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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Birthday dear Katie... happy birthday to you....

My Facebook status a few hours ago:

"Can I just ask prayers for my heart? I've been on the verge of tears all day. Right now, it's already January 1st in China and so today is Katie's birthday. I can't "go there" emotionally right now-- the pain of picturing her on her special day without her mama. If you know me, I'm BIG on birthdays, she has no idea what an enthusiastic mama she's getting! But I seriously just want to crawl in bed and wake up on January 2nd-- I won't! We'll do something to celebrate later. Just please pray for my heavy heart."

That sums it up. I felt the tearful floodgates coming and they sure did. Doug hugged me, and watched Cara while I took a shower and cried sobbed wailed and prayed. It happens every six weeks or so and I knew it would happen today. While I was crying, I was thinking how desperately I wanted someone to understand me, to empathize.... (as Doug is just different than me and just doesn't process these things the same way at all). 

I knew that the Lord understood me, but then He brought to my mind ONE other woman who, even more than me, most likely, feels a dread of this day... a lump in her throat when she knows the date's approaching, and perhaps cannot make it through the day without retreating to a room alone to weep. Katie's birthmom. 

(They estimate that she was 2 months old when they found her, and so the Chinese government picked January 1st as her official birthday.) I'm sure it was very close to this date. As for Katie's birthmom, I don't really know how exactly she felt about Katie, and I will probably never know, but each year on her birthday, I have NO doubt she remembers a warm, alive baby girl taking her first breath, and wrapping her up, holding her close, feeding her for the first time, and the huge floods of emotion over her special needs they hadn't expected-- unanticipated realities. Perhaps they didn't even know she was going to be a girl. 

But I guarantee Katie's birthmom hasn't forgotten her, nine months in her womb, labor pains, the miracle of life, and a living piece of herself, a sweet baby girl in her arms. I'm sure she and I would both agree that these past four years were not our dream for our daughter. Four years without a mama. 

To Katie's Birthmom, Thank you. Thank you for choosing life for Xiatong. I promise you I'll always love her.

Cara made a Play-Dough cupcake for Katie and we sang Happy Birthday to her tonight. 

Next January 1st will be AWESOME, epic. There are tears, many, tonight, but soon
 our mourning will turn into dancing, our grieving into rejoicing! 

Happy Birthday, our DEAR Katie, happy birthday to you!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From the food bowl to the cross... and how He can sympathize.

Yesterday I read the Nativity Story to some little children in our town. I explained how "the manger" wasn't a cute wooden bassinet with fresh yellow hay but really more similar to their dog's food bowl, in a sense. The Son of God in a food bowl. The One Who Holds Eternity and "in Whom All Things Hold Together" in a stinky stone or clay bowl. Emmanuel, "God is with Us." He humbled Himself to be able to save us. 

Photo Credit:

But today I'm pretty bummed... one part of our adoption process that was supposed to take 3 days is taking weeks, and therefore pushing back our estimated travel time by weeks... and I'm thinking of Katie. I truly appreciate all the sweet words from friends but it is true that until you have your child separated from you, not by an umbilical cord, but by an ocean, I'm not sure you could totally understand. But Jesus does. I can be sure He knows heartache and suffering... because of Christmas and Easter... From the cradle to the cross. God sent His Son to leave the Throne Room of Heaven to go to a dirty, stinky animal barn and to experience pain and hardship and disappointments and evil... so that, according to Hebrews: 

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16

Are you hurting right now? Jesus has "been there, done that", and can sympathize. He came down from heaven on High, to " be one of us" so He could represent us, in His death, to pay our debt of sin, and reconcile us to God. The Gospel in a nutshell. 

He's able to sympathize with a mother's aching heart. He's able to sympathize with the orphan crying herself to sleep-- or the situation I fear the very most-- the orphan who does not cry because she learned years ago that no one comes to comfort her anyways. 

He's able to sympathize with those of you hurting because of family disputes and quarrels, or those of you today feeling alone and full of sadness. I had a sweet friend come by yesterday to bring me a Christmas card and a thoughtful handmade gift. I simply looked her in the eyes and asked how she was doing. A river of TEARS came, and her shoulders shook, and pain and grief spilled out... grief over losses, grief over family situations, true grief... at "the MOST wonderful time of the year"-- (as the popular carol ironically promises). I hugged her tightly and thought... WOW! So many people must be hurting this time of year. He is ABLE to "go there" with us... and He WANTS to. When we know Jesus, He INVITES us to "approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Is it your time of need? If you know Jesus, He is the mediator between you and God. Because He is fully God and fully man He is the best mediator. You don't have to be in a sanctuary or in a confession booth with a priest to be forgiven or find mercy and grace. You simply need to come to Jesus. He makes us right with God. 

He has been one of us. The INCARNATION changed EVERYTHING. Jesus Christ=God Incarnate. 

If you've never felt that you have received mercy and grace from God... I invite you to come be with us, celebrate His Incarnation with us, tonight, at our church at the candlelit Christmas Eve service. And find me or Doug there... we'd love to give you a hug! More Info:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Let the Words (Signs) Fall Out...

I'm grateful for LANGUAGE. Just the fact that I can sit here in my living room and not just THINK, but express myself, from a thought to my fingertips on my laptop's keyboard keys, to words showing up on the screen, to your eyes reading this right now. You may not understand my heart, but because of the gift of LANGUAGE, you can become aware of and comprehend what I am thinking and feeling.

Now, rewind. That's right, before you reading this, before me typing it, to just me thinking about how I feel, but imagine with no words attached, just fuzzy concepts that have never been discussed with another human.


I'd feel so... separate, severed, different, disengaged from the speaking, communicating world. Imagine seeing lips moving, people seeming to respond to others' lips moving but when you try to move your lips, no one even looks at you and never responds. It's crazy to imagine.

But that's the world my daughter lives in. 

And I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to give her the GIFT of language. Remember, not only is Katie profoundly deaf, but she is not being taught any sign language AT ALL, and if she was to remain in China, would not go to a school to learn some sign until around the age of 8, as far as I understand.

She has NO language.

I mentioned earlier today to a friend that my end goal for Katie is not speech. My end goal for her is not even necessarily sign. (I imagine in the next several years, she'll do both to a degree, depending on many factors). My goal for Katie is COMMUNICATION, however best she finds to express herself and engage the world around her. I have this constantly on my mind.

I've heard this song before, (and realize it was written with a different meaning in mind) but I wept tonight as I heard it, thinking of Katie's "history of silence", literally, and how I can't wait to see "the words (OR SIGNS-- just SOME language) fall out"... and see her world of silence shatter open and her to sign something, ANYTHING to her Mommy and to see the look on her face when I understand her, and respond back with sign.

Oh, the GIFT of language, how we take it for granted! Katie, we're working hard, baby, to get you home and to teach you how to express yourself. You have SO much history, SO much on your mind and in your heart sweet girl. I want to help you get those very valid thoughts and feelings out of the cage of silence and brought into the light through sign language/ speech/ communication. This journey together won't always be easy but I promise I'll be brave, and I'll keep trusting Jesus to help me every hour. You will always, always, always have an audience with me and Daddy! Mommy and Daddy love you, Katie Grace!

Here it is:

(You can go to the YouTube link here if you need to: