Steadfast in Love
This week I get to introduce you to the Taylor family. And after hearing from Erin as she shared about their journey, and then meeting the entire family last weekend, the word "steadfast" just keeps coming to mind. This family is steadfast, they honor the Lord, they hold fast to His promises and they stay steadfast in love for each other. It is a hard choice to make sometimes, but joy meets us there, and so does restored relationships and love. This family shows up for one another, and I am incredibly honored and excited to share this beautiful story with you.
The Taylor Story:
The Taylor adoption story began nine years ago. They were a beautiful family of 5, Erin and Chris married, with Jackson, Abby and McKenna at their feet. There was love and joy in the messiness of raising little ones. Grace to be poured out each morning and snuggles and I'm sorry's in the evening. The incredible responsibility and gift to raise up little ones. Then, brokenness ensued as they miscarried their fourth child. There was heartache and grief, but restorative healing from the loss as well. At about this same time, the prospect of adoption kept coming up over and over again within their lives. And in 2008, they decided to take a step forwards into adoption through the country of Ethiopia.
After 1.5 years into the adoption process, they were able to bring Mesay home from Ethiopia. Mesay's father unfortunately passed away due to illness, leaving his mother unable to provide for him, thus placing Mesay in an orphanage as a means to best provide for her child. The most beautiful thing to me as I chatted with Erin was the way that she spoke of Mesay's mother, as it was incredibly evident the love that spilled over. Love for her that she loved Mesay incredibly and did what was in his best interest to give him a chance at survival and a life of dreams. Love that Mesay's Ethiopian mother was able to love Mesay beyond herself and sacrifice on her behalf. And so here we have the most incredible sacrifice on both ends. Mesay's Ethiopian mother sacrificing her desire to have her son near her, and the Taylor's sacrificing of resources to bring Mesay into their own family. And through it all, Mesay has been so deeply, deeply loved.
The Book of Pictures:
And something I found incredibly beautiful about this story is a piece that comes out of heartache, but comes forth into beautiful redemption. For the Taylor's decided to send yearly updates to Mesay's Ethiopian mother through pictures (due to the language barrier) as a way to love her and keep her informed with all the growth of Mesay. However, it was only years later that they discovered that the location for where they were transporting the pictures had closed, and Mesay's Ethiopian mother never received them. But here is the beautiful thing. The Taylors were steadfast, creative and loving as they put together a book of pictures of Mesay's growing, and sent them with the private investigator who had discovered the lack of transport in the first place, and delivered them to Mesay's Ethiopian mother. Upon receiving them, she lifted her hands up to the Lord in gratitude as she held them in her hands. This is so redeeming. A simple act, but one that can move mountains. I only think of the way God loves us, they way He too can overwhelm us in an instant with His goodness and grace, flooding His mercy over us. I also clearly love the testament to the power of images and how important photography is to document the ever passing moments in time.
And truly, let us not forget to mention the incredible love being lavished on Mesay from every aspect of his family. His parents so adore him, his brothers and sisters dote on him as the baby sibling that he is. He is treasured and adored. And something beautiful to be reminded of is the love that is able to cross borders and boundaries. The love that crosses cultural divides and the ability to overcome hardship with goodness. As Mesay described to me what he loved most about his parents he said, "Kindness". Kindness always trumps, am I right? What a beautiful testimony to the steadfast kindness of the Taylor's over their little boy, their perfect completion to their family.
Is one Enough?
Something I was SO incredibly grateful to Erin for, was in her opening up to me and sharing about her struggle to be done adopting after Mesay. For after the adoption process and as she was in this new circle of other "adoptive mamas", she told me a little of her struggle to be done. She was feeling called to adopt another child, however Chris was not. And as she prayed and kept hoping for more, she in time began to realize that for now, Mesay was enough. Their family was and is enough just as it is. For you see, it was hard as she constantly was comparing to the other adoptive mothers who had adopted more than one. She felt she needed to somehow measure up in this tribe of adoptive parents, to make sure Mesay had a sibling of the same ethnicity, or just striving to prove some value and worth. And goodness, is this right where my heart is at. How many times do we as mothers struggle with this? We want the best for our children right, and we want to fit in? Goodness, yes. But as she spoke, it was crazy the confidence that she can now speak and talk about how beautiful their family is, just as is. And guys, holy cow, these kids, they just love each other so well! Their bond, their adoration and care for one another. It is so beautiful. Their family is so beautiful. And maybe one day, another child may be added? Who knows the plans of the Lord, but may we rest in what God has for us here, for us now. And may we be ok if it doesn't look like the stories of those around us. May we be ok with the beautiful work the Lord is doing right within us, whatever it looks like? Let's say yes to more of this in our lives, for I can guarantee it will be the most rewarding journey!
