Meet Mikayla, Katelyn, Bryan, Caleb, Joshua, Allyson, and Daniel. The seven Guske kids. All of them adopted. All of them handpicked by God to be placed in the hands of an amazing couple, Matt and Colleen.
Last Wednesday I was able to witness and take part in the adoption finalization at the courthouse of the latest three kids (Bryan, Caleb, and Allyson) to the Guske clan. It meant the world to me to be invited to such a milestone event in this family’s life.
Matt and Colleen were youth workers in our youth group when I was in high school. Matt often taught Sunday school and Colleen was always seen organizing life for the youth pastor and going with us on trips to Mexico. She was the reason I came back to the youth group for a second and third time, over the years becoming a mentor and a friend. They have been supporting me from day one, long before I went to China eight years ago.
Matt and Colleen couldn’t have children, but God gave them a fierce love for the little ones of this world.
Mikayla was born the same summer I graduated from high school. She was a newborn when she was brought home and adopted into the family. Katelyn would follow her a few years later, also as a newborn. I have watched those girls grow up into spirited young ladies and adore time spent with them. How often do you have two little girls hanging onto your every word with the desire to be influenced by you? And what a responsibility that is! I have loved watching them grow and develop into a likeness with the One whose Image we bear.
Then Olivia would come into the Guskes’ lives. They opened up their hearts to this precious little girl. They made plans. They prayed and asked God to adopt her as His own child. And then she was taken away. The birth mother had changed her mind. It absolutely broke their hearts.
Then Joshua came. A little boy with the dark hair of his Lao heritage. Would they take him, the county asked. It wasn’t that they didn’t want him, they did, but they were afraid of opening up their hearts again after Olivia. What would they do if God took this one away as well?
Yet, they risked love again. Joshua was brought into their lives. He was attached at the hip to Matt from the beginning. Shy little guy, but now he was home. Today he is four years old and loves to talk, and really wants to do things well (whether that be playing bingo, riding the zipline, or telling a story). And he loves John Deere tractors.
Then there was Daniel, a baby about a month old. His mother had drug issues, and the first month of his life he had to be weaned off the addiction. Daniel was born exactly one year to the day that Olivia left the family. She left July 31st, 2007 and Daniel was born July 31, 2008! God’s amazing timing once again! That is a timing only God could orchestrate. They just knew that God wanted to make him theirs. Today Daniel knows the name of Jesus and speaks His name out loud to anyone who will hear.
Four children. Two boys, two girls.
Then just this past year they got another phone call from the county. A group of three siblings. Really, God, we already have four children?! The siblings had been separated for a time, with the two youngest in one family and the oldest boy in another family. Could we really bring these three precious ones into our homes? Yet, to have an opportunity to introduce Jesus into the lives of these children, and to the opportunity to love on them in the same way God loved on us and adopted us into His family?
They did invite them in. And once they’re in, they’re in. It was hard at first. It had its challenges. We’re not going to create an idyllic rosy picture. But, the grace of God was upon them. And still is. His grace gave them a capacity for love that knows no bounds.
Wednesday they became a family of nine. Nine!
And I got to be part of their family for a few days. I wish I had more laps than I do. I wish I could listen to more of their chatter. I loved times around the table at breakfast and then the anticipation of opening gifts at advent time in the evenings. I got to be part of their family. I left different than when I came.
Welcome to the family, Bryan, Caleb, and Allyson! 🙂