Full Circle

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1 Jan

Full Circle

I will never forget bringing in the New Year on January 1, 2010. My husband, son, and I traveled all the way from Dallas, Texas to New York City in a feeble attempt to create new, vibrant memories for our family of three.

We made stops in Indiana to see one side of the family and in Pennsylvania to see the other, celebrating Christmas together. Then we ventured out on our own up to New York to “celebrate” the coming of a new year. But I knew my heart. Rather than searching for excitement, I searched for escape from the pain and heartache that filled my home.

I could no longer bear to look at the pictures hanging on the walls of my home, photographs of two Colombian children. My husband and I had spent the last year and a half pursuing adoption, seeking to bring these children into our home. I just couldn’t spend Christmas walking past their bedrooms every day, reminding me that the adoptions had failed.

Our biological son suffered and sacrificed as well. We knew we needed something big to start rebuilding our family of three again, rather than the family of five we assumed would greet the new year. We spent the money saved up for Colombia and splurged on ourselves instead, trying desperately to move on. We prayed that God would care for the children, even if we never knew anything more about them.

Now, eight years later, here I am getting ready for another big trip north—to Indiana and Pennsylvania—then on to a family adventure of our own before returning home for the New Year. This time feels different, though, because rather than running away, I look back in celebration at all God has done over the last eight years.

Four years ago, on our third trip to Colombia, we successfully adopted one of those children, and so we travel now with two sons, rather than one. And just when we nearly gave up hope of finding our adopted son’s sister, God opened the door to Europe and reunited us with her this past summer. My son (her brother) and I spent time in her home, dined at her table, and explored the city where she lives. We got to know her own adoptive family, whom we now consider an extension of our own. Her adoptive mother and I regularly exchange family photos and send virtual hugs through technology.

The little girl, whose pictures I could not bear to look at on my walls eight years ago, now sends me pictures of herself with her friends. She initiates random text conversations every few days and still tells me she loves and misses me. The old pictures remain on my walls, along with new ones of us together. Now when I look at them, they fill me with joy.

Eight years ago, my heart ached with emptiness as I walked through the depths of grief. I read the verse that states, “joy cometh in the morning,” and laughed (Psalm 30:5 KJV). Today my heart bulges, overflowing with gratitude for how God can redeem our stories in unimaginable ways. Joy came indeed.

If you are broken at the start of this new year, keep clinging to Christ, knowing that He can and will work all things together for good. In His time. He makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Psalm 107:2 states, “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” May my story encourage you to hold on to hope that God can redeem your story as well.

Rachelle D. Alspaugh

Rachelle D. Alspaugh writes both poetry and prose. Her heart beats for missions, travel, and leading women's Bible studies. To discover more of her work, please visit her website at

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