Two years ago this week, I was a basket case. We were anxiously awaiting for our travel approval for China — and unfortunately… we would miss it.
He would have another birthday in his orphanage — apart from us. That was this week two years ago.
I did what any reasonable waiting mom would do — many of you have probably done this yourself. I contacted Ann — who ran a service for delivering care packages and parties to children for their parents around the world.
She delivered and did not disappoint this momma who was dying to be there in person. A fancy cake. Balloons. A lovely stuffed animal, cards and a camera that would be filled with pictures that we would forever treasure of our little love on his 2nd birthday.
Days later we would get our travel approval — and we made the decision to leave our younger 2 boys home with family and take our 8 and 9 year old children as we weren’t fully sure what to expect with our new ones medical needs. I wondered and worried if taking them was the best thing.
But my mommy heart was full of peace about them going — and even excitement for them to be a part of our growing again through adoption. Little did I know the seeds the Lord would be planting in their hearts that I would see two years later on this very week!
Taking the older children was truly so much fun. Having a few days in Beijing together to play. I didn’t realize how much energy the younger boys required, and we had several restful and really fun days pouring into our big kids. The Great Wall. Tiananmen Square. The Forbidden City. And doing it all on the subway — oh so many funny memories made!
Then traveling to our son’s city. You wonder as a parent about your children when you grow through adoption how they will process or carry it all. They were as nervous as we were on the morning we were going to meet our precious Zeke. And for us — having them there proved to be the best decision we made in our travel as he felt safe and comfortable with little ones around him. My favorite memory was our first day together retreating back to our place — and they put him in a laundry basket while he squealed with delight! Aladdin was on their brain, and I can still hear them chanting, “Make way for Prince Ali” while carrying him in that basket around the room.
The rest of the trip with the bigs offering instant entertainment every time we needed to just lay down — made it seem and be remembered like a dreamy experience. (Trust me, I know not all travel experiences are like this… because we’ve had it go the other way too). But this time, we had gone a little more prepared than our first adoption — expecting the worse and hoping for the best. We filled the gaps of required places with zoo fun, the circus and parks — and my big kids had an absolute blast.
And still. In the back of your mommy heart. You wonder. And worry. Because that’s what our momma hearts do. We worry how adoption might effect all of our children. The one we are bringing home as well as the ones already home. Do they know they are still so important? Even while we are having to give extra attention to this new love? How will they be impacted by all the change?
A few months later, we were on the way home from soccer. Just me and my oldest who had traveled with us. We passed a Chinese restaurant and he shot up in his seat. “Mom! Look! Chin-Chin! That’s a Chinese restaurant — right? Man that was an awesome trip!”
I wanted him to know I cared and loved his opinion on his journey — and while I had my mommy favorite parts — I wanted to hear his and assumed the answer would be a place.
“So — if you had to pick ONE place or event that was your favorite in China on our trip. What would it be? You can pick anything! Like the Great Wall…Forbidden City or what about that ridiculously amazing circus?”
And as I drove — I realized that God really does know best. That he gives us peace for a reason as we are planning the details…whether it’s to take some or none or whatever it is… He can be trusted. He has a purpose for it all.
“Oh mom. No. Those were great. But it wasn’t any of those that were my favorite. It was when HE walked through that door. That’s when everything changed. For him. And for us. Yep. That was my favorite moment in China. And you mom?”
I gripped the steering wheel focusing on the road as tears welled in my eyes.
“Yes son. That was my favorite too.”
Two years later. On Mother’s Day. This past Sunday. We got to celebrate a birthday. His 2nd birthday with us — his 4th birthday on this earth. Two were away from us. And two together. We near the anniversary of our youngest love being home with us longer than in the orphanage — which is always a milestone for us adoption moms…or for me anyway.
Sunday — instead of celebrating Mother’s Day — we celebrated our little love with a pirate party…and there’s no other way I’d want to spend Mother’s Day. And then…the icing on the cake came.
It’s been almost 2 years since that conversation in the car too. Since he told me his favorite moment was meeting his brother. I walked in to him practicing a speech he wanted to give at the last night at Awana at our church. He asked me if I would read it. The words…again took me back…
“…coming to Awana has helped me come closer to Jesus Christ so I can one day be a missionary…and I can share the gospel wherever I go and even when times get hard I will still stand strong and do what is right…”
This week has my heart overflowing — the best post Mother’s Day week a mommy could ask for… full of gifts and seeing fruit of trusting Him in how we grow our family as we celebrate another birthday and watch our oldest children begin to take deep root in their walks with Christ. And so I had to ask…“Where do you feel the Lord might call you to serve son?”
“In China of course. I love that place.”
Oh my heart. I open my hands. I want to trust Him more. As moms, we can worry so much about what will come because of trusting the Lord in new, unpredictable ways. Will our other children be okay as we grow again? Will they still get all the attention they need and deserve? How will this effect them? And if we grow — the details… should they go or stay?
I’m learning more and more — the best thing I can do is just listen to Him and follow. He loves my children even more than I do — and He can be trusted. I’m thankful we followed and listened, and I see how He is weaving a beautiful, strong, powerful story in the hearts of all my children. My job is to give up that worry — and to simply listen, trust and follow…in the big things… and even the small details.
Trust Him in your journey. He is faithful. Wait. Listen. Follow. It will be worth it.
With you and for you,