Names are important in our family. Each of our children have a little story about their name. Moses has a big story about his name and I'd like to share it. It's a little long, bear with me.......
It didn't take long after Judah's adoption for Mario and I to be talking about adopting again. We saw God's hand move and work in our lives in ways that were tremendous and small. We both knew it was only a matter of His timing. I wasn't looking forward to the paperwork of International Adoption and selfishly, was looking for an easier route. I even told our social worker that I was sure we were done with China. I'm laughing about that one now.
During this time, I was given the opportunity to speak with a young Chinese exchange student and her boyfriend about LIFE, God's work in sparing my own LIFE and giving it meaning, adoption and our experiences (however short) in parenting an adopted Chinese child. You see, this young girl was pregnant, unexpectedly, and planning to abort. I prayed for this young couple, for the LIFE of this child, that God would spare this LIFE and bring meaning to them and this child. We offered to help her in any way, including living with us. We offered her baby clothes, maternity clothes, physical and financial support, to adopt. Whatever she needed, we were willing to help her with. We weren't the only family in our church to talk to her, offer her all of these things. Several did. All to no avail. She went through with the abortion. That day was painful. My heart was broken for a child I did not know, for a young couple who would forever live with the decision to end a LIFE. I cried. No, I wept. Oh but here, in brokenness, is where God, in his sovereignty and as His Word says, was working---moving in my heart to use the things that break me to change me.
In April of 2009, our adoption agency, Christian World Adoption, put out a list of orphans in China called the Hope list. Generally speaking, the list is of harder to adopt orphans due to their special needs, age, etc. In May, while grieving the loss of that baby, I decided to take a look. Just to pray. Really. (Except for this little Chinese baby that was on my heart and mind.) As I was looking, the sweetest little boy came up. When he smiled, it was familiar to me. I thought he looked a little like Judah. I had to show him to Mario. I called Mario from outside and when he saw him, my husband's response was, "That's my boy! Start the paperwork to go get him." With that, he walked out of the house and back to mowing the yard. I was in an internal panic at this point. What? Did he see the special need? He's older, did he notice that? There's 50 plus other children on the list, didn't he want to look any of the others? I decided (without prayer...)that he had to look at the other children, just to know for sure. I went to go get my shoes so I could mow while he looked through the list. As I was stepping down, I saw the toy. It was there in the middle of the floor. I mentally told myself not to step on it. I still don't know how I did it. As it turned out, I broke my foot. We went to the hospital. Mario never looked at the list and we started the adoption proceedings that Monday. I can only laugh. God knew my heart and put a stop to what might have been confusion, had we looked any further. I'm that hard-headed, I guess. Better to brake a foot, than to step outside of what God has planned.
I still had reservations about the adoption when Mario came to me and announced he had picked out his name, Moses. Really? I thought. I wasn't entirely convinced about that either. But I quietly waited -Trusting my husband, trusting God, and asking Him to confirm this-to seal it in my heart as His will and to place in my heart love (His love, not just attraction) for this child. That answer came just hours later as my husband forwarded to me an email from our dear friend at our church. He, too, had fought to save the life of the baby. This is what he wrote:
Prior to the 20th Century the common person, someone like myself, had very little use for "orders of magnitude". At best we would have had to consider numbers like 1,000 or 100. This is well within the grasp of our finite mind's ability to comprehend. We could see a stadium filled with 1,000people and calculate the approximate number of family units represented, how many rows of 100 were in the amphitheater, etc. A farmer's scale was equally small. 100 cows would have been a large herd for a regional, family farmer. Therefore, the need for 103 in the first example and 102 in the second example were unnecessary. However, our modern world has accelerated the need for numbers to be represented as their "power of 10". Our new United States budget has to be represented as 3.5 X 1012. If it's been awhile since you had a math class that is $3,500,000,000,000.00 or three trillion, five hundred billion dollars.
By now you may be asking the question, "What does this have to do with abortion". I am glad you have asked. As many of you know, Rachel and I have recently been requesting prayer for a young couple who we had just met, who were considering an abortion. In fact many people at Christ the Word Church were praying for them and more than a few were actively speaking to the couple,calling them to not abort their baby. It should also be noted that these appeals were not without substance. More than one of us offered to care for the young woman at our own expense and then let her keep the baby or arrange for adoption. Three families at CTWC that I know of, who already have adopted children offered to adopt the baby. Amazingly, all three families have children of another race and this would have been an inter-racial adoption.
