No pictures today, just a full heart.
I grow quite sentimental with dates for our girls....thinking now of how we were preparing last year for travel to get Ellie. We were leaving in a week. I was busy packing, and OH, how our life has changed.
I think back through the difficult adjustment, the attachment issues, how overwhelmed I was with Ellie's medical issues, how hard it was to focus on just being her mommy. And, during that time, Brandon joined our family, and full of joy my heart was, because we had so hoped that would happen, and God directed every step until he could join our family in our hearts and legally in our home.
I think of my fears before her surgery, and how good God has been, how she is giggling downstairs now, playing Wei with her daddy. And, now yelling, "Daddy!" and her contagious giggle. I look over the balcony and hear Josie-Tatum ask, "Promise?" I don't know what the promise is, or why it's so funny, but they're touching thumbs as some new secret treaty is agreed upon. More giggles.
I think how I've been so busy and so overwhelmed that I've thought, "I know our family is complete." But, now as the adjustment has come, as God has proven Himself faithful to carry us through her surgery, as I've stepped out of my comfort zone, and learned I can be a nurse if I have to be, I think, "I'd go to the ends of the earth and bring another orphan home if God led me there.:
And, tonight, the Stretches came over for supper. Five years ago, we didn't yet have Josie-Tatum's referral, but we were close. Jason and Joli had sent their dossier to China, but weren't quite close to Elisabeth's referral. Stan and I had 2 kids, Jason and Joli didn't have any. Now, we have 8 children altogether. And, God has given us the same desires to raise awareness for orphans and adoption. We can share the joys and the difficult day. All things are new, and all things are beautiful.
We get busy cleaning house, as I did today, and we forget the MIRACLE, as Joli said. What a miracle has changed our families. Whitney was our first miracle; the LORD blessed us with her after I had a miscarriage. Caleb was our second miracle; following complications in delivery where 50% of all mothers and 50% of all babies in that situation don't make it. Statistically, one of us should not be here.
And, God sent so many signs to tell us we had a daughter all the way around the world. He used Focus on the Family, AFR, and Steven Curtis Chapman, to guide us to another miracle. Josie-Tatum is such a joy, so smart, so beautiful, with a heart of orphans at the age of almost 6.
Then, HE told us there was another daughter, and we had no idea she would be so special. We were not prepared for spina bidia, but HE knew. I would have told people I couldn't do it. He knew He could and would equip us. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strenght. We were once told she had been matched with another family. We were later told another family had planned to adopt her months earlier. But, she was ours....God knew.
And, while we were waiting on Ellie, we learned that Brandon needed a new home, a home with stability. We have loved him for years, and we knew our answer was, "yes," but we had to wait for him, too. It was months later before it was truly possible, but at the same time we were bringing Ellie home, God was working another miracle, and Brandon became ours too. Our home is a new place.
You can have all this world; Give me Jesus.