All wrapped around this gift-
We were done. DONE. Three kids were perfect (in our view), I had an easy life. Truly. My kids all in school during the day, a husband with a job he loves and that provides for us and allows me to stay home. Walking toward teenage years. Done.
God had different plans for our family. He used one little girl to open our hearts to adoption again. For years (since we had brought Katie Mei home in 2005) I had prayed for waiting children. Looking through the lists and praying for each child. It was a quiet evening and I was looking at the list, praying for each little one, and this little girl popped out at me. She was 3 years old and gentle and sweet. And she made my heart jump a bit. I think I gasped because Michael heard me and came in to see what I had gasped about. He looked at her photo and smiled and said "oh!" and went back to brushing his teeth.
A moment later I hear him say "so, would you want to go back?" My mind tried to understand. "to California?" I asked. He said "no, China". I was confused for a moment. Was he really asking me if I wanted to adopt again? Or just a visit. We looked at each other and I knew that he meant to adopt again. I wasn't sure how to feel. My stomach did a flip flop and my heart was beating quickly. And I looked at him, "Maybe so". He nodded and smiled. "Let's pray". And so we did.
We decided to get more information about this sweet little girl. This was on Friday so we had the weekend to pray and found out that by Monday we should be able to find out if it would even be a possibility with our agency to move forward. We had her file. We had seen her photos and had our doctor briefly look at the file. Monday came and we were in a waiting game. The kids were all for it from the get go. But on Monday, Jack was very quiet. I spoke with him at lunch and he admitted that he was scared about adopting again. He told me "Mom, I don't think this is the right one. We need to wait." I hugged him and told him we would know soon.
Jack was right. This sweet little girl had a forever family that had locked her file early on Monday. Our hearts were so joyful for her. There was no sadness. Only joy. And a knowledge that God had used this little one to open our hearts to bringing our daughter home.
This began the paperwork process. Dude. I think I have killed more trees then anyone else in this world.
Fast forward to April. We were done with our end of the paperwork, and we could begin to review files. We reviewed 3. 3 amazingly wonderful children. 3 who were not meant for our family. 3 heartbreaking decisions. And then our family coordinator called with a little girl's file. "She is 4 and has hand and feet deformities" and "would you be interested in reviewing her file?" You bet! So over the phone Michael and I opened her file together. We saw her sweet concerned face and immediately both of us knew we wanted to take her info to our doctor.
So while I waited for all the forms to print, I googled her province and her orphanage. One of the first hits on google was a Love Without Boundaries blog. I clicked on the link and there was a photo of this sweet girl with a LWB volunteer. My heart skipped a beat. That red thread started to grow. When we first moved to OK, Katie was in a gymnastics class where I met another China adoptive mom and she invited me to a mom's group that met each week. I went to the group and met a group of moms who had all adopted from China- most multiple times.
Two of the women I met were also involved with Love Without Boundaries. I emailed one of my friends right away to see if she knew anything about the orphanage or of this little girl. I got an email back right away. And she said to email her the child's Chinese name and she would let me know. A moment later she emailed "and if this is Lauren, say yes RIGHT NOW…She is amazing!"
My heart skipped a beat. So I quickly emailed her name. And I got an immediate response… "This is Lauren!!! She is amazing, full of sunshine". I sat there dumbfounded. Really? Could God speak this loudly and clearly? See, when we told the kids that we were praying about adopting again and had made the decision or move forward, Katie Mei said "I am so excited to get a little sister! Momma, we need to name our little sister, Lauren". This was a couple months before our referral.
I sat there dumbfounded. I called Michael who also sat in disbelief. We were in awe. Over the course of the next day or so, doctors told us that her file looked "perfect". So we moved forward.
My friend was able to pass some updated information through our agency to us. We got amazing photos of this little girl whom we had already wound our hearts around. Each time we got a new photo, all our hearts melted into hers a bit more.
There are other big red bows upon our story with Lauren. Katie Mei's Chinese name is Jing Ying. Lauren's Chinese name is Jing Yan. In one of her reports, a LWB volunteer went to visit her with her daughter. In one of the photos was an older girl with Lauren and she was wearing a Mammoth Mountain California sweatshirt. Sammy ran in pointing to it one night. I know it may seem far fetched, but we spent time skiing in Mammoth (Michael went yearly since he was a child)- and the kids were amazed that there was a Mammoth sweatshirt in China. Lauren also share's her Aunt Gigi's birthday.
We are in awe of the gift of this little girl. God's voice has been powerful throughout this entire process. One we had not intended to enter into again. He had other plans. And he wrapped those plans in a beautiful package. Tied with a big red bow. One end tied to us. One tied to Lauren and the knot tied to His heart. We are blessed beyond measure.
"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you" John 14:18