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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our Bittersweet Week: Grief and Joy

We got Travel Approval last Thursday! That means China has agreed that we can come pick up Kate. This is so surreal!

What a roller coaster ride of a week this has been. Most of you know, Doug's dad, John, went to be with Jesus very unexpectedly last Monday. He died instantly of a heart attack but the circumstances of finding him were horrible for all of our family. He knew The Lord and was one of the most kind, attentive, gentle men I've ever known. We know he's in Glory but we are all grieving and still in shock. Doug and our family gave a wonderful memorial service for him a couple days ago.

Yesterday was ROUGH though, going back to "normal life". We miss him terribly and he was so excited to meet Katie. We pushed travel back one week to allow ourselves more time to grieve and prepare. We are allowing ourselves to take joy in our news that we are FINALLY going to get our sweetie now!!! We just received our flight reservations: our consulate appointment is scheduled, we fly out next week, on April 30th until May 15th with Cara (Thank you to our friend house-sitting for us). When I saw HER flight reservations, particularly, for "Liu Xia Tong", it got really real. We are going over as a family of 3 and coming home as a family of 4!

We can't wait to hold her! Doug and I have discussed how losing John has made us prepare in a way, more for Katie's grief. Cara, our biological daughter, is grieving badly: since she lost her "Opo", she hasn't been eating, has completely reversed potty-training, has long tantrums and crying spells, and at first wouldn't even look at us and would throw toys at my head. She was so angry and confused. Cara lost ONE character of her life and member of her family. We spent all day every Sunday with him but only once a week. BUT Cara has been nurtured and loved by us and never neglected. Katie is about to lose (and maybe already has, we think they have removed her from her foster home already) EVERY character of her life, almost everyone she remembers from the past year and a half at her foster home, including her little foster brother: her constant companion and bed-mate, and has been placed back in the orphanage that is short-staffed enough that they can't give much attention to a grieving toddler. When we come, she will lose EVERY familiar character AND every place she's ever known. Doug and I saw first hand how confusing grief affects the behavior of a nurtured child, much less a neglected one. We literally verbalized to each other that even if Katie cries for the first week straight and bites and hits and tantrums, we won't be surprised. If she does better than that, we will be pleasantly surprised. Grief at this age is complicated and confusing and really, will continue to be displayed in behaviors periodically (sometimes from triggers and sometimes without much warning) for years. But we aren't leaving her. We are in it for the long haul. She's about to experience unconditional love, maybe for the first time in her life.

Yesterday, I had this song running through my head: There were times yesterday when the intensity of all the emotions seemed incredible to us. We are claiming beauty from these ashes and we know John is in Glory and would be taking JOY in his Katie coming home so very soon. The Lord had made beautiful things out of John's life. He was a simple man with a very difficult childhood but God gave him such a tender and compassionate heart. Now The Lord is taking an orphan, with a tragic beginning and giving her a glorious future with a family who will love her forever. He makes BEAUTIFUL THINGS! "Beautiful Things" by Gungor

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us (2 x) 

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new. "
It is a Truth we see everywhere this time of year, SPRING: death to new life, EASTER: death to new life, and now, the bittersweet reality of losing a loved one (but John has a new body in heaven with no more sickness or pain) and now gaining a new loved one. Everything is made new in Him.
Everything is about to change for our Kate!
Our growth update from April 2014 at 4.3 years old: 30 lbs, 35 inches (a 2T),
 and size 6 shoe.
Here's her newest adorable video, running around, she's a busy bee:

Happy Easter from the Beckers!