Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When the Pot Isn’t Gold at the End of the Rainbow

With much gratitude, it is my pleasure to share this picture with you today:

Click HERE to meet “Daphne’s” forever family.


Do you recall this precious face?  The one full of joy cuddled up between her new mommy and daddy?  The one with a rainbow heart on her jacket?  (Click here to read about why this is significant to our family.) 


We praise the One from whom all blessings flow that this treasured teenager is now in the arms of her forever family, adopted just ONE DAY before her 14th birthday.  That’s just one day before she would have aged out of the system, unable to ever be a cherished member of a family.


And, yes, this is the very child God spoke so clearly to our family about adopting.  However, He had different plans.  Plans we didn’t see coming, but He knew all along in His sovereignty.


He promised not to leave “Daphne” as an orphan.  We felt (with 100% assurance!!!) He asked our family to adopt her.  We pursued her with abandon.  God opened doors that enabled a Texas agency to complete a brand new Hague-approved international home study in a matter of weeks.  God even flooded us with financial support that covered the cost of this home study and initial agency fees.  Over and over and over again, God sent various confirmations (out of the blue, totally random confirmations…almost daily, sometimes multiple times per day) that “Daphne” was our daughter.


Within days of submitting our application to adopt “Daphne”, we were informed by the agency representing “Daphne” that she had been matched with another family.  We were not told anything about the family (understandably), but even with bossing our hearts into rejoicing that “Daphne” had a family coming for her, our hearts still broke that it wouldn’t be our family.  Not a selfish broken, but a deep love broken.  You see, we didn’t even realize how deeply we’d fallen in love with “Daphne” until we were told she would not become our daughter.  That’s when our hearts broke.  That’s when we realized the depth of our love for her.


That’s also when the confusion set in. 


Did we hear God correctly? 


Why is it He had spoken so boldly on Christmas Day about our family pursuing the adoption of “Daphne”? 


Why is it that on Christmas morning, as we drove to San Antonio to serve the homeless, that He directed our conversation to be about “Daphne”.  Why did He guide us in a deep and lengthy discussion about adopting “Daphne”, where we decided to press into prayer throughout the day to ask God to further confirmation of His will?


Why is it that on this very same day, Christmas Day, as our family served in downtown San Antonio, that God sent a beautiful girl with Down syndrome to my husband’s side?  This girl was not homeless.  She had her mom and her dad by her side.  They were not invited to the park on that day, and yet, they appeared out of nowhere. 


Why did God allow this little girl to see the inflatable slide we hauled to San Antonio on that day as she was driving home with her family?  Why did her mom and dad agree to turn around and find a way to let their little girl go find that slide that was tugging at her heart?  Why were they able to find this slide in downtown SA, a place full of one-way streets and many opportunities to get lost?  Why did this little girl befriend my husband, who wasn’t even supervising the slide at the time?  Out of the hundreds of people at this park on this day, why did this one particular girl pull at my husband’s heartstrings more than anyone else there?  She most certainly wasn’t the neediest.


Why did God allow my husband to have a deep conversation with this precious little girl’s mom at the park that day?  A conversation that involved tears and stories of orphans.  Through a conversation that had God-details that only He could arrange, our Creator chose to set the situation up where His message wouldn’t be missed. 


Yes, on December 25 2013, God would use one unexpected precious little girl who happened to be blessed with an extra chromosome to deliver a message to my husband.


While standing at the park, my husband motioned for me to leave the area I was volunteering in to come to him.  Once there, he looked at me with a look I’ve learned to read time and time again.  A look that doesn’t even require words.  A look that involves tears, even if they’re silent.  Yes, God had spoken boldly to my husband on that day.  We were to pursue the adoption of another girl blessed with an extra chromosome who lived halfway across the world.  Her name was “Daphne”, and she would age out of the system on March 5, 2014, if a family didn’t adopt her before her 14th birthday.  God used a special little girl on a very special day to speak this message about a special girl in China.  His message was bold and clear and undeniable.


And yet that message was shattered on January 16, 2014.  That is the day we were told “Daphne” was matched with a different family.  WHAT?!?!  The shock felt like I’d been punched in the gut.  The social worker who delivered this message over the phone to me heard that very punch.  I didn’t even speak a word, but she knew.  She said, “I’m so sorry.  I can hear how disheartened you are by this news.  I can tell how much you loved her.”  Oh my, could my emotions be felt over the phone, without words being expressed?!?!  Oh yes, that is how much we loved her.  It might sound crazy, but it’s true.  As we prayed for Daphne, our hearts grew intimately connected in a way only God can do.


The confusion overtook us.  WHAT was God doing?  WHY had we spent so much money and dedicated so much time desperately pursuing this adoption?  Did we hear Him wrong?  Nothing made sense.  Nothing at all.  We prayed over other children who were waiting for a family, but with every child, God denied our request of, “Is this the child you intended us to adopt, God?”  Nope, not one of these is WHO.  Not one.


More confusion.  More unsettling.  Our hearts would mend, no doubt, as this was never about us.  It was about “Daphne” having a forever family.  And we truly rejoiced that a family was coming for her, but trying to figure out why God would have us spend close to $4,000 on the initial expenses of an international adoption that wouldn’t be taking place just didn’t make any sense.  That $4,000 could have gone to feed hundreds of children overseas.  Or we could have dug a well for children in Africa to have clean drinking water.  Or we could have provided a specialized speech communication device to special needs children in Serbia who live at the orphanage Chrissie once lived in (her former speech therapist asked us if we’d fundraise to provide this device she desperately needs in order to better serve the orphans she works with).  There are so many ways that $4,000 could have made a difference.  But our family having a $4,000 Hague-approved international home study to adopt a 13-year-old girl from China who has Down syndrome surely wouldn’t make a bit of difference to anyone at this point.


Or would it?


To be continued…

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