It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to a dear friend today. Kristin Reickard and I go the same church, and even attend the same small group. She and her husband were instrumental in our decision to adopt.
God has already used their testimony in big ways. I trust He will continue to do so here today.
A Family is Made
We know firsthand the sorrow, the deep pain of mourning. We also know what it is to have God turn our mourning into the oil of gladness, to be given a crown of beauty instead of ashes.
In 2004, our second child Kael Xavier was born. Our little son seemed perfect. Although he was a bit fussy, we were reassured that was normal for babies of C-sections and were allowed to bring him home. At home, though, Kael’s fussiness grew, as did his jaundice. We decided to take him into the doctor a bit early.
At worst, we guessed Kael would need to be under bilirubin lights. We never could’ve imagined the words that would come out of the doctor’s mouth… “Your son’s bilirubin levels are incredibly high, which indicates his liver may be failing.” Going forward in shock and utter disbelief, we found ourselves with our 11 day old son in the NICU of a Children’s Hospital.
We had many ups and downs in the hospital, days we weren’t sure he would pull through, surgeries with very high risks. After 51 days on this earth, our brave little Kael could no longer put forth any more fight. My husband and I were privileged to be able to be there for our son’s birth, and also to hold him in his death.
Our grief was fresh, hard, and real. After Kael’s autopsy, we found out the disease that caused his liver to fail was 80% likely to occur in any future biological children. This disease was almost always fatal unless an experimental treatment was used. After a year of deep grieving, we decided to go forward and try to get pregnant again. After only a few weeks of pregnancy, our third child died.
The pain was beyond words. The grieving took a toll on all of us, and my husband declared we were done having children. It was too hard to open ourselves up to that hurt again. Although we could’ve tried pregnancy again as well as some other options, my heart immediately was drawn to adoption. NO ONE could ever replace Kael or the unborn child we lost, but I didn’t want to lose a future with other children to love on too.
Over time, the desire to adopt grew inside of me. It became so strong that I prayed for God to either change my heart or change my husband’s. And God answered that prayer… He changed my husband’s heart.
On our journey to beauty, we realized that so many children in the world were dying or growing up without a family, no one to guide them, protect them, or love them. They had ashes too. A fire was ignited in our hearts for the fatherless and we began our journey. We adopted our son Jaevan Jee from South Korea in 2008. And the beauty was palpable, overwhelming, and amazing. Then we adopted our daughter Aria Jiang from China in 2011. And now we are in the process of adopting 2 children from Haiti.
Each member of our family has a story of ashes, different pieces of pain and suffering because of this broken world. And God took all of our ashes and made something BEAUTIFUL out of them.
…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Isaiah 61:2b-3a
Let’s Talk: Have any questions about adoption? Kristin is the gal to ask! Say hi. Introduce yourself. And if you get a chance, hop on over to Kristin’s blog to read about their journey.
If you’d like to read a story about God’s ability to redeem those barren, broken seasons in our lives, or if you’re struggling to hold onto hope in the midst of heartache, check out the first three chapters of Wildflowers from Winter for free, or visit my Wildflowers from Winter page to order a copy of your own!