and their new life is a consistent display of that. Most people would feel their duty to the orphan crisis was fulfilled by adopting two children from Ethiopia. Not the Roepnacks. They live with their hands and hearts open to God, begging, “Use us more!”
God brought another little girl, Haven, into their path. They were not looking for another child, or interested in adopting again right now. But God knows. Haven has been in an orphanage since birth. She is now six years old, and if she was not matched with a family before the age of six, she would have faced a future as an unadoptable child, condemned to life without love, family, hope, all the things every child deserves. Six months before this fate became a reality, the Roepnacks committed to adopt Haven. She suffers from dwarfism, and possibly other unknown health challenges. In spite of her small stature though, her personality and life looms large! She lights up the room, her smile is contagious.
Both sides of this equation are equally blessed to have been given each other. Haven will be blessed to be a part of the Roepnack family, to be given a future, a hope, an inheritance. The Roepnacks are blessed to have another daughter, to love and nurture and train in the way she should go. Children are a blessing, and their house is filling up with blessings! If there’s one person who can love these children with the fierce love they need and deserve, it’s Jesus, through Paul and Missy Roepnack.
Thank you to Beauty in the Mess for giving me the opportunity to guest post, and to Whitney for supporting our family via the Adoption Spotlight this month as we adopt two children with dwarfism from China.
You can read Haven’s story here, and the story of finding Aaron through the death of another child we were pursuing here.
I want to continue our spotlight month with encouragement for all of those mothers out there who feel like you are just ALL MESS and no Beauty; who feel like you won’t ever get it right. Whatever “it” is.
I want you to know that I am one of “those mothers”.
If you ask men what holds them back from adoption, the answer will often revolve around finances or fear of the future of the family. It’s about responsibility. This is logical to me, because many men feel that they are alone in shouldering the ultimate responsibility for the outcome of the family.
I watched as my husband eventually surrendered that responsibility rightfully over to God after wrestling fitfully with Him during our first adoption, and our lives have changed drastically and beautifully because of it. He went all in for Jesus, and he has been walking it out fearlessly ever since.
And then there was me. I never realized that I was the hold-out, and that I have been from the beginning.
I have never seen it more clearly than after we had said yes to both Haven and Aaron. The weekend that followed Aaron’s approval and our announcement, I was filled with fear – and it was crippling. It had nothing to do with the children; I felt undeserving of the privilege of raising them. My fear had everything to do my own sinful pride.
I needed to get OVER myself.
I was still hanging on to my own capabilities, even after knowing full well that I had literally walked on water and seen miracles that had nothing to do with MY OWN capabilities during our last adoptions. Jesus did it; not me. And yet, I was still thinking I needed to qualify. That somehow, these children deserved a better mother than the mess that I am; and that they will need someone BIGGER than I am to “reach their potential”.
Who am I to think I can raise two dwarf children in a world where their biggest “special need” is actually public perception?
How can I teach these children not to worry about what others think of them when I still worry about what the world thinks of ME?
Raising children sends me to my knees in inadequacy every SINGLE morning, and He reminds me that He who begins a good work in me will carry it on until the day of completion. He is working through me and IN SPITE OF me.
The truth is, I have come to learn quite recently that my children DO need Someone Bigger Than I Am, and that He is Faithful. And that if I was Big Enough – if I was the “I AM” in their lives – I would miss out on the chance to showcase the strength of the One Who Is.
Thank God that He has made me so very small, so that I can see how Big He truly is on my behalf.
And that is my wish for them; to be like me. To be small enough to witness Christ being the “Big” in their lives.
So for all of you mothers out there who have disqualified yourself from adoption, or from taking the steps of faith that He is whispering in your heart, or from calling yourself a Good Mother, or from accepting Grace, or from Forgiveness, or even from Salvation, let me tell you something…
It’s why He came. He came to carry you Home, just as you are. And He dealt with your mess a long time ago.
The TRUTH is that He came for the Messes. And He makes them Beautiful.
He came for YOU.
Get over yourself and fall into His arms.
He is waiting.
**Tomorrow we are going to share with you an amazing opportunity to help you with your Christmas shopping, help women in India better their lives, and help the Roepnack’s raise money for their adoption.**