Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ponderings from my heart

There is so much I thought I'd share about Liberia, and I am still mentally writing. An experience I can share and a photo I can't probably overshadow a lot of what I will eventually write about. In late December or early January I read a post from a prayer pal routed from The Shepherd's Crook, a group who helps to make aware the "most special" of the special needs" children, prayerfully hoping to spread word and be used of God to see more needy children matched and placed with families. The post was regarding a baby, about a year old ( my best guess is he's about 15-16 months, but very small) in Liberia, described as "very involved" and possibly dying. I responded to the post because we were going to Liberia later on and because we had been approved for 3 and not just 2 children as we'd written on our I 600 A app................................. BUT I got no response and thought that he'd been matched or 'something". The day before we left for Liberia, I did get an email from the baby's orphanage agency director, saying that Baby Secret was still very much available, and that if I wanted to call her, please are 2 #s. I prayed over that ,had talked to Charlie about Secret, we wondered if we were to be his family, for however long he might live........but didn't really act upon any of that until our next to the last day in Liberia. He was on my mind, but I was so focused on Junior and Diamoh, the construction project, new Liberian adoption laws, adoptions being halted pending new laws being written, I had talked to our fellow Addys Hope agency folks with whom we were staying and working, and had their go ahead to talk to the other agency, proceed with Secret if we felt God call us to him. All that in mind we prayed and made that call on Sunday. Within hours we were being driven to Secret's orphanage. I am not sure I was prepared for what sight met my eyes, but I was SO moved with compassion for this baby I was a bit speechless...rare for me!!!!! He has hydrocephaly, along with or causing some Cerebral Palsy, some seizure activity, blindness and tactile sensitivity. Charlie immediately asked if we could be photographed with him so that if we proceeded with his adoption he would be granted IR 3 visa status when I came back for him. Our first photos were pretty dark, and he was pretty upset that anyone had disturbed him from his sleep. He cried, wailed is more like it, twitched and arched his back in protest. The nannies and director told me that he does not like to be touched at all. I asked to hold him and took him from the nanny. Holding him at about a 45 degree angle with his oh-so-heavy - head cradled in the crook of my elbow, some thing remarkable happened. He made a soft sigh, stopped crying and twitching, and his (to whatever degree) blind eyes began searching my face as I spoke to him. The 4 women with us all commented at once that this was NOT like Secret at all! I could tell that he had pneumonia in his lungs, and asked about his deeply congested rattling chest. With no suck reflex I was told, they use a bigger- holed nipple to pour his feedings down , and he chokes: a lot. We talked about getting his bed up at an angle to facilitate easier breathing and clearing of his lungs, placing him on his side to sleep, with a wedge behind him. They told me how often they hold the babies every day , but that since his neck muscles are so weak, and his head so heavy, they can't wear him like they do the other babies. I immediately thought of my friend Tami who makes wonderful slings for babies and knew this is what he needed for bonding while care givers (or his mommy) had their hands free. NO OTHER WAY could anyone hold this baby for any length of time! I hated to leave him and with a heavy heart kissed him good bye and prayed over him. The director, Charlie and I talked about ALL the possible issues, a two agency adoption, Secret's needs, how would proceeding with Secret affect approval for visas for Junior and Diamoh.....EVERYTHING.
I knew we needed to pray fervently over all of this.
A week later, we are not of like mind yet. I think that we could adopt him, I know we could love him. I know that Charlie feels its too much, on everyone. I know that my heart broke like shattered glass when I shared with our family (older kiddos, my mom ) at dinner all about Secret and heard not one positive word, not a word of trusting GOD for the right course of action, just knee jerk "NO NO NO its too much and a lot of "me me me," " I don't get, I won't get,I didn't get..." I heard stories of my failings and short comings as a mother which have NEVER been even alluded to in all my years of being a mamma. I heard "oh I'm sure if I'd met him too I'd want to bring him home, God will take care of him mom, but mom, you can't: you're over 50, you don't have enough time for yourself now "(my nails are done, my hair is cut, I shower, I bowl, I see the chiropractor, Charlie and I have date nights...what do these people think I need that I am not getting?) and a lot of "what about the rest of us?" The younger children who KNOW what it is like to truly have NOTHING, asked if Secret would sleep upstairs in the girls' room since the younger girls had moved downstairs to Esther's now vacant room, if he'd come home with Junior and Diamoh. From my older (bio) daughters I heard how everyone has too much to do NOW, it would not be fair to bring a special needs baby home too. From Malachi, and the younger (not bio) children who are aged almost 13 (son and daughter) almost 12 (son), 10 (son) 9 1/2 and 7 (daughters) I heard that we really don't expect them to do very much actually, and that they could/should do some more to help out. YES!! The negative voices are the ones who are here the least, several of whom do not even liver here any longer.
I think he is ours, I think he is supposed to be ours, but I need to hear from GOD that this is so or not so: not from any one's practical standpoints. Those may have merit, they probably DO, and there is some truth in some of what I heard. BUT did not the children of Israel hear that there were giants in the Promised Land, didn't 10 of 12 spies say nothing but negative about what GOD HAD FOR THEM?? There were giants, to be sure, but where were the eyes of the people fixed? On the GIANTS and not the CREATOR of the Giants. When I know we have sought GOD as a family , I think the answer will be every clear as to whether or not Secret should be a tiny Smith. With my eyes fixed on my Lord, I can face the sad "no " or the difficult "yes" of what comes next. I am not trying to talk down my family, or lift me up in any way. My point here is that our human reactions to whatever situation we face, are pretty meaningless in and of themselves. I was a bit taken aback at my first glance at sweet Secret. YES! I did ask myself "CAN WE DO THIS?????" but that was not "no I/ we can not!" I know how old I am, I know that my left knee locks and my right hip got out of whack form the left knee. I know my chiropractor well. I know that we have a large family and a frequent flier mile program to the doctor can be disruptive to home schooling, I know that I am far from alone when it comes to needing to change a diaper or clean some portion of the house or tend to the farm stuff. I also know that we do not depend upon the farm for our livelihood or our survival. IF the farm was taking too much time, THAT would be the first to go.I love my goats, but they are time consuming and not as profitable as if I had MORE goats. That list goes on. I 'd miss the home stead farming aspect of life, the kids are pretty split on that and say they can go either way. My prayer is that Charlie and I are on the same page with GOD to recognize an open door or a closed one for us with this baby. If in my talking about him, God shows another family that Secret is THEIR baby, my prayers for him to be placed in a family are answered. If WE are the family God has for him, I know God will make that clear and saying so will be a step on solid ground. In all this it is possible that Liberia will tell us "no" or that the US will refuse to issue a visa. THAT set of doors is way down the hallway yet!!! God has shown us a lot of closed doors before, but not until we knocked, and the same with open doors. If I'd said "oops closed door" when Charlie passed out during our vows at our wedding, where would we be? OR if I'd said "No God You can't mean shutting down my midwifery practice now, Charlie's company is failing and we need the money" our life would be aimed in a totally different direction. Our very lives right now are more logistically and financially secure because God put it on Charlie's heart for us to pray about his going to Iraq with his Reserve unit, not once but twice. HARD????????????I'm sure it was harder than I allowed myself to dwell upon, but GOD paved the path. We pulled together as a great family team, our church family was right beside us, they still are.
So if you'll pray with me for the future of this precious baby who has been listed by his agency for almost 8 months and has had no one inquire about him until us, pray that all eyes are on our Abba Father, and not ourselves when praying over Secret? That's my heart, laid bare and open , right now!!


