Today we celebrate our son, Joseph's 21st birthday ! He was adopted from Ukraine in Dec. 2005, and his life is a true testimony to a life that has been redeemed because of the love and grace of Jesus Christ. He was almost 16 when he came home and was living between the orphanage that he had lived in all of his life and the technical school ( horrid place) that he was moved to before he would be put on the street...I have shared what his life was like before- given up at birth, never having known the comfort and love of a momma and a daddy or a family he walked thru his early years suffering lonliness and abuse. Abuse from caregivers, bullies in his orphanage and often being sent to the "crazy" hospital during the summer breaks where he was drugged and knowing where all the "normal" kids got to go was camp on the Black Sea.... all because of his inability to talk "normal" due to his cleft lip and palate.
The first pictures were taken when we first met Joseph in 2004. The man in the one picture is Roma- our facilitator ( whom we love ). We were in Ukraine adopting Luke and Naty and had met " Vadik" and were immediately endeared to him. We had a difficult time with the NAC during Naty and Luke's adoption and we were not ready to jump back into that journey again... So we took this picture of him and shared with others when we got home .....Because of the miraculous way that the Lord gave to us we stepped back into another Ukraine adoption to bring him home... He needed surgery to correct his lip/palate and we had sent some for that surgery to be done in Odessa... the surgeon in Odessa heard about us and communicated with the NAC that this family should be allowed to adopt him and get his surgery in the US...Our agency called and shared with us that the NAC would help this time to bring another child home. We felt this was our "call" to go back and we are so glad we were obedient to the Lord and not our circumstances or negative memories of our previous adoption. We were approved for 3 more and traveled for 6 weeks - all of Nov. and part of Dec. to bring Joseph, Cate and Leah back home. The NAC this time fully supported our family and actually when we had our mtg. in Kiev the director brought all of her staff in and had us share about our family and the special needs we had adopted... when we started to leave her office she and all the staff stood and clapped.... We were humbled and blessed by their sincere show of encouragement and so glad we had listened to the Lord .
I have written several posts about Joseph - He was able to travel with us when we brought home Andrew and Gracie from Bulgaria... and what a healing time and trip that was for him . My heart still aches at all we have missed in his precious life but I stop and reflect on all we have had since he has been in our family and all we still have to share in his lifetime.....Those journeys to adopt are always hard and difficult times....for all members of our family. We are a very close knit family and love being together....so time spent away is an ache we all feel when we are apart to travel for these adoptions... and as you know we have traveled lots because in 8 yrs we have adopted 21 children ... but it is such a small price to pay for a life redeemed, for the love of a son and to watch a child overcome and become all the Lord has planned for him.
Happy Birthday Joseph Samuel Briggs- We love you !