Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? -Matthew 6:26

As we walk through this adventure called life, we remind ourselves that we are all precious children of our Father-- those of us who have walked a little further down the road striving to guide those who have been entrusted to our care for a time. Here is our journey down this path.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

The many faces of Thomas

 Wow.  I'm not sure how it has happened, but he has grown up.
This has been a big week for our big boy.
Our eldest.

Our cub scout.
Who has now earned the highest cub scout honor, the Arrow of Light.
Which means he is now a Boy Scout.
He had a 'crossing over' ceremony Monday night.
 These hard working guys all 4 made it!
 There were blindfolds....
 And face paint!
 And on proud Eagle Scout/Cub Master Daddy!!


Our thespian.
Then, on Tuesday, we watched his last Elementary school musical, "BACH to the future"


Our graduate.
And tonight, oh my, is this really happening??? We celebrated his promotion from Elementary to MIDDLE SCHOOL! AAgh!
Before we could start, though, one more lesson to learn....how to tie a tie. :)






Got it the first try!




 Accepting his promotion certificate, with academic honors (average of 95+!), Character award of "hard worker" and was chosen as Excellence in Computers.

 This is truly a special, special class.


So proud of you, Thomas!  It is a joy to watch you grow and a privilege to be your mother!  May you continue to "grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man." (Lk 2:52)  I love you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Encouraged by another great sermon tonight.  Ps 139, "For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
There is something so peaceful, so joyful, so encouraging and so right to know that "At the moment of conception, you became ALIVE and LOVED." (G. Robertson, FPC)  "There is no such thing as an 'illegitimate' child, despite the circumstances surrounding your conception." (GR)

It is true for me and my children, I know that, because I have felt it--I had a love for them from the moment I saw 2 lines on a pregnancy test.

It is true for Cynthia, no matter the circumstances of her birth.  As I wrote before, I truly think her mother loved her, but I KNOW the God who knit her together did.

It is true for the orphan child who has no home right now.

It is true for the child who doesn't feel it, who never hears it, who never sees love and needs to.  Rise up, church, let's be the hands and feet of Jesus to show it to them!

Who would not want to feel the security of that love?  An unconditional, sacrificial love that searches us out and stops at nothing to bring his own to himself.

Thankful.  Hopeful.  At peace.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rocked.

That is what my world has been.

It started slowly.

A comment from a friend about how she thinks of her children's birth mothers on their birthdays.

Hearing about a wonderful adoption ministry that loves mothers in crisis well--no matter what their decision about their baby.

Me starting to understand that 'our' adoption story is only ONE side of Cynthia's adoption story.

And then, there was this.


This book has pushed me over. the. edge.


As I have written before, I have had a heart for adoption for years.  I felt God's calling to do something to join him in his work of fixing something that was broken.  I have had the privilege to see him redeem.  Make right a wrong, all in his perfect way and time.

But, I think I stopped my mind there.  I didn't want to think about how it actually got broken in the first place.  What sad story was there first.  What led my precious girl to become an orphan.  The 'orphan' part is hard enough to think about when I look at her smile and see the light and life in her--it is hard enough to think about what might have been if God hadn't intervened in her life--and ours.  But there is more to the story.  There are 25 months more of her in the care of others.  There were 9 months of pregnancy.  There is another lifetime of someone who was forced to make a decision.  There are generations and centuries of beliefs that may have played a part in that decision.  One of those gut-wrenching, heart-rending decisions.

A decision that a woman had to make.

A woman half a world away, who, I am now understanding that, through a crazy set of circumstances,  I am bound heart to heart with.

A woman who gave birth to my child.

Cynthia's mother.

Some will say, no, you are her mother.  I agree.  Of course, I agree.  And it warms my heart and brings fresh tears to my eyes when she says, as she often does, 'MY mama!'  However, there is another.  This book helped me realize just how much we owe to her.  I was invited by Cynthia to a mother's day luncheon at her school yesterday.  As I was on the way there, I got emotional thinking about this topic and wondering why I have the privilege of sitting with her at that table while another women doesn't.

Some may also say that this was God's plan from the beginning.  I agree again.  But in that process, there is brokenness and pain.

And I cannot deny that anymore.

If you have adopted from China, this is a MUST read.  Even for those who are grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends or anyone interested in understanding this complicated situation should pick it up as well.

Generations of women have had to make horrid decisions about their daughters in China.  This is not just a recent one-child-policy thing.  It is much, much older and deeper than that.  I literally had to put the book down several times as I was stunned and heartbroken and shocked at what I was reading.  Tears in my eyes, I couldn't see to read and had to take a break. Occasionally, I was so stunned, my jaw literally dropped and I had to catch my breath.   I pray that the light of the gospel would reach China and begin to heal as that is the only way true redemption will come to that beautiful country and the beautiful people that live there.  God can do that.

