what a weekend.
your prayers for sweet sara were most definitely heard, my friends. and i can't thank you enough for them. thursday and friday we at the raining season were flooded with leads to hospital connections, monetary donations to cover her current medical needs, new sponsors to assist in her extended specialized care, phone calls checking in on her status, and lots and lots of prayer. i have been so overwhelmed at the outpouring of love people have shown. when it is appropriate to do so i am going to individually name these people and probably open mouth kiss them for what they've done. ok. not the last part. but you get my drift. i won't do it. i promise. but i am going to hug them. for an awkwardly long amount of time. because what they have done is good. and important. and sara deserves to be loved that way. so for now, a proper thank you. i'll save the gushing for later.
quick update: sara has been on iv fluids to hydrate, and successfully underwent a procedure that dilated her esophagus so that doctors can start getting nutrients into her. today we will get a report from her surgeon in sierra leone that will tell us the extent of her scaring and recommend further treatment and surgeries to improve her health and quality of life. bottom line? we need to get sara to the states on a medical visa. she requires an amount of care that she simply cannot receive in her current location. so please keep up the prayers for our sweet girl!
alright, onward and backwards. to the whole yes conversation we started last week.
have you been thinking about your yes?
- have you found it yet or are you still looking for it? -
have you been thinking about where you are in this whole yes game?
- have you said it yet or are you standing on the edge sticking one toe in first? -
since i'm asking the questions i'll go ahead and answer them first. (giving the gift of letting people go second is one of my favorite gifts to give. but mostly because i'm an oldest child and therefore loud and sometimes bossy. not because i'm generous and brave. but generous and brave sounds better, so let's go with that.) yes, i've found my 'yes'. yes, i've said my 'yes'. but only recently. this whole yes business is still something that i am sorting through.
let's start at the beginning. well, the beginning of the beginning. my yes found me fairly quickly. an overnight success yes. or, if you love a good 'bennifer' as much as i do, an overnight sucyes. the kind of overnight success where years of preparation finally meet opportunity, and... boom. you're michael jordan averaging 28.2 points per game in the nba. or, boom... you're adopting 4 kids from africa. basically the same thing. (just go with it.)
this preparation stage fascinates me. how long was i being worked on before i said yes? just when did this preparation stage start, and how long of a road was it to get me to a place where i was capable of and willing to say yes? how many different things happened along the way that set me up for this perfect storm type moment? what got me to this place? let's work backwards:
take your daughter to work day. i accompany my mom to the neonatal intensive care unit where she works and rock babies all day.
i babysit and work at a day care in the summers during my high school years because i am hardwired to love kids. not when they have colds and sneeze on me though. gross.
i move to boston to attend music school.
i move to nashville and begin my career as a songwriter. this means i won't make enough money for awhile to donate anywhere, so i choose to donate my time instead.
i begin volunteering at the children's hospital on the hematology/oncology unit.
at some point during this time period my friend mae and i begin to clock hours and hours and, you guessed it, hours of time on her porch talking about our future adoption dreams. we begin reading katie davis's blog, become fascinated with her story, and first learn about 147 million orphans.
4 years of volunteering later and the loss begins to take a toll on me after losing one of my favorite patients who we'll call "d".
i have a conversation with a friend who tells me that he thinks the boundaries of hospital volunteering are limiting me.
i stay up all night researching orphanages in africa that i can take a trip to in search of something even bigger.
the next day i have lunch with one of my friends (who i have been having a lot more lunches with recently to repair some damage we did to our friendship - important because if we haven't done that damage we wouldn't have spent so much time trying to fix it, and might never have had this life changing lunch... talk about good coming from bad) who mentions that she just met two local women who started and run an orphanage in sierra leone and asks me if i want to take a trip with her there someday. it is serendipitous timing.
she sets up a lunch with the kelly and erica, the women at trs. at this lunch they tell me about the adoption ban, the forever family initiative they have created (skype once a week, travel once a year until the child(ren) are 18) to give the kids family in the meantime, and show me the first picture of g&g.
i stay up all night researching everything i can about this orphanage. blog posts from missionaries, facebook photo albums from previous travelers, video footage of a child dying from malnutrition... i don't sleep a wink because i am reaching for my phone every 20 minutes to say yes to being a forever family to g&g. every time i start to dial, i get scared and hang up.
wake up the next morning, begin running errands, keep up the every 20 minutes routine, pull up behind a car with a 147 million orphans bumper sticker, and realize that they are the reason i began thinking of this whole adopting thing in the first place. decide i'll call kelly to say yes to g&g when i'm done running errands.
2 blocks later i rear end that car directly on their 147 bumper sticker. they have a dent the size of a golf ball and a $200 repair, my car is crunched up like an accordion and totaled. subtle hint?
i say yes to g&g.
i meet josh. he knows about g&g and our forever family from the beginning.
the adoption ban lifts between our first and second date. i s*#t you not. i am on board to adopt g&g.
josh and i have a conversation about me losing my favorite patient, "d" and how the last time i saw her one of her nurses kept calling her "e" because that's what her chart said, but she went by her middle name, "d". josh told me that his sister's name was "e", and that he had recently lost her. (this is where if i was writing a book i'd talk about josh's entire preparation journey that got him to a point where he'd be open to say yes to something this big, this brave, this bold. this is where my preparation collides with his.)
josh gets on board with adopting g&g. i quickly discover that he is my lobster.
i start saving pictures or m&m so g&g have pictures of their siblings. josh starts to fall in love with them through those pictures.
we find out that m&m's forever family isn't going to adopt and we start praying. hard.
we find out that m&m's forever family has decided that they can no longer be a forever family. we decide to add m&m to ours.
i travel to sierra leone for the first time and it quickly becomes apparent that we are supposed to keep this family together.
i return from my trip, josh and i continue to pray about it, and decide that we are now a family of 6.
i can't make this up, people. look at how far back this goes. i have been being prepared, built, designed to be ready for this since i was 13. and probably even before that, but i just bored you with a 20 minutes timeline read, so let's just go with 13 for the sake of your youth. this was all a part of God's plan for my life. for families to change so that ours can too. for friendships to ebb so they can later flow. for instagram pictures to come up with scriptures that support my blog posts just before i go searching for the prefect verse. you know. coincidentally.
key words: prepared in advance.
for people who are more prone to go with the flow, this preparation might not feel like it. it might just be. for people who are a little more, um how shall i say this nicely, headstrong, *cough* yours truly *cough*, this process might be a little harder. the molding and shaping might be a little more painful when it's resisted. either way, it will happen.
i want to encourage you to go with the flow. i want to encourage you to look at these sometimes painful periods as you being shaped out of what you were and in to who you will be. hang on. be patient. stay open. keep listening.
and come back tomorrow so we can keep talking about this.