Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities...

It was the best of times and it was the worst of times…

A sweet sister in Christ shared a story with me some time ago about the mixed feelings adoption can bring, and that is how she opened her story.  I found such comfort and honesty in her story that today, I share a similar story.

We picked up Caleb on Monday February 27th.  He stuck to me like glue.  Every movement I made, every place I went he followed.  At a near 35 pounds, carrying him around for hours on end got a bit old.  He cringed at Kenney’s touch and pitched a monumental fit when Kenney would even look at him.  We did our best to “try.” Kenney tried holding him, with me in the room, without me in the room, it didn’t matter.  Not only was it emotionally taxing, when we would go in public we would have people stare and almost yell at us, if Kenney was holding him and he was pitching a fit.

Our prayer each day was to be “a little bit closer” to make baby steps of progress.  Every day we would kneel at our bedside and repeat these thoughts.

I refuse to worry; in this world there will always be something to worry about- that is the nature of a fallen, fractured planet.  Temptations to be anxious are constantly with us, trying to worm its way into our minds, and our best defense is continual communication with HIM, richly seasoned with thanksgiving. Awareness of His presence fills our minds with light and peace, and leaves no room for fear. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:25-26. We would repeat God’s words, “fear not” “trust me” and over and over again we opened our hands and asked Him to go before us and take our hands.

On Monday we prayed to fear not and trust HIM

On Tuesday we prayed to fear not and trust HIM

On Wednesday we prayed  to fear not and trust HIM

On Thursday we prayed to fear not and trust HIM

On Friday we prayed to fear not and to trust HIM

On Saturday we prayed to fear not and to trust HIM

And then on Sunday morning we came before Him, so worried, so scared, we didn’t listen to His command to fear not.  The devils “what if’s” they hit you hard.  They hit even harder in a country far away from home, without my other children, without my family, without my brothers and sisters in Christ.  And so we woke up, not knowing what was going to happen when we got ready to pick up Isabell. 

Sunday morning, miraculously, Caleb ran to daddy.  We walked to the grocery store and Kenney held Caleb, the ENTIRE time.  No fussing, no crying, no screaming for mama.  It was in God’s time. God teaching us lesson after lesson in trust.  We rejoiced.
It was the best of times…

My heart was prepared for turbulent waters with Isabell.  I dreamt about how difficult “gotcha day” was going to be.  I tried to push it out of my mind, but in an almost peaceful way God was preparing my heart, almost like going through Lamaze classes, we are taught about the pain, only to deal with it better.

And there we sat in the adoption affairs office on Sunday afternoon.  It was just us and our guide.  No other families, we were alone.  The heat was not on and we sat shivering.  We heard footsteps climbing the five flights to our floor.  They walked in.  My sweet Isabell, held by her foster father, following up the stairs was her foster mother, brother, two sisters, and grandpa.  They brought her dressed beautiful, in her best coat and pants, and had even bought new shoes for the occasion.  They had bags full of gifts.  They brought her favorite toys, her favorite snacks, new hair bows, a special handmade silver charm bracelet, brand new Chinese outfits, a gift for us, and photo albums full of pictures, pictures of when she was a baby, her foster family, pictures showing places they took her, to the beach, in a stroller, when she had her surgery, to the spring festival.

They told us how they had been preparing her, but that they loved her, they wanted to see her loved, see her get the surgery and the care she needed.  She clung to the only daddy she has ever known for almost four years.  She screamed over and over again she wanted to go home and she didn’t want me.  They kept telling our guide all kinds of things about her, her favorites, how she slept, how to rub her ankles because they ached.

Stupid rules, stupid laws, I cried.  My thoughts immediately drifted to the cross.  Where Jesus bore my pain, my guilt, my sins, my fears- and the weight of it all crushed me.  To see this families love for a little girl, and to take her away.  Oh the pain in adoption I had never experienced until now.  The sins of this world that have left children abandoned, the sins of this government, that make rules that are not God’s rules.  If I could I would have begged for her first family to keep her, but the rules of the government, they can not.  Where we are they have no real medical care, and she will just get worse physically.  They would eventually take her away, and suffer grave consequences  even if they tried to keep her. There were so many tears in all our eyes.  The real sickness I felt because of this pain.  This world today reminded me it is broken, it is full of sin and pain, and heaven will have none of this.

The love this family had for Isabell was real, and pure, kind, patient, longsuffering, genuine, - agape.  In a dark place where the city practices mostly all Buddhism there is very little light.  I saw the light.  The mother kept telling our guide something, but the guide was not translating, and finally in a desperate effort the mother came up to me, opened my hand, and placed a small tiny wooden cross in my hand and said “Christos.”  At this point I was a crying, sobbing, nutcase.  I felt my body weeping, nodding my head telling her Yes! Yes!  we are too, we will teach her all about Jesus.  I looked over at Kenney and saw the tears pouring down his cheeks as well.  Even with a language barrier, we all communicated the same thing.  We understood this entire situation was crappy, but it was the only way, the best way, Jesus’ way.

We got back to the hotel room, and she screamed and cried for hours.  She cried she didn’t want me to touch her, she didn’t want me to hold her, she wanted to go home, she wanted her mamma and her baba.  I laid down with her tiny broken heart and body and cried with her and for her.  It was all I could do.  Jesus knows my thoughts.

It was the worst of times…


  1. I am a friend of Cheryl's and she sent me to your blog. I have been to China twice (once to adopt a 2 1/2 year old and last summer to bring home an 11 year old). I understand so well the emotions you're going through and I will be praying for you. It is not an easy road, but it is full of blessings too. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

    Hang in there! Things do get easier with each passing day.

  2. Beautifully written....thanks for sharing the truth. love, pam

  3. Sunday morning...7 days of prayer...the number of perfection! Coincidence? I think not! Praying for you daily and trusting that you will continue to be encouraged as God shows you new blessings every day. GREAT is HIS FAITHFULNESS!!