Wednesday, November 18, 2015

a beautiful exchange {guest post & giveaway}

One of my favorite things about the internet is connecting with people who share interests. And y'all know adoption is a favorite topic around here. Megan Nilsen sent me a copy of her book, which is an adoption story, but, really, it's a story of saying yes to God. I've enjoyed reading it often with my own latest adoption story in my arms. 

I'm excited to welcome Megan to my online home so she can share a piece of her story. And stay with us until the end because she's going to share her book with TWO OF YOU! 

Before starting the adoption process, we decided to interview families we knew who had adopted.

Perhaps many of you did the same. After all, we figured these families had walked the road already and may have some wisdom to share. Boy did they! Adoptive families are some of the absolute coolest.

Nearly without fail, every conversation we had could be boiled down to one main theme. Time and again we heard these words ...

“Adoption is the hardest thing we’ve ever done, but it’s absolutely the best.”

And each time, I would walk away from the conversation or hang up the phone and think, “Really? Is that what we want? Hard?? I mean, we totally want to follow God’s call ... Yes, we want the best! But do we really want the possible hard that comes with it? It all seems so — risky.”

For a long time, the idea remained just that. An idea.

The notion of adoption comfortably took a back seat as the daily regimen of school choir concerts, dance recitals and soccer games filled our days with our older two. The idea sifted through my mind every so often like sand in an hourglass. My mental to-do/prayer list (they often overlap) read as follows:

* Don’t forget to buy milk.
* Figure out the name of that cool paint color from the Pottery Barn catalog.
* Please be with Uncle So-and-So who is battling cancer.
* Email the teacher to ask about the field trip tomorrow.
* Also, God — if you’re calling us to adopt, just remember our hearts are “open.” And if
you do want us to adopt, could you please write it in the sky or something? That
would be helpful. Thanks.

God didn’t exactly write it in the sky, but he wrote the call on our hearts. As they days ticked by, we couldn’t get the drum beat of these thoughts out of our head. Like a catchy lyric turning over and over in my mind, this idea of adoption, that it might possibly be for us, kept knocking at the door of our hearts and wouldn’t abate.

Four years have passed now since we brought our two youngest home from Ethiopia at the tender ages of eight and five. And I am among the ranks of those saying those exact words to others — Adoption has been by far the hardest thing, but it unequivocally the best.

Lest you be deceived into thinking this story had a fairy-tale ending, I can assure you the transition home was nothing short of “other-worldly” for the lot of us. Grief loomed large over our home for quite a while, manifesting in all sorts of tantrums and tears. And not only from the kids! I must confess, my own heart wrestled to embrace the new family dynamics as well.

In the months that followed, I began a journey of my own — a journey that has rearranged everything I thought I knew about life and love. So much so, I often wondered if life would ever return to “normal.”

Thankfully, God exchanged my short-sighted plan for a new, exponentially more beautiful normal — one drafted by His own hand.

Sometimes I imagine attachment in adoption like a tree. A tree that needs time and tender care to sprout and grow. A tree that brings with it the gift of new life. This “adoption” tree has ushered me into perspectives of the Kingdom I don’t think I would have experienced otherwise. The fruit it bears brings us more joy, growth and continuous beauty than we ever dreamed possible.

God’s tender love and mercy drew us to this tree. To eat of its fruit opens our eyes to a bit of heaven on earth. While this journey of adoption has brought me to the end of myself, it has also ushered me to the foot of the cross.

That is a gift for which I am forever grateful. It truly is, a beautiful exchange!

Megan Nilsen is the mother of four children — two biological, two adopted, and by all accounts the most beautiful kids in the world (at least according to their unbiased mother). She is married to her college sweetheart. Together, they believe the local church is the hope of the world. When she’s not coordinating crazy carpool schedules, she rejuvenates as part of the teaching team for her church’s weekly Bible study. Megan passionately pursues writing as a way to process God’s ever-active work in the world. She gets the biggest rush out of connecting with people and swapping stories of the heart. She and her family live in Colorado. You can find her blogging about it all with two of her dearest friends at

And now for the giveaway! Use the Rafflecopter widget below for multiple ways to enter to win one of the two copies of "A Beautiful Exchange." The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Two winners will be randomly selected on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Want more insights? "Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family" is available on Amazon. Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, peek into my life on Instagram, follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin', or subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

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