Wednesday, January 23, 2013

8 Years Later of LIFE

Eight years ago ... I walked into that Texas hospital room knowing my life would never be the same. Back then things were done differently in the adoption world.  All we knew about our precious little one was the email we had received a few days prior:  "Little girl. African American. 5 days old.  Needing open heart surgery. No family for her."

No family for her.

How could that be?  Here in America.  How could it be our agency had NO ONE to call for this precious child whose birthmom had chosen LIFE for. We can't just be against abortion.  If we're against abortion than we'd better STEP UP to care for those precious lives. I'm so glad God had moved in our lives in a radical and powerful way the year prior.  Without Him we would never have been where we now were. He gave us a whole different lens to look through.  An eternal one. It called for sacrifice. The best kind we've ever made.

Well, because of our lack of good health insurance, we hadn't signed up for a medical needs child. I had such a heavy burden to contact our agency though and that's why we received the email.  We knew she was our daughter.  The one God had burdened our hearts about nearly a year prior. We had the absolute privilege of praying for her throughout the lengthy open heart surgery.  I remember sitting on our bed, with our three sons gathered near, praying for this precious little one to make it.  Two days later I was seeing her for the first time.

NEVER again would this little one be without a family.

After a quick lesson in her condition and a run down of what all the wires and tubes were for, her sweet nurses stepped out of her room and let me have some time with my precious new daughter. I could see them staring at us from a distance.  I sensed I was under some "test". It wasn't long before they informed me I had passed.  They'd grown so protective of her.  No one had been to visit her in those first days of her life.  She was nameless.  But not to God.

For you created my inmost being;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:13-16

Her Daddy named her Naomi.  When her birthmom received the news that a family was found and that her name was "Naomi" I'm told she said ... "Naomi ... that's a Bible name!"  What I would give for just one picture of that amazing woman.  I feel sometimes I know her. There are days that I look into these eyes and wonder if hers tilt up the same way. Or when she's showing her full-Texan-spunk ... I know that same kind of spunk helped her birthmom have the courage to make the decisions she did. 

There are so many unanswered questions that my precious daughter has.  I won't ever have all the answers.  But what I can do is meet here where she is - especially when she's right in the middle of the unknowns - and direct her to the One who is All-Knowing.  I remind her that she was never completely alone.  That her Heavenly Father was always there.  Just as He is here now.

I remember getting to hold her for the first time.  It took two nurses to get all those wires and tubes positioned just right to make it a success. It was a humbling place to finally be after months and months of paperwork, fund-raising and our own health scare. Yet here I was. Being transformed into the Mom that God knew before the beginning of time that I would be. There were still many unknowns in our lives, but I knew that I was where God sent me - and that brought great peace.

After she finally graduated out of the hospital we had to stay within an hour from there before we could take the long treck home (which was ND at the time). A social worker transported us to a hotel, stopping quick at a grocery store so I could grab a few things to live off of for a few days before David would join us. I remember spending hours in that hotel room just taking in all God had done.

I could hardly wait to take our little one HOME to meet her three amazing big brothers!

Daddy finally made it to us and because of this picture she wants to go to the beach in TX as part of our promised trip there when she turns 10. That used to sound so far away.  Recently she just had her 8th birthday!

At last it was time to make the plane trip HOME.  She was hardly 6 lbs. She felt like a feather compared to our big boys who were home waiting. They had worked so hard to help make a difference in the life of ONE. They had grown much more concerned for children in this world who had NO ONE rather than being a child having so much. All the paper routes walked, all the weeds pulled, all the odd jobs recruited ... it all faded away when they finally got to just HOLD HER.

She's now spent the last eight years knowing she has VALUE.  She has PURPOSE. She is TREASURED.

Her family has been radically transformed into knowing and understanding a whole lot more about the Father's GREAT LOVE.

During her hospital stay {the part when she moved to a new floor in the hospital once someone could stay 24 hrs a day with her} I asked the staff: "What would have happened?  How could she even move to this part of the hospital to continue in recovery?".  I wasn't prepared to hear their answer.  They humbly shared how she would have been transferred into the foster care system. It's one thing to read that reality in a report.  It's another thing when they are talking about YOUR daughter!

Reality is that's where many children are living. They have no idea what their future holds.  Where they'll be living in the next week or where they'll spend their next birthday. Can I just say - that is NOT OK!!!

It's NOT OK for us to not care.

It's NOT OK for us to be SO stinking busy raising our families to not STOP and CARE about those in this world who no longer have a family they can be with.

It's NOT OK to just turn our backs while we play taxi being sure our kids are in enough activities to make them well-rounded.

It's NOT OK that many children do not know the peace and security of snuggling up with a Momma or Daddy for bedtime stories.

These two amazing little lives remind me DAILY that there are so many more children just WAITING for SOMEONE to STEP UP. Someone to care. Someone to respond.

Our 2013 calendar is filling up with appointments I'd never dream were part of our future.  Things like PRIDE training {that's foster care talk for lots and lots of classes}, CPR training, IL MENTOR training and on it goes. This was an already busy season. We could so easily fill up our calendar with a dozen other things. My sweet mom ... the night I told her what was going on said these wise words to me: "When God leads you to do something, it's usually a good idea to follow." And so we follow.  One step at a time. Some days we follow SCARED.  Some days we follow SOLEMN. Some days we follow SOUL-SEARCHING. But from here on out - Lord willing - we follow SURRENDERED.

Perhaps we'll meet another little one in a hospital bed.  Maybe in a social-worker's office.  It might take place in a court-house hallway.  For as long they need us, we'll be there. We can be CONFIDENT of this ... the Lord Himself goes before us and will never leave our side.


  1. Oh Shelly! I did not know you have a heart baby, too! Would you pray for us? Our bio son is having heart surgery on the 29th (his seventh heart surgery). This post is beautiful!!! And so is your heart!!!

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  3. thank you for your beautiful blog- i am visiting from kelly's korner. i have spent the last two hours reading your archived posts- what an amazing story you have. thank you for sharing. i am following your blog now and will be a regular reader.


  4. Tears running down my face. So good. So true. "NEVER again would this little one be without a family." True of my little girl as well. Never again - she has found her home.