We were asked to write the Christmas post for our adoption agency's blog so I thought I would place it here too.
Little Georgia Mei hops and dances, her smile as wide as her face can hold as she follows behind her brother lovingly mimicking everything he does. It is moments like this that make my eyes mist and all I can do is thank God that His plans were so different from mine.
The greatest gift that we have this season is not one wrapped under a tree, it is our Georgia Mei who covers us daily with kisses so extravagant that she has to wiggle all over after giving them. But the gift is more than that, it is what God has done in our hearts as we stepped out on a journey far beyond anything we ever imagined we could handle. Our whole family is forever changed and we would never want to go back.
After our adoption of Ravenna (Jiangxi, 2005) and the birth of Parker (also 2005) we were sure that we were done adding to our family. God lovingly had other plans. About 6 months after Parker was born, I started having dreams. I would wake up, wide awake (SO not normal for me) and I had a crystal clear picture of Ravenna holding Parker’s hand and Parker holding a little dark haired girl’s hand and I heard the word “PRAY.” So I would kneel and pray not sure who or what I was praying for. We talked and prayed for the next few months as these dreams continued to happen, always with the same picture and the need to pray. We wondered if we were praying for a certain child, someone else’s child or for orphans in general. Finally we talked with our pastor and came away knowing that the Lord was calling us to adopt again. We know now that those dreams started around the time Georgia Mei was conceived and the talk with our pastor was the week that she was born. God had a plan for our little girl before she was even born!
After some research and loads of prayer, we decided that our daughter was once again waiting for us in China. We figured we were in for the long wait of the NSN program but God urged us to open the door a crack and check the box for the Waiting Child program as well. This was a step that really made our knees shake! We agreed that we would only check the conditions that we felt very comfortable with and to begin with that was very few. Over the months we prayerfully began to research more and more and check a few more boxes. Then there came one week where out of nowhere a certain heart condition kept coming across my path, Tetralogy of Fallot. TOF was a bit more involved than the other heart conditions we had listed and we were not sure about it but it kept coming up in the strangest places. Finally one night , I prayed and told God that we would add it if He would provide some confirmation. Late that night, I emailed 7 families that I knew had children with TOF or similar conditions. I awoke early the next morning to 7 emails saying “go for it!”…I could not deny that God has provided confirmation! So we emailed AWAA and about 30 seconds later the phone rang. It was AWAA saying, “You are never going to believe this, but at the EXACT SAME TIME as we got your email an 18 month old girl with TOF appeared on the Waiting Child list!” We had found our sweet Georgia Mei.
Georgia’s medical information was fairly old and we requested an updated medical report for her…what we got back shook us to the core. It was only a few sentences saying that she was turning blue and short of breath. Never before have I felt so desperate before the Lord. She was so knit into my heart already that every part of me pained for my little girl who was lonely, waiting and struggling with no one to hold or comfort her. Every fiber of my “mama heart” wanted to DO something to get to her, to help her, to let her know that she was going to be ok. But then the question came…would she be ok? We searched for answers with the best of the best in the medical world and no one could reassure us. Yes, children with TOF have spells of turning blue but from the orphanage report we could not tell how severe her case was. She could be ok or she could be in congestive heart failure and we would not know until we got to her and really not until we got Stateside to a Cardiologist. It was one of the most desperate times that I have known….waiting and waiting…and yet, the Lord was there. Over and over through songs, Scripture, “coincidences” He would lovingly confirm that He was there. I have never felt His presence so closely as I did during that time. So, we waited and prayed and packed our bags knowing that we would say “yes” to our daughter that the Lord was bringing whether we got to hold her for a day or cherish her for a lifetime.
Those months of desperation came to an end on August 2nd as the 2 grandma’s and I boarded a plane for Beijing. The next day, in a very broken down government building in Nanning China I held our Georgia Mei for the first time. She was very weak, tiny and blue and precious beyond belief…nothing could have made me love her more. Those two weeks in China were like walking a miracle. The thing about walking a miracle is that you have to be in need of God’s hand and power…and we definitely were. Georgia had many “blue spells.” I would hold her a walked with her looking into her eyes and praying with all my heart “please turn pink, please turn pink” and slowly she would and she would look up with her big beautiful brown trusting eyes and I knew I was truly seeing the face of God.
August 14th our sweet girl turned 2, she also landed in Seattle met her Daddy and sister and brother and then we sped off to the hospital. She was admitted 2 hours later and the new chapter in our journey began. She scared the heck out of the medical staff as her oxygen levels dipped like a rollercoaster ride. We were told that she would not have survived another month. They finally realized that her body was used to oxygen levels lower than most people’s body could tolerate and turned the alarms down low, only running in when they dipped into the 60s! On August 21st, after hearing doctor upon doctor tell us that she may not survive surgery, we handed this precious girl to the surgeon…4 hours (yes only 4 hours) later we sat outside of ICU with a stunned surgeon who could not believe how well the surgery went. “She soared through the surgery, I cannot believe it….she was two and so near death” Our God is awesome isn’t He? Before getting Georgia, I was so worried about the time in the hospital and what it would do to bonding, having her poked and prodded etc. But as we drove off I remember being amazed at how much it had HELPED the bonding process. She knew that we were there to comfort her, to care for her, she knew we were safe. The hospital time had placed her in a spot where she had to trust us and trust us she does. Georgia continued to sail through, instead of two weeks in ICU, she was there 3 days. In a few more days we were packing our things and bringing our incredibly pink little girl home. having her poked and prodded etc. But as we drove off I remember being amazed at how much it had HELPED the bonding process. She knew that we were there to comfort her, to care for her, she knew we were safe. The hospital time had placed her in a spot where she had to trust us and trust us she does.
And now she dances before me, where once there was weakness she is now vibrant, where there was fear, she is full of love. She is a piece of the gift that we cherish this Christmas but there is more. Our intense journey to Georgia shook us up and out of our comfortable little life. Just as Georgia had to trust us at the hospital, we had to trust the Lord through this whole thing. As she found us loving and safe we have found Him to be more powerful, compassionate and far more intimate than we could have ever dreamed….and we have found that we never want to turn back. The biggest gift for our family this Christmas is that we want MORE of Jesus, MORE of His heart, to see MORE of what He is doing. We want to be on that edge where His power meets this world.
This Christmas we have taken the extra vacation days that we saved from Georgia’s surgery and have packed up our minivan and headed south down the Baja Peninsula seeking the Lord’s will. We are getting up each morning and saying “Lord, whatever you want us to do we will do it.” It has lead us to some amazing places and our lives and hearts are once again changing because of it.
I am finding as I look at the lowly manager this year that this is truly what Christmas is all about. God’s mighty, loving and compassionate power coming down into the intimate of our daily life. We may celebrate it with gifts and traditions but truly all that I want this year is MORE of Him.