Dear Lyla

[Hi friends! I’ve been super sentimental lately, getting ready for our trip to China to adopt Lyla. I’ve been writing letters to Lyla and Russell and I thought I would share this letter below with all of you – just out of gratitude for how our church family has been such an integral part of our families life and journey. I see and understand the human adoption process to be a beautiful, if imperfect, analogy of the spiritual adoption God offers through Christ, and my hope and prayer is that our sharing some of this journey might somehow encourage you along yours.]

Dear Lyla,

I cannot wait to meet you! In just one week, you’ll be in my arms. This will be one of the happiest days of my life and one of the saddest, most confusing days of yours. I daydream all the time about what meeting you will be like. I wonder if you’ll be scared, happy, or aloof. I wonder if you’ll smile or cry or run away or let me hold you close. Whatever you do is okay. You just be you. Once we are with you, we aren’t going anywhere. We are here to stay. We are adopting you. This means that you will be a Grade, and we will be a family. You will have a mommy and daddy, a brother named Russell and a big fluffy dog named George. When you are sad, there will be people to hold you and comfort you and share your tears. When you are happy, there will be people to laugh with you and bear witness to your joys. When you are afraid, you don’t have to be alone with your fears. Adoption means you’re no longer alone. You have a family with whom you can belong.

I hope with all my heart that your belonging to us and our belonging to you will some day introduce you to an even greater adoption into the family of God. As you grow, I hope you’ll come to experience the eternal family of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Spiritual adoption offers us all a belonging that’s infinitely deeper, richer, and kinder than our family will ever be. Being adopted into the family of God means living in the promise that Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. It means that there are brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins and parents for you in every church community you choose to belong to throughout your life. There will be times when I am not the mother you need and in those moments God may “mother you” through a Sunday school teacher, or youth leader, or small group leader or pastor or friend. There will be times when you need a sister to share life with, and God will provide you with a sister-in-Christ to be by your side. Some of my deep hopes and prayers for you are: 1) that you will know the marvelous experience of dancing in God’s Trinitarian love, and 2) that you will find your stride and identity as God’s adopted child, and 3) that you will experience the awe and wonder of belonging to a church family. There is nothing like a church family when a church family is working right. No family is perfect, but there are lessons in belonging and depths of communion that I’ve only known in the presence of God and his people.

I cannot imagine my love for you being any more than it is already. I see pictures of you, and my arms ache to hold you. I watch videos of you, and my heart leaps for joy. I have studied your little face and your curly hair and every bit of information we have received about you, so that it is burned into my mind and heart. You are loved so deeply already, and we haven’t even met yet!

I am so honored, humbled, and excited about being your mom. I love you so much, and I’m counting down the days until we meet.

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