The little girls and I slipped away to the playground today to enjoy a bit of the beautiful weather we are having here in the Midwest. I took full advantage of our retreat as my mind was full and my heart was overflowing. I watched my Jillian simply filled with JOY as she explored the mud, leaves, and wood chips. Simple. Pure. Happy. It was a time of just being and enjoying the small moments that God grants us each day. It got me thinking that I didn't always get the JOY in these moments. I didn't always embrace the small things as so breathtakingly beautiful or even recognize just how perfect they could be. I was busy. Always busy rushing, doing, being..all that I thought I should be. I watched that sweet eight year old girl of mine whose face was lit with the biggest smiles, and I relished in this lesson that she has taught me. These small moments can bring the greatest JOY and much is heard when we just stop to be on days like this one.
Today, I heard the whispers that were so heavy on my heart as I waited to bring my first adopted daughter, this one I watched today filled with such JOY, home. I remember more than six years ago now sitting across from my friend Amy in a Chinese restaurant just weeks away from traveling to my Jillian. She had adopted twice before at that point and her first precious treasure has significant special needs. I remember asking her if she knew about her dear girl's needs before saying yes to her. I asked because in my heart I hoped with everything in me that I would not have one so special given to me. Yet, I was given that kind of girl in my Jillian, and now I count being her mother as one of the greatest blessings in my life. I just didn't get it before being given this girl. I didn't understand the JOY in raising and loving such a precious one. The whispers, that bringing home a baby girl that needed so much would be dreadful, were the enemy's lies. The fear that existed in my heart back then was that I would get to China and find a baby girl whose special needs were more numerous than I could imagine. Welcoming a sweet girl into my family back then who would need care for the rest of her life was something I was so afraid of and I was sure that God would not do that to me. Yet, here I am six years later and those scenarios I most feared, that came to be during that first adoption trip when I was handed my Jillian, are the very thing I give the most thanks for in my life today.
So it is with these different eyes that I look at my sweet Ellie Grace. Her needs are great. At two and half, she is developmentally a four month old. She can't crawl, can't walk, doesn't eat solid food, and I could go on and on. She too will likely live with us for the rest of our lives, but I don't see this as a burden at all. On the contrary, I rejoice that God would once again allow me the privilege of loving one more precious girl. I anticipate some times will be hard, but I also know that most of the everyday moments to come will feel like miraculous mountain tops because my girls are in them! I know that no matter what this darling Ellie Grace accomplishes or where this life takes her, she will teach me much more than I could ever teach her. God never wanted my life to be as easy or "perfect" as I planned it would be. He had so much more than that for me, and I am so grateful that He did because these two precious babies, that I will have the privilege of caring for until my last breathes on this Earth, are so very valuable!
As I prepare to walk the halls of the University tomorrow with my newest treasure, these are the eyes I see her through. Regardless of the numbers, outcomes, diagnosis, reports, or recommendations that come out of our six hour stay tomorrow..my Ellie Grace will be loved by me as my daughter all the days of my life. I will give my life for her-laying down all that I am asked-just as my Lord did for me because she is made in His image....perfect, valuable, and fiercely loved by this momma!