We are blessed to call you our daughter, Princess Cinder-ELLA, and we wish you the BEST birthday you've ever had, sweet girl!
Many of you have asked about the story of Ella and Selah coming to our family. We truly had NO idea that God had chosen our family to bless with these two biological sisters. The story is really kind of crazy, and definitely NOT a "normal" adoption situation. On Tuesday, November 23 (two days before Thanksgiving), I was contacted by A Loving Choice adoption agency and made aware of an emergency placement situation in Texas. The director of A Loving Choice (Phyllis) was desperately trying to help a birth mom place her children that very day, and a reader of our blog had told Phyllis about our family (thanks, Deanna!). I was made aware of the emergency situation, and immediately I called a few adoptive friends to see if anyone would want to step up and adopt the two girls. Well, God made sure that no one else was interested because He had already selected our family as the adoptive family, but I wasn't yet on board. My hands felt so full with 7 kids living in our home at the time, and just weeks prior, I had told my husband I felt like I just couldn't complete anything on my to-do list...ever!!! So, the thought of adding two more girls to our family, one with hydrocephalus, really just overwhelmed me.
However, as my husband and I discussed the situation, Chrissie's charm bracelet (which I have worn since she went to Heaven) started jingling. My arm was stationary, yet the charms were clinking together, making the sound of a dainty bell ringing. I couldn't help but notice it, as the charms had never played music like that, and I felt Chrissie telling me to boss my heart. I know, it sounds crazy, but it's true. At the same time that Chrissie's bracelet was diverting my attention away from the I CAN'T of the situation, my husband was making a plan to meet the birth mom. We both agreed that we would just try to help the birth mom keep her children, and we would come alongside her to try to help her and mentor her.
Well, God had other plans, and within a few hours of meeting the girls and their birth mother, we knew that God wanted us to take the girls that very night, to feed them and love them and give them a Thanksgiving to be grateful for. But, I still wasn't convinced that *I* could parent two more children, and I definitely wasn't sure that *I* could parent another special needs high-risk child. It just felt too risky. I wanted to protect myself and my family from the possibility of falling in love with a baby whose future was quite unknown.
God bossed my heart for me throughout the first few days of the girls being in our home, and He began to soften my heart to the idea of adding two more children to our family. Of course it didn't help that both girls were just precious and had stolen my heart from the very beginning! I was head over heels in love with both girls and somehow went from a NO WAY viewpoint to an outlook of there's NO WAY I can imagine our family WITHOUT these girls!!! My husband was on board before I was, so I have no doubt that he was praying for my heart to be bossed by God to line up with His word on caring for orphans in their distress. It only took 3 or 4 days for my heart to beat in sync with His, and we committed to legally adopting both girls, regardless of the baby's health diagnoses or future. On December 29, 2010, both girls were declared legally ours, as forever Pattersons, by a Texas judge. A sweet blessing and surprise straight from our loving Daddy!
One of the neatest things about God choosing these two girls for our family is that both girls have brought deep levels of healing to every member of our family in different ways. I just had no idea what God had up His sleeve, but He is always in control, He always has plans to use everything for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, He has plans to turn ashes into beauty, He has a plan to prosper us and give us a hope and a future. His plans are higher than ours, and His will is ALWAYS better than our greatest desire. Even when it doesn't always feel that way. When I felt like there was no way possible for *ME* to do this, God bossed my heart and reminded me that with Him, all things are possible. I wouldn't need to rely upon my strength, I would need to rely upon His.
Well, we are living proof that He is making something beautiful out of the ashes. He is growing our family into a beautiful rainbow, stretched from heaven to earth, with Chrissie's heartstrings and fingerprints all over it. You know that old trick of tying a styrofoam cup to each end of a string, then when you talk into the cup, the person on the other end can actually hear your words when the cup is to their ear? Well, sometimes that's how I feel things are like when one member of your family lives in Heaven. God uses the rainbow as the string to connect our hearts between heaven and earth. Thank you, God, for that treasured gift!
We love you, Ella Hope Patterson, and we wish you a very happy 6th birthday! You are a treasured gift, too, and we feel so very blessed to call you our daughter! Yes, you will always be our Cinder-ELLA, and your baby sister will always be our Snow White, and Chrissie will always be our Sleeping Beauty in heaven. And one day, we'll live happily ever after, together in heaven for all eternity!