*I am so excited to share a guest post from Natalie Maxwell, fellow adoptive mama! Natalie and her husband, Ryan adopted their son, Ivan from Ukraine in 2013, and are returning soon for two more loves with special needs. You can follow their story here. Thank you Natalie!!*
It has only been two days since I first laid my eyes on his breathtaking face.
So full of joy…
Since that day, when I close my eyes I see his smile.
Two days ago I stumbled on Kim’s blog and was completely captured by the little boy they call Isaiah. I told Kim that he reminds me so much of our eldest son and that’s when she asked me if I would write a guest post to advocate for him. I said OF COURSE, and ever since I have been thinking about what I could possibly say to help this little boy’s mama find him.
So this post is to you, Isaiah’s future mama (or daddy). I pray God uses my words to rock your world and etch this precious little boy’s face directly onto your heart.
I know how it feels to be going about your normal life when one day you stumble onto a picture that changes everything.
I know how your heart feels like it’s being pulled apart right now.
I know you probably have a million and one reasons why you could never adopt this little boy.
You may be thinking…
He’s too old… his needs are too severe…I don’t know anything about cerebral palsy…how would he fit into our family?…we don’t even have the money for an adoption.
Every child is so different, but would it help if you could take a little peak into someone else’s story, someone who once asked all of those same questions?
My husband Ryan and I had only been married for two years when I stumbled onto Ivan’s picture late one night. I could of easily hardened my heart to the constant churning or chose to drown out the Lord’s tender voice with the noise of my already busy life, but there was something in that little boy’s eyes that changed me. God began speaking to both my husband and me and made it very clear that we were supposed to fight for this little boy we had never met, who lived across the ocean.
Ivan was born in a small village in Western Ukraine. He was born premature, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and was abandoned soon after birth. He spent the first year of his life alone in a hospital, partly because he had bronchitis and other respiratory issues, and partly because no one knew what to do with him. After turning 1, he was brought to a baby house (an orphanage for younger children) where he spent the next 4 years of his life lying in a crib.
When we found his picture Ivan was 5 years old and in danger of being transferred to an adult mental institution, like where Isaiah lives now. We had learned of the horrid conditions of these places and knew that this tender little boy would not live long in such a place, so we began our adoption journey right away. We knew that the only way we would be able to raise the money or even be approved to adopt him would be if God made a miraculous way for us… and He DID.
Shortly after we committed to adopting Ivan he was moved from the baby house, but by some miracle, he was not transferred to an institution, but instead to an orphanage/preschool. At this place, Ivan was shown love for the first time. The care was still far from ideal, but it was during this time that he began to speak for the first time and use his hands and arms.
After meeting him it was clear that God had been preparing this precious little boy for our love.
Ivan has now been in our family for a year and a half and we can’t imagine life without him. From the first time I saw Ivan’s picture I just knew in my heart that he had the most tender, sweet personality, and that couldn’t have been more true. Kim told me that “Isaiah is always happy, and considering his circumstances, he really has nothing to be happy about.” That was our Ivan… a truly joyful soul hidden within the dark walls of abandonment and neglect.
That is why I’m writing to you, begging you to silence all the opposing voices and listen to the One voice that matters.
Will adopting Isaiah change your life forever?
Will loving him through the healing of his past trauma completely break you at times?
Will adding him to your family challenge you and your family members in almost every way imaginable?
Will it be the hardest thing you’ve ever experienced?
But will his smile light up your life in a way you never dreamed possible?
Yes, absolutely yes! Every. Day. YES.
Will he be worth all of the hardships and struggles he will bring?
Yes. With tears streaming down my face… YES!!
I can tell you, sweet friend, that the journey will be longer than you can imagine, and at times you may question God’s judgment in choosing you to be this precious child’s mother, but even at the end of the hardest days, you will be able to look into his eyes and know that he is safe, he is alive, and he is adored. Yes, by you, but a million times more so by His Heavenly Father and that truth will bring you to your knees in worship.
So please, after reading this blog, if your heart is stirring, PRAY. Pray that God would give you the courage to say yes. And if you’re not Isaiah’s future mama and you’re reading this, PLEASE SHARE and tell all your friends to SHARE.
Ryan and I think often about the likelihood that our Ivan would not be alive today if we had not adopted him. The only way he would have survived life in an adult mental institution would have been if someone like Kim and Jed were there to help care for him. Kim and Jed can only do so much though, I believe they would be the first to tell you that Isaiah desperately needs a FAMILY.
Will you join me in fighting for this joyful soul?
*We have many videos and pictures of Isaiah. If you have questions about him please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org If you have questions about the adoption process please contact the Hand of Help in Adoption team at: email@example.com.