I so badly wanted to take in the moments with our family of 4 and not wish any moments away, but I was just desperate to get to our girl!
Two years ago this month, I had a conversation with a friend about their family adopting a little girl from China with special needs. (Also thinking in my mind, "Wow that they could do special needs - no way could I and especially not Reese - and our Lizzie does have some medical needs that cause her to be labeled "Special Needs") - God is amazing and so much bigger than we can imagine.
She shared that God placed this on her heart before he did her husband's and she just began to pray for him and within months they were pursuing adoption.
I was standing in my church parking lot and was totally overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions.
From the moment we were told Ellie would be Ellie - Reese just knew our family was complete. There were days that I was totally overwhelmed with having two children two years apart, but there were soooo many days that I felt like we were not finished and that somehow we would have another child.
I would walk by our guest room (that room is now Ellie's and the "guest room" became Lizzie's) and pray that if God didn't want it to be empty that somehow He would show me His plan and why I had these desires for a third child, when Reese was so sure.
I prayed for a submissive heart and spirit and God was faithful.
It never dawned on me to pray for Reese's heart to be opened to adoption. He said "no" and I certainly didn't want to manipulate him. He was (and is) such an active Daddy that I didn't want him to feel stretched.
But that afternoon in the parking lot - it was like God whispered - "It's time to pray." Within weeks of that day, I knew we would adopt a daughter. I prayed beside my bed one Saturday morning (after finishing Mary Beth Chapman's book - Choosing Joy) and as I was praying God gave me a vision of our Lizzie. It was the back of her and she had dark curly hair and was in pajamas and I thought she looked about 3 or 4. On that day - she was 4.
This vision was crucial to us following His plan because in all the years that I had discussed adoption with friends or with Reese - I would say "If we adopt (Reese shaking his head - no, no, no) then I would want to get the tiniest baby - I want to go somewhere to get a baby." I LOVE babies! I love everything about a newborn - the smells, the wrinkles, the toes, the yawns!!! LOVE IT!!!
But, God showed me a little girl that I would mother - and I knew it was from Him.
I was concerned that I was a bit emotional after reading Mary Beth's story - but I just knew it was HIM.
So... when I went to Reese with all of this that was going on in my heart and mind - I said, "And the biggest reason that I know this is God, not me - is that she is not a baby - I think she will be older."
Last November 23, we received the referral pictures of our Lizzie, then 5 almost 6 - and for about a month, everyone around me rejoiced. Ellie's first words were "Oh Mom, 6 is better, then it's like we can be friends!" Precious girl. But I must admit that while I KNEW she was ours, I was completely OVERCOME with FEAR! Fear about her past and how much of it was spent NOT in our family, fear that she would be old enough to NOT like us, fear about all she could have been exposed to, fear she would not like homeschooling (she was in kindergarten) and really alot of FEAR that I couldn't love her like I needed to because I wouldn't have those years to "baby" her and carry her around and hold her.
Well this precious, independent daughter of ours has spent many hours in my arms and on my hip, she loves to play "baby" and even asks me to feed her sometimes. She is thankful for everything we give her, she is happy and considerate AND she is active enough to keep up with the big kids without a nap, and can take long hikes and bike rides and stay up late for movie night!
I have fallen completely, head over heels in love with my new daughter. The sweet smell of her breath and she falls asleep with a strand of her hair and her thumb in her mouth, her sweaty toes, her pretty little neck, her messy hair in the morning, her contagious joy.She has won my heart and I am so thankful! And, I know that I am able to love her like this because and through the love of Christ.
And.... wow, that He loves me like this - and so much more! That He adopted me into his family as a 12 year old with some pretty special needs - I can't imagine my bio information if He were to have been emailed.... She is moody, picky, can be rude, very selfish, from a dysfunctional home, allergies, acne, needs braces... :)
I am so thankful for the beautiful gift of adoption ... of His grace.
"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves. It is a gift of God." Ephesians 2:8