This is going to be one of those letters that I will probably look back on some day and wonder what I was thinking when I wrote it. You know that old saying, "honest to a fault"? That would be me. I know I've written lots of letters to you that talk about the joy and the amazement that you've brought us, and especially in the last 6 months there has been so much goodness to write about...but lately I have been struggling a little bit... a lot...and journaling is my way to process things...so here I am.
Most of what I'm going through feels so selfish to even write about...and it really is just about me. It doesn't have anything to do with you having Down syndrome, and it really isn't that life is so hard for me.
I guess I'm stalling, so I'll just get right to the point. And if at the end of this letter I am too embarrassed to hit publish...then I will file this letter away and it really will remain just between you and me.
I'm really struggling with my emotions, Lily...ever since your daddy and I decided to do everything we could to help find a family to adopt Olga back in December, my heart has been so burdened for babies and children in other countries who share your diagnosis. Sometimes it consumes me, and I have to just stop what I'm doing and pray.... and pray again...for all the little faces who are always on my mind.
I knew when I started blogging about these children that we weren't able to adopt. It's not that we don't have the heart to enter into that, but there are just a lot of factors involved, not the least of which is finances. I feel like I'm sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else...and honestly I'm struggling with jealousy. I hate even typing those words out, because I wish that I were such a saintly or noble person that I could just do everything we've been doing without a trace of selfishness. But it's there. I get my heart so wrapped up in the kids I'm advocating for, and even though I know I'm not going to be their mommy, I still feel so attached to them. I pray for them, think about what their lives are like, lay awake at night wondering if they're warm or cared for or loved...
And wouldn't you think that I would only be completely rejoicing when I see one of these beautiful children find their forever families? Wouldn't you think that I would be so happy, knowing that they're being rescued, that there isn't any room in my heart for envy?
And yet it's there. I know so many people share my heart for the children I blog about or fundraise for. I know so many are willing to sacrifice financially for them, and pray for them, and spread the word about them needing to be rescued. I know it's not all about me.
Your brothers and sisters think it's so funny how I can't read out loud about the miracles that happen to bring these kids home without my voice breaking. I'm not really so emotional about everything like that...but honestly, I can't even start to read a post about a family meeting their son or daughter for the first time without stopping...swallowing...and starting again with a broken voice and happy tears in my eyes.
I've been reading...endlessly...books on overseas adoption. I've read so many books and blogs and articles, they're all starting to run into each other in my mind, and yet I can't get enough of them to quench my thirst for more. I don't just read others' stories- I'm living vicariously through their words... I'm crying when Kirill's parents were denied the right to adopt him in court, I'm cheering now that Kareen's mommy and daddy just landed in K, I'm fasting and praying for Olga's family to raise enough money for their dossier, I'm relieved when Alexander's family is able to proceed with his adoption, I'm on pins and needles for Peter's family, knowing how hard it is to wait to bring him home.
Your brothers and sisters and Daddy know these children by name, and not a night goes by without solemn and heartfelt prayers being lifted for their safety and health. Your sister Abigail constantly studies the faces on Reece's Rainbow as if she were memorizing each one for a test. "Mama, have you seen Theodore? I LOVE Theodore!" she tells me, with her little hands over her heart and a pleading look in her eye. "If Daddy gets a new job, can we adopt this year? Next year? How soon?"
I don't want to break her heart, but honestly, Lily? I don't know if that day will come. I don't know if this is God's will for us as a family, or if He just wants us to keep helping other families who are able to adopt.
And that's the struggle I'm facing. I so want to rescue a child, and it seems like such a dream. And I don't know if that burden is just that- a dream- or if it really is God's will for our lives. I do know that ever since I married your daddy, I have always had a desire to rescue a child. When we were newlyweds I had a relative who was losing four children...I wanted to adopt them all.
I've always loved children, and since having you I have such a strong desire to rescue a child with Down syndrome. It breaks my heart to know that if you had been born in an Eastern European country, you would be facing life in an institution. I pour over the pictures of children on Reece's Rainbow and want so much to bring one home. I just want to make a difference in their lives, and I don't care if we never have all the material things others have, I just want to know that I did everything I could to help change the fates of these precious, innocent babies.
And honestly, I'm really struggling with whether I'm even making a difference. The need is so great, and although I'm blogging and praying and giving all I can, it feels sometimes like I'm hardly making a dent in it.
I start to feel like nothing I'm doing or saying really matters, and that because we're not personally able to rescue a child, I'm really just a spectator on the sidelines.
I had a meltdown yesterday...a little pity party between me and God. I was crying, asking God why people with money don't do more with what they have, and asking Him why He put such a tremendous burden on my heart for orphans with Down syndrome when He knows our income. I complained about how there are people out there who don't seem to use their platforms to raise awareness for anybody but themselves, and how it feels like those of us who are trying to do something are just preaching to the choir.
Yes, Lily...it was a no-good-horrible-very-bad-day.
I told you sometimes I'm honest to a fault.
But just about the time I got done venting to the Lord, I noticed an email in my inbox that I had somehow missed....
I was so pleased this morning to see that I had won the Happy Hooks gift certificate. I cannot wait to tell my little girl, Julianna. She loves sweet Albina and gave her money towards our donation. She didn’t know there was a giveaway and now I get to surprise her with a fun “gift” from God. Thank you for everything you do to advocate for orphans. Our family is bringing home two little boys from Eastern Europe that we found on RR. Reading your blog and Pudge and Zippy were huge in helping God turn our eyes toward these special boys. My Uncle Roy has DS and when he was born over 50 years ago, the doctors told my Grandma to institutionalize him because he would be dead before he was two. This adoption feels like our family coming full circle. Once again proclaiming the goodness of God in that every child is fearfully and wonderfully made. I know you didn’t need me to write a book, but there it is. You’ve impacted our lives by sharing Lily and advocating for the orphans. So, thank you!
Hidden in Christ,
Hmmm. Sounds like God heard my venting session. And isn't that just like the heart of the Father, Lily? I really didn't deserve that kindness showered on me, when there's been so much junk in my heart lately. I'm so glad He doesn't give me what I deserve, and that His mercies truly are everlasting.
Maybe God did put that burden on my heart to be a voice. Maybe He wants me to feel such a strong desire to adopt that I never stop praying for and giving to these orphans, as if they were my babies.
Maybe He has wrapped my heart up in each child that I advocate for so intensely so that I don't stop crying out to Him to protect them....and for others to rescue them.
Maybe just like being a mommy, being an advocate for a child means letting go in a sense...doing all that I know to do to love these children, and then trusting them into the hands of God. And even if it hurts, it's still the best job on the planet, loving children and pouring my heart into them.
So I did it, Lily. I blogged my way right through that crisis of faith.
Loving you all the way to God and back,