Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, a little girl was born on the other side of the world.

Two years ago today, my life changed.  But I did not yet know it.

Two years ago today, there was joy, and I am sure confusion and sadness. Decisions were beginning to be made.

Two years ago today, God started to write our family into the story of another child.

Two years ago today, I was getting myself ready to go to my first Created for Care retreat; just hoping and praying that God would tell us in what direction to go.  We were waiting, waiting on Him.  At the time, I did not understand, but we felt like choosing our placement agency was extremely important.  That it HAD to be the agency HE led us to.  That weekend, He gently whispered our agency's name in my ear through many women. And even though I felt His leading, I knew that we still needed to wait.  The answer would not really come, clear and exact, for months. And of course it had to be so.  Because everything had to align.  The agency's partnership with a new orphanage.  Our dossier being sent to China. Our paperwork getting logged in.  And that little girl's file arriving at our agency just days after our LID.

Although I have questioned His timing more than I care to admit, His timing truly is perfect.

Two years ago today, a little newborn girl was about to become an orphan, but not forgotten.

And today, two years later, His goodness and grace and joy abounds.

Today is the first birthday that she gets to spend with a family.  It may be the first time anyone has sung her Happy Birthday.  Balloons are hung, a cake is made.  Presents are wrapped.  Of course, because today is a BIG DEAL.  We rejoice today and celebrate her birthday because it is a testament to HIS faithfulness and love for each and everyone one of us.  We are never alone.  We are never forgotten.  We have a Father in Heaven whose love knows no bounds.  Whose love will go to the ends of the earth to seek and save the lost, the forgotten, the marginalized.  Whose love sets the lonely in families.

Today, I think we will sing happy birthday to our precious little girl until we are hoarse.  We will live it up today.


Happy, Happy Birthday, my precious daughter.  Your family loves you!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A public service announcement: Go See The Drop Box Today!

The documentary movie, The Drop Box, is out in theaters today for three days only; March 3, 4th and 5th.  I will not detract from this beautiful film by filling this post with many words.  I will simply implore you to see it.  The film is about Pastor Lee, who built a drop box for women to leave unwanted children.  Take a moment to watch this trailer.


                                                 Pete and I were blessed to see it in a special screening a month ago.  It is, truly, the most pro-life film I have seen and the Gospel message rings loud and clear through the life of Pastor Lee and the children whom he and his wife care for.  We brought Felicity with us, mainly because we still do not both leave her yet.  I cannot tell you how emotional it was, sitting in the auditorium, watching the movie; hearing the bell ring, and watching as Pastor Lee ran to the box to get a baby out, all while I held our daughter, who was abandoned and found.  There were moments during the film, that I wanted to step out of the auditorium so that I could sob (I am really not exaggerating).  The story is that touching and beautiful.


We were also beyond blessed to meet Pastor Lee that night.  Meeting him was, to me, like how I imagine I would feel meeting Mother Teresa.  I wanted to thank him for saving our daughter.  No, he did not really save her, but someone just like him did.  Someone who saw the value in the life of a little newborn wrapped up on a cold March day on the side walk in a city in China.  And I firmly believe that this movie, Pastor Lee's story has the power to convert hearts.  For so many to know that every life counts.

This movie,this story, deserves our time, attention, and our $10 to go see it.  Please consider going.  And when you do . . . . bring tissues.  Lots and lots of tissues.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Joy and Sorrow

As mentioned in my previous post, there are many things I wish I had the time to write about about our family life now and the life lessons, spiritual lessons, I am learning, but there is one thing that I have wanted to share for a little while now. One worth the time it will take to type it.  And that is the joy and the sorrow felt because of the journey we are on.

A child born to another woman calls me mommy.  The magnitude of that tragedy & the depth of that privilege are not lost on me” ~Jody Landers

Just a few weeks after we came home from China, I was in our bedroom, rocking Felicity to sleep.  I was holding her, staring into her beautiful brown eyes, and I was overcome with JOY.  Amazing joy.  I was so thankful that she was a part of our family, that she was here.  In that moment, I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving.  Thank you Lord, for my arms being full.  That prayer was no sooner whispered, than a deep sadness came over me. My heart was filled with joy and my arms were filled with a beautiful little girl, because, 7,000 miles away, in that same moment, there was another mom whose arms were empty.  My joy was born of another mother's pain and sorrow.  There are moments when that reality is hard and beautiful, and bring-me-to-my knees inspiring.

I think about her often.  Felicity's mom.  I shed tears for her pain.  I pray for her daily. I wonder how she felt the day of our daughter's (hers and mine) birth.  Was she filled with joy?  Expectant wonder?  Was she worried when she saw that her daughter's face was not the perfect face she had hoped it would be?  How did she feel those three dreaded days before she made the decision to leave her daughter at the gate of the orphanage.  Most of us reading this are mothers  . . . we have an idea of the agony she felt in those days.  My heart aches for her.

Now, I bet she and I wonder the same things.  Does she have her mother's nose?  Is that cute, side wards glance from her mom?  Does she look more like her mom?  Does she have her father's personality? 

And as the holidays come, we experience them all anew with Felicity by our side.  Watching her at Christmas brought so much thanksgiving for the gift that she is.  Over the years there will be many Christmases, birthday parties, etc, etc that will be marked with the presence of a special little girl.  And as each one comes, I only hope that I remember that those days bring pain for another family that is separated from that same daughter.

You see, I cannot separate my joy from her sadness.  And I do not  think I should try.  They are meant to be intertwined.  It makes this whole journey a little more beautiful. 

