I ran my fingers through my scraggly hair, opened wide my tired eyes, and stepped off the plane on that Christmas Eve in 1998.
“Welcome home!” my family and friends chimed, followed with cheers and shouts of “Congratulations!”
“Mommy, Daddy,” my four waiting children yelled as they grabbed onto me and my husband, Bob.
After a long embrace, I turned toward my oldest daughter, Alena. “So, what do you think of Nadia?”
Her eyebrows creased into a V. “She’s so big.”
Slipping an arm around her, I answered, “Well, you haven’t seen your sister for about a year now.”
Nadia, our nine-year-old newly adopted daughter from Russia, stood wide-eyed, almost shy amidst the banners, noise, and embraces. Before leaving her orphanage in Russia, she knew this day would reunite her with her two younger brothers and one older sister. And Nadia had truly been an answer to prayer. Shortly after Alena came to live with us and learned to speak English, she questioned me about Nadia.
“Mom, can Nadia come live with us too?”
“Alena, I-I, it’s not that easy,” I stammered. “We can’t just go get her.”
She looked into my eyes. “Mom, you said that God answers prayer. Right?”
“Yes, he does, dear.”
“Well, I’m going to pray, so Nadia can come live here with us in America.”
So, everyday at dinner, Alena prayed. “Dear Lord, thank you for this food we are about to eat. I pray that my sister, Nadia, will have enough to eat today. And that she will be able to come live with me and my new family. Amen.”
This young girl of faith prayed for an entire year. She never came to me, not even once, and asked why God wasn’t moving faster; why Nadia wasn’t already here, or why we weren’t leaving for Russia.
And soon after Alena started her petition, my other three children joined in her request. The children even started making plans for Nadia, like where she’d sleep, what toys they’d give her, and what they’d do together. The children never doubted the awesome ability of God as a way maker.
We awoke that Christmas morning to presents under the tree for all the kids, including Nadia. What a glorious morning as we watched each child open their gifts. And for Nadia, who had never been given a gift in all of her nine-years, her face lit up as the torn shiny paper revealed the treasure underneath.
That year my New Year’s resolution was more of a prayer, with a request and a thanksgiving. “Lord, thank you for the five children, You have so richly bestowed me with. And let me be the mother you’ve called me to be. Amen.”
Now let’s celebrate all the Lord has for the New Year.