There's this letter in my Bible. Tucked away somewhere in the book of Proverbs, written in my sloppy handwriting, a combo of cursive and print. I remember the day I wrote it. So full of hope and longing for her, my daughter. I'd seen her face, but we hadn't met yet. I knew we would meet though. That feeling of belonging, of motherhood, of hardcore deep-rooted, unexplainable love, I've had that feeling since the first time I looked at her. Even from the very first time I saw her face in a random email on a random day in September, she has looked like MINE.
"My dearest Emily,
You are desired, baby girl.
I want to hold your little hands and kiss your little cheeks.
I want to watch you sleep and lay with you when you're sick and hold you when you cry.
I want to smile with you and laugh with you and watch you live a world full of firsts........"
I'd almost forgotten about the letter, the one I wrote to her at an adoption retreat when I was supposed to be listening to the speaker, but instead was day-dreaming about all the days to come with my daughter. I knew when I wrote it that no matter how honest I was and how hard I tried to express to her how much I adore her and love her and longed for her, there would never be enough words to express to her the depth of my feelings. Words like that simply don't exist. And then yesterday, it all but bit me like a snake in the grass when I was sitting in church and happen to come across it. I have the letter, but I will never have her.
"....I want to walk through hard places with you and remind you that you were never forgotten.
You were never alone or forsaken.
God was there, baby girl.
He was holding you when I could not.
He was comforting my heart while I waited for you......"
I miss her. Terribly. Awfully. Fully. I miss her every single day. My girls miss her. My husband misses her. She's everywhere, engrained in every aspect of our lives and our home and our hearts. She's there because she belongs there. After all, she's our girl.
"....Emily, you are so much more than what has happened to you and what you have endured.
'Orphan' is not your identity.
It's not who you are. It's not your defining characteristic.
It's simply a part of God's plan; one chapter in your story.
And right now, we are in a hard part.
We are loving you, we are waiting for you,
and our family won't be complete until you're home with us. ..."
And yet, she never coming home. It's so hard, the unknown. I find myself worrying about her. There's a measles outbreak in Congo right now. Did you know that? I did. And I find myself worrying about her. I want to protect her from all the things, including the measles. But I can't. I can't today. I can't tomorrow. I can't ever. And that's hard. There will be no updates, no news to come. Nothing. Just silence and the unknown. And that's hard too.
"...You are not forgotten.
He is there with you in Congo.
His hand is at the center of our journey to you.
And as heartbreaking as adoption is and can be, He has a plan, and His plans are always perfect,
even when we don't understand them. "
"....Waiting for you is hard.
It's hard to know that there are people who know you more than I do.
And as jealous as I can be, more than jealous I am thankful.
I'm thankful for your middle mamas, the people God is sending to take care of you until I can..."
I stand by what I said before ---- we prayed for this little girl to have a family, and she does.
THAT is worth celebrating! Just because God didn't answer that prayer in the way I wanted Him to doesn't mean that He's not good. I don't doubt for even one second that His way will ALWAYS, WITHOUT QUESTION be better than mine. And I don't struggle with why her family came back for her after almost two years. I can't blame them in any way for loving her and wanting her. That is actually the part of all of this that makes the most sense to me; it's so easy to love her, after all.
"...I've been dreaming of you and longing for you and desiring you since before you were born.
You, my precious girl, are so so loved...."
There is one part though that I struggle with-- if she was never meant to come home to us, why did God allow us to have such an immediate, undeniable connection? I don't understand that yesterday or today and can say with confidence that when I'm old and grey I still won't understand that. However, while I may not know why I don't understand or why God allowed things to happen the way they did, I also know that I don't have to understand. Even though it's the most confusing thing I've ever had to deal with and even though it makes no sense to me whatsoever, God knows. And that's enough. It has to be. He knows His plans for our precious Emily, and that gives me more peace and comfort than anything on this Earth ever could.
I don't wish I hadn't had this time with her. I don't regret even one minute of the eighteen months I spent with her as my daughter. I don't wish I'd never gone to Congo. I don't wish that things were different...even now...even without her. How could I? I would never wish for someone to miss and long for the girl they love. I would never choose for someone to feel the way I feel now. Loving her WAS and IS a gift. And even though the gift wasn't what I expected and even though the gift didn't last anywhere near as long as I prayed it would, I will never ever stop being thankful for the gift that was our Emily.
"...I love you and won't stop counting the days until you are home--- no matter how long it takes and how hard it is and how hopeless things may seem at times. Being your mom is already such an honor, a gift, and a priviledge. We are so very blessed by you, our sweet Emily....."