Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hand Picked

Today is the One Year Anniversary of Li'l Empress's referral date. I've spent a lot of time in recent weeks re-reading archived posts related to our adoption journey around this time last year. Many of you may remember the tumultuous times we went through in June and early July of last year. The highs of thinking that we'd found our Li'l Empress (here) and the lows of the failed first referral (here). In between those extremes, we tried to live life as normally as possible. We tried to keep our hearts and minds stayed on HIM and HIS plan for our family. It was an excruciatingly painful journey, and often times felt like a miscarriage. (I say this because I had one many years ago, filled with similar extremes, questions and unknowns over the three weeks of waiting to know the final outcome.)

We had so many questions during that season. So many tears. We took strength from the prayers of our friends and family, including many of you. I spent many early morning hours sitting at the front window, Bible open on my lap, coffee cup at my side, seeking wisdom and peace. Through it all, we hung on to the promises of the Lord. We clung to the verses that you all sent us. And we clung to the words that our wonderful agency director shared with us, as he and his staff walked through this uncharted territory. (To our knowledge, there weren't very many other such referral failures happening with the then-new special needs program of "locking in" a child's file.) Here is a quote from a post on July 3rd, last year:
Here's where we are now: apparently, there was some mistake made in the SN offices at the CCAA that resulted in the failure of this referral being definitively matched to our family. When pressed by our beloved director at Living Hope to make things right (we thank God for him!), they (the CCAA) agreed to hand-pick a child for us based on our Special Needs application that Miss Ashley has on file.(bold and italics added today for this post)
As a family, we stood on those words, "hand-pick" and began that day interceding for THE LORD to be the one to hand-pick our daughter. That the plan of the LORD for our family, and for the little girl that HE had hand-picked from the beginning of time, would NOT be thwarted by the enemy. We filled the house with music that would keep our hearts and minds focused on our mission. (Thank you, Lord, for Steven Curtis Chapman's cd This Moment. It was an integral part of our healing process and our journey toward our Li'l Empress in that season.) We posted verses and quotes all over the windows, mirrors, and the fridge that would aim our prayers like arrows into the offices of the CCAA. We honed in on the concept of Li'l Empress being hand-picked by the Lord for our family. We went after it. Looking back on it now, it's amazing to me that all this happened over a four week time frame. It felt like MOOOOOONTHS while we were in it. But God was faithful. He met us in a powerful way. He taught us valuable things about Himself. And about our own hearts. He moved mountains with our prayers. He bonded hearts in unity over the hand-picking of our daughter. He used our story to move the hearts of many who read or heard about it.

On Monday, July 14th at 8:17 a.m. we got a phone call that changed our lives. It was the moment for which we had been praying. Our adoption agency called to say that a referral had been delivered for a little girl that they believed was our "hand-picked" daughter. (You can read about the phone call here.) It was the first day of a joyful, exuberant, exciting journey (most of which is chronicled in our archives if you are interested in reading more).

Now, one year later, how do I know how much God loves me? How much does my Father love to remind me of the beauty and joy that He has brought into my life? Well, on a recent trip to my local K@hl'$, look at what I found waiting for me on the racks.

No matter that this daughter of mine has plenty of jammies to get through the summer and fall season. Never mind that these particular jammies are just about the cutest ones I've ever seen. And please, who even cared that they were 40% off with a 15% coupon? This little kiss from My Abba Daddy was the perfect touch-stone by which to remember all that He has done for us. And all that He has in store for Li'l Empress.

I'm just so blessed that He has allowed me to join the fun!

These two pictures are of Li'l Empress at about 6 months old, when she was entered into the Waiting Child program of the Chinese International Adoption program. The same month that we filed the paperwork with our adoption agency to pursue a waiting child (special needs.) How cool is God?!


Salzwedel Family said...

Oh my word...I remember those times like it was yesterday. My heart broke when your referral fell through and I rejoiced when Li'l Empress was found. God is good!

Aus said...

I'm so glad that ya'll ended up with Lil Empress - I too remember lurking in those days! As for the PJ's - how could you pass up a miracle like that? :)

hugs - aus and co.

Kateri said...

Great post, T!! I can't believe it's been a year!
Oh, and might Kohl's have another set of those adorable PJ's for Alayna...maybe in a 2T??!!
Love ya!

Miss Ashley said...

Hey Gang!

I remember the day as though it was yesterday! We have been through so much during that time and I am so happy to have gotten so close to you and be present during such an important time in your lives!

Can't wait to see you around town!

Miss Ashley

The Literary Gourmet said...

I remember my heart aching and breaking for you as you waited and pushed through the disappointment and confusion. I remember admiring the way you chose to cling to the Father, especially in midst of such trial. I remember crying over every post that brought fresh updates of the joy in your union, and then settling in with your precious daughter. And I'm crying again now, at the intimate care of our Father, who is interested in every detail of our lives, and is giddy with anticipation to drop such kisses into our lives. I love you! And I love You.

Our Journey to Rachel said...

Oh, how time flies! It's amazing that I met you right before you traveled to bring Lil'Empress home and we had just arrived shortly before with Rachel. Congratulations on your "Hand Picked" Day and yes God is good! When we trust in Him, He never falls short! I can't believe I haven't met your Lil' Empress yet! We need to fix that!

Sherry Crist

Kimberly said...

Isn't it amazing to know that we are hand-picked by God to be a part of his family? And how awesome to see how he showed you this so clearly through the circumstances he used to bring Li'l Empress to your family! Happy one-year referral anniversary!!

I haven't been as active in the bloggy world this summer but I LOVE checking in here to see how the Gang's doing. And yes-- the girls have grown so much! AK seems to grow up a little more each day. I have spent the whole summer at home with her and I am loving it!!

Jessica said...

I remember it sometimes like it was yesterday, walking all of that with you. I am so thankful that you all hung in there . She is a beautiful little girl and she was hand picked for your family and what a perfect fit and perfect pair of pj's.

julie said...

What a wonderful testimony of God's provisions for us. I needed to read this today. Thanks so much for blessing me this way.


p.s. Loved the jammies!!!

Debbie said...

Cant believe it has been a year. I remember following along with you as we were a few months behind you. Our daughter who we were blessed with in November just had Cochlear Implant surgery and in a few short weeks ( just 20 days before her one year referral date) will hear for the first time in her life. God is good!