“I want to stay in Alabama”, my four year old son will cheerily announce from time to time. This seemingly out-of-the-blue comment makes me smile because of the history behind it and the answered prayers it brings to mind.
We adopted Robi from Hungary and have been home about 7 months with him. He is remarkably, stunningly settled in...settled into our family, settled in to our extended family, settled in to our church family and our neighborhood (so much so that at a recent neighborhood playgroup he told me that he was, “just marrying” a little girl named Mary Ellen when I asked him what he was up to!).
I confess that I am shocked, all the time, by how well he is doing emotionally, partially because our agency prepared us well for many possible hurdles and partially, I am sad to say because of my weak faith. We prayed, and many, many people in our family and church prayed hard for Robi, especially that God would comfort, calm and sustain him as his world was turned upside down (and hopefully righted again!). I confess that I am surprised to see God answer these prayers for Robi and care for him on a soul level deeper than my husband and I can reach and help him. I have spoken to several families preparing to adopt from Hungary and other places and am more and more sure that in all the preparations for the trip, for becoming parents, or adding another child to ones’ family THE most important preparation is prayer, and the kindest, best thing to do for your child is to pray for them. Their deepest needs: the anger, or sadness, and sometimes dark despair you may see in your kids’ eyes, you can’t fix. Sometimes you can’t get near it, but God can and He delights to.
I think that Robi’s deepest grief was leaving his foster family. He talked all the time of going back to them in the early days and tried to call his foster sister on the phone from our hotel. I will never forget the look of abject despair in his eyes as he sat in the car in the drive-through of Chick-fil-A (aka: Robi’s American Dream) and said “Foster Apa is not coming.” It crushed my heart for him and I could not help him. But his Father in Heaven can and did and continues to. When we got back to Alabama he talked about going back to Budapest all the time. Gradually, he said we could come too, and eventually that we could all go and come back. And now he wants to stay in Alabama.
The speed with which God has answered our prayers for Robi may be out of the ordinary, but His answering of them is not. Robi has been brought into a spiritual covenant. Many of the members of this covenant have spoken to God on his behalf, and God has showered mercies on our son and strengthened my weak faith and it has been wonderful to behold.
Mary Beth McLure
Mother of Robi McLure from Hungary