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.