When we arrived at the Garden Hotel over a week ago (was it only a week??), they gave us a backpack for Lucy with all kinds of goodies in it, including this cute little panda bear.
Sarah Kate fell in love with it, and was thrilled when we went down to breakfast the next morning and saw several of the exact same pandas for sale. “Can I get one? Please??” As if we would say no!
She’s loved on “Pandy,” as she calls him, slept with him, and lovingly brought him into her inner circle of favorite stuffed animals.
Each morning when we go down to breakfast, Sarah Kate checks on the status of the number of pandas still available, “waiting to be adopted,” she says. “Only one left!” she says one morning, but then is dismayed the next day when there are now three sitting where the morning before, there was just one.
I want to tell her that the Garden Hotel has an endless supply of these pandas – that there will never be none, because they’ll just keep re-supplying them each day. I almost tell her…but I realize that if I do, I’ll steal her joy of knowing that each panda is going to a loving home, and I’ll dash her hope of a day where no panda is left waiting for a family.
During this week and a half, I have been humbled to be a part of about twenty adoptive families who received their precious children the same time we got our Lucy. I consider these parents my heroes. They have enveloped into their family children with heart defects, missing limbs, albinism, cleft palates, just to name a few.
And that’s twenty orphans who are orphans no more. Twenty children who will soon go home with a mom and a dad who will love them, care for them, fight for them, lay down their lives for them…and they would never have had a chance if these families hadn’t come.
A cynic might say, “Well, that’s twenty out of hundreds of thousands of orphans around the world. That doesn’t even make a dent.”
Yes, this side of heaven, because of the brokenness of this world, there will always be orphans.
The day we adopted Lucy, there was probably another abandoned baby who took her place in her crib.
But does that lessen the beauty of the fact that Lucy now has a home? That she has a real name, not one assigned to her based on the name of her orphanage? That she has a future with a family that has fallen deeply, madly in love with her? No way.
I have been so unbelievably amazed and humbled by the number of people who have read this blog and journeyed with us to bring Lucy home. I can never thank you enough for your love and support that have brought us through some very hard, yet triumphant days.
But, I can’t leave China without saying, what about you? To my disbelief, thirteen hundred people (what??) read my post the day we got Lucy. People commented about how they were moved to tears and were so happy for her, for us. I can’t help but think and pray that maybe, just maybe, the emotion will not be short-lived, and God will call some of you to make a journey of your own…a journey of pain and hardship at times, but one of such joy and redemption that you are left undone.
Our journey began when I spent a month in China as a college student and fell in love with the people, then continued as I worked at a crisis pregnancy center and saw the heartbreaking beauty of adoption from the perspective of the birth mother. God continued to weave our story as He kept adoption before us in different ways and wouldn’t let it go, even though we already had three kids of our own and had moved across the world from family and friends. He opened the door and said “Trust Me,” even though we were looking at a financial cost that we couldn’t even imagine how it would be paid.
We were fearful of the unknowns, fearful of “messing up our family,” fearful of taking on a special needs child when we had three perfectly healthy children, (because that’s what we all pray for, right?) Yet God has showed me that my view of what our lives and our family should be about is so short-sighted. As I’ve loved on my sweet Lucy who is far from healthy at a feeble thirteen pounds (what my other children weighed before they were six months old), I’ve been reminded that this is about something so much bigger – a beautiful picture of God’s redemptive story made up of broken pieces, not perfection.
So, where will your story begin? Maybe one day you’ll be staring in awe at your own adopted child, and remember that your journey began when you read a random girl’s blog about a tiny beauty named Lucy, and God whispered, “There are others.”
Yes, there will always be orphans. I weep over this fact. But Lucy is one less, and she, my friends, is worth it.