I've been pondering this post for several weeks. It has remained on my heart and in my thoughts more so in the last few weeks than it has in the two years since the event happened.
Almost two years ago, we had to make a decision to turn down the referral of the sweetest baby girl in the world based on medical information we had at the time. We made a choice not to pursue the adoption of her and to seek another referral. We came home broken hearted and numb. I've gone over the reasons in my mind over and over and wondered if I would make the same decision if given the same information again, and I think I likely would. Hindsight's easy -- it's walking through the trench that's hard. I had to protect what was my then family, and my heart because honestly, we thought if we brought this child home with what we thought she had, she was going to die very early and we didn't feel like we could handle that.
Fast forward a few weeks and we received a phone call from our agency indicating they had sent her records to a specialist in the US who indicated she was not sick, after all. Much scrambling (and sincere disbelief) followed as we attempted to talk with this specialist and to have this little one's records reviewed locally and then make another heart-wrenching decision about whether to accept this little one as our daughter.
It ended up being a huge (and I mean huge) leap of faith in the God that had brought us so far. We had to believe that He knew what was best for our family and would not take us somewhere we could not handle with His help.
And in doing so, we, our extended family and our community received the blessing of Ellie.
How will I tell her in a few years? What words can I use to convey how it was and why we had to make that decision? How can I make her fully understand that God's plan for her life would not be deterred even by our interference in His plan? Will it make her doubt our love for her -- which is fully whole and inclusive and sometimes takes my breath? Will it make her feel less loved? I will do anything to make her understand that we are imperfect humans, imperfect parents, who sometimes make really bad decisions and are scared to trust God -- even when we have no reason not to -- and that it wasn't about her.
I look back and realize the sheer miracle of her becoming our daughter when she did. We turned down her referral and God said, "Nope -- she's yours." Had we accepted another referral while in country, chances are HUGE we still wouldn't have them home. Had we not been offered another referral while in country, we would not have a child from Kyrgyzstan as Ellie and several others were the last children out before the moratorium took place. I don't know why we were so blessed. It certainly isn't for any reason or actions on our part; it's simply a blessing from God.
For anyone who wants to refer back to those posts from then, they are here and here. Reading back through all of that still makes my heart hurt. I still feel the pain; I remember the pain that tears, sobbing, words, nothing could abate. I remember thinking I might never get through this. I sat on the phone with my friend Iris and just couldn't even talk, I was hurting so badly. It was one of the only times I saw my husband break down and sob. The pain was so bad. I'm glad, honestly, that we recorded what we did of the experience because I know it will be invaluable to Ellie one day, but to me, it's still really hard to relive -- even knowing the outcome.
Putting Ellie to bed tonight was just a little more special. She likes to rub my arm and face. She likes to talk, talk, talk about whatever we did that day or what I tell her we are doing tomorrow. Tomorrow we are going to a park to meet another Kyrgyz friend. She kept saying, "Charlie? Park??" I kept telling her she had to go to night night first. I thought she was almost asleep when she popped up and said, "CAKE???". I said that I didn't think we'd have cake tomorrow, so she replied, "I-cream?" (aka ice cream). I told her that yes, I thought we might have ice cream. She laid back down with a smile on her face. She has such a sweet, sweet spirit, filled with determination, spunk and independence. Today at dinner, she was doing something and we all laughed and I thought, "She has brought such laughter to our family. She was the missing piece." Our family feels complete now. I am so thankful that God was in charge and that we were able to trust Him and step out in faith.