They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed. ISAIAH 61
Today, surgeons will chip away at my friend's body, while mothers and friends and husbands and sisters sit in the waiting room and pray for mercy.
Today is a day for getting low.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word. 148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises. 149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, LORD, according to your laws.
- Psalm 119:147-149
Thank you, Father, for this sister you have given to me, who loves without restraint and allows me to see your perfect Grace
It isn't that long, considering we skipped the first half of our wait time by a fast referral; but it is a lifetime once you have seen your children's faces.
I am going to watch my adopted babies get bigger with every update. They will grow up in giant leaps.
I am already missing so many moments.
Baby Boy is only three months old. I will miss late night feedings, milk-breath...the good stuff.
Baby Girl is seven months old. If they come home in six more months, will I miss all that plus her first steps?
Her first birthday?
I realize that this is one of the things that makes people uneasy about adoption. But to me, these missed moments symbolize something bigger. They show me that God placed me in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to meet my children, in the exact moment that God chose me to become their "Mommy".
"I want her to be a baby so I can strap her on me and hold her there and she will feel secure and safe and protected. I want to be the person who taught her to write her name and how much fun it is to make mud pies, and I want to be the person who laughed with her when she lost her first tooth. I want to know where the scars came from that she can’t remember the stories about, and I want to be the person who wiped her tears when she fell.
But I know that is not how God intended it.
He did not choose me for those moments, He chose me for these. "
In a world where few people know my babies' names,
and no one can tell me when their real birthdays are...
I get to be the one to count the hairs on their heads in a grainy referral picture.
I get to be the one to wait, and it is one of my greatest honors.
I would like to say that we chose these children, and we did (in a way);
but truly, God chose us FOR these children.
Any look at an adoption agency waitlist will tell you that.
What did we choose?
We chose to open the door to first one baby, then maybe a toddler, then an older child, then a big sister, then a sibling. We knew that He would bring us the children that He had intended for us, so we didn't worry too much about the birth order or family dynamic. We knew He already had it figured out.
He chose us to bake birthday cakes every other night, just because we just can't think of enough ways to celebrate our newest children.
He chose us to frame their pictures all over the house, so that Mommy could stop carrying the pictures from room to room.
He chose us to hold them, when it's time;
and not one minute before.
So when we hit the inevitable adoption speedbump, or celebrate Christmas while half of our children are on the other side of the world, or we blow out candles for first Daisy, then Lilly, I will remember that God chose me for these "waiting moments", and the ones to come.
There is a word that brings neighbors running across yards in their leopard-print fuzzy robe.
My neighbor called and said the word.
"Missy, I have cancer."
I told her to come over now, while kids in pajamas still peek between railings wondering about bed. Just come now.
Paul handled the kids, and as I watched her cross our yards under the light on my front porch, I prayed so many things. I prayed for many more years of scampering across yards in fluffy robes for tea. I prayed for this beautiful woman to see a world past her forties. But mostly, I prayed for the right now, for the words between us, and that He would sit with us in this mess...
And He did.
While telling me about her biopsies, her upcoming double mastectomy, the chemo, the dreams now on hold, I see something flickering across her face, lighting up beneath the days of lost sleep...
I see peace.
I hear her say, "I feel gratitude. That I know God."
In cancer. In lost dreams. In the month of hell that lies before her, that is coming too fast in all of the rushing to save her life, in all the procedures and surgeries...
She feels gratitude.
It's what I have been looking for for 2 years now. I've been looking for the people who don't break deals.
And here, in my living room, was someone facing that very thing, in a poise of peaceful gratitude.
He keeps sending me these people, carrying the "worst thing" with grace and without fear.
And she says to me, with a bruise the size of Texas on her breast from this week's biopsies, and with those giant tumors lying right next to her heart, eating away at her body...
"The worst thing that can happen is to not know God."
We hold hands, we pray; we are in fellowship with our God as He sits with us in our robes. It's palpable. He walks with the afflicted. He's with her. She knows it, and I feel it.
His promises give her life. Unconditionally, without question, and with 100% chance, she has life eternal, and she rests in His promises alone.
I watch her run back to her house under the light of the half-moon...the same house that she and her husband have spent the last year fixing up with loving hands, so that they might share that home with foster children...
I watch as she reaches her porch and turns to wave,
cold air framing each exhaled breath that escapes from my often
We get to send over care packages whenever another family in our agency travels for court or pick-up. We all take turns carrying gallon ziplocs for each other, stuffed with whatever we think will tell our child how much we love them.
It's never enough.
What in the world do you send to the other side of the world to two infants that says "Mommy's coming"?
What do you send that says "You have a family"
or "Daddy's waiting for you!"
I found these weeks ago at my friend Bonnie's house.
I made one block for each baby. I filled four windows with pictures of our waiting family, and two windows with their pictures. All of us together.
I packed a small envelope of pictures and a verse card for each child for the nannies to hang over the cribs.
I packed it all up.
Yes, I cried.
I wanted to be the one to give it to them,
to hold them and smell them.
The next morning...
...someone took apart the whole package.
Then she waited patiently for Daddy to bring home the car (we are still sharing) so that she could take her brother and sister's toys to the Post Man,
who gives them to the Truck Man.
Later, we returned home from Fellowship Dinner to find our own family care package waiting on our doorstep.
Someone sent me love, too:
It's a big deal.
It's our first brown baby doll.
As soon as the box opened,
Lilly screamed her new sister's name.
A doll and note from my dear friend Julie, who I met five years ago when we sat down next to each other at a wedding reception.
I loved her immediately.
(Julie, not the doll.)
God weaves people together like a tapestry.
We come in and out of each other's lives,
having no idea of what lies ahead.
Julie and her husband adopted their first son from Ethiopia a few years after the wedding. When adoption became a possibility for Paul and I,
I remembered Julie.
I called her immediately, and we have talked almost every single day since. She has helped, listened, advised, and supported our family in every way possible, all the way from central Florida.
I told her recently that I have had a special place in my life waiting for a friend just like her. She challenges me. Yes, we talk about adoption; but the late night conversations that go on and on normally have nothing to do with adoption and everything to do with God, or how to walk the walk without losing your mind.
When God was setting out the place cards for the wedding reception, He knew to put the future Ethiopian Mommies
at the same table.
The next day, it happened again:
Another gift, another friend.
A necklace from Amazima made by Ugandan women, sent anonymously.
Only after a little hunting did I find the culprit.
My dear Erin.
We have walked through the fire together. She has been there for my during my darkest days, seen the absolute worst of me, and loves me anyways.
Do you know what a priceless gift that kind of friend is?