Friday, September 12, 2008

A Legacy

Today Matt and I sat down for a little while to read from a book about adoption, which is part of our educational requirement for the adoption. We are required to have so many hours in various topics such as attachment, lifelong issues, etc. Now this is an easy thing to do because we want to educate ourselves and be prepared the best we can for our precious little one, just as I read the What To Expect books as I waited for Eli’s arrival. We have read much more than is required but somehow never found the right book/video that would meet the requirement for the multicultural/trans racial segment. I began thinking that we better get busy just in case we were to receive that long awaited phone call. So through our social worker we have finally got our hands on a book that addresses this issue.

Reading today gave us another opportunity to talk about how we will handle the fact that Emma was born in China but will be raised as an American citizen. We couldn’t possibly ignore the fact that she was born in China but we don’t want to be shoving down her throat Chinese things because she will be an American. On the one hand, if we were to avoid talking about the fact that she was born in China, the Chinese culture or even her life before she came into our family then we have in essence said that that period of her life wasn’t important, that somehow her life didn’t really began until she came to us. All of which is untrue. On the other hand, if we are constantly serving her rice and congee or if we were to have her room decked out in all things Chinese then we run the risk of constantly reminding her that she is “different”, which can be bothersome to adopted children who just want to belong.

We’ve decided that there is a balancing act here, one that we take very seriously. We want to honor her Chinese roots. We want to learn all we can about her birth country, their traditions and customs. When we do finally travel to China it’s not simply a vacation, it’s an opportunity to see this great land and take in the marvelous wonders of the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It is also my heart’s desire that when we go to China we will be able to visit the spot in which Emma was found and we pray that we can visit her orphanage. We want to take many pictures and document every single aspect of this part of her life, so that we can pass this along to her when she is older. My heart aches knowing there will be parts of her life story that she will never know and I want to be there for her as she tries to deal with this.

I want Emma to grow up confident and proud of who she is. However, the most important legacy that I want to leave Emma is that I want her to know who she can be “in Christ”. I want her to know that God formed her inward parts; He wove her together in her birthmother’s womb. I want her to know that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. That God saw her unformed substance; and in His book were written all the days that were ordained for her, when as yet there was not one of them (Psalms 139:13-16). I want her to know that there is redemption through Christ’s blood. I want her to know all about God’s grace in which He lavishes upon us so freely. I want Emma to know that God has a plan for her life. No matter how painful her past may be, I pray that Emma will not be bound by her past but allow Jesus to be Lord and Savior of her life. I pray that she will come to a full understanding of her identity in Christ and allow God to use her past for His glory. After all, God has allowed her to walk through this journey, it was no accident. God has a purpose!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We've Broken A Record

My mind was once again thinking about this wait that we have going on. Often times thinking about the wait can get me down and discouraged and then there are those times when I sit back and chuckle. Well, today is one of those laugh kind of days, in a twisted sorta way, as I started comparing our adoption to a "regular" pregnancy. Now that's not so twisted, many often do this because, after all, it really is pretty comparable. I have often caught myself saying to others, "Man, this sure is the world's longest pregnancy" and that's pretty much how I've felt today. I'm feeling very OVER DUE right about now. Now that's when my mind kicked in and decided to do a little bit of research and put things into perspective for you.

The shortest gestation period, which is shared by three marsupials: the American opossum, the rare water opossum, and the eastern native cat of Australia. Now these very lucky mommas only have to wait 12 - 13 days. Next we can shift to the longest gestation period for a mammal and that will go to the African elephant. These poor mommas have to wait on average for 660 to a max of 760 days for their little bundles to arrive. I'm sure many of you women are thinking just how thankful you are that the gestation period for humans is only 280 days, give or take. Now let's take a little look at the gestation period for our little Emma Katriel, get ready to brace yourself... If we were to go by the date that we say is when God conceived in our hearts our little girl then we are on day 1,789 and if we were to go by our log-in-date, which is what China would go by, then we are only on day 846. Did you hear me right? 1,789 days and 846 days!

We have surely broken some sort of record for longest gestation period and in light of the recent Olympics I think that China should hand over one of their gold medals, but I'd settle for a far more precious metal than gold, I'd settle for a jewel, our Emma Katriel! In all seriousness, many times I do feel very large and over due but in all actuality I'm not late, nor will I ever be late because God has orchestrated this pregnancy and His timing is ALWAYS PERFECT, NEVER LATE! Resting in God's sovereignty is what allows me to persevere. And for all of you other mommas out there who have been so richly blessed to be called to this journey of adoption... keep pressing on!