Adoption and the Journey Toward a Surrendered Heart

The collision of lives is mysterious and unpredictable. Friends meet at a gathering and are bonded for life. A man and a woman from random backgrounds are introduced to each other and eventually share grandchildren. Adoption is a choice that puts this miracle of connection on display in unique ways that seem to defy race, culture, and even geography.

When Lori Schumaker adopted her beautiful daughter from Bulgaria, she entered into an unfolding story that was being orchestrated offstage by a Conductor who makes no mistakes, but whose music is frequently strange to our ears as we struggle to find the melodic line. Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust is her triumphal and grateful anthem of praise for God’s infinite wisdom in bringing her family together. It is also a story of her family’s yielding to this process even when it involved the dissonance of unmet expectations and grinding disappointment.

Peace is a By-Product of Surrender and Trust

The Schumaker family was carried through their journey by an overriding awareness that adoption is an image of a far greater reality than simply adding a child to their family. Adoption is a mere shadow of God’s choosing love that grafts us to his own heart in a way that gives us a new name, a new identity, a forever home, and (most astonishing of all) a heart like His, forged in the furnace of New Covenant grace. For Lori, the outcome was a surrendered heart and an embrace of God’s will in the wake of miracles she could never have anticipated at the outset of her adoption journey.

Over the course of a rigorous two-year process, Lori discovered that “God grows a child in our hearts as unmistakably as He does in our wombs.” She first saw her daughter Selah’s face in an emailed picture. There were a few medical red flags in her file, but nothing could deter Lori from the idea that this toddler with brown sparkling eyes and black ringlets was meant to be her own child. The “knowing came through the peace,” and, although the process was gritty, continual prayer carried Lori through the uncertainty of a story that swerved between hope and despair. She found that the peace she longed for was a “by-product of surrender and trust.”

Living with a Surrendered Heart

Lori’s account of two trips to Bulgaria, the heartbreaking goodbyes, the grueling wait, and the eventual joy provide a very personal glimpse of the adoption process from inside. Those who are considering adoption will benefit from the realism, and those who are walking alongside adoptive parents will find excellent insights that will make them better able to pray their loved ones through the adoption process.

It takes courage to live with a surrendered heart. The vulnerable position of welcoming a child into your home is just one example of the many ways in which believers can live a poured out life characterized by availability and a willingness to respond to God’s resounding “YES” to us with an answering yes that opens the door to miracles.

Many thanks to Redemption Press for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Rejoicing in Hope,

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