Meeting Your Daughter For The First Time
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To Grieve in Adoption
If I've learned anything in this life, it's don't tell God your plans. His ways are much better.
My husband, Nate, and I felt led to love and care for an orphaned child with special needs—a child waiting for one family to love them just the way God created them. On Wednesday, September 11, 2013, almost one year to the day after we started our journey, we were asked to consider adopting an unborn baby girl. The medical report from two ultrasounds was daunting. We knew she was missing part of her leg, and we knew there were other significant physical challenges. Beyond that, the doctors said they would have to assess her once she was born.
For three days, we prayed for clear direction. If we were to commit, we wanted to be the parents this baby would need while still being able to be the parents our three daughters needed, and we wanted to still be able to do ministry well. If we weren't going to be able to do all of that, then we wanted the freedom to say no and know that it was the right answer. So we prayed. Hard.
Nate and I had said for three years that if the Lord ever gave us a fourth daughter, we would name her Amelia. On the third morning of prayer, we looked up the meaning of the name.
In Greek, Amelia means “without limb.”
We’d chosen that name years ago, but God had always known who our Amelia would be. We could literally feel Him smiling down on us.
Amelia Jane was born the following Monday, a beautiful mix of South Korean and Colombian features with a full head of black hair. We’d asked for a child with special needs, but perhaps unique is more descriptive. Amelia had multiple physical anomalies at birth—doctors at two hospitals said she has the most unique bone structure they’ve ever seen. They hoped she would be able to lay on her back by 6 months, but she did it on her one month birthday. There is no telling what God has planned for her.
I prayed boldly before her birth that she would be miraculously healed, but I knew in my heart that physical healing wasn't coming. I knew in my soul that God would use my Amelia for His Kingdom just the way she is. It's a hard place to be as a mommy, to say "OK, God. I know she's Yours first, and You know what’s best—You're just gonna have to carry us through."
If God had healed her, like I begged Him to, we would have praised Him, brought her home, and gone back to our easy lives.
But this is so much better.
Instead, Amelia is our rubber cement to God for the rest of our lives. I will never, ever be able to get far from His mercy, grace, and guidance because I cannot get through a day or an hour without Him.
This hard, messy, scary stuff—and it's good.
A lot of people don't understand it. Some people think we’re crazy. A few have said hurtful things. But we have an audience of One. He holds the future, and we know we are doing what He has called us to do. We have shared Amelia's story, our story, and most importantly the Gospel with more people over the last few months than we ever have before. We will never know the number of people who have been brought to Jesus or closer to Him because of this amazing baby girl and God's sweet mercy and amazing grace until we get to heaven.
I look into her crib at the pink bundle of love that, by the world's standards, is broken, and I think about her journey to get here. I know she is beyond perfect, and God knew she was the perfect fit for our family. His ways are not our ways—they are so much better.
Amelia is doing wonderfully well. She cannot move her arms or legs due to her condition, but her little mind is amazing! She speaks and communicates like she is 3 or 4. Her therapists are always amazed. She has learned to scoot all over the place using her chin and shoulder, turns pages of a book with her mouth, can draw and paint holding a pen or paintbrush in her mouth, and can play games on my phone using her bottom lip to touch the screen.
A thousand tiny miracles have brought us to this place and to this family, and God's hand was in each one. Amelia has changed our life in the most special way. None of us will ever be the same.
Bethany’s Caring Connection fund has helped make it possible for families to adopt older children, sibling groups, or children with special needs. Learn more or contribute at www.bethany.org/caringconnection.
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We fall more in love with her everyday!