Newsletter / Issue 33, June 2017

Tangible

The Thorpe's Adoption Story

By Rebecca Thorpe

Thorpe Kids

tangible:
1. easily seen or recognized
2. able to be touched or felt.

I recently came across a blog post where the author explained how she struggled with believing in God due to the fact that God is not tangible.  Believing in something that is not tangible is difficult. Even the disciple Thomas could not believe what he did not see. It wasn’t until Jesus appeared before him that he believed.

Love, gravity, and wind cannot be seen, but they can be felt in a tangible way.  Our Creator is tangible though we cannot see Him.  He is, in fact, the most tangible thing in my life. I feel His presence, see Him working and recognize His goodness. That is His desire for us all. He wants us to be touched by Him so tangibly that others will also SEE Him in our own lives.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” Psalms 34:8 (NLT)

When we brought our daughter, June, home from China 20 months ago, I learned a valuable truth about the tangibility of my relationship with God. This truth taught me how our faith grows from the intangible to the tangible, just as my love for her had to grow.

Our process from application to meeting June was 9 months and 2 weeks. Nine months of scheduling home visits, filing paperwork, notarizing forms, and compiling our dossier. Nine months to prepare for the new arrival of a child into our family, similar to the preparation days in my three previous pregnancies. Looking back, it’s surprising how closely the nine-month adoption journey paralleled the emotions we experienced in pregnancy. The day we met June in China was filled with anticipation, anxiety, and excitement. It was when the “I love you on paper” moment met real life. However, unlike the easily recognizable, tangible love I immediately felt when my new baby boys were set upon my chest, my experience with love through adoption had to grow over time.

In those first months back home when we were working on our new normal, it truly felt as though I was caring for another mother’s little girl. I realized we would all need to focus our efforts on developing attachment. Thankfully, I had a strong adoption community that helped me see how normal this was. Otherwise I may have drowned from the nagging guilt that I should have fallen in love instantly. I just wasn’t there yet, even if I wanted to be. My feelings for her were not seen nor felt. They were intangible. So I did what I knew I had to do—I went through the motions. I fed, cared, kissed, hugged, and nurtured her just as I did my other children. Slowly, through every interaction, the feelings of love began to surface. We began to create a mother-daughter relationship and to attach to one another. Now nearly two years later, my love for her is tangible. I feel it. I recognize it. It’s natural.

The truth I discovered is that this is how my relationship with God works. I need to play an active part in our interactions if I want to experience Him and know Him tangibly. I need to separate myself from the business of life and “go through the motions” in connecting with Him no matter if it’s always easy or convenient. I need to come to Him in song, in His Word, and in prayer. When I do, He promises me that I will able to “taste and see” Him. He promises me rest and peace. He promises me that I will experience His love, tangibly.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

So every day I look at my sweet daughter and realize how much God is using our mother-daughter relationship to teach us more about my relationship with Him. In our journey attaching to one another, I learned that it may not be easy, and it often required me to slow down and put forth more focused effort, but it is worth it. Our relationship with God is the same. He is always available. He is just waiting for us to reach out to Him to prove His tangibility.  So in essence, the attachment work is up to us. Move towards God and taste and see that He is good!