Be brave.

John 8:32 “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…”

Truth-telling is hard work. It is scary, gut-wrenching, and sometimes isolating. But freedom… Oh, freedom. You are always worth the gut-wrenching work of telling the truth.

When we began our adoption journey we had no idea where it would take us. On September 17, 2009, I opened an email from a waiting children website that contained information on several children in Eastern Europe. As I scrolled down the list thinking of the people I knew who were pursuing adoption, I mentally tried to match the children with people I know. And then… I saw Ana-Sofia. I cannot explain what happened in that moment, but the second I saw her, she was my child. For the next seven months, bringing her home became my job.

Making my daughter my daughter meant working with a facilitator in Serbia. That facilitator just happened to be a pediatrician at the orphanage where my daughter spent the majority of the first three years of her life. That doctor asked us for money and then asked us for gifts. And then… she told me that I would be responsible for shutting down the Serbian adoption program if I didn’t keep my mouth shut. She warned me not to be a “trouble-maker”. Well, guess what?! I was born with a mouth that just has trouble staying shut.

Exactly five years ago today, on April 14, 2010, I met my daughter. Before meeting her I spent the morning in a Serbian government office being questioned about the facilitator and how much information we had received on Sofija. Our three older children were taken in another room and questioned. The whole ordeal was scary and intimidating and I was fearful that if I told the whole truth I would never meet my daughter.

In the twelve months after our adoption there was a lot of truth-telling that eventually led to me returning to Serbia to make a statement against the facilitator.

The last five years have given me the opportunity to truly fall in love with the nation and the people of Serbia. Serbia is beautiful. Her people are my brothers and sisters. Serbia gave me my daughter and that motherland is woven into the fiber of my being. The pediatrician who sold us our daughter does not represent the heart of the nation who gave us our daughter any more than the Army Generals and SES’s who mingle with government contractors and then destroy my husband’s career because he won’t play along with their corruption, represent the heart of America.

Today, our story was shared in a Serbian newspaper. IMG_3662I’m not going to lie. Sharing our story was scary. But the truth… the truth always leads to freedom.

Serbia is now a member of the Hague Convention. With Dr. Jankovic removed from the international adoption process, more children have been adopted in the last few years than in the decade leading up to our adoption and my “big mouth”. Children are finding families and when a children is placed in a family they are freed from the confines of an orphanage… freedom.

What is your hard truth? Do you have an opportunity to bring about freedom? Today I challenge you to just BE BRAVE.

Joshua 1:9  This is my command—be strong and BRAVE! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


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