The Motions: Part 1

“His face was burned into my mind.”

The Motions: Part 1

When my son, Ari, was 4, I came across this blog while staying up late at night searching for anything to help him, who was severely developmentally delayed. It was a family asking for prayer for their young daughter Chrissie who was facing open heart surgery. I began to pray for Chrissie and got connected to the family. Chrissie died. I was so heartbroken for them that I dug deep into their story and learned they had adopted her. I was in awe of this family with many children who went across the world at great expense to adopt a child with a very small chance of living. This family humbled me with their blind faith and commitment to living a radical Christian life. They shared a link to the place they found Chrissie.

I would look at the faces on that page for hours, crying and praying. I did this for months and then a new face appeared one day. A small brown boy with a scared face and a post that read “urgent, at risk of transfer.” I learned some awful truths that year; that orphaned children in Eastern Europe with Down Syndrome usually die before they turn six due to abuse, starvation, and neglect. It was something that had kept me up at night since my eyes were opened. I saw that little boy’s face and it haunted me. I felt in my heart that he had to be saved. As a single parent with a 4-year-old with significant special needs, as well as being a public school teacher at the time making less than $43,000 a year, I didn’t think there was anything I could do for this child. I prayed so hard, and I tried to find a wealthy Christian family to save him. No one came forward.

Months had passed and I knew that this child was soon to be “transferred” to the adult asylum in Russia where he was and that he would die soon after. The first photo I saw of him, his face was burned into my mind…and his name – Ian.

On July 4, 2010 I heard God call me. I knew it was me and Ari who were supposed to go and get Ian. I emailed the adoption agency and asked – can a single mother with little income adopt this boy with Down Syndrome in Russia? The answer was yes. It was also no. I was told time was out for Ian and that he would be transferred on his 5th birthday in April and there was not enough time to complete an international special needs adoption. There was also the issue of the nearly $65,000 it would take to save him. I did not have that; it was more than I made in a year and Ari’s expenses were great.

During this time, Matthew West’s song “The Motions” was being played on the radio. As I would be doing the dishes at night and scraping food we did not eat into the disposal, I would hear the words, “this might hurt, it’s not safe, but I know I’ve gotta make a change…and…I don’t wanna go through the motions, I don’t wanna go one more day, without your all-consuming passion inside of me.”

This song was like God speaking through Matthew directly to me, giving me the courage and will to do this hard thing. It wasn’t hard to want to save a life, but hard to fight the fears of all of the many things involved in trying to adopt this little boy. There were so many times listening to “The Motions kept me on track over the 13 months it took to get Ian home. I didn’t have the money and my faith was so small at the beginning of what God had called me to. Our fight to save Ian was truly a fight to not live in that nothingness Matthew wrote about.

God brought every single penny of the nearly $65,000 it took to save Ian’s life and make him a part of our little family. 700 people donated to his adoption fund. Ari made the first trip to Russia for the first time we met Ian. People did extraordinary things to make sure Ian would not be transferred before we could get to him. I remember like it was yesterday, on my knees praying to God to help Ari and save Ian and I was so tired and worn. I would cry “The Motionsout onto the carpet at night while Ari slept, begging God to take us to the finish line of bringing Ian home. He did just that, and without one day to spare.

Ian arrived on US soil on August 26, 2011. From there, we went straight to the emergency room for malnourishment and a heart defect. He had open heart surgery on Thanksgiving Day 2016. He underwent two other surgeries to repair his eyes and internal organs. Ian could not speak the day I walked him out of the orphanage in Russia. He only made grunting sounds. Now, he speaks. He could not chew solid food at age 5.5 because he was bottle-fed till then. Now, he loves all foods, especially spicy things! He is the face of humanity and I see God each time I look at him, and very often too, “The Motions will play in my mind as a clear reminder of how God changed me through a child and a song.

“I heard God call me.”

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Matthew likes to call the moment he decided to follow God his " Blue Couch" moment. When you craft your story, you can share your "Blue Couch" moment or other stories where you have seen God at work in your life.
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