Monday, November 18, 2013

A Year of Reflecting

Wow, I find it so hard to believe that one year ago today, November 19 (China time, they are 13 hours ahead of us), we were given the gift of another child. That day and the emotions of that time are still so fresh in my mind. There have been so many sweet moments since that time. There have also been some hard times and with those hard times many lessons learned.

The overriding lesson has been trusting in a  Sovereign God. We trusted God throughout the process of the adoption, but when Jaelynn was placed into my arms, I began to learn a whole new level of trust.  I will admit when I first held Jaelynn there was a part of me that was panic stricken. I was no longer reading reports or seeing pictures of her special needs, I was holding a special girl with special needs, and it was frightening. How would I actually take care of her? Had we been over zealous and emotional in deciphering God's will to adopt her? Surely there was someone better equipped to take care of such a special little girl. It was obvious after meeting her that she would need a lot of medical care. I knew this before, but after signing papers that made her legally our daughter, the responsibility felt even more real. Very soon we saw beyond Jaelynn's special needs and saw a five year old that needed a mama and baba like any other five year old. 

The Lord was good to us during our time in China. We only had one day that none of us would ever care to repeat, but even looking back on that day, we are now able to laugh (mostly). 
It was amazing to us that though Jaelynn had never been part of a family, she seemed to have an understanding of what a family was, and she was happy to be a part of us and she fit perfectly.

We are very thankful how God has taken care of Jaelynn during her recent surgeries. Things did not always go the way we planned, but God was good to us and she is doing great now. We are not sure what will be next but we are confident that God will continue to care for her.  
Soon after returning home with Jaelynn it seemed as though the devil was hard at work to discourage me and once again I had to fully trust in The Lord and remember how He had been faithful to us and know that He wasn't going to forget about us now that the adoption was finalized. Between health insurance issues and having to switch companies after meeting the deductible with another company, I was frightened and frustrated. I was confident that I had done the right thing by quitting my job, but the devil was whispering otherwise. I became so worried about all of these things and trying to figure things out on my own that it began to take a toll on me physically. I experienced feelings I have never had and I hope I never have again. I wasn't sleeping well and didn't like being alone. Then we went through a very difficult ministry situation and I knew I had to relinquish all of my anxiety to The Lord. This isn't an easy thing to do, but as I did I recognized how God had been faithful, even in the midst of a very dark time. I saw how he sent just the right amount of encouragement at just the right time. I went from thinking God, what have WE done?, to  God, thank you for what YOU have done, thank you for choosing us to be a part of Jaelynn's life. 
It has been exciting to see Jaelynn flourish over the last 12 months. When we first came home I couldn't even take a shower without her sitting outside the bathroom door and talking to me the entire time making sure I didn't disappear. Now she goes to Sunday School, kindergarten, and does really well on the rare occasions I have leave her in someone else's care. She is doing quite well in school and is making friends. Physically Jaelynn is doing well. She will be finishing a seven week course of IV antibiotics this Friday (YAY). She is starting to move around a lot again. She is even beginning to do some standing exercises (remember she only has the use of her left leg). It is fun to see her accomplish new tasks and see how pleased she is with herself. 

Jaelynn is very much like any other child and we are daily working on issues like patience and obedience. There are daily reminders for her as she likes to test boundaries. She can give you the definition of both of these words and has even been known to point out to us when we are not being patient.  (Which is more often than I'd like to admit)
Since being home we've experienced many firsts with Jaelynn. We celebrated her first Christmas just about 3 weeks after arriving home. Those days are a bit of a blur as we were settling in to life as a family of six. In January we were able to take a day trip to Disney's  Magic Kingdom. My parents and sister were able to join us for that special day and we had a great time. In May, thanks to a very sweet and generous friend, we were so thankful to be able to travel to Nashville for Show Hope's 10th Anniversary Celebration. I can't even describe how fun it was to see so many children together again on this side of the world.

I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. David, Jaelynn and I were together last Thanksgiving, but we were in Zhengzhou, China. I really missed the rest of my family that day and I am excited to spend our first Thanksgiving together as a family. 
(Taken last Thanksgiving)

On November 19, 2012, 13 children became orphans no more as CCAI travel group 1928 welcomed these children into their families. Happy Gotcha Day to all of those families. I think of you and your children often and those first happy and difficult days as we were getting to know our children. 

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