When we adopted Mei Sims, I wrote a post about "Stones of Remembrance".... an ode to the old testament when people would set up stones to remember a place or point in time when God moved. I've yet to sit down and write about the moment we got Colley's file and the week of prayer that followed. ... figured I better do it now before I have "5 kiddo brain" ..... I have a strange feeling that my brain is about to go awol for a period of time.
So let's step back a bit to this fall. As we waited for 4 months to find her, I kept feeling a stirring that God was calling me to step out in faith to a place that might sound scary.... they were playing the song "Oceans" on replay on Christian radio but there was something in it that just resonated with me..... The first line "You call me out upon the waters, The great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find you in the mystery...." I knew God was speaking to me and preparing me for what was to come.
An even stranger place where God spoke to me.... watching Dolphin Tale 2 with my kiddos... yes, Dolphin Tale 2.... never saw #1 but #2 slightly did me in. The dolphin has a prosthetic tale as most of you know. At the end of the movie, they show clips of real life veterans and children with prosthetic limbs coming by to see the dolphin. One child in that montage was an asian little girl with prosthetic legs and white parents.... Something about that sweet shot stirred something inside of me and I felt my heart opening to a need I had never considered before (I actually began to cry at the end of it but then felt like a moron so I said to myself "Conceal don't feel".... thank you Elsa)
Fast forward to October 22nd. I went that morning to deliver some pumpkins to my awesome social worker Karla.... she couldn't come to the sale so we harvested a few more and I dropped them by her office. When I saw her, I asked "Any chance any partnership files are coming soon?" And she smiled and said "I was going to call you later with an update" and then she rambled a bit not making total sense.
Hmmmmm. She never calls with updates.... only with files.... and she is typically to the point.... not rambling on. Of course, my morning was shot thinking "This may be the day!" I analyzed her words over and over in my head and with a few of my crazy adoption friends. Sure enough, I got an e-mail 2 hours later saying "Call when you can chat." It was perfect timing.... all the kids were in school... the house was quiet... I was a nervous wreck.... and I called her. She had a file. (I caught her off guard when I brought the pumpkins because she was actually in the middle of reading the file.)
Her comments began with "She may have a little more going on medically than you initially were open to, but we want you to see her file" and with that mind began to race a bit... all I could hear was "orthopedic appointments, PT, doctors, casting".... Keep in mind, this was the end of October..... it was 8 weeks and 1 day that I had been carrying Mei Sims from hip surgery (not that I was counting!)..... but as my mind raced, my heart felt peace. Total peace.
I read her file but couldn't bring myself to look at her pic for about 30 minutes. I was trying to decipher big medical words about her leg, none of which I fully understood.... my mind still racing... and then I finally got brave enough to look at her pic.... When she came up on the computer screen, I let out an audible sigh and said "Oh my goodness." I knew in my heart that I would never let her go....
We wanted to talk to doctors to understand what was going on with her leg and we had additional questions we needed answered from China. So we waited for 8 days to hear back from China. But it was amazing to see God order our footsteps in the days that followed. The day after we got her file, we had Mei Sims' followup appointment at the orthopedist.... I went with her file in hand because I knew I'd have him trapped for a brief moment in that little exam room....he was able to explain the medical jargon to me but even greater was when he said "Mei Sims looks great. We will see you once a year now." I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders in such a way that another orthopedic need didn't feel daunting anymore.
I spoke with two other doctors over the next few days..... one who unbeknownst to me, has a child with the exact same leg booboo so she could give me her professional and personal perspective.... and one (who will be her ortho dr.) who called me from his cell on a day that he was not even at work but was moving houses.... I'll just go out on a limb and say most doctors wouldn't call you on a day like that when you aren't even a real patient yet. Mei Sims' doctor also called Derek several times to talk while he was babysitting his daughter. Only God could have orchestrated the phone conversations in such a timely manner.
I periodically send an e-mail I've put together on SPICA care to random friends of friends (of friends of friends) .... I sent a few such e-mails in the late summer. Two days after we got Colley's file, I got an e-mail from one mom who I had not heard from since I sent the SPICA e-mail.... she wanted to let me know how the spica was going and ask a few more questions.... she attached a pic.... I was floored.... he had hip surgery but he also had the same surgery Colley will have. I had NO IDEA that was his need. I was able to ask her tons of questions over e-mail over the next few days about amputations, about pain, about how her son was emotionally dealing with everything......
But the greatest resource God provided? Anyone who has read my blog for a while knows about our coffee group.... the coffee group rarely ever meets now but has given me some of the dearest friendships I have.... the group began with my friend Robyn and I meeting at Starbucks in the winter of 2011..... Robyn's daughter and Colley are from the same province.... Robyn's daughter and Colley both have a limb difference.... what Colley has is what they thought her daughter had.... it ended up being a bit different but all that to say, she knew EXACTLY what I was feeling, thinking, the questions I was asking, the doctors I needed to talk to, and so on.... Crazy, right? This is a story that truly only God can write. Our girls will be on different paths to healing but I love love love that they will have each other.
Do you see what God was doing?? Every time we turned the corner, he put someone in our paths to erase any fear of the unknown.... to answer every possible question.... to show me where He was leading.... and to lead us there in perfect peace. Ironically, I posted a while back on my blog a post called "Peace, Love and Adoption" and here He was, surrounding us in peace.
Interestingly, before we got Colley's file, we had been given two other files to review.... on paper they should have made perfect sense for our family..... but there was no peace whatsoever.... we knew that they were not our children. I was really torn up during that step in the process and I remember my friend saying to me "You have to follow the peace. God will give you peace when it is your child." I knew that of course but I had fears that I would somehow mess up His plans. Contrast that with looking at Colley months later.....at first glance she didn't make sense on paper.... her need was greater than the other two babies but in our hearts there was peace.... so much peace and excitement that it was exhilarating to be a part of His plan.
God's timing is always so interesting.... the update we needed from China came as I was in the waiting room at Children's with my oldest daughter who was having an MRI...... I seem to always get news while I'm at Children's.... don't know if it is a sign that I am there a lot or if I should just start hanging out in the lobby when I need to hear from someone...... I only had time to read it, send it to Derek and then I was stuck in the MRI room with her, no cell phone, nothing to do but talk to God. He knows my life is far from quiet but in His timing He isolated me in that MRI room to just be alone in prayer with Him.
With Mei Sims, I remember that I saw her and I knew..... this was much different..... I saw her and I loved her, I wanted to protect her, I wanted it to be her.... I had fears.... God met me in my fears..... as the song Oceans says
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
God surrounded us in peace. She is ours. Period. God doesn't have to write His will blatantly in the sky so to speak.... he can quietly and gently lead us down a path.... allow that path to cross with others who He uses to encourage and direct.... and ultimately lead us to a place of perfect peace..... Oh how thankful I am that He has given her to us. It is a gift to get to be her mama.
“Here I raise my Ebenezer; Here by Thy great help I’ve come”
** Colley turned 2 on December 26th.... wanna know what else happened on her birthday? We got Travel Approval! What a way to celebrate her birthday..... packing up to go get her!
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The Campbell 8.
1 week ago