Last year my friend Heidi’s family of five grew by two. They began the international adoption process for a baby boy and, as only God can orchestrate, came home with a baby boy and baby girl. Below are excerpts of a beautiful letter from Heidi:

… My mind keeps drifting to Joseph — as in Jesus’ adoptive dad. I wonder if he ever had moments where he thought, “This isn’t what I had in mind. I just wanted to live a normal life in Nazareth or Bethlehem with Mary and raise my kids. I’ll teach them the law, but I really just want to do it quietly and without all the commotion.” Granted, he got to be there when God became flesh, but he also had to watch his son die on the cross and all the events leading up to it. It couldn’t have been easy. I bet there had to be times that he felt more than a little discouraged, but I’m thinking he’s probably pretty glad he said yes.

I’m so glad we said yes. I won’t walk through Walmart with all my kids unnoticed again. But I get to be called “Mom” by two little people whom God knit together in a womb that wasn’t mine — two little people whom he created in His image and picked out to be in our family.

It’s tough to feel prepared to meet your new son and daughter, knowing that they have endured more loss and hurt in their short lives on earth than seems fair. Adoption is born out of loss and filled with faith. It is in fact an excellent teacher in faith. Faith that god will give beauty for ashes. Faith that God will fill in the gaps.  Faith that God offers grace and hope and peace in place of fear and discouragement and failure.

We’ve had a lot of moments that have been overwhelmed with grace and a lot of moments that haven’t been storybook. But as the days tick off, as we dig deeper into Jesus, and as we watch our five healthy and happy kiddos grow, my heart is so thankful this isn’t what I had pictured for my life because I never could have pictured how incredible it looks to watch God work. To feel Him change my heart, to see Him pick us up time and time again, to watch Him lead my husband and bless my family in very different ways than I would ever imagined. Every adoption story is going to be different. Joseph got to be there when “his” son saved the world. We said yes to one and somehow ended up with twins. But one thing we’ve learned with adoption is God loves to move mountains. He will make a way when He wants there to be one.

One of the main things I wanted our adoptions to do was speak faith to our three homemade kids. I wanted them to be exposed to Jesus with skin on. And when I look at Fisher and Zion, I see Jesus. Only through His power and mercy can He take the worst life has to offer and make something beautiful. Without adoption, the miracle in the manger wasn’t meant for us.

*Used with permission by Heidi Rinkenberger