Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Happy 2nd Gotcha Day, Meribeth!

Two years ago today, we held our Meribeth tightly in our arms during a very emotional meeting with the social services officials in Ibague, Colombia, the hometown of our first adopted daughter.  We didn't know your full story, Meribeth, but God told us that you were ours, no matter what.  I recall the day we had to take you back to the social services office, just a few days after you had been with our family in Colombia, because we felt like we weren't prepared to parent you.  We felt incapable and inadequate, even though we had parenting experience, but we had never parented an older orphan before.  We felt scared as adults becoming your parents, and we can only imagine how scared you must have felt becoming our daughter!

I remember that before Matt and I walked through those Colombian social services doors the morning for our special-called meeting,  that he and I both felt like maybe God made a mistake in calling us to be your parents.  I remember sitting in that office listening to the director telling us that we didn't have to adopt you, that they could give us a different child, one who didn't have the same history as you.  (We didn't even know your "real" history at that moment.)  I remember begging the officials to get your file out and show us the "real" history so we could make a better informed decision.  I remember BAWLING as they brought out a file about 4 inches thick of all of the things you had lived through.  As they sat and read through report after report, letter after letter, article after article, I remember the tears streaming down Matt and my cheeks.  I remember how every single person in that office cried that morning.  I remember how God used that time to CONFIRM for us that you were ours, forever and always, no matter what, when we thought the opposite would happen.  We thought that as we heard your story, we would have justification to walk away, with proof that we wouldn't be adequate parents to someone with your history.  But God did the opposite during that meeting.  As we listened to all that you had to endure in your first eleven years of life, our hearts broke, shattered into a million pieces, for you.  We both knew, without even having to discuss things, that we could never walk away from you.  Never. 

And we are so grateful that God told us not to walk away.  That He confirmed that YOU, Mery Elizabeth Patterson, were the exact child that He had hand picked for our family.  Even though the path was not easy, we want you to know, Meribeth, how truly blessed we are that God chose you to be our daughter.  You are an amazing young lady, and we continue to stand in awe of all you've overcome by the grace of God.  We wish so much that you hadn't had to endure a life of pain, loss, disappointment, neglect and abuse, but we are oh so grateful that God rescued you and that He included our family in His plans for you.  We still don't feel worthy that God chose our family to be in His path of healing for you, but we are are oh so glad that He did!  You are truly one of my heroes.  I cannot fathom how painful, challenging and difficult it would be to leave the only country, culture, language and "home" that you had ever known and enter into a brand new life with a new family in a new home in a new country speaking a new language in a new culture.  I know that it was extremely difficult to do this, Meribeth, but we are so proud of you for your courage and perseverance.  We've been so blessed to see the transformation in your life in just two short years.  You've grown to know Christ intimately, and He is so beautifully transforming you into who He created you to be.  Although it's been challenging for all of us to make this transition, I want you to know that every  hurt, every tear, every emotion, every hurdle, and every struggle has been worth it.  YOU are worth it, Meribeth.  You are beautiful, inside and out, and we are honored to be your forever family.  Thank you for not giving up on us either!  Thank you for allowing us into your heart, Meribeth, even though it would have been easier to keep your heart locked and not let anyone else in.  Thank you for trusting us, even when you didn't really know what that looked like.  Thank you for allowing God to transform you, even when it seemed easier for you to remain in control.  Thank you for your willingness to work on the hard things, to forgive us for our mistakes, to ask forgiveness for your mistakes, and to persevere through the trials and tribulations, and for your courage to press on, even when we all felt like giving up.  Thank you for loving Chrissie wholeheartedly, even though she might not live a long took a big risk by opening your heart up to the possibility of another loss in your life.  Your are truly a hero!

We love you forever and always, no matter what, Smiley, and we are so very proud of you!

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