A. Gillispie said...

Linda, praying with you that you truly hear the voice of God in this, that your heart would be swayed either way by no other thing. Love A.

love2bmom said...

You met SECRET? Oh my goodness...

Eight Isn't Enough said...

Wow...what an incredible post. I definately will be praying. Have you heard anything about Liberia opening it's doors for adoption?


Denise said...

I loved reading this post!I know God will lead the way for this precious child.I am adopting a very special needs 4 yrd old whom is also in Liberia. Our son is a blessing to us and i know God lead us to our amazing son.It is a hard decision .Your post flooded back to the day we ehard about our Liberian angel who we are still waiting for to come home.Big hugs and God Bless

holly said... KNOW it will be hard, we KNOW it will be hard, but NOTHING is impossible with Christ. Disabled children are a JOY!!!!! If you have the means necessary, do it!

Holly L.

Laurel said...

Praying with you!

We, too, are praying about some radical family/life changes (not another adoption), but are seeking God for His will ... not just our "logical, human ideas".


mama of 13 :)

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

Oh boy - I have been in similar shoes. My thoughts are that the facts don't matter. The only thing that matters is whether God says he belongs with you. Then God will have already figured out how to work through the details. So what you are 50, so what about the farm. None of that matters if God's plan is for Secret to be with you. I totally understand your desire for Secret to have a family - even if it's someone else. I agree. I had my spirit set on 'Mia' for a while and thought maybe she would be our daughter. But I was totally at peace when she went elsewhere because I knew she belonged to God and I just wanted her to be in her God home, wherever that was. I believe that's what you meant when you wrote about Secret. I will absolutely be in prayer with you that nothing can stand in the way of God's will for Secret. Thanks for all you do! :)

Cindi Campbell said...

Beautiful Post. I've had some of the same thoughts and feelings going into our adoptions and yet I keep coming back to the one thing that keeps me going. If my eyes are on myself....I cannot...When I think about the children....well then I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STREGTHENS ME. Praying for you to hear what God is saying. Cindi