Sunday, September 11, 2011

She's the One (Part 2): Stone by Stone

(Disclaimer: This one is very long & some will repeat from D's because I wanted to document all I saw from my point of view as well. I am pretty sure that what follows is not the norm for adoption.... so many "signs" from the Lord... maybe He thinks we just had to be hit over the head with His will.... whatever the reason behind Him being so blatant, I'm thankful for the beautiful story He is writing and allowing me to be a part here we go...)

This is a testimony to God’s faithfulness to guide and direct us and to bring our daughter to us. He created her for us and knew she would be ours from the beginning of time. This was Plan A for her life... I am confident of this. Because we live in a fallen world, she has already had to experience more pain and suffering than anyone should have at 9 months of age. But because we have a gracious savior, He is redeeming her from life in an institution and allowing us to have a front row seat to His grace, mercy and love poured out on her precious life. I want to know and always remember what the Lord did in these early days when we “found” her. I knew it was enough for God to simply give us a peace about whatever file we would receive but I continued to pray and ask God for such clarity and signs that we would KNOW she was ours….. I’ll be honest that I could have never guessed we would see His fingerprints so clearly over this little child….

We knew that a list was coming out late at night on Monday, August 29th. My mind and body were a ball of nerves and excitement… I had a hard time focusing on anything. At 10:30 we had heard nothing and decided that perhaps it would come in the morning… it being “the call.” The basic story is we got a file, talked with several dr’s the next day, knew she was ours, and the following morning send in our LOI (letter of Intention to adopt our peanut.) The long story follows (grab a drink and a snack!) I’ve labeled them as stones to once again see these moments as stones stacked, one upon the other, in an altar of remembrance….that we may always look back to that moment and praise the Lord for how He moved in our midst… our own little Ebenezer for baby girl…

Stone #1- At 11:45, Anne Rainey woke me up to help her go potty. She has not woken up in the night to potty in about 2 years! So, after I put her back to bed, I thought I should check my e-mail. I see 3 e-mails in a row from Karla that say “Are you awake” then “Call me” and finally "XXX XXX XXX for Waltchack." My heart skipped a beat. For a split second I couldn’t decide whether to hit open or run and get Derek first. I chose to hit open and an enormous photo of xxx xxx filled my screen at which point I went running & screaming to get Derek up. I called my social worker at midnight asking if I was calling too late J and she sweetly said she had been feeling lonely and was glad I called (She is the BEST!). We chatted briefly, hung up and Derek and I read the file. I have to say that I think my face stared at the computer with a look of shock just like that little shocked face looking back at me. I am so thankful that God used AR to wake us up to meet our baby that night!

Stone #2- Once the shock semi wore off, I was struck by several things. First, we had only briefly brainstormed names and my top one was Mae Rushton (because I knew that Mei meant little sister in Chinese.) You can probably guess what part of her Chinese name was…. Mei! I had a sense of shock at how blatant that sign was and also a sense of calmness…. Kind of like “ok God, I kind of knew you would do something like that.” I was struck next with how young she was. 9 months! At the beginning of the process, I told my social worker that I wanted to bring my baby home as close to the age of 1 as possible. She got the sweetest smile on her face and gently said “That is so sweet but that will not happen.” Babies are generally a little older when coming home and she just wanted to manage my expectations. But I chose to continue to express the desire of my heart to God and here she was. 9 months old and coming home around 14 months old. (It was also an answer to pray regarding the gap between her and henry… they will be 9 months apart and a grade apart which is perfect in my book)! Which leads to the 3rd major writing on the wall moment…

Stone #3- I saw her birthday was November 11th. I ran and grabbed a journal where I had written a letter to her a long time ago. (Mind you that all of this is happening after midnight…. I got almost no sleep that first night!) For some reason (at the time unknown, but now so obvious) I felt so burdened on November 3rd to pray for our baby and her birthmom… have you ever felt that? Like a literal burning in my chest that I have to do this right this minute. So I wrote in a journal a letter to our future child intermingled with prayers to the Lord. Specifically, I prayed for the decision her birthmom was about to face and that she would be comforted and encouraged. I prayed that God would protect our baby… that she would be warm and found quickly among other things. Y’all!!!! She was born and abandoned 8 days later!!!! As I prayed for that birthmom it was at the exact time that she was facing probably the hardest decision of her life….. as I prayed for my baby to be warm, she was about to be placed in a box and left to be found…. That timing is still mind boggling to me. And want to know what else? I remember feeling almost foolish even writing that letter and wrote it hidden in a journal of mine because we had not even decided to adopt yet!! Granted we were talking about it but it wasn’t until over a month later that God confirmed to Derek this was the path. I’m just so thankful that God has allowed me to be connected to that time in her life, which will always create in her a sense of loss and hurt, and to be able to tell her, I was praying for you then… I was praying for your birthmom…. Even then God had you in His hands. It is honestly such a treasure to have that letter and prayers from that day and be able to share it with her as she gets older…

