Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I'm Thankful For. . .

I've been thinking much, lately, about all I have to be "thankful" for. The Lord has carried our family through the most amazing journey of our lives, and it continues to grow better every day. Now, I'm not saying that it is never "tough". . . but, I am saying that it is always "Great" and absolutely "worth it"!! Our family and our hearts have been richly blessed by our Mei Li----and I am thankful for the family that we now are because she is with us. But, there is more to it. And, I want to share. :)

I am thankful for disappointment. There were many years of disappointment in our adoption journey. There were SO many delays along the way. There were changed courses. We started our paperwork in fall of 2007 with our hearts set on China (healthy child adoption). After learning how "incredibly long" the wait would be (4-5 years), we changed to Taiwan. Taiwan seemed to promise a much shorter wait, a younger child, foster care situation (better. . . ). So, we had our social worker write up all of our homestudy material in winter of 2008 for Taiwan (last second. . . instead of China). By the time all "t's" were crossed and our homestudy was approved through all the government offices, it was September 2008. And, we finally went on the waitlist in Taiwan. We sat on that waitlist for 2 grueling years. The program turned out to "not" be what we had hoped. It fizzled, the agency handling that program dropped the ball and there was no communication. . . and we sat in a adoption desert wasteland of silence for 2 years. There were many times, I wondered if I had mis-heard God's voice during that period. But, I knew I had not. I HAD HEARD His call on our family so clearly. . . and it had been confirmed. So why this dead-end?
It was during this 2 years that I began recording my album, "Dancin' on the Wind" of jazz standards. And, it was during these 2 years that God showed me that I was a song writer. My jazz album wasn't completed before there were 4 original songs that God had given me over the course of the recording journey. The Lord knows how much music means to me. It is my passion and my love--and during this adoption desert--He gave me the desires of my heart, in a BIG way--with music. I would never have had the time or opportunity to discover I was a song writer and embrace my music in the way that unfolded if our adoption had moved faster. As a result of that 2 year adoption barren wasteland, "Dancin' on the Wind" was born, and the Lord gave me my lifelong heart's desire in the way of music. I am forever thankful that He loves me enough to give me a gift that I didn't even know to ask for.
Two days before the "birth" of my album on September 14, 2010, we had a meeting with our social worker, at her suggestion, to talk with her about China Special Needs adoption. She felt badly that our journey was taking so long. . . and all of our homestudy and medicals were expiring and were going to have to be redone. So, she asked us to pray about it and come in to learn about the SN program in China. We met with her on the 14th of September. Before we left her office, we already had our hearts open to SN adoption (something that we had shied away from early on in the process). . . and right before we walked out the door to pray "some more" about whether to change to China SN, she brought out Mei Li's file to show us an example of what a medical file looked like on a China SN adoption. She told us that she was not pushing this particular child on us. . . she knew we were thinking of adopting a younger child. But, that she "was" available if we were interested. We saw her face and Geoff and I both caught our breath at the same moment. We knew we were looking at the face of our daughter. There was Mei Li, and we "knew" it!
September 16th 2010 became an incredible day for me personally, and for our family. Two days after our meeting with Karla, and after seeing the face of that sweet angel, Sun Xianmei, in the medical file, and "the very same day of the birth of my album", we received a call from Dr. Jennifer Chambers from UAB's International Adoption Clinic to review Mei Li's medical. Her overall assessment. . . GO GET THIS BABY GIRL!!!!! So, two hours before the "birth" of my album, we experienced the "birth" of our daughter as well. I will tell you that when I arrived to Moonlight on the Mountain that evening to hold my album release, there was a sweetness in the air unlike any I had ever experienced before. But, amazingly, it is a sweetness I now experience regularly. . . The birth of two beautiful blessings in our lives. . . all at the same time!
So, for those of you experiencing difficult times in your adoption journey. Delays, derailments, broken hearts, frustrations. . . We" TOO" experienced all of those things, but the end result was something so perfect and timed "JUST SO". And, looking back, God's hand was in control of every step. If anything had gone differently, we would not have been matched with "this" little angel we call our daughter. And, the thought of that is something I can't consider for even one second! God was preparing us for our Mei Li (who was not eligible for adoption when we began our journey). He was preparing our hearts to take a leap of faith and go the route of a SN adoption (and we needed some work on us, first, to bring our hearts in agreement there). He was planning to complete a beautiful work in me through music. And, the timing of the birth of the album and the birth of our daughter "into our lives" happening on the very same day CAN NOT BE a coincidence. Just further evidence that the Lord was in charge of it all. :)

September 19, 2011 is a day our family will never forget. It is the day Mei Li was placed in our arms for the first time!! After beginning our adoption paperwork in September of 2007, it took us 4 years to arrive to this amazing day. I still sit here pinching myself, hoping that I will never awake from this beautiful dream. Mei Li has blessed our lives in such a rich way. I thank God every day that He did not give in to my pleas and cries and complaints during the 4 years we waited for our daughter. If He had listened to me, we would have missed out on one of the the greatest blessings we have ever known. . . the honor of becoming a family to our little Mei Li.


Shan said...

I'm thankful that God brought you and Mei Li together and that I have been able to witness it by following your story. Our Heavenly Father is absolutely amazing, and He makes it so clear that His Hand is at work in adoption!