Surrounded

As I write this I’m surrounded by kids. Half of them are Chinese orphans that are HIV+. Half of them are a combination of my wife and me; and all of us living in China. How we got to this place goes a little like this. My wife and I moved to China in 2008 with our first two biological kids. We wanted to study Chinese and be a light in whatever way we could. We went home for 6 months in 2010 to have our third child. When we returned to China, our lives took a dramatic turn.

We got a text late one night saying that there was an orphan who was put in isolation because she was HIV+ and had been abandoned. Our friends were writing a mass group of people in our city to see if anyone would donate money for her to live in a foster home or would be willing to take her in. My wife and I quickly made a decision that would impact the rest of our lives.

Within 3 days, Lily moved in with our family.

11 months later, two more HIV+ orphans needed a home. My wife came to me and suggested that we take them in, I suggested she was crazy. Less than a month later, they too were living with our family. That put our family at six kids under six.

And now, I want to share something new that my story is teaching me; it’s this, I’m broken.

Doing things that are bigger than our abilities is good for many reasons, one being, we become innately aware of our own brokenness. It’s in that brokenness that we can turn to God and find Him in new ways. Since our foster care journey began over a year ago, I’ve had many moments where I’ve been angry, moments where I’ve cried in frustration, and moments where I’ve had to take some honest looks in the mirror. Our life of fostering three kids and raising another three has shown me how much more I have to grow. Through it all, I’m reminded of my desperate need for God, for His miracles and for His help to get me through each day.

Maybe as you’re reading this you’re finding yourself nodding in agreement or realizing that you’ve been (or are) in the same place I am. My encouragement to you is this–you’re not alone. Not for one second.

My story right now is also reminding me of old truths. Of how my brokenness and weakness are where He is strong. That my God doesn’t give up on me even when I fail. That God’s love for me isn’t based on me meeting some condition. Of how He said He would never leave me. I’m also reminded of how amazing it is to be a father to six wonderful kids and how I wouldn’t change anything about it.

I don’t know where our story is going, like most things, it’s still incomplete. What I do know is this: I will remain surrounded by my amazing children and by my amazing God.

What are some things your journey has taught you about yourself and God?

________________________________________

Matt Peterson

Matt and his wife live in China with their three biological children and three HIV+ foster children. They hope to adopt their first foster daughter Lily when they turn 30. You can see more pictures of their family and read more of their journey here.

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