Katie is learning to drink thickened liquids from an open cup.
[Note: I promise that despite how it may appear, I’m not giving her swamp ooze. Just pear puree thinned with green smoothie.]
She is precious beyond words.
The thick callouses on her wrists have nearly disappeared. Did I ever tell you about the callouses? They had formed on each wrist, where she chewed vigorously when she was upset.
The orphanage poison is eradicated from her body. She is sweet inside and out, from head to toe. Yes, even her morning breath is now sweet.
And every time I look at her small face, every time I lift her helpless body, labor to teach her what she should have learned a whole childhood ago, care for her needs, hear her cry in the night, gather her in my arms and watch delight cross her face, every time I lay her head on my chest and sing to her, every time I fill her up with hugs and kisses, I remember the person our Katie used to be.
How can I forget?
I can never forget.
Our Katerina is safe now, but I cannot go back and erase the pain of her history. Nearly ten years of hurt. I can never forget that when she was six years old, before she received her baba, she weighed seven pounds. I can never forget that they thought she would not survive, and that a baba would be like hospice care, to give her some comfort before she died. I can never forget that the volunteers were startled every time they came back to the orphanage and saw that she was still alive.
And every time I look at my precious new daughter, I see in her all the faces of the little ones she left behind her. Tears for them lie just under the surface, and groans continually rise from my heart on their behalf. Oh…LORD…please…
I can never forget that there are other little ones in the world who are far too tiny, and have been waiting far too long.
Waiting…waiting…waiting in Ukraine like tiny Kori waited for the first seven years of her life. Kori’s mother Anna was an encouragement to me when I was in the PICU with Katie. When Anna went to get Kori, she weighed sixteen pounds. Like Katie, she wore a size one diaper and size twelve month clothing. When I hear Anna tell Kori’s story, I hear in her words the cry that is in my own heart for the children left behind. “How long, O LORD, how long?”
Waiting…waiting…waiting in Russia like Nathan or Ekaterina. Please, O LORD, send them families with courage not to make excuses, courage borne of pure love and faith in You, our great miracle-working God.
Tomorrow, three more of the children from Katie’s former orphanage will meet their new daddy or mommy. Keith, Annie, and Lina. Do you remember them? They are safe, even if they don’t know that they have a hope and a future.
But I can never forget the others, the ones who don’t yet have families to love them.
How could I ever forget them?
They are the children Bulgarians would never adopt. The children who will never be able to articulate why they need a family. The children deemed so undesirable and unadoptable that the social services never bothered to list them with the MOJ. This week, beginning in just a few hours now, our attorney will be right there at the orphanage with three adoptive parents. They are constantly on my mind and I am fervently praying that God will use them to level more mountains.
Because when I look at my daughter’s face, I also see the power of God.
How can I forget what He has done for her?
I can never forget.
O LORD! Help of the helpless! Show Your mercy through Your mighty power! How I pray that You will finish the good work that You have begun, bring the little ones out of this warehouse, and settle them in nurturing families! Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering our prayers. Amen.