Never Give Up


I haven’t gone a day without thinking about him. His little face is etched into my heart. Even though, I only spent a few days with him and I tried my best to guard my heart from loving him (any more than I already did). He just felt like mine. While in China, I begged God to take away how badly my heart ached for him. Ached to bring him home. Hold him and love him. Like only a mommy does. To embrace exactly who he is, just like God made him, simply because he is that great. Just the way he is. I wasn’t asking because I didn’t want to bring him home. I was begging because I knew that I couldn’t. At least not right then. Maybe not ever. And I couldn’t stand the thought of how broken my heart would be to love another child I couldn’t hold, get to know, and watch grow. I was afraid. I’ll own it. I knew I would have to board that plane without him and cross walls and hurdles, barriers and oceans to get back to him. And even then, I knew that I might not ever make it. The whole idea of adopting a child with Down Syndrome was scary, simply because it was unknown to us. And I knew that once that wall broke, Jason would have to get past it too, and even then God still might tell me “No, not this one”.

What I noticed, though, was that as Jesus began to carry my burden for me, fear quickly took a backseat. The moment I gave it to God and admitted that I couldn’t do it on my own, fear took a back seat. And finally, when my daughter reminded me of bravery and how to live with a heart wide open, fear took a back seat.

You see, Lily’s heart had been rocked by this little guy too. Midway through the trip, she began asking questions about many of the kids and their individual special needs. She was curious. But mostly she was fishing. Which led to…

“Mommy, what does Down Syndrome mean?” I attempted to explain in the best, broad, simplest way I could, which landed with an explanation that sometimes, when a child with Down Syndrome becomes an adult he/she may still live with their parents. To which she replied “What happens when you get too old?” After I chuckled a little (because I am 36 and clearly far removed from OLD!!!), I explained that often it would fall on the siblings to help take care of them. And the words that came out of her mouth next, I will never forget:  “Mommy, I would take care of him when you get too old. Can we bring Ethan home?” She stood there right in front of me, never batting an eyelash, and faced something that I was scared to take on. I had just looked total bravery in the face, of my 12 year old. She was completely willing to live selflessly, with a wide open faith that, quite frankly, I had forgotten about. It’s the only way she knows. She doesn’t know to guard her heart. She hasn’t learned it yet. She just knows love. With total trust and abandon. It is inspiring. If she can do it, so can I. She gave me a brand new understanding of what it means when Jesus said “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Thank you baby girl, for helping me to see the kingdom.

Ethan and Lily

So began mine and Jason’s walk to try to live more with our hearts wide open. When we took the leap of faith and officially committed to adoption, we also began praying that God would lead us to the child He has for us. I knew that He might not lead us to Ethan. I also knew that if He did, Jason would need to see it for himself. He had not yet had the opportunities to move past his fears that I had experienced. And he had not held him or felt him like Lily and I had. I knew that it would take a great leap of faith for him as well.

We had no more than gotten the words “okay, God we are all in” out of our mouths when He began working miracles. It’s like a whirlwind of faithfulness has just enveloped us. It kind of feels like we are just along for the ride in a side car watching in awe as the Lord leads and works. Every step of the way God has confirmed what we are doing. Like the night I dreamt about Ethan. In my dream he was being handed over to me. Put into my arms. I came up out of my sleep. I cried. And I prayed and I thanked God. And I went to the Word.  This is what He showed me that morning.

Read Romans 9 here


I hoped that it was a sign. But, I know the brain can play tricks on you. And I was a little confused because the scripture is about Isaac. So… does it mean I need to be looking for a little boy named Isaac or does it mean we will name him Isaac???? Still, it was enough to lead me to send a request in search of Ethan’s file information. To which weeks went by with no new information. I sent another. And then weeks turned into months. Another. Still no information. So, of course I started reading into it. I started asking all the questions anyone would. Did I misunderstand? Is God trying to tell me “No”? Or do I trust my gut and fight for what I believe to be true? Or have I let my heart’s desired get in the way of what God is trying to show me? There was this battle of truth and doubt going on in my head. Even though I knew what I had seen and felt. Even though I felt so strongly that Ethan was my little boy. I still doubted it all. I sent one last request and told myself if I got nothing back this time, I would move on. Still nothing. And I almost gave up.

Jason and I began looking through profile after profile online, attempting to move on. Little face after face of children waiting on a family to love them. It was hard. And overwhelming. All the while we just kept praying that God would lead us to the little one He had set aside just for us. We even requested the file of one little boy and placed him on hold. But, as Jason and I talked through it, something just didn’t feel right. We just didn’t have a peace about it. I felt a little disheartened, I won’t lie.

I woke the next morning to a message in my inbox that was exactly what we needed to find him. It wasn’t just exactly what we needed. It was perfect timing. Ethan’s file had fallen off of an agency list and back onto the shared list, not yet picked up by another agency. He was in a perfect spot for us to find him. There sat right in front of me the very file I had been praying and longing for. Everything I needed to know about him. And it wasn’t just perfect timing, it was in the perfect way. The Lord had been working in Jason’s heart to move him past the barriers he was facing. And this wasn’t me telling Jason it was right for us. That Ethan was right for us. It was God aligning everything just so, that we would see that it was His plan and not of us. So, I made a few calls to see if Lifeline could lock down his file and we quickly gathered our letter of intent for him. And then we waited. It was a long week.

Then we got the call. “You have been pre-approved by the Chinese government to adopt Ethan”. Insert UGLY CRY here!!!!! I was in the parking lot of Michaels when I got the call and I just cried and cried. I was speechless. I could hardly breathe. My heart was jumping out of my chest. In total awe and adoration at what the Lord had done. It was the first time I have ever felt an uncontrollable urge to just lay prostrate before the Lord. (Pretty sure somebody would have totally called the cops on the crazy lady in the parking lot that was face down balling her eyes out.)  So, after I mustered up enough composure to drive home, I did just that. I lied prostrate in the floor and cried out to the Lord how thankful I am. I am thankful that He gave me a broken heart for the things that break His. I am even more thankful that He binds up the brokenhearted. For myself, but even more so for our little Ethan Isaac.






Just think, I almost gave up. I could have missed this…

( to view this private video of Ethan, click the link to watch on vimeo and use this password:  sam )

I could have missed the joy and the laughter. And all the love that this little guy has to offer. Countless, endless blessings we could have missed. 

So, if you are discouraged in the waiting, DON’T GIVE UP!!! Whatever it is, this broken heart that He has given you, so will He heal. He will see it through in His good and perfect timing. For His ways are higher than ours and the word that He gave you will accomplish what He desires. In your doubts and fears, don’t give up. He is there. And He is faithful.

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1 thought on “Never Give Up

  1. James Wessel Reply

    Alex and Jason – love you guys – wanted to make sure I did not miss any future posts so sign me up for anything new! So excited about what God is doing here!

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