This beautiful girl sitting next to me beams like she has the world by its tail as she munches on an orange scone. Her racquet propped at her feet on her swimsuit and towel reminds me again that summertime is here. That means her birthday is, too.

We brought her home from Ethiopia when she was just seven months old. She was the chubbiest little chunker! Months–no, years–of praying brought her into our family that frozen, blizzard-y February when we landed in St. Louis.

The Grandmas and The Brother waited and prepared for our arrival, scrubbing the house, filling the fridge, arranging flower bouquets, coloring welcome signs. Home was completely prepared for her arrival.

The plane began its descent and somehow, she managed to pee all over me during landing. I guess it had been awhile since we last had a baby in diapers! We were both so soaked that before The Grandmas could even get their hands on her, we had to completely change clothes in the airport bathroom. Lucky for her, momma had a bag packed for just this situation. Not so lucky for me. I hadn’t thought I would need one, too!

We clean her up and present this precious bundle to our matriarchs and The Brother for inspection.

Squeals! Excitement! Cooing! Beaming! Kissing! Adoring! Sighing.

We drove home in a blizzard and what should have normally taken two and a half hours became a grueling five. My mom was in the WAY BACK with me in our van (the third row of seats WAY BACK from the driver) and I remember passing out mid-sentence as she carefully put a blanket around me; her baby was exhausted.

Jet-lag. New baby. Multi-continent flights (Africa-Europe-North America) at four different airports. It was a long trip, a really long way to go.

How far did we go to bring our baby home? Around 8114 miles.

And just in case you are wondering how long it took us: 29 hours plus five snowy hours on treacherous highways, door-to-door.

We may have gone far to adopt our daughter but it was nothing compared to how far God went to bring us home to Him.

Heaven, our eternal home, is prepared for our arrival. (John 14:2-3)

Jesus came to bring us home; we made a mess of Him, too, only it was at the cross. (Isaiah 52:14)

How far did Jesus go to bring each one of us home? He went as far as heaven is from earth, and all the way to the Cross.

We will be presented one day before God in the throne room on Judgment Day. How will we be clothed? With robes of righteousness, we will stand justified before our holy King by the blood of the Lamb.

Why did God do it? Why would He go through so much to bring His children back home? He would answer with John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Are we really worth it to God to sacrifice His only begotten Son?

As she kisses me goodbye and trots off to the tennis courts, I think I know what God would answer. To Him, we are absolutely more than worth it.

How far are we willing to go to bring someone into the family of believers? Across the street? The next cubicle or desk over from ours? Across the world? Many others before us were willing to bring the message of hope so that we could know our King and be adopted into the body of Christ. What are you willing to do today?

One of the first case file photos of our daughter.