Reminiscing

Sometimes, I’m not sure about this whole thing as so many energy filled kids crawl on me as if I’m a jungle gym.

But then there are times, like today, when I cannot fathom the idea of saying goodbye. Moments that seem to stand still as my eyes move from child to child taking in all that has occurred over the last year and a half. I stare at each one; relishing the extreme love that I feel for them.
I sit there, completely content, in abundant joy.

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I look at this sweet face and I remember the first days we spent together. I think back to when he wouldn’t let me get within a 5 foot radius of him. I remember the way his lip would quiver as he couldn’t quite figure out why this white girl looked so different. I remember his confusion when all I wanted to do was cuddle and love him.
And now, this little guy runs to me. He sees me & smiles. He reaches for me and he can’t wait to get loved on. Just today, he attached himself to my leg like a leech begging to be held. He tells me he loves me and he knows that I love him.

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I stare at the beauty that is this little girl. I reminisce about when she couldn’t lift her arm and anything she said came out as a whisper. I can’t help but think about a time when she had zero mobility. I think back to when she, daily, stayed seated on a wooden bench as an onlooker to everyone else’s fun.
And now, this sweet thing shouts my name when I arrive. She knows she has a voice and she is excited to use it. She is now a little girl who can crawl to get where she wants to go. When I ask her if she is beautiful, she replies with a confident “Yes!” She has developed into the eager, energy filled girl that was always there.

I look at these kids and I see the work our Father has started in each of their lives. The best part is that I know He is not finished. He is currently and consistently working in each of these kids and in this city. His heart is for them.
I think back to when I questioned everything about being here. I remember when the idea of being away seemed much more intimidating than actually being here. I think about the state of weariness that consistently overcame me.
And now, I can look back and see clearly His hand at work. I can feel Him all around. I see His face when I look in these kids’ eyes and I know He is here.
He always has been & He always will be.

I sit in awe.

Moments

Today, we said goodbye. Tomorrow, he goes to his forever family; a mom and a dad who will love him and cherish him and he will be theirs.

Just as everything else in life for me, my heart and mind were filled with an array of emotions; mostly contradicting each other. I’m coming to terms with the fact that this is a new reality for me.

I’m supposed to love these kids boldly while holding them loosely. It’s what this life entails. I feel confident saying that it is one of the hardest things that I have ever had to learn. That’s the one thing that does not have a contradicting feeling waiting behind.

How desperately I want to hold a formerly orphaned child in these arms of mine and for them to call that home. Oh how I desire to be theirs forever and them be forever mine. Oh how I wish to be on the other side of this journey called adoption.
…But I know that’s not for me yet. This is what He has placed in front of me for now, and I will walk through it with a grateful heart. I will walk through it praising Him as I see His hand so evidently in it all.

As I held him today, saying my goodbye, I found myself trying to memorize everything about him; the way his lip curls when he smiles, the sound of his laugh, the way he kicks his shoes off when he throws a tantrum, his waddle of a walk; everything. The memories. Those are things that I never have to let go. Those are the things that I can tuck away in my heart and in my journal and hold onto forever. Those are mine.

After we left, I couldn’t help but let my mind run wild.

It’s so wild to think that tomorrow, 2 worlds will collide and everything will change. My friend will hand this sweet boy into the arms of another woman and both worlds will be forever changed. That moment of collision binds these worlds forever. I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the impact of that one moment.

It’s so easy for me to think about that small speck in time, but I know this moment didn’t come easily. It is the culmination of so many different people taking so many different steps, unaware of each other, over so much time and it all erupting into this beautiful moment in time. A moment that I’m sure stands still for all involved.

Nothing exists outside of the will of God. Hard or easy to believe, that’s just how it is. That is so hard for me to swallow in this world, but these moments… they restore my faith. They revive hope that is so easily drowned in this sea of heartache. They serve as a reminder for my wandering heart that my God is who He says He is.

He does makes beauty out of ashes.
I’ve seen it. I’ve touched it. I’ve lived it. 

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I rejoice that, tomorrow, these long journeys will finally collide and make that moment for our boy and his new family.

He is.

Sometimes I’m crippled by the questions inside of me. They’re fighting to become fears and I’m fighting back reminding myself of who He says I am. 

“Who are you to tell these people what is true and what they should believe?” the enemy shouts. My flesh wells up. 

But I’m reminded; it’s not about me. it’s never been about me. It’s always been about Him. And this time is no different. 

I am nothing apart from Him and I hold no authority outside of Him. But He holds all authority. Not only does he define truth, He is truth. 

He didn’t come to earth as man, die on a cross, rise again, and pursue my heart for me to remain still. He did such things so that He could ultimately be glorified. 

When my life was surrendered to Him & He sweetly took up residence in this body, authority came. It’s not of me, but rather of Him. I am not worthy, but He is worthy of all. When He looks at me, He sees Himself & through that, I am seen worthy. 

So I fight my flesh and I say to myself, “I may not have authority over such things on my own, but He who lives in me holds all authority in heaven and on earth, and because of that, I will proclaim His word through the world and I will do so with confidence that He is who He says He is because I know that to be true.”

He is. 

Adoption

It’s a beautiful thing; this story of redemption. The story that brings two separate parties together to make a family; two parties brought together by the Father’s perfect will. A story that so sweetly reflects the story of redemption that He has graciously bestowed upon us. 

Outside of sharing His love, seeing this orphanage open to international adoption has been my ultimate goal in being here.  Adoption in general, local or international, is a beautiful thing. The thing about being over here is that because of highly regulated family sizes, not many local families have the means or opportunity to adopt, therefore, leaving a huge gap and need for other countries to step in. 

Since being here, the original orphanage director has stepped into retirement and a new director has taken her place. The new director is a huge blessing to this orphanage, these kids, and their futures. She has been remodeling the orphanage to make it more safety friendly, is taking measures to make better working conditions for the nannies, and has made huge progress in improving the overall cleanliness at the orphanage. 

AND… I found out last week that she has been filling out the kid’s files and has submitted them to the center of adoption affairs in Beijing making our orphanage OPEN to INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION

A number of the kids have already been matched with families. One is waiting in Italy, one in Brazil, one in Spain, and one in Canada. That’s what I know of so far, but I am over-the-moon excited about the steps this director has taken to improve the future of these kids. 

Rejoice with me! 

This little guy is waiting to have cleft surgery until his mom & dad (he has those now!!) can take him home to Canada. I couldn’t be more ecstatic for my special, little friend. If only he knew… 

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