Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Roar Of Love 2017

The sweetest little Firefly graced the stage on Saturday in her second ballet performance. 
 Maryn pretended she was a bit skeptical about being on stage....
 but there was no fear.  She was all about the stage!
 Carrying the magic wand was important...
 And she held hers with greatness!
 Sometimes the littles can get a big restless onstage....
 while other times they just do their job and look angelic!
 Our little Firefly knew her part....
 She did miss a cue....
 And she wasn't afraid to tell everyone onstage how they were supposed be doing their part of the show!  Oh, this girl.  How I love her so!
Our oldest ballerina.....
 Not much has changed since her debut on stage at the age of 3.....
 She takes our breath away....
 She steals the show when she is dancing about.....
 And she enjoys every single bit of the show.....
 until the end....she really doesn't like the end!
 Because at the end, everyone wants to say congratulations and good job....and MK?
 She would prefer to just crawl under a tree and wait for everyone to leave!
 Our girl is phenomenal onstage....graceful and pure beauty as she glides through her scenes.  
Both our FireFly and our Naiad did a fabulous job!  


Last weekend we had a China gathering for families who are currently adopting and families who have adopted from China.  Over the years, our group has grown and changed but the one thing that remains the same is the love we all have for adoption and for our children to grow together appreciating their birthplace and embracing it as a part of who they are.  
Everyone gathered....we had a family who just arrived home three weeks ago with their daughter, a family who submitted LOI for their daughter last week, and we had the oldies but goodies too!  It was a great evening being surrounded by families who have grown through adoption from China.  
During this time, we learned of a a horrific car accident that involved a young man from our church, a young man who the boys have grown up with, a young man who had his whole life ahead of him and in the blink of an eye, it was all taken from him.  It wrecked us.  This child was Colin's age and driving on a street that we drive on daily, and he was simply going to meet his friend after playing a bit of disc golf at a local recreation area.  Teenager life at its fullest!
Early reports were not good as he was put through emergency brain surgery and then placed in critical condition.  We prayed big and we rallied hard, fighting for this child and for his family.  Victory came on Monday when he was given a few brain activity tests and he passed!  There was brain activity and we were so very thrilled to learn of this and the possibility of his healing here on Earth.  Five days following this accident, we learned of his death.  We have no doubt that #11 is now in the arms of Jesus and, for this, we are thankful.
During the week, we have had conversations with the boys on how God answers prayers and how His answers aren't always what we seek for them to be.  Following Drew's death, Pryce and I were having one of these conversations.  I needed P to know that maybe God's plan was for others to come to know Him through Drew's death or maybe we will never be able to make sense of this tragedy but God is a faithful and purposeful God even when we are suffering.  
And then I started telling him our story....and before I knew it, I was telling a story that God has been writing and continues to write in our lives that all began through our trials.  
Eleven years ago, Ryan and I were happily anticipating the arrival of our third child.  After a traumatic delivery with P, I had recovered and I was pregnant.  We were thrilled!  Though we weren't sharing this news with many just yet, we were busy planning in our minds - the baby would arrive in September, would it be a boy or a girl, what names would we choose, etc., etc.
And then I lost the baby.  Never in all of my life have a I felt more helpless and hopeless than in those moments just after I learned of our child's death.  There was absolutely nothing that I could have done to save the baby and there was absolutely nothing that I could do to bring back the child we had lost.  
Helpless. It was awful.
And then six weeks later, the same story - a pregnancy, and then a loss.  Emotionally, I was spent.  
We wanted more children.  We wanted a large family.  Though adoption had always been on my heart, I never ever would have dreamed that adoption would one day become my reality.  But during my time of despair, God impressed upon me an even greater desire to look at adoption for our family, specifically adoption from China.  And so we prayed.  
Two months later, we began our paper chase to bring MK home.
And then Maddox.  And then Maryn. And then Chapman.
Four daughters from China.
But the story doesn't end there.  God has been at work and it was during this conversation with Pryce that I realized just how much work He has done.  
With each adoption, we have gotten to know other families who have adopted.  And knowing other families through adoption means connecting with these families and sharing bond like no other.  These families are our friends, our people who get us, who know the desires of our hearts.  We have helped several children find their forever families.  We have assisted in medical care for children who are waiting.  We have reached out through fundraiser after fundraiser to raise funds to assist with our adoptions AND to raise orphan awareness in our community.   It is so heartwarming to sit and chat with someone who has been touched by adoption.  We have had the opportunity to assist families financially in their adoptions.  We have had the opportunity to assist with paperwork.  We are always a phone call away from our agency when they need a reference or advocate for a child.  And, we are able to open our home several times each year to families who have children from China and offer support in whatever it is they may be facing.
And it was in this conversation that it hit me....without our trials with losing our babies, we would have never had the opportunities that are so much a part of who we are today.  God is a sovereign God and I know without a doubt that He does not like for His children to suffer.  I also know that He wants to be glorified in all things, even the things/circumstances that do not go the way we want them to go.  And in my life right now, to God be the glory.  He has done marvelous acts....He has allowed our family to turn our sorrow into so much more!  It is simply amazing.  And during my time with P, it hit me.  I really had no idea what God was doing in us through adoption.  Initially, adoption was our way to grow our family.  And yet, now that I look at the big picture, the picture that continues to be painted in our lives, I see where God has been in every.single.detail even when we didn't see Him clearly.  
And I told P, we may never understand why Drew's life was ended so soon here on Earth but we must TRUST that God's story through Drew has purpose and its purpose will prevail.