It’s such a hard day for so many women, a hassle for others, and a disappointment for some. For me, this year, it was all about a petite, dark-haired woman who lives thousands of miles away. I will never meet her. I will never know why she did not raise the daughter that we share. I will never stop wondering about her thoughts, her motives, her dreams, her prayers. I can’t say something sentimental about how I know she’s wondering if that baby with the perfect lips and sweet, round face is happily growing up with another mother, because I can’t know that, and we’re trying to be honest about the few facts we have. We never want our daughter to feel like we lied to her. But, we do know that someone carried her for 9 or so months, felt her kicks, and gave birth to her. We do know our precious one wakes up crying for people we have never met. Does her first mother grieve at night, too? We do know that she is fearful of being left behind every time we so much as get out of the car. What were her first mother’s fears? We do know that she loves to look at books, is interested in animals, and thinks tangerines are the most delicious thing in the world. Maybe her first mother likes some of those things, as well? I don’t know. There’s so much I don’t know. It physically hurts to think about telling my spunky, tenacious little girl, bit by bit, how much we don’t know. Her heart will be broken, and this mother’s love will not be enough to make it okay.
One week ago, we honored the several other women who have loved and mothered our daughter. I don’t know if they are thinking of us, but I do know we will never stop thinking of them.
Two months ago, my dad died. 9 days later, we left for China. A few days after that, we met the little person whose picture we had been obsessing over for the previous 6 months.
It has been a lot. So much BIG all at once. Really, I’m just now starting to get a little less numb. My brain just clicked into survival mode and stayed there a while. Honestly, it already felt like I was in survival mode even before my dad died. All of 2015 has been one big, intense, season of total insanity for us.
These have been the hardest two months of my life. I can’t remember the last time I got a decent night’s sleep. We saw my dad almost every week. My boys were so close to him that they’re really grieving. My older daughter probably won’t remember him, and my younger daughter never got to meet him. I can’t put into words how heartsick I am about that. Plus I just miss him – how many people do you have in your life who are always on the sidelines cheering for you no matter what? Not that many. The adjustment to being home has also been more of a challenge than I anticipated.
But, of course, in the midst of the hardest time of my life, God has been faithful, and there has been joy. Our Both Hands project brought in the exact amount of money that we had prayed that it would, almost to the penny. The two weeks in China were a sweet connecting time for my husband and I, just like we had prayed. Meeting and getting to know our daughter has been incredible, and we’re so thankful to have her in our arms. Even though it’s been 6 weeks, I still look at her sometimes in wonder that she’s actually here in my arms in the United States. Seeing her start to blossom as a dearly loved daughter and sister can’t be described. Our community has continued to rally around us for this entire crazy season, and I am so thankful.
I’ll share a few pictures now, and I’ll try to get caught up with travel, attachment, and all of that as soon as I can.
*Airport pictures were taken by the amazing Beyond the Blue Studios
A friend emailed me Sunday to tell me a person was trying to get hold of me with an update about our daughter. I friended this person on Facebook, and she runs the foster home where my daughter is now. Yay internet!!
I spent Sunday evening in a glorious fog. She’s smiling! She’s growing! She’s healthy! She has gorgeous hair! She has so many teeth! She’s using her hands and fingers more dexterously than we thought! She’s eating solids! I have beautiful updated pictures! I have video! She’s receiving treatment for her clubfoot that we didn’t think she’d get for months! I can get pictures and updates regularly until we go to get her! It was a wonderful, emotional day. Then we got in bed. My brain starting spinning and wouldn’t stop. I realized she had been an additional two places (with two or more additional sets of parental figures) than I already knew about. She has been moved around so much. Every time she’s let herself love someone, then they were gone. She had two surgeries without a mommy or daddy or even a stable nanny to care for her. She must have been so scared to wake up in a hospital alone. In less than two years, she’s had more grief and loss than most of us experience in our entire lives. I am heartbroken for her. I am very, very worried for her. It was a long, emotional night.
The two people I shared my concerns with encouraged me with the Truth:
God can redeem this.
He loves her, too.
She hasn’t had a mommy, but she’s had the perfect Father.
He has a heart for orphans, too.
We have a God of restoration.
They are right. I know they are right. I’m so thankful to have people to whisper Truth to my scared mommy heart. This is so hard! So complex! So much joy mixed with so much grief – and this is just the beginning.