During our adoption journey, we wanted our kids to be part of the process – not merely spectators. As they grow up, we want our kids to watch us and also participate in asking God for guidance, expecting God to speak, and learning to hear God’s voice.

On big decisions that affect the family, we assure them that God gives us the responsibility to make the final decision, but we value their input. So when the referral came, we said, “Okay, we all have one week to hear God speak! Please ask God, ‘Is this my sister?’”

Over the weekend, I periodically asked the kids, “Hey kids, have you heard anything yet?” Over the whole weekend, they kept saying, “No, we haven’t heard anything yet. Have you?” (I was impressed that they both answered “no”. I assumed they would both say “yes” due to excitement. It made me realize they are growing in their listening skills! Woo-hoo!

Over the weekend, C and I walked around with a dazed “pregnant” look on our faces. You know the face I am talking about! Total shock, amazement, excitement but with fear and overwhelmed feelings mixed in! We really weren’t capable of hearing God because we were in such shock!

That Monday night, I asked again, “Have you heard anything yet?”

Again answered, “No, not yet.” J said, “I need to listen harder.”

“Why don’t you go upstairs now and ask God? Get on your knees and ask God, “Is this girl to be my sister?” Joeli bounded up the stairs, expecting to hear God speak. I began to earnestly ask God to speak to her. I didn’t have much time though, she came back fast!

She came skipping down the stairs with a flushed face. “Did you hear God say anything?”

“Yes, I did. He said she’s my sister.”

I pressed, “How do you know it was God’s voice?” She looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, “Mom, you just know when it’s God talking. It comes from way down deep, you know.”

“Hey, Eden, why don’t you go try? Get down on your knees and say, ‘God, is this my sister?’ Then be quiet and just listen.”

He ran up the stairs and I began to bed God, “Please speak to him. Help him learn to hear your voice!”

Eden came bounding down the stairs merely seconds later laughing hysterically. “Do you know what God said?”

“No, Eden, I don’t. What did God say?”

“Oh, mommy, it is so funny. Here, I will only tell you.”

He jumped in my arms, put his face to my ear and with laughter bubbling over, he said, “God said, ‘Grits!’”

“Grits? Oh E, you silly boy…” I shook my head laughing with him, not taking him too seriously. I mean he is 4 after all!

The next day, I told my mom about the exercise and she said, “Leslie, GRITS – Girls Raised in the South.”

I think my heart skipped a beat. We rarely eat grits. How did he get that word in his mind?

Did God speak to my son in a way he knew He would understand, in a way that showed his humor and his desire to communicate in ways that even a 4 year old could comprehend?

And then I realized. If we said yes, this southern girl from China would be raised by southerners in the US.

I won’t promise that God said the word GRITS. But because of God’s desire for his sheep to hear his voice, I almost believe that God did speak to Eden through one word- grits.