One year ago tonight......I saw my daughter's face for the first time. For 10 months, I had prayed for a little girl I couldn't see.... every asian child I saw made me dream about her and wonder what she would look like... For 10 months, I prayed that God would literally be in her crib with her, protecting her and singing songs over her...... songs of comfort, songs of joy, songs of peace.... so that she would never feel alone..... And on August 29th 2011, I knew that God had answered my prayers.
I remember being asleep only to have AR wake us up and need to potty. It was 11:30. We went to bed at 11 thinking no file was coming that night. But when she woke me up, God nudged me to check again and there in my inbox, there was our little "song." I'll never forget seeing the title of the e-mail "Song Xiao Mei for Waltchack" written by the lifeline employee in china who picked our daughter for us... I knew that God had actually picked her for us long ago and had even created her as a priceless treasure for us.... for our family... to be a Waltchack. In many ways, it feels like it was just yesterday that I stared at her sweet little face.... the face of a complete stranger and had a moment of panic "Are you my daughter? Are you the one I have been waiting for?" It is a surreal feeling to stare at a photo of a child who you think is yours and who is already alive.... surviving in an orphanage without a clue that you are out there looking for her.... moving mountains to try and get to her.
I stared at her screaming for Derek to come up to the computer and I remember as we scrolled down her file just praying "please Jesus, don't let there be anything really wrong with her! Let her be ok!" In that moment, I knew she was ours as I was already hurting for her and whatever her medical need might be..... I remember when we got down the page and saw her need that once again I knew she was ours.... one of my best friends' daughters was already dealing with that need.
I remember not sleeping at all that night.... feeling like I could cry, throw up, scream, or laugh at any moment. I showed the kids her photo the next morning and Rollins & AR screamed in delight "we want her mommy! we want her!"
I remember talking to the international doctor after she had reviewed the file. Before she started talking, I said "Just so you know, this IS our daughter. Now tell me what you think. " Nothing she could say would change our minds. I still have the scrap of paper by my bed where I talked to her late at night and heard her discuss a myriad of issues she could have..... I felt a bit terrified but I still knew this was my baby.... I knew this would be a leap of faith and when I hung up with the doctor, it felt more like a leap... terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.
And then began my greatest test in patience as we waited and worked to get her home.... it is sheer torture for a mama to watch her baby grow & change month after month through mere photos. There is a line in an indigo girls song that says "I wish I could be there to share the moon" and every time I hear it, it causes that longing feeling that I felt at that time to rise in me again.... a longing to simply be near to her but knowing I couldn't just yet.
A year ago today, I could finally picture her in my mind....her bald head, her big eyes, her dimple on her chin, her pink ruffle outfit and her tiny hands.... the one my heart had known was out there, my mind could now envision.... and she was beautiful!!! So I daydreamed of our life together..... frolicking in fields of flowers, braiding her hair that would be long when we got her, hearing her scream "mommy" in a miraculous moment when we met...... even if it was unrealistic, it was a great place to be at that moment.... there would be plenty of time for reality in the adoption process but now was the time for dreaming.
When I look back at these photos from her referral, my mind remembers all that God did in a few short days to confirm over and over that this was our baby.... He was faithful to stamp his fingerprints all over her little life.... Whenever I think of August 29th, I will remember a miracle.
As for sweet MS, I pray that when she sees these early photos that she will know..... know that she is loved, chosen and valued.... and always has been..... I pray that despite all the hurt & loss that led up to that day, whenever she thinks of August 29th, she will know she is a miracle.
"We remember You, Oh Lord
Oh, the the things that You have done
And great things You've yet to do
Oh, Jesus, we remember You" (Newsboys "we remember")
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