The Board of Directors of Nightlight Christian Adoptions established the "Bright Lights Award" which is given in recognition of a commitment to adoption which inspires others to adopt, advocates for adoption, or makes a great sacrifice in adoption. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
The first recipients of the Bright Lights award are Jeff and Melissa Smith.
In February, 2018, Nightlight accepted about 20 families from an agency which was losing accreditation. Their adoption from Malawi involved a sacrifice that no one predicted. The visa was not granted as soon as expected, so Melissa lived in Malawi for 9 months while her husband and three children were in the US (but they traveled to visit multiple times). Melissa posted this online:
What a year. What a hard, beautiful year.
2019 was a year of beauty, pain, and triumph. Leaning into God when everything around seemed to crumble. Holding on to His faithfulness when I looked around and couldn’t see clearly.
We stepped out following God’s call in our families lives, and it all seemed to unfurl into chaos. Countless times I asked myself “How can this be God’s plan?”
I see it. I see God’s plan. We’re almost completely through this trial, this season, this valley. And when I encounter the next, I will hold to this time and remember God’s faithfulness.
So often, when people asked me how I can still have faith (a question I was/ am frequently asked) my answer is simple: holding onto God’s character. I don’t know God’s plan, but I KNOW God. He is a loving, gracious God who has a perfect will and plan.
I don’t know if you’re waiting on God for what may feel like the impossible. If you feel like you stepped out in faith following His call and then what seems like all hell broke loose. He’s there, I promise. He’s shaping and in the hard. When all seems chaotic He is the calm.
Happy New Year! I hope this coming year has less valleys and more peaks and a deeper love for others and Jesus!
The Smiths were successful in bringing home two beautiful daughters, and their commitment to adoption is an inspiration to us.