Lori Schumaker is one of the first bloggers I made a heart-to-heart connection with. We became friends by commenting on one another’s blogs.
Our paths continued to cross on the internet and she became a member of the close-knit blogging/prayer group I’m in.
When she was going to be in my area a few years ago, I jumped at the chance to meet her. She was just as genuine and encouraging in person. I was excited to meet her adopted daughter from Bulgaria. Selah had big brown eyes, long black hair, and a smile that lit up her entire face.
We spent that weekend shopping in my hometown of Los Gatos, California and talked by the pool at the hotel while Selah swam. At one point on our walk through town, Selah was terrified of a bug flying around her. I watched Lori talk her down from a place of fear and anxiety to a place of giggles. I was so impressed how well Selah responded to Lori.
During dinner, Lori told me the long, miraculous journey of Selah’s adoption.
I hung onto every word, wiping tears from my eyes as the hairs literally stood up on my arms.
Lori knew that God hand-picked Selah to be her daughter the moment she saw her picture in an email:
“That morning, however, I opened my email, a toddler–with brown sparkly eyes and little black ringlets falling around her beautiful face–grabbed hold of me. My heart opened wider than it ever had before. It was a different kind of open, one that showed me yet another facet of God.”
When her husband Bryan saw the picture, he knew too.
They called the adoption agency, filled out all the paperwork and eagerly waited for approval from the Bulgarian government. But instead, the caseworker called to inform them that Selah had been given to another family in Italy.
“Whether we fall in love at our child’s first breath of air or at the first glimpse of her photo, it is a miracle. This love can only come from something vastly larger than ourselves, In fact, it could only come from the One who created love.”
Lori and her family were heartbroken. Even if Lori couldn’t be Selah’s mom, she knew the love she had for her was given to her by God, and she vowed to pray for her.
“If he placed her in my heart yet gave her to another family, then I must believe that prayer was His request of me. Peace would follow when I walked God’s journey instead of my own.”
Through a series of events that can only be attributed to God, Lori found out that her daughter was brought back to the orphanage and the process of adoption began again.
But it would not be easy. There would be months of devastating setbacks where all Lori could do was wait and hold onto hope.
“Sometimes hope is scary. Hoping for the impossible feels a lot like letting go. It’s giving your heart a chance to hurt again. But it’s also giving your faith a chance to point to a God who is bigger than your mountains.”
During my visit with Lori that weekend, I wished and hoped that her amazing story would be published one day. She did, too.
And I’m so happy because that day is here!
This book has so many beautiful elements of faith in it. I had to stop at least ten times in order to regain my composure so I could continue reading. I read most of this book in one sitting. There are so many gripping God-moments in her journey—too many to put in this blog post. So I hope you check it out for yourself.
Surrendered Hearts shows how God’s power works behind the scenes of our lives when all hope seems lost.