Thursday, February 2, 2012

the pieces of my heart

I asked Kelly Dirkes for permission to repost this.  I'm getting a lot of love from people in my inbox thanking me for helping this family. The real credit goes to this mama....she's my hero.


Last week, I found pieces of my heart that I didn’t even know were there.

The pieces of my heart were hidden in two rumpled baby pictures stapled to her official file at the children’s ministry in her country.  She was just three weeks old in one and sleeping after her bottle.  There was milk running down her face and neck into her tight swaddling.  She was a little over a year in the other, and fighting the caregiver holding down her hands.  There was a definite air of grumpiness as if she had just been woken from a nap.  Her details were noted on the reverse of both photos.

I pored over every detail, every inch of her.  The woman reading her file to us separated them from the folder and handed them to me with a wide smile.  Asking us if we wanted to meet her was merely a formality.  Just holding those grainy images in my hands made my heart flutter.

The pieces of my heart were stashed away in the corner of the baby house director’s office.  I struggled to contain my emotion as Olga laid out all the details for us.  Her family signed away their rights to her as soon as the genetic testing confirming her Down Syndrome came back when she was ten days old.  They never looked back.  They’ve never visited or even called about their tiny daughter.  They told the doctors and Olga they didn’t want her.

I stumbled over my words as I tried to explain just how desperately she is wanted.  The words I used to try to convey how loved she already is seemed inadequate.  I tried to describe just how blessed and privileged I am to have the opportunity to call her mine.  My heart broke in that very moment.

The pieces of my heart were tucked away in the anticipation of waiting for her to physically appear.  The ten minutes we spent sitting on the couch in the visiting room seemed much longer than they really were.  The clock ticking on the wall behind us was the only sound in the room.  The clouds hung heavy and gray outside the window.  The candles lighting the small Orthodox shrine flickered.  Even the baby house’s small green and yellow parakeet Kersha stood perfectly still on his perch.

I wondered what she would be like.  I saw the pictures and videos from friends who had come to the baby house before us.  I had memorized her bright blue eyes and her soft dirty blonde hair.  I knew that her small stature belied a big personality.  The longer I sat there, straining to hear any sort of child’s noise coming down the hallway, the faster my heart beat.  I was finally going to meet my daughter.

The pieces of my heart were concealed in the first glimpse of an exquisitely tiny little girl in a purple and pink flowered corduroy dress.  She came around the doorway clutching her favorite caregiver’s finger.  She tipped her head slightly to the left, stuck her thumb in her mouth, and smiled coyly.  She studied everyone intently, walking around the room as she did so.

I bit the inside of my lip as I watched her survey our in-country coordinator, our translator, and my husband.  I kept telling myself not to cry because I didn’t want to scare her.  I smiled at her and waited.  She stopped directly in front of me, and it felt like she was trying to look right through me.  After a moment, she clambered up into my lap and nestled against my body.  She grinned up at me, resting a pudgy hand on mine.  It was as if she knew.

She knew she had her Momma’s heart.


We've seen some pretty big miracles happen for the Dirkes family over the past 48 hours. They're now traveling on Monday to see Charlotte again and go to court to legally make her theirs....thanks to the generous support of this community. Charlotte's nation requires a 30 day wait from that court date until they can bring her home. They will return to her country in pick up the pieces of their hearts.

Will you help make that miracle happen?

Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute:
You didn't grow under my heart-
But in it.

Donate on the chip-in button at the top of the sidebar here....spread the word to help bring Charlotte home.


cathy said...

You are moving mountains, again, dear friend...

I had to donate
Kevin (the son;)) is going to as well


Anna Theurer said...

Amazing thinks are happening! I love seeing all of us bloggers coming together for a common cause. Thank you for writing such beautiful and inspiring posts. Thank you for spreading the word. I have hope that we will reach our goal. . . that the Dirkes will be fully funded for trip #3 as well :)

D said...

I have been taking a needed break from the blogosphere. The children have been sick, I am busy, having trouble staying on top of things... I just needed a break. I saw murmurings on Facebook about the Dirkes but now logging in to Blogger I saw your post... I read, I wept and I donated. I am sorry my break kept me from reading their story sooner.

nicole said...

Thanks for sharing this! Blessings to you ~ you always help me know who to give my donations to.

Mud pies and Moonlight said...

Beautiful post, beautiful family. I can't wait until sweet Charlotte is home forever!

cara said...

How could somebody NOT want this precious girl!!! Cannot wait until she is home. What a blessing to see what is happening for Charlotte. Tears!

Lori said...

sooo awesome!!!