In a very real sense, I have been pregnant since the day I lifted an impossibly tiny and frail Katie into my arms…
…and my heart gasped for breath and cried out to the Lord.
Oh, dear Jesus…
Since that moment, every little extra corner of my life has been filled up with the children waiting there.
My heart has been filled up.
Filled up full with the tiny, hurt children Katie left behind her.
Full to overflowing with the hope and promise of new life.
Each child carried deep inside me until they are safely delivered into the arms of their parents.
The emotions remain so close to the surface; the tears come so easily.
Sometimes even shooting pain that seems unbearable.
Full, full, full to bursting.
One of the little children who is waiting deep inside my heart has a story that started twelve years ago.
Twelve years of lying alone in a bed, hidden up in a corner of the hopeless floor, invisible, unloved, clearly not an staff favorite.
For twelve years, she grew older, but not much bigger. She wasn’t loved or fed, you see. She was allowed to survive, but not much more.
When the babas were given out, this tiny girl was passed by.
She was picked up by ankle and wrist and swung over to have her diaper changed.
If she irritated the staff by letting her mouth gape open, they impatiently pushed upward on her chin to close her mouth.
Plopped in a wheelchair and left to sit with her back turned toward the other people in the room.
“She is Veronika 2,” said the director.
When I watched her official file video, it was as if I was viewing an ultrasound glimpse of one of the children I carry in my heart.
To see her.
My heart hurts. The load it carries feels a little heavier than it did before.
So much tinier than she appears to be in her close-up photos. Like a little, unloved baby.
Today I received the text message I was waiting for from a dear friend I first met six years ago, her future mother.
“We have the commitment papers, she’s officially ours!”
Oh Penny, you have a daddy and mommy who are already running to get you. My heart is bursting with joy for you!
You will be safe and happy with them, and so very, very loved.
A year and a half ago, I envisioned them doing this. I told them I considered them to be over-qualified to be adoptive parents to a child with special needs–a child like you, Penny–for so many, many reasons. Their big, children-loving hearts. Their down-to-earth common sense. Their flexibility. Their sense of humor. Their quiet generosity. Their willingness to deal with medical details.
But mostly their big, children-loving hearts.
I watched your future parents’ eyes when they first met our Katie-bird. It was her tenth birthday! I saw the whole picture sink in to their realization. How very ordinary and unimpressive we were, how small and plain our home, how bustling our family life, and how our Katie fit into all this as if she had always been here. How she overflowed with life and joy as she sat on her daddy’s lap.
Just a little child, sitting on her daddy’s lap. No special aura around the child. No halo around the daddy’s head. No saints and angels showing anywhere in the scene. Just a little child securely surrounded by her big family.
I heard their questions, serious, searching questions, the second time they met Katie. I searched their faces for understanding as they heard me struggle for the right words.
“You know how you love your own children; it’s just like that. To us as their parents, children with special needs aren’t some weird or scary list of diagnoses. They are just…people, our own children whom we love. We find joy in learning to know them and appreciating their individuality and helping them thrive just like we do for any of our other children, just like you do for any of your children. Oh, how I wish there was some way to help parents on the outside really comprehend this one reality.”
It has been beautiful to witness the process of fear turning into faith, questions into confidence, and doubt into joy and excitement.
It’s the birth of pure, tender, enormous Christlike love in the lives of your future parents, Penny. To see it is to know–this is holy ground. God is present here.
And as I read that text message, “She’s officially ours!” and as my thanks rose to God and the tears flowed uncontrollably down my cheeks, I felt the other waiting children move within me.
Oh God! If you can provide parents for Penny, You can provide parents for Brandi!
And for Theodore!
You can break hearts–Oh! How I pray that You would break hearts!–and fill them full to bursting with Your love! Oh Lord! Please show us Your glory through the lives of these little ones! Deliver them safely into their parent’s arms, I pray, in the name of Jesus!
So let it be.
To visit the blog of Penny’s family, click here: Farm Girl in the ‘Burbs
For more information about adopting Brandi, Kramer, Chad, Garnet, or Theodore, please email Andrea Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org!