Mina & Bella's Story - A Story of Grace
Updated: Apr 17, 2021
Story shared by Naty Tully
Photos by Grace Photography
Mina and Bella were 5 and 7 when they came into our lives. And they sure made an entrance! Overnight our life turned from a 10-year honeymoon into a family dramedy (drama and comedy)!
Our desire to adopt a baby was no secret to our friends and family. However we were hesitant to show interest in an older child because we spoke English in our home, so we prayed for a baby. But God had other plans. "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)
It was February 2015 when my phone pinged with a message that was hard to dismiss. As I scrolled through a flood of pictures I experienced a state of cuteness-overload; all these children in need of a family. But none were babies. It would be so much easier to train a baby (a less-chatty child... :D)
As we swiped up and down the screen, we found ourselves entertaining the idea of two green-eyed sisters (ages 5 and 6). What captured our attention with these two girls was that even though they lived in a state-run home, their great-aunt was a godly woman who had been taking them to church on Sundays. We felt hope that we could train these girls in a God-fearing way.
A few days later my husband had to travel to the States. His seat on the plane to Chicago was still warm as I was meeting Mina and Bella back in Bucharest. Two days later the girls had their first sleepover at our house. Every weekend after that they stayed with me. (Needless to say that my husband never travels to the States without me anymore. It's too risky-- he might return to a fuller home! :)
In March 2015 the girls moved permanently into our home. Our social worker told us it would take us a year to create bonds of attachment with our kids. Since our story is never by the book, it took us a little longer than that.
While still adjusting to each other and learning how to do parenting from scratch, in January 2016 my husband had a severe heart attack which traumatised us all. A few months later, our oldest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (insulin-dependent). Lots more trauma-drama was crammed into that season. But we pressed on by God's grace and with the support of godly friends. In spite of all the struggles, we did life together.
People say we have made a difference in the girls' lives. But the truth is, they have made a difference in our lives: they make us laugh, be more creative (hence the music we’ve been doing at Scripture-Through-Music), be more compassionate towards others struggling, to have a singing heart, to love adoption. The girls have changed much over time too... from messy habits to becoming "clean freaks;" from pop music to worship music; from cussing to quoting Scripture; from watching MTV to playing piano and drums; from window-shopping for better parents to treasuring the ones they have; from angry to funny; from TV-dependent to full-time creativity... and I could go on.
None of these changes are based on our merit as parents. All credit goes to Jesus. "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.' " (Psalm 16:2 NIV) No matter how difficult the journey of adoption has been, it's a two-fold opportunity to impact a child and to get a front-seat viewpoint on how God adopted us.
The price our family paid for the adoption was 6 years of waiting, lots of paperwork, painful years of adjustment, personal discomfort, extra financial responsibility, and an emotional rollercoaster... Yet the cost is still incomparably small when measured against what our Creator had to pay for our adoption process, sending Jesus, his only Son, to be humiliated and take up the burden of our sin so that we can receive a new name, a new hope, and a new eternal family. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 NIV)
To adopt and be adopted is a joy and privilege.
It’s a unique blessing hard to explain, but worthwhile to experience.