His name is Simeon Smith. If you attend Gray Road you probably have heard about him.
Simeon is the son of Steve and Andrea Smith and the brother of Zeke and Malachi. The two-year old moved in July of this year from China to his new home. A number of people from GRBC helped contribute to pay the costs associated with Simeon’s adoption, but the more details you learn about the story, the more it is clear that the only hero of the tale is the one true God of the universe – the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
That fact became even clearer for Andrea not long after bringing Simeon home. She was listening to music in her bedroom, playing with her son, and a song came on that she had become fond of during the adoption process. The lyrics to “Kings and Queens” by Audio Adrenaline go like this:
“Little hands, shoeless feet, lonely eyes looking back at me
Will we leave behind the innocent too brief
On their own, on the run when their lives have only begun
These could be our daughters and our sons
And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating
I know my God won’t let them be defeated
Every child has a dream to belong and be loved
Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout your name in victory
When we love when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these.”
The Smiths began their adoption process on July 11, 2011, before Simeon was born. They recognized the biblical imperative of adoption, as well as having seen it modeled by the staff and congregation at Gray Road. Steve’s heart was touched when he met a special needs child in South Africa a few years ago.
During that four-year period, Steve and Andrea became more burdened to adopt a child with medical needs Simeon needed life-saving heart surgery when he was 10-months old. He may face further surgery when he is older, but received a good report recently from doctors at Riley.
“Over these 4 years, God really softened our hearts toward orphans even more,” Andrea shared. “When we started, our hearts were not ready for a medical special needs child. But we began to see more and more the need of ‘non-healthy’ children.”
If you haven’t seen the video on Andrea’s Facebook page of the first moments she and Steve were together with their son in China, it is worth whatever technological revolution you need to undergo in order to get there.
Andrea reports that the sense of familiarity between Simeon and his new family grew more quickly than she had been told to expect.
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“I’ve heard some people say that at first it felt like babysitting strangers for a while, but we didn’t have that emotion,” she said. “I was shocked with how well we did with him when he got home. The same with our sons. Zeke for instance has never been a really nurturing kid with other kids, but he has been so tender and kind, wanting to hold him and that kind of thing. I see that as God’s provision.
“Within 48 hours it really felt like a whole family.”
Simeon now gets excited when his dad comes home from work, wanting to go to him. He is also excited in the morning, eager to be lifted from his crib and to begin the day with his mother and brothers.
All of which hit home that day as she sat playing with her son, listening to the song.
“Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won’t you look around
These are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open
If not us, who will be like Jesus
To the least of these
If not us tell me who will be like Jesus
To the least of these”
“I guess having him there while listening to the song, sitting on my bed, struck a chord with me, that God has actually done this,” she said. “It is completed, He is victorious and has transformed this kid’s life.”
Andrea also mentions God’s grace to her through her husband’s helpfulness in those opening days back home, and through the rest of the GRBC family.
She adds that while adoption books would have frowned upon how quickly she and Steve started bringing him to services and other activities, she just couldn’t wait to get back to be a part of the body, including corporate worship and youth group.
On a recent Wednesday evening Simeon seemed quite at home in the church, playing with Zeke and Malachi in the Fellowship Hall.
The model of this integration into a family provides us a clear picture of God’s adoption of each believer as His child. This has been made more real for Steve and Andrea.
“The Holy Spirit has just reminded me of God’s grace toward me, (His) unconditional love. (Simeon) didn’t choose to come into our family at all, but is experiencing something we’ve chosen to do for him (through The Lord’s enabling),” she said. “There were a few hard nights when he was crying and I was trying to figure out how to put him to sleep. The Lord has reminded me to not be selfish, that I wasn’t giving of myself for him the way He’s given himself for me.
“God has most definitely ‘poured out his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.’ A mother’s love for a crying baby has its limits. But God’s love is perfect and supernatural.”