One year ago this week, we were in China, on a journey to give two precious little girls a family.
It seems SO long ago! A world away, really. What did we ever do without them?!
This year has been life changing, that is for sure. Adding two little girls, (who couldn't speak a word of English and had pretty significant special needs) to our already big, crazy family has been a journey of faith. And it is a journey I am so privileged to have taken. I remember well the prayers we prayed as we contemplated bringing two more children home. It seemed crazy. It seemed overwhelming. It seemed so, so scary. And it seemed right. I kept holding onto the quote:
" Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness. If everything has to be known, if everything has to be explained, if everything has to be certified, then there is no need for faith. Indeed, there is no room for it." (Elder Boyd K. Packer)
We had to be willing to take a few steps into the darkness. If we knew how it would all work out for our good, it wouldn't require faith and a dependence on our Savior, Jesus Christ. And so I prayed. I prayed for help in managing our home. Help in meeting the emotional, spiritual, and temporal needs of each of our children. Help in becoming more selfless. Help in not going off the deep end. (:
And I received it! We have been so blessed this year. So many people have stepped in to strengthen our family in many different ways. Dinner fairies, laundry help, playdates for my kids-- even just words of encouragement have kept our heads above water, when otherwise we would have felt as if we were drowning. So, thank you, for your part in bringing home these two precious daughters of God.
You know, I try to be careful when speaking about adoption. I know very well that every family is unique in their circumstances, and that adoption is not for everyone. I know that there is no way for me to ascertain which family it may be right for. And I certainly never look at any specific family and think, "Oh my goodness! Why haven't they considered adoption?!!" So please don't worry that I would ever judge anyone for not adopting. Everyone is called to do different things. I know that.
But sometimes I want to just climb up on my rooftop and shout to the world, "YOU DON"T GET IT!" There are orphans on this earth! They are real. And they want families!! I want to scream and cry and bang my head into my pillow over and over! Because there are beautiful, beautiful families out there who could be so richly blessed by opening their hearts to adoption. And there are beautiful, beautiful children all over the world who will not know Santa this year. Worse, they will not know the love of a mother and father and brothers and sisters. I do find solace in my faith that they WILL know the love of the Savior, who has not forgotten them, and who will not forsake them. I have to have faith He is holding them, and loving on them, and strengthening them, even as He waits for us to open our hearts to them.
It was two years ago yesterday that I wrote THIS post. Maybe there is something about this time of year that especially pulls on my heartstrings. (:
You know, I hope I have never come across like adoption is easy. If so, I am sorely misleading you! Our life is hard. It just is. But it is good. It is what our life is supposed to be. My sweet friend shared a dream she had. In the dream, she was in the ocean treading water. She was aware of people around her, who she knew, also treading water. And she was tired. But she knew that Jesus was also treading water with them. She saw Him, but His back was to her. At one point, He motioned for her to help someone in the water. As she turned to help this friend of hers, she saw the beach. It was a beautiful, white sandy beach full of people playing and having a good time. And yet she thought to herself, "Oh, it is so sad! They don't know that Jesus is in the water." That even though it was hard, and she was so tired, she wanted to be with Him.
That dream really spoke to me. It reminded me that this life we have chosen, is where Jesus is. We could have taken an easier route. We could have played more and literally gone to the beach more! (: But this is right where I want to be. Tired, and treading water. But treading it with HIM.
And, because of Him, and because of you, I know I won't drown. Even when sometimes it feels as if I will.
I love you, my sweet Alexis Li and Sophia Breanne. I have loved watching you blossom and grow into such beautiful, strong little girls. I admire your strength and determination and happiness, in spite of your daily challenges. I am so humbled to be your mother. I am so grateful to breathe your spirits each day. I have had such a sweet time this week going back into the blog archives and reading about our first days with you. I loved you then, but I love you ever so much more now.
And I love you too, my sweet Taylor, Parker, Jesi, Elli, Graci, and Xander. I love you for everything you are. I love you for being willing to open your hearts to two new sisters. I love you for your sacrifices and your examples and your sweetness and your testimonies. I love you for your ability to do hard things. And I love watching the Lord bless you for doing those things. Bringing Lexi and Sophi into our family has strengthened my love for you, and made it grow by endless bounds.
My friend Cristie is on her second adoption journey. They just traveled to meet their newest sweet son. You can read about it here, and scroll down just a bit to watch a video of it. I would hope that maybe some reader out there will be open to promptings of their own to "visit the fatherless in their afflictions." I am telling you, there are some of the most precious children right now on the waiting children lists! (: There is one little boy, in particular, that has our hearts. He is one year old, and was born with hypertrichosis (covered with hair.) Oh my goodness, is he adorable! I wish our family was in a place to give him a home, but maybe instead I can open someone else's heart to finding him a family. Remember, you don't have to be anyone special! Really, you don't! You don't have to be any one type of family. You can even be single to adopt. (;
I think I've said enough. (:
Happy Gotcha Day, Lexi and Soph!