Someone once told Pete and I we were heroes because we are giving an orphan a home.  Us? Heroes?  No.  There are heroes in this story (our daughter being one of them), but we do not hold the privilege of being heroes.  No, Felicity's mom is the true hero.  She gave until it hurt.  She sacrificially chose do to what she felt was best for her daughter, even though it would only bring her great sorrow and loss.  Her sacrificial love gave us one of our greatest gifts.  I will forever be grateful to her.

Many nights as I hold Felicity, I pray that I can love her well.  Not just for Felicity, but to honor her birth mother. May my love honor her sacrifice and be worthy of it.

I pray, God willing, that I may meet her in heaven one day.  I want to thank her for our beautiful daughter and share with her all the memories that she is missing now.  Until that day, I pray that God give her peace.  That she may know, in her heart that her daughter is well loved and cared for.  That she is an orphan no more.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Update Post

It's January.  But, I think you all already knew that. Months have slipped by without so much as a word, in this, my corner of the Internet.  Much like animals that hibernate in the winter, I have felt very sheltered over the past few months.  We have been "cocooning" as adoption circles call it.  We were at mass this past Sunday (we do go every week, in case you doubt) and I still was amazed by the number of people who came up to me and remarked that they had not seen Felicity before.


We have been home two months.  It seems like a long time, yet it seems so little.  We are still attempting to find a new normal, and are just not quite there yet.  After three weeks off from tutorial, all of the boys started back to homeschooling this week.  Homeschooling is not quite as easy with our "toddler tornado" around, but we are making it work the best we can.

Felicity continues to do well.  She is attaching to us, bonding with her brothers and is happiest when everyone is home together. The process of her melding into our family is much like dancing.  Some days are two steps forward, one step back.  Other days it is a step forward and two steps back.  I have never been good at dancing, but I am letting God and Felcity lead.  The dance is beautiful and we are moving forward. 

Each day we get to see more of her personality.  And it is a BIG, STRONG personality.  I look at the pictures of her from her first day with us . . .

Gotcha Day - October 2014
with her cold, dark eyes and a blank scare.  She was afraid.  I barely recognize that little girl anymore.  There is a light in her eyes now (and she has gained inches and pounds!!)  Even though there are moments when that scared little girl is clearly still present, the days and hours of her presence are rare. Felicity does well out and about too.  We are getting better at recognizing when a situation is a bit overwhelming for her and we just keep her close and work to get home faster. 
January 2015

The hardest moments come at night.  She still does not sleep well, preferring to always be touching me, even if it is with just her foot.  Night time is clearly the time when she grieves and releases stress from the day.  Our poor little girl will often cry at night in a way none of my boys have done.  The first few times it happened, we figured it was something she ate. But now, after two months home, we can tell there is something deeper than indigestion going on.  We just hold her and love her through it the best we can.

I love our little girl fiercely.  While I know it is not always the case with adopted children, my love and bond for her was strong from the moment she was placed in my arms.  She is my daughter and I love her no differently than my sons that I gave birth to.  Just the other week, Caleb, even said, "Mom, is it strange that I think Felicity looks like us?"  I chuckled.  She looks nothing like us, but Caleb's sentiment was felt.  She is a part of us, no matter where she started from, she has been knitted into our family and something would be missing if she were not here.

These two months with her have been profound in many ways. God has used this time to teach me so much about His love, grace and redemption.  There are moments I just want to pour those words out over the keyboard and hit publish, but more often than not, my hands are filled with the little girl that has been the avenue through which God is growing and molding me. 


I am off to enjoy the giggles of my daughter, who should be sleeping, but is not.  Please continue to pray for us!  Pray, too, for Felicity, especially.  She will be having surgery next week to repair her palate.  Pray for a quick and speedy recovery.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Adjusting

8 1/2 days ago we headed to the airport in China for almost 30 hours of travel.

7 days ago we landed in the DC area and our daughter was declared a US citizen.

We came HOME and Felicity met her brothers.   They have loved her for months and she instantly fell in love with them.  It was beautiful to see all of my children together, under the same roof, for the first time.


Our home is all sorts of crazy right now.  Dishes overflow in the sink.  There is more laundry than I thought could be possible begging to be folded in my living room.  Toddler toys can be found on the floor in every room in the house.  I am realizing that we did not toddler proof enough.  The boys start back to their homeschooling tutorial tomorrow and I have spent the last few days attempting to get them back on track with their work, and failing miserably. I try to remember we have only been home for 7 days. and I work to extend myself grace.

And then there is Felicity.

She is a sweet, adorable little thing and she has my heart.  She is doing amazingly well; better than we expected.  We were educated in all of the ways this time could be, and we have been so amazed by her courage and her vulnerability.

The smiles. The beautiful, sweet eye contact.  The hugs.  The kisses that have gone from her just giving us her cheek when we asked for a kiss, to full, grab-you-by-the-head-and-draw-you-in-for-a-lip-kiss.  And in these moments things seem,

 Oh
























So 

                                                                                          Perfect
























But there is another side to this.

There is a girl who screams and acts out at bedtime or nap time.  A girl who rarely sleeps.  There are the normal behaviors of a toddler who is testing boundaries and learning about her environment.  And then there are the behaviors you learn about in your adoption education classes under: What to Expect.  There is a little girl, who I call my daughter, that has experienced a great deal of loss and suffering in her short life.  Loss caused by the brokenness of the world we live in.

And as I hold her, kicking and screaming, fighting me and sleep, I am reminded that redemption always comes at a cost.  It comes with pain too.  I only have to look at the cross and my own redemption to know that.  But I also know, that it comes with an unspeakable joy.

So, please continue to pray for our family.  For Felicity.