Advice on Adoption:
In asking any advice for families considering adoption Erin mentioned that you should "Be open to take the next step. Doors open and might not look like what you want. And surround yourself with an adoption community to get the help and support you need. "
Letter to the Taylor's:
Taylor family, what a beautiful blessing to this world that you are. Full of compassion, commitment and a steadfast love for each other. Your hearts beat together, in unison for the good of this world. You laugh together, play sports together and overall it is so evident that you enjoy your time together, with each other, and what a beautiful thing that is.
Chris- the leader of the tribe. Your humbleness and compassion reigns evident for all to see. The way you still look at Erin, encouraging her, affirming her, and supporting her. The kids see how well you love her and it is displayed in the way the children treat her as well. She is your prized treasure, your greatest delight, and is pours over into the way you love your children. Their is such joy as you come alongside your children- giving wisdom and proving example in the gentlest of ways. You are a great example for your children to look up to and a welcome hand for advice and love when they need it.
Jackson- the oldest of the crew. You are adventurous and fun! Leading the soccer games and tree-climbing excursions. However, love abounds in you. The way you kindly check in on your younger siblings, taking care of them and protecting them. You love well and love large. Your siblings look up to you, and so admire you as their big brother.
Abigail- Sweet, sweet abigail. Your heart could leap through the world and not return void. You are compassionate and loyal. The quiet spirit with so much creativity and beauty flowing from within. You are going to change the world, as you are already changing the world where you are standing now within your family and season of life. You have a beautiful soul dear one, and I hope it continues to grow and radiate across the world!
Makenna- so full of life! You brighten a room wherever you are I am sure!! The perfect sidekick with Mesay. Your joy is exciting to watch, as you wade adventure and seek challenges before you! You are going to be a fighter, a defender of the weak. You are fiercely loyal and incredibly kind. I cannot wait to see how you advocate for others with your spark for life!
Mesay- the gentle joy. I cannot get over your beautiful smile. It truly lights up the world. You may be soft spoken, but you have such beautiful things to say. You are coming into your own in this world and stepping into the greatest destined before you. Not afraid of adventure, and yet, wise and thoughtful in words and actions. You are so deeply loved and your heart shows the depths of your intense value and worth. You are the doted on baby of the family and they could not love you more. In the words of your siblings, you are "awesome. goofy. strong." Keep being all you Messay, for the world is lucky to have you shining here.
Erin- the kindest, most endearing soul. You love so kindly. It is incredibly evident the way you listen to your children well. They are valuable, and loved. You sacrifice so much of your time for them, but you wouldn't change a thing, for you are living the best life. You give so much of yourself as you continue to be the light to the people of influence around you. You truly know how to make people feel valued, important and cared for, even outside of your immediate circle. You are gracious and extend love freely. I am so thankful to have met you and feel as if we could be great friends for life. You are so genuine and what a rare thing these days. You are truly a gift my friend. Know that you are so deeply loved.
*This is my second story in my adoption series. To view my first beautiful story featuring the Allyn Family, click below:
As in keeping tradition with my adoption stories, here are some resources for you!
Adoption Agency: Bethany Christian Services
Erin works with an organizational called Isagenix that has been a beautiful resource for them to help with nutrition and she is now even a part of a group within the company called #Adoptagenix which specifically works towards bringing the right nutrition towards children who are malnourished or struggled due to HIV. If you would like more information, please contact Erin here.
Erin also has a couple of other helpful resources. The first is a blog series that she wrote as they went through their adoption process with Mesay. It is chalk full of helpful resources and information if you or anyone you know is interested in adoption.
She has also recently been creating a website for her and her family. It covers everything from faith and family, to fitness, food, finances and philanthropy. Be sure to check out these valuable resources below.
*If you or someone you know would like to be a part of my Adoption Stories Series, I would love to hear from you!
Let's continue to be the hands and feet to those all around us in need!
~Humbly sharing stories and greatness, advocating for hope around the world,