Several weeks transpired and the couple agreed to wait. Sadly,their contemplations moved from thoughts of the child, to thoughts of only themselves and finally Friday morning, May 8, 2009, the child I have named Moses, was killed. I named the child Moses because one of my appeals to them included the account of the life of Moses, his salvation from the Egyptians and how God used him to deliver his people from captivity. I was driving from Toledo, Ohio to Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the very time I knew the woman was killing her baby. Needless to say it was a terrible morning for the young woman, me and especially the baby. I was on my way to Oklahoma to see my second born and his wife graduate from college. As you might imagine, my thoughts could not avoid the conflict of joy and sadness I felt. Joy, that the young man who was born in our bedroom, in government funded housing, in Dallas, Texas in 1984 and his wife who is as close as any biological daughter could be to us, were completing college. They are both followers of Jesus, and both love us. What a joy! Obviously, my sadness was that Moses would never breathe in the fresh air of God's earth. Sadness that Moses would never cry, struggle, laugh, play, or know the love of his parents, outside the womb.
What about the orders of magnitude that started this story. As I drove my mind became occupied with a way to relate the number of deaths in the United States that have occurred due to abortion. The mile markers began to grab my attention and I began to calculate how the 850 miles I was traveling could help me relate the babies that have suffered the same death, Moses suffered. Without doing the math I began to wonder how many babies were represented with each mile. Would there ever be a time in the 14 hour trip when I wouldn't see a baby. Finally, it dawned on me. The United States government has so much concern for our children they require, by law, that all children under the age of eight or under 40 pounds be in a car seat. I could just start putting all of the aborted babies in car seats. After all, our government and current administration really care. Let's see. How many car seats would be needed to keep each aborted baby "safe" in the US since Roe v.Wade in 1973? Well, it would be 49 x 106 or in other words, 49,000,000 dead children in car seats. But, wait. These numbers are only used because we really can't comprehend these numbers. So, let's put it in more concrete terms. Let's put each of those babies in those car seats and line them up, side by side next to each other. Let's start in Toledo, OH and place them on the side of the road along I75 southbound. You might be surprised to find that you could place them side by side in their car seats along the side of the road all the way to I70 when you head west to Oklahoma. You might be even more surprised to find that you could then place them side by side in their car seats all the way to Oklahoma. That's right. The aborted babies in the US since 1973, each in their own car seat, would stretch all the way from Ohio to Oklahoma. I know that sounds horrendous but do the math and you will find I am WRONG. Yes, wrong. You would not only have to do that once but twice, three times, four times, five times, six times, seven times, eight times, nine times, ten times and within a few months we will have killed enough children to stack those car seats 11 high, side by side. Do the math. Eleven times. Babies stacked side by side in car seats, from Ohio to Oklahoma are dead at the hands of "doctors" with the consent of their mothers. By now you may be beginning to feel the way I did as I drove. Every mile, side by side, 11 high, car seats stacked. There would be over 55,000 babies per mile had they lived. So, what about the power of ONE? Moses, I have to thank you for what you have done. Even though your life was very short, you have impacted mine greatly. You see Moses, in a world where "orders of magnitude" are needed, just to help us relate, your two months of existence has changed my life. I have known of the decision, since 1973, which not only allowed but encouraged your mother to kill you. However, until you bravely lived your young life I never really knew anyone like you. I am sure I have encountered mothers who have also killed their babies but, until you came along I never knew it personally. With all of those incredibly large numbers which should have shaken me to my core, it took your life and death Moses, to awaken me to my sin of silently watching this occur in our land for the last 26 years. When I wrote about you to a friend of mine last week he said "hearing about this 'tears me apart'". I know you understand this Moses because a very evil man, with a very scared and selfish mother and father tore you apart. Moses, I offered to adopt you but your mother was too embarrassed to let you live in my home and be my child. I know my offer for you should make me feel better but it doesn't because I should have started really caring for you many years before. I should have started sacrificing my time on the sidewalks in front of the place that was used to kill you. I should have started being vocal about you and the millions just like you long before I met you. Please forgive me. I will pray that God will never let me forget you Moses. By the way I realize that you may have been Miriam, because I really didn't get to know if you were a boy or a girl. But, it really doesn't matter because I love you no matter which you were. I know you really never knew me either but, my name is Wayne. Thanks again little ONE for ministering so powerfully to me.
Our friend, Wayne, did not know my husband had picked the name Moses. He didn't know I was praying that God would confirm this adoption for me. Through this letter, God lovingly reminded me that I was willing to take that child and raise it, no matter what the cost. It is not a coincidence that Moses was the name my husband picked for our son and Wayne picked to name the child we all loved.
Moses is a Hebrew name meaning "saved from the water". Isaiah 43:1-7 says this:
But now, this is what the Lord says-
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you and people in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-
everyone who is called my my name, whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made."
While the first Moses was not saved from his death and we grieve that loss-our Moses is alive, being drawn out of his former life and in a few weeks will be transitioning into a new life. I do not always understand God's ways. I seldom understand God's ways. I only know what He tells me through His Word. Moses was created and formed by God, just the way he is. His life has meaning and value because he was created to bring glory to God. As we prepare to bring our Moses home I am mindful of the first Moses, his short life, his death and how God used that to bring LIFE to another child.