Hands and house

Hands and house

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Matters of the heart...

   Tonight took my breath away. I was tucking Ravenna into bed, snuggling with her and kissing her sweet cheeks. I told her that I love her and that she is such a huge gift in my life. It is Spring break and all three kids have been sick...like really sick. We have visited the hospital, had three different doctors appointments, breathing treatments, enemas, vomit and even middle of the night poopy beds...it has been rough in some ways and also kind of sweet to be stuck together at home 24/7. Visiting the hospital for Georgia's chest x-ray has seemed to kick some of her attachment stuff back into high gear, she wants to either be held or is screaming "Mama! Maaaaammmaaaa!" at the top of her voice, and she doesn't stop until I get there and pick her up again. So some Ravenna & Mama time in the quiet tonight seemed to be delicious for both us. I thanked her for all of her help today and told her that I am looking forward to Georgia being a tad older so that she can have volume control (the darling is full volume all the time right now). Ravenna's response was, "So then we can go visit China!!!" Wiggling in to her covers, grin lighting up her face.

     I told her that I could not wait to go back to China with her someday and that we would pray about when the right time would be. I asked her, "what do you want to do when we go to China?" I honestly was not prepared for the answer...

     "Go and see my birth Daddy and Mama!" Again the huge grin. I'm not even sure how to put into words how much my heart ached as I lay there with my beautiful grinning girl. I took a breathe, looked her in the eyes and said, "my love, I wish with all my heart that we could meet them...honey, we don't know where they are." I figured that in her just turned six-year old way, she would hop on to some other topic. Last time we talked about going her big thing was wanting to "swim in all the water in China." So the swimming tears that filled her huge brown eyes took me by surprise. For a long time she just looked into my eyes while tears poured out of hers. I brushed my hand through her hair and stroked her cheek.

       Then after awhile I said, "You really wanted to meet them didn't you?"...words not coming, she nodded her head, tears still falling. I prayed silently for wisdom and ventured, "I bet your birth mom has beautiful shining black hair like you and that your birth Daddy has your great laugh." A minute or so later, the questions poured out.

    "Why don't you know where they are?"
    " Why is it against the rules in China to know?"
    "Are they in Heaven?"
     "Why did they have to leave me?"
     and then, "Tell me the story again..."

     ...and we talked. I did my best to answer honestly, with love and compassion as my little girl began her first steps on the road I wish that she never had to walk. Oh what I would give to take away the pain, the unknown. Oh how thankful I am for the few answers we have, for the fact that she was found on the steps of the orphanage, safe, wrapped in a hand embroidered red blanket, hat and jacket....that right now she wants to hear the story of it over and over...and yet more tears come when she asks why the orphanage didn't save those things for her.

    Such depth and such innocence in a little 6 year-old heart. As much as I want to take this journey away from her, I know that what I must do is to walk it with her instead. To sit in the dampness of the unknown, to let it be uncomfortable sometimes, to let the tears fall for both of us. I must learn to sit in the mystery of her story so that she can learn to do the same. The hope that I know is that neither of us sit in this mystery alone. There is One who has been there all along, who has planned out my little girl's days.

     Near the end of our time I told Ravenna that I pray for her birth parents often. That we may not be able to see them or know them but that I have no doubt that God does. She then scrambled up and grabbed a faded little bear and handed it to me and I understood just what to do.

     She knows the story well...while we were waiting for our referral of her, I would hold this bear at night and pray for her, pray that God would wrap His arms around her and fill her with His love, that He would fill her heart with the knowledge that we were coming, that she would be marked by His compassion and Joy. So she handed me that bear, the one that made the trip all the way from my empty arms to hers on Gotcha day...and we prayed, for her birth Daddy and birth Mama that right then and there God would wrap His arms around them and speak to their hearts that Ravenna loved them and that they would know in their souls that she was safe.

      And now, for me...the tears just seem to keep coming. Tears for the weight, the pain, the love of my girl's stories as we walk this road. For the answers we have and those that we won't have this side of Heaven. Tears that my Father promises He counts and I am sure that they mingle along with those of a birth Daddy and Mama halfway around the world.


Tara Anderson said...

I'm sending a couple of hugs your way, sweet friend...one for you and one for your Ravenna. The "hole" in their hearts hurts me so much. Our SW was surprised in our homestudy to find that Andrew and I both really wish our soon-to-be daughter could meet her birth parents, but when you hear a story like this one how could you not want that? I'll be praying for your little darling!!!

Ginny said...

Oh girlfriend. Now I am crying. We will pray for peace for your sweet girl.

Valerie and Jeff said...

Oh Shannon! That post is so touching! God made you sweet Ravenna's mom for SUCH a very special reason! (Have you read Nihaoyall.blogspot.com 's post from yesterday? It touched on this very subject of birth parents and children's questions and our answers for them.) I cannot imagine the questions her heart holds. I guess since I'm a visual person this should not surprise me, but I came across some fabric last week that just popped into my mind while reading your post. It is SO this post! All the thoughts of your prayers over Ravenna before you even met, the teddy bear that received your love in the wait and now bridges the gap where her heart spans like a fan through the night in sweet wishes, of joy and love for what she has but also a bridge of heartache to what she misses and has lost. There is also the waves of the sea and sparkling stars (or confetti). Oh it is such a beautiful fabric and now so much more (Do you see that imagery as clearly as I do?) Oh I would be honored to make her something out of the fabric for her if she likes it too! I just fell in love with it when I came across it last week but until now haven't had a specific reason or project.
Go here to look at this fabric. (The Takashi Collection -- the one in blue--at theoldcountry store.com if this direct link below doesn't work) Check it out and let me know. I think it should be called "Ravenna's Dreams"


camilla said...

I'm crying with you. It's amazing the depth of the conversations with young ones. They really can absorb so much more than we give them credit for. Praying God continues to give you wisdom to answer her questions that are sure to come.

Cara said...

What a beautiful time - heartbreaking in some ways, yet full of God's love in others. Let me know if you guys need anything at all! Hope the kids are all started to feel better.

Carla said...

Thank you so much for sharing Shannon. I have thought so much about how I will prepare for these questions when Charlotte has them and reading others experiences will be so helpful to our journey down the road. Praying for your sweet girl and her family, here at home and in China.

A little piece of 7th heaven said...

That left me in tears...and speechless....
HUGS...many, many hugs...

Adrianne in Portland said...

It was so nice to see your family at the memorial service. I hadn't read the last 4 posts so I didn't realize the kids had been so ill!

They looked great. I'm glad you all made it through that bug or whatever it was.

Best wishes to you all,
Adrianne and Bob

stephanie said...

So much weight for a little girl of just six years to carry. So many questions with no real answers. Oh my heart.
You did a wonderful job comforting her. I can't imagine how difficult this is.
Not having any adopted children, I seemed to think that once they are home with you everything is great. How wrong of me. It is a wonderful thing of course, but I guess I never thought that such a little one would have such big questions and such strong yearnings. Goodness you've opened my eyes today.

Anonymous said...

You are such a strong person and inspire me daily. Love you!

Gretchen said...

I do so dread the time that Ashlyn will start asking me these questions. Questions that I wish I had answers for. The emptiness that they will carry throughout their lives I can not comprehend. I would do anything to take the pain away from my daughter (and all of these children), but this is part of their story that God Himself has written and so it must be. I only play a part in her amazing story. She will become the woman that God intends her to be and this is how her story has to start.

I am praying for your sweet girl's heart. And also that God would help you to speak the words that she needs to hear to heal.


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