A Journey of Faith: The Final Chapter?
Sometimes we have prayers that are immediately answered in the way that we hoped.
Sometimes God has other plans and we don't see those answers in the way we hoped. In those moments can we see His faithfulness though? And sometimes we don't see the answers in this lifetime at all. Does that mean He doesn't hear those prayers?
Hadlee has had