Stone #4-- What’s in a name? So I know a little Chinese. I can’t read characters but can read some pinyin/the English letter looking words. One word can have 4 meanings based on the tone used so you have to read the characters to know the real meaning. When I saw her name, I thought it meant little/small sister because the 2 words can mean that. And I thought that was cool enough since she is going to be a little sister. But I sent it away to a friend fluent in Chinese and am in awe of what he said. For the past week, if anyone asked, I asked for them to just pray for clarity. I had a fear of Derek and I just not knowing if she was ours or being on different pages… so clarity was what I desperately desired the Lord to give. When I got back the translation, the xxxx means clarity or literally “knowing”! As we prayed for clarity we were praying for her! Specifically, it is a name given to babies born at dawn because as the sun rises, everything is made clear. Tears well up as I think about that imagery of the sun rising or rather “the son rising!! And God’s plan for creation becoming clear.” So the xxx part of her name was also not the little sister version but the character for beauty and good… which no one but me knows was part of MY Chinese name, given to me by a teacher in china 12 years ago…. Seriously God is so in the details that my mind can almost not process it all. The 3rd part of her name, Derek referenced but here was what struck me…. We have often thought we would make her “gotcha day” video to the beatles song “I will” which I posted a while back on the blog. As I looked over the lyrics the day after getting the referral, tears once again. “And when at last I find you, your song will fill the air….” The other part of her name? Song. No clue the translation but doesn’t matter! God used it to confirm yet again. One of the earliest verses I posted to pray was from Zeph. 3:17 that God would be in her crib with her and rejoice over her with singing…. I have confidence He was! It is crazy to me that all 3 parts of her given name had such significance to us… God’s fingerprints all over this little girl could not be more clear. My hope is that as she reads this later in life, she will have such confidence of her belonging in our family and in God's sovereignty to bring her here. (BTW, the name we will call her is still a little bit TBD)

Stone #5- I’m a little OCD about baby books and have felt sad as I plot all of Henry’s measurements that I’ll never know all the information about baby girl. Trivial I know, but I didn’t want her to look at her baby book and feel a sense of loss every time she does. So, here is the miracle there…. She was found on the day she was born and I have everything!!! Measurements and weight for every month as well as when her first teeth came in! She has 2. I just keep thinking God did not have to do all of this! But He has poured out grace in heaping buckets on us in this journey.

Stone #5—The special need on her referral is a dislocated right hip and as I read it that night I had another moment of calmness and “of course, that is what she has…” which may sound strange but a little bit of background… One of my best friends has been walking a very hard journey lately with her baby’s health. As I have walked beside her, I often felt this tugging of “your little girl may have something similar to MG” but I never mentioned it to anyone. Even Jenn told me that she just knew I was going to call and tell her it was her hips, part of the issue her daughter is facing. It was crazy because as I talked to the international doctor, I already knew all she was telling me about hips, doctors to use, body casting, special car seats, etc…. I could have never guessed that He would use the journey of one of my best friends to educate me and prepare me for the treatment our baby needs! Isn’t He so good? Seriously!

Stone #6- She is also a preemie which is where I feel like we are making our biggest leap of faith into a bit of unknown.... but I feel like God "flipped" my fear on its head in a sense by showing me what a blessing being a preemie probably was for her... First, a plus for a preemie according to the international doctor was that she could not have been fed with a propped bottle during those early months…. “You can’t prop feed a preemie” she told us…. So someone was holding her and feeding her! A while back I posted a prayer that God would hold up her bottle as she ate.... I don't know why but I would literally wake up at night and pray that He would hold the bottle and not let it fall until her tummy was full….. more grace poured out…. He used human hands to hold the bottle up for her and love on her. She also said that a preemie would get more TLC simply because she would have more needs like regulating her body temperature. I just love that one of her “needs” most likely allowed her to have more human interaction and love…. And I can’t wait to hug all the ladies who were God’s hands and feet taking care of our little girl.

I think I honestly would have been fine just seeing her picture that first night and not knowing anything else.... we happen to think she is the cutest asian baby ever made :) But God has reminded me that He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine!

I remember that next morning, shortly after Derek left for work, he sent me a simple message. It read “I think she is ours.” My heart flooded with excitement because I knew too… the deep rooted confidence that can only be had when you know the Maker of the Universe… and I know that the road may be bumpy ahead but I pray that we can always look back at this moment and praise the Lord for showing up.

“Here I raise my Ebenezer; Here by Thy great help I’ve come”


Bradford said...

Stephen and I can't stop crying! I am serious. Tears are flooding my eyes. She is incredible, beautiful, AMAZINGLY miraculous. THe stones , Ebenezers, are supernatural, incredible. We are astounded at the "CLARITY" GOd has given y'all. I could stare at her precious face forever. I think it's neat that she will be petite, being preemie, just like you. She is so yours! WE love her already and are speechless. GOD IS SO GOOD!

Kellie Merwin said...

So thankful to be reading about your journey! Keep us posted as the time draws near to travel to China. We'd love if it worked out to see you guys while you're here. Much love from the Merwin family.

Shannon said...

Crying tears of joy for y'all. Love you and can't wait to meet that precious little girl!