Friday, July 10, 2009

One year ago...

I was packing my bags, checking the paperwork just one more time, and getting ready to board a plane that would take me halfway around the world so I could bring home our daughter. What a year it has been!! A sweet orphan would be coming home...coming home to an at-times chaotic house, to a daddy, a mommy, and brothers and sisters, even a dog. I look at the photos now and see the fear in her fake smile, see the apprehension in her brave eyes. I realized the fear we had and tried to comprehend the fear she must've carried, but of course couldn't feel the depths of what this little girl could. Our sweet Selah...brave beyond measure, a risk taker with a quiet personality, a little girl who feels deeply, yet continues to fear her future. 71/2 years is a long time to be institutionalized, a long time to be unloved, a long time to develop survival habits that were once necessary, but today not. We are amazed at how one year of a family, of friends, of Jesus can nearly wipe out 71/2 years of heartache. Because of our imperfections, things are not perfect...yet the Lord has filled the gaps...the prayers and support of His people have given this child such a future.

I just want to share my heart a is full. As I read Ephesians 1, where God gives us this perfect gift of adopting us as His children, I see a parallel with sweet Selah. Know this...I'm not claiming any sort of goodness here at all. We are seriously lost without Jesus, our family would be a mess, and we would've never had the courage or the desire to adopt without Him. In bringing Selah home, it had nothing to do with us...nothing at all, we simply tried our best to obey what God had in store for us. We are completely messed up people with a desire to please Him...that's all.

We received a list of special needs children from China about every 3 months. After adopting Gracie, we hadn't even looked at the lists for several months except to pray for the children. With Gracie's great needs, we had decided to leave our paperwork in China until God told us to take it out. Since Gracie had spent so much time in the hospital and her prognosis was very, very poor, we were quite certain our plate was full and God would certainly not expect us to add to our already busy family. We had emotions riding all over the place. Several times, we had to tell Gracie "good-bye", giving her kisses as we would send her off to yet another surgery. In the back of our minds and in the simplicity of the prayers we could muster, China remained. If you know us, or followed our journey to Gracie, you may remember March 16, 2007, the day we turned off ECMO, Gracie's lifeline, to rock her to heaven. She was given two hours to live and we were told her heart would just stop beating. Well, obviously March 16, 2007 was not the day God had written in His book to take her home! As we spent the next month or so in the hospital, being a part of something so obvious great miracle in our generation...we continued to seek out the Lord's desire for "our" China plans. He didn't take it away...someone who remains anonymous generously paid for Gracie's entire adoption! It was the black and white answer we had been looking for! With Gracie's medical needs came months of paying for 2 places to live, much travel...we, in no way, were in a position to foot the bill for 2 adoptions in just one year. He, in His time, in His way revealed His plan, ever so gently, ever so remarkably.

We started to pray over the lists. With each list we requested several children--most of them were between 2 and 4 with minimal needs. We felt rejected each and every time, thinking we had this all figured out. We were trying so hard to be obedient to what God was calling us to do...why is He saying "no" all the time?? Yet, He began to give us such a strong desire for our child. A list came out on Valentine's Day of 08. With this particular list, He slowed us down a bit. Ok...a lot. We prayed fervently over each child, boy or girl, severe need to moderate need, ages 1 to 7. In my mind, I could not wrap my mind around adopting an older child...I had read too much, "educated" myself too much. Not through Scripture necessarily, but books and websites, and other's opinions. Curtis had not. His only adoption advice came through Scripture...that's it. Pure, simple...someone needs a home, give it to him or her, clothe, feed, love, welcome one of these children, ability to do all things through Him, trust Him.

Needless to say, our list was long of the children we were to request. I kept leaving the 7 year-old off, Curtis had her on his heart and I'd put her back on. We knew, if we request the older child, we would likely be matched to her. Many times the older children often because of the fear of the unknown, because of the fear of what 7 years can do to a person. We needed to put in our request at noon (I can't remember the day). I had an email ready to go...the names of the children typed out, but didn't hit the send button until 11:59, so much fear, so much doubt. Within 24 hours we were matched to He Fubai...the 7 year-old little girl with the sad eyes living in the HeShan City Social Welfare Institute in Guangdong Province. We knew it. Curtis was estatic, I was still unsure. This hesitation lasted until I boarded the plane to bring her home.

Curtis, the dad in the family had a desire for this child. Curtis chose her to give her an inheritance, a worldly one. He desired to give her a be her dad. God works this way...oh, how He desires for us to call Him "Father". He has chosen each one of us to be His child, He has given us an eternal inheritance through His Son. He takes us, orphans, and gives us a family...He calls us His children!! We just need to choose. We can't have it both ways...either we accept His adoption of us into His family or we do not. It's quite simple. Selah could have fought us tooth and nail, yet she has submitted to her daddy, she has come willingly and now excitedly. She calls Curtis "dad" and Curtis calls her daughter. She's one of his princesses, a part of our family so intricately detailed out by the grace of God. Sometimes, like Selah, we are afraid, afraid of how this new life of adoption is going to go. Is it for real? Do I really get a family forever? Am I truly loved? Will I ever have to go back to my old life? Am I really wanted?? A lifetime of pain and heartache, a lifetime of being told she is unworthy, unlovable. Oh, how we love Selah. Oh, how God loves us!! Times a billion!!

Ephesians 1:3-14 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.

Feeling blessed today!


Blessed Mom of Four, Now Five said...

Oh, Gayle, I couldn't have been more encouraged by your post. How awesome is God's goodness, His plan for us, His provision.

I didn't know of some of the details of your story with Gracie. I can only imagine how God has grown your faith in HIM, the creator of life.

Thank you for trusting us with your heart, your thoughts.


Anita said...

Gayle - It's amazing how God transforms our kids' hearts...especially Selah's and actually our own hearts too, huh? HUGS!!

Sylvia Butler said...

Just read your story and I am deeply touched. God willing we will soon travel a very similiar path as we travel to China to pick up our sweet Lucy Lei (Liu Fang) who has complex heart problems. Lets pray for each other and for our sweet children. We also feel led to return to China as soon as possible for another child.