Today I’m excited to have my friend and fellow adoptive mama Kristin Hill Taylor guest post in honor of Adoption Awareness Month!
In September, Kristin self-published her family’s story in a book called, Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family. It’s an updated, expanded version of the ebook she self-published in 2014. It’s a memoir about how God made her a mom and a story of God’s faithfulness. In the new version of the book, Kristin had other adoptive mamas contribute parts of their stories. I was honored when she asked me to share part of ours. Her book is available in paperback and Kindle versions. You can purchase a copy here.
Like any adopted child, Cate coming into our family was only the beginning of her story. God has been writing so many other chapters in our girl’s life. One of my favorites started Fourth of July weekend in 2015, when Greg, Cate, and I along with ten others from our area left our comfortable surroundings for a week-long mission trip in Chichicastenango, Guatemala.
We took fifty-pound suitcases packed with clothes, school supplies, soccer balls, and toiletries to donate. We carried on our own stuff in smaller suitcases and filled our backpacks with things we thought we needed. But no expectations were packed for my first mission trip.
Of course, God worked all week.
Our team of thirteen people, plus the four missionaries who live there, divided up most days to serve. We also worked with a local pastor and volunteers who knew how to speak the Quechí dialect many of the local people with Mayan roots spoke. Collectively, we built three houses on concrete slabs, visited sixteen families, and distributed thirty-five wheelchairs. When we visited families, we gave them clothes, shoes, toiletries, and school supplies. We prayed with people and figured out how Bethel could meet other needs, like build a bathroom or secure education and food sponsorships. I may not have understood every word, but I know it was the same Spirit leading people’s hearts.
We spent our last day in Guatemala on the black sand beach at Puerto San Jose. The Pacific Ocean waves were mighty, but the men and kids found their way in and out of the white caps. The women snapped many pictures. After a week of serving, we rested in each other and God’s beauty.
That afternoon, Cate came to me from where she had been digging in the sand and said, “Mom, can I talk to you?”
I leaned toward her, thinking she was going to tell me about all the sand that had piled up in her bathing suit or ask another question about just how the volcanic ash created a black sand beach. “No, over there,” she urged wanting me to step away from our friends.
We walked a few steps away and she says, “I want to be baptized in a few weeks.”
My heart melted in that moment. This had been brewing. We’d have conversations many Sundays for months when the communion elements were passed through the congregation. She asked about what accepting Christ and baptism meant. Greg and I have shared our stories over time with her. But, really, it had been a while since we talked about it, even though I’d been praying for her faith journey.
Standing in our bathing suits on the edge of Guatemala, I asked my girl some questions and then called Greg over to join our conversation. Cate repeated to Greg what she had told me. We talked more about sin and separation from God and how Jesus makes eternal life possible. Knowing her personality is so much like mine, I reminded her that even when we choose to live for Jesus, we’ll still make mistakes. This life is a process of becoming more like Jesus. But it won’t be until we’re in heaven that we’re made complete and perfect. I hope she grasps this earlier than I did.
God makes us new – and seeing my daughter accept this truth was such a sweet moment, especially after everything we’d seen and experienced together that week. We had a front-row seat to joy and poverty like never before. Really, the whole mission trip reminded me of “Inside Out” and how sadness and joy co-exist.
Earlier in the week, Cate said, “I should trust God more. These people trust God even though they don’t have much.” To hear her deeper understanding of needing Jesus will forever be a favorite moment in mothering her. Sure, it actually has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God. But I’m grateful that’s the kind of God we get to serve together because of adoption.
Cate was adopted a second time – this time by her Heavenly Father – and because of that her earthly father baptized her at our church three weeks after our mission trip to Guatemala. Adoption gave me much – including my oldest girl who is now also my sister in Christ.
This is an excerpt from Kristin Hill Taylor’s new book, Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family, which is available on Amazon. Kristin believes in seeking God as the author of every story and loves swapping these stories with friends on her porch. She lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids and shares stories at kristinhilltaylor.com.