When I took this photo of Cava at school on his birthday, I didn't notice how much his eyes sparkled until I posted it on Facebook. What that sparkle showed me was the difference love can make in a child's life. You can see the light and joy of his life in them. This was no small feat, but the collected efforts of not only us, his family, but also our friends, our church, and Cava's school. By showing him not only love but that he was lovable, Cava's life changed. This is not the same child we met back in Ukraine. Those eyes show the transformation of love on a child and I am grateful that God has allowed me the privilege of being a part of this. He gave me the gift of being Cava's Papa, of being able to love him and be loved by him.
There's a Sara Groves' song entitled "Loving a Person" that begins:
Loving a person just the way they are, it's no small thing.
It takes some time to see things through.
Sometimes things change, sometimes we're waiting.
We need grace either way.
Love isn't easy, especially when it involves a child who has lived so much of their life without it, but when that love begins to make a difference, to change, and transform that child it is so worth all of the difficulties and hardships. You also see how miraculous love really is.
It is a gift to see the joy, the laughter, the delight Cava experiences. It is just as precious to be there to comfort him, hold him when he's sad or scared, and to let him know that it's okay, that we are there for him.
It is a sacred moment to see when a child finally begins to understand that they are loved for who they are, as they are, and that, no matter what, that that love is a forever love.
Jesus became a child to show us what love looked like and I have never been more aware of that, of the fragility and power of that act then in adopting Cava.
Mother Teresa was spot-on when she said, "We can do no great things, just small things with great love. It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into doing it."
We have seen that when you pour love into a child, the light begins to shine through, at first through small chinks and cracks, but then it begins to glow from their eyes, their smiles, and in their ability to return love, to trust, and to feel safe enough to be themselves around you, even in all his craziness and silliness.
I cannot stress how overwhelmed I am that God allowed us to adopt Cava and to be his family. This small act changed not only Cava, but our family and have taught all of us the awesomeness of a God who loves us with such extreme, scandalous grace that the steadfast love He has shed for us in His Son has transformed all of us through the power of adoption into the kingdom of God, as His sons and daughters. As 1 John 3:2 begins, "Beloved, we are God's children now . . ." What a God of holy tenderness.
So I come, in a month where we celebrate National Adoption and Thanksgiving, with gratitude. I am grateful for this child I call my son and for a God who loved us enough to call us His own, and for a love that transforms us all.