The other day one of my boys said to me, “Mom, when Kate comes, we will still be the most special, right?” I know what he was asking. I feel it in my heart every day. “I will still be first right?” “I will still be important, right?” “No one will take my place in your heart, right?” “Guarantee me that you will still love me more.”

When I was younger, my mom took an interest in a boy in our neighborhood. His parents were often quite absent and my mom often took him with us to various activities. I was insanely jealous of this boy. My mom drenched him with affection, which I already had to share with 3 other siblings. I remember wanting to be the center of her universe. I knew I had to accept that I must share her with my sisters and brother, but this boy was not part of the bargain. Sadly I remember being very “ugly” about this situation and eventually happy when the relationship ended when we moved to another neighborhood.

Something in us longs to be saturated in love. We sometimes ache to know that someone “sees” us and cares more about us than about anyone else. We want to be special, we want to be important, we want attention…and into these desires Christ speaks. “Come unto Me…” We are striving to fill ourselves with our children, our spouse, our best friend…we are placing burdens on them that are too hard for them to bear. Only He can fill the insatiable hole in our hearts. If we are not daily being filled with Him, we will only be draining to the relationships around us.

Kate, too, will feel these tuggings on her heart. She will one day begin to understand her story and will want someone to fill in the deep holes that it leaves within her. David and I can do NOTHING about those holes. Yes, we can bring her home and love her just as if she had come from our own bodies, but we will be faced with the stark fact that she didn’t…that one December night, someone (the person that she looks like, takes after, and shares blood with) snuck her onto the steps of a government building, umbilical cord still attached, and turned around and walked away…that a woman somewhere in the world carried her in her womb for almost 10 months, felt her every movement, lost sleep over her, felt the pain of bringing her into this world, and then made the decision to walk away. How much did she love her daughter? Was she forced to let go? Does she still think about her, wonder about her? I have recently begun to picture her sneaking to the orphanage to try to get a glimpse of her…watching her from afar to make sure she is being taken care of…hoping that the family who adopts her will fill the void left by her decision. As a mother, I have to believe that this was the hardest choice she has ever made, and that it was driven by hope for a better future for her daughter. I have to believe it until it is proven to me otherwise.

David and I are not adopting to “rescue” an “orphan” from China. As a matter of fact, our decision to adopt, though guided every step of the way by God, was actually as simple as wanting a daughter. It was not any more spiritual than that. Kate’s God is the Rescuer…He rescues all of us…sometimes He just uses another human to do it. We all have a story of void…it usually begins in our childhood. Maybe a parent was glaringly missing or lost…maybe the love had to be split between many children…maybe love was painfully absent from our home… we all need to be rescued… we all need to be filled. We are all Kate. When she comes home, I will cringe at every comment that labels her an “orphan”. I will silently reject every implication that we are her “rescuers”. Of course, I will realize that people often just don’t know what they are saying…hey, I haven’t known what I was saying. But God made it amazingly clear to me this morning… Kate is and has always been His. Just as I have always been His. Kate and I are no different…we were both ordained by God before the foundation of the world, we both were intricately formed by Him in our mother’s womb, and He planned for our lives to cross in this amazing way. I have needed rescuing just as badly as she has… I was an orphan at one time, just as much as she is… my abandonement just wasn’t obvious to the world. No one has ever called me an orphan or thanked my parents for rescuing me…but I am Kate. And I have been rescued. I have been adopted. I have been redeemed. He is the Rescuer, not me…and I will do my best to make this very truth the center of our Katherine Hope’s identity.

I took the time the other day to let my son know that I would love him just as much as I ever have, but that I also love Kate the very same. God gave this mom a heart that could never choose between her children. While I sense his trepidation of the unknown, I also thanked God for the opportunity to start revealing their Rescuer to them…the One who can fill the void. Cause ultimately it is not me that their hearts are seeking… it is Him.