Today, as we close out the month of November and subsequently Orphan Awareness Month, I am excited to introduce the first guest post on So I Fix My Eyes… The author is a friend and sister in the Lord who, after walking the adoption journey with her family, took the time to write a special article for her new little brother from China. It is a moving piece, so ladies, I would advise you to have tissues handy—just in case.
Now without further a due, I present “When Stories Collide”…
Stories are strange things. Because it isn't the big, important people who are usually the main characters; it's not the sunny, lovely days that move the story along. It's the little people who become the heroes. It's the disasters that cause the quest.
I don't really know the beginning of your story. But I think it must have started like many others. With a brave little mother, a brave little father, and a brave little baby. I like to think they loved you dearly, you adorable little ball of sass and sweetness. But then disaster hit. Your head started swelling.
I don't know if they knew what was wrong. I don't know if they had ever heard of hydrocephalus. I don't know if they tried to get the doctor's help. But I think they must have fought for you. You were their beloved one, their beautiful baby and now --
Four months. That's all they had with you. They give up their child. But they gave you a chance. A chance at help, a chance at love, a chance at life. They couldn't help you, but they knew who could. So one night, a brave little baby was left at the gate of the best orphanage in the province.
And so ended the first chapter of this story. But that wasn't the only family fighting for hope.
Because another story was unfolding in another little family. A dream, a hope, a desire was planted in a brave little mother's heart. The door had been closed to continue growing the family the normal way, but God had planted a seed of love for that central country, for a black-haired child with no home.
There was fear. There was doubt. What if we can't provide for another one? What responsibilities and changes will we be laying on the rest of the family? When all your children are already older teenagers, adding a toddler to the mix is a big deal. The unknown is always terrifying, and to give your heart to someone unknown, to someone who might be -- so broken; fear can start rising like a flood. But perfect love casts out fear. Faith overcomes it. Although there was struggle, the seed in the brave mother's heart also took root in all the others', and soon the whole brave little family began their quest to find their child and their brother.
But no quest ever goes smoothly. Mountains of paperwork were scaled, mazes of requirements were gone through, and enough ink was used in signing papers to fill a moat. (Ok, probably only a large bowl, but still.) And in the midst of all these obstacles, the brave family still had to fight off wargs of worry, invading hordes of impatience, and dragons of despair.
The family first caught sight of their brave little baby in December. But half a year later, still no closer to getting him, they received concerning news. He had been moved. The brave little baby had originally been staying with Show Hope* after his surgery allowing the fluids in his brain to drain. But after two years there, he had been moved to a foster home. While the family hoped that this would help him to better see how a family works, they worried about him leaving such a beneficial place, and that he would be stressed and stopped eating, as their recent pictures of him showed a thinner and sadder child.
But the quest was almost over. At last, all the approvals, visas, and travel plans were complete, and at the end of October, the brave little family boarded a plane to China. But, the last push is always one of the hardest. Twelve hours in an airplane is not fun. At all. Nor is having one's body clock the exact opposite of local time. But the beauties of land more than made up for it. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, driving through old alley-ways on a rickshaw -- all echo of years long past, of steady constancy and of gentle sameness. Forty-floor high-rises stacked one against each other, thousands of new cars honking at one another, hundreds of well dressed people passing by with their high-heels and smart phones -- all shout of the ever-rushing future, of constant change and of break-neck speed. Beijing was an amusing dichotomy of old and new, and the contrast continued as the family boarded a bullet train going 300 kilometers an hour, past flooded fields of rice plowed by farmers who were drying their crops on their roof.
Finally, his province. Finally there. One short van-ride to the official building to pick him up. What would he be like? Would he be quiet? Loud? Happy? Afraid? Would he grieve and cry for the home -- so newly gained -- again lost? Would he hide from these people -- so big and tall and unlike any he had ever know -- enclosing himself in fear? So many mixed emotions, so many thoughts swirling.
Two stories were about to collide. And no one knew what the result might be.
The brave little baby was already there, waiting. He had found a nice ride-around toy, and contented himself as he waited. Then some strange people came in. They hung back a little, smiling and pointing at him, pulling out cameras. They approached him every now and then, offering toys and food. He eyed them askance, but was fine as long as they gave him his space. But once the gifts came out -- now he was much more interested. More than once he gave them cause to grin, as only having two hands severely limited him from holding all the many things he wanted to. Slowly the brave little baby warmed to these new strangers, allowing them to play with him, and eventually was giggling happily as they helped him up and down the slide non-stop for twenty minutes. And so they all loaded up into a van, the brave little baby laid his head back on his (still unknown) new father's chest, gave a big yawn, and a new chapter began.
There were still some difficulties. So much new is hard for little ones, and eleven-hour flights are no fun at all. Especially when half of the family is sick. But they were together. The brave little baby had a family again, and the brave little family was complete.
And so our stories collided. And I don't know what the end result might be. But yet I do know this: it will be something beautiful.
I love you so much, you adorable little ball of sass and sweetness. And though you, little one, have so bravely come through disaster and hardship, yet that is what makes your story so beautiful and heartbreaking and wonderful. God has worked great things in your life, and He will continue to do so. You are an orphan no more little one. I love you, my brave, big-headed baby.
Welcome to our story.
*To learn more about Steven Curtis Chapman's group, Show Hope, go to http://showhope.org/about/. We are so very grateful for their care and love shown to our little brother!
About the Author
Isabelle Ingalls is a homeschool graduate who enjoys reading every good book she can find; writing; playing piano; having air-soft wars; singing and dancing around the house; memorizing verses; having deep conversations with friends; and loving and serving Jesus in the wonderful life He has given her in the fantastic state of Texas. She shares her random musings at Seeing Everything Else.
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