Six years ago today our lives were dramatically changed ... we received an email from our adoption agency. My heart had grown weary from the long wait and I was about to just give up hope. I was tired of the unknowns (torture for a planner!!), scared about our bank account (the one we LACKED) and even a bit fearful of how our extended family would handle things once the news finally came.
But then all those fears were swept away for a few moments, when the email came.
Little girl, African American, born New Year's Day, needing open heart surgery ... no family available. While I knew full well the statics, it was still hard to read. How could it possible be there was no family available. Yes, this child needed major surgery and yes it would be quite a few hectic months while she recovered .... but she was looking at potential long-term good health. But it wasn't just the medical. The harsh reality landed more with her ethnicity. Six years ago in the US there weren't long lines of families waiting for children of color. Someday that will have to be a different post.
When we read the words on our screen, we knew this was our daughter. We KNEW without a shadow of a doubt, this is the child we'd been waiting for. We had not expected health needs at all, because we had horrible insurance. However she would have the bulk of her needs met under a different insurance.
I remember calling our pediatrician to go over her health issues to determine what those might mean for her. We were told of the risks she faced. Already at that point, we weren't just inquiring about some child ... she already felt like our daughter. The daughter we had labored so long and hard for to be able to bring home. To be able to be family to.
We called our agency back and said YES we were wanting to be her family. And so ... we had to wait til the end of that day, as this precious spunky Texan with a defective heart needed to undergo open heart surgery all that day. We had the amazing privilege of getting to pray for her all throughout that day as she had surgery. Our boys (ages 7, 9 and 11) could not even attempt to contain their excitement. Their hearts just oozed out incredible love for her. This is the sweet one they had worked odd jobs for to try and raise the needed funds to cover her expenses so she could have a family. It was almost as if I could literally see their faith grow. We were taking part in something so bigger than ourselves and it was true beauty.
Late in the day we received a call that our sweet baby girl had made it through!! Her heart was repaired and she was starting the long recovery process. We said YES to her and we were quickly scouring to find a flight for me to make it to TX to be at her side. It took THREE flights on such short notice to get from ND to TX. This momma is not a big fan of flying, especially flying through rough weather. The last flight of the three was the scariest I've ever experienced. But at last I landed in the great state of TX and could hardly wait to see our precious babe.
I had to wait one more night (not as planned - insert UNHAPPY momma here!!) to see her. But morning (FINALLY) came and then came a little more waiting (UGH) and then .... I was ushered into her room. I could hardly believe my eyes. THIS was the child God had radically transformed our hearts for. She was such a bitty thing ... wires and tubes coming out everywhere. I will never forget her big brown eyes meeting mine and it was if she just stared right through me. Even back then this spunky one didn't sleep much. Literally. They could hardly medicate her enough to get her into a deep enough sleep for good rest. Our meeting was so different than I had envisioned. There was no swooping her into my arms ... but the precious nurses kept one tiny hand free of tubes so I could hold her hand.
I remember looking around the room ... and feeling the harsh reality of her aloneness. There had been no big fanfare for this precious girl ... no big New Year's Baby celebrations ... no flower bouquets or balloons. No family. That was about to dramatically changed. While the statistics overwhelmed us and almost made us go numb and not do ANYthing ... we finally were being used by God to do something ... if even for just ONE. But what REALLY was happened at even greater depth was what God was doing IN US!!! He was radically changing our hearts and lives to be more molded to his likeness. To care more about the eternal ... the things unseen ... we were experiencing fellowship with Christ like we'd never known before.