As I have processed these stories, I find my mind wondering about her, about her decision and about her life.  Her life now.  She lives somewhere in China.  Now.  Today.  I imagine her living life, making meals, working.  Day in and day out.  Without her daughter.  Without my daughter.  I imagine her grieving.  I may be wrong, her story may be different, but this book has told stories of real women.  Real women who through circumstances beyond their control have had to make decisions.  Despite the circumstances, I have seen how women still grieve their loss, they worry and wonder about their child.  The woman who carries a child for 9 months, who feels that child move, has hopes and dreams for that child cannot simply move on as if that child did not exist.  Those dear women in China have mother's hearts.

I find it very difficult to know what to feel.  Much akin to families I have seen whose child's life was saved through a transplant.  So grateful at a chance of life, but at the same time knowing that another family in another place was grieving a loss that made it possible.  I'm really not sure what to feel.  Do I want to know more?  Yes.  Would I want to meet her if I could?  I really think I would.  What would I say?  What would I want her to know?  I likely will never get the chance to tell her, but with the thoughts in my head, I must do something.

So, a Message TO an Unknown Chinese Mother.....

Dear_______
The hardest part of this is starting it.  Not knowing exactly what to say is one problem.  Not knowing how to feel is another.  But even right away, to whom do I write?  To my daughter's mother?  To a friend?  To another mother.  How about.....

To a dear mother's heart,
We haven't met.  You don't know me.  But I feel I know you, at least a little.  You have given me one of the most precious gifts I have ever received.  You didn't give it directly and you may not have even given it willingly, but in the end, I want to thank you.  Words cannot express the thanks I feel, but since they are all I have to give, I will do my best to use them well.


Thank you for my precious daughter.


I may never know in this life what led to your decision to leave your child at that gate on an August day.   But, I do know that it must have been a decision made out of love.  You must have loved your child enough even before she was born to give her life, to give her a chance.  And you must have loved her enough then, on that day, to make a decision to give her a better life.  The reasons, I shouldn't guess, that would be unfair to you and your story, but whatever it was, in my heart I believe it was because of your love for her.  Because of your love, we have been given the privilege of raising her and we are forever in your debt for that.


You should know that there was a night that I felt God telling me that it was time to go find our daughter. Now, looking back, I know she was 4 months old on that night.  I can only wonder what was going on in your lives right at that time.  Did you suddenly know she would be OK?  That she would be taken care of?  I hope so.  I hope you had a peace as you made your decisions that she was in good hands and would be loved well.


I want you to know that your child has become a treasured part of our family.  She has become as much a part of our family as our biologic children.  She is our daughter.  She is loved and adored.  She is treasured.  She is cared for.  She is healthy and has had excellent doctors who have cared for her medical needs.  She is being given an excellent education.  She has many friends, family and a community who love her deeply.  She is also happy and full of life.  She runs and plays, she says, 'watch me!' and twirls around, dancing in a circle.  She loves to laugh and her laugh is contagious.  I am sure you must remember it.  I know you loved her well, as she was a happy 6 month old when she arrived at the orphanage.  I thank you for that.  Those 6 months gave her a sense of security and taught her what love is.  That knowledge of love allowed her to open her heart to our family.  She has done that.  We love her and she loves us.  


Part of us loving her is getting to know her.  She is a beautiful child.  She is smart!  She is funny, kind hearted and happy.  She is also brave and determined.  Sometimes she is stubborn.  She is usually obedient.  She is quick to say she is sorry when she has done something wrong.  She is learning compassion and grace.


She is not forced to do manual labor.  She is not hungry or cold or alone.  We will do everything we can to protect her, keep her safe and keep her from harm.  She will be given opportunities to experience the fullest life we can give her, including family time, friends, school, sports, arts, traveling--hopefully back to visit China one day to see the beautiful place she is from.  Most importantly, we are teaching her that she is loved beyond words--by us and by her heavenly father. 


As she grows, I know she will--at some point--have questions about you.  I promise to be honest.  I won't have all of the answers.  I won't make up answers.  That wouldn't be fair to her or to you.  She may be angry at you at some time, but I will remind her that you gave her precious gifts-the gift of life and the gift of love and because of that alone we are all forever thankful for you.


I wrote earlier that I feel I know you a little.  I am learning that when I look in her dark eyes or when I see her bright smile, that I am looking in part at you.  She must have your eyes and your smile and they are beautiful.  I know that we are molding her and raising her, but the inner being of who she is--that is partly you as well.  So, I feel that, as I know her, I know you.  


I pray my words will bring some comfort to your heart and to your mind.  I pray also that you would know that you are loved and treasured by one who knows the pain of losing a child.  A God who gave his only son so you could know eternal love and acceptance.  I pray that in that love, you will have peace.  A peace that passes understanding.


I truly believe that our stories were woven together before the beginning of time by this God who makes all things new.  Who brings joy from sorrow.   May you know that joy.


From one mother to another,
You, a Chinese mother.  
Me, an American mother.  
Two women.
One child--the child of your womb, the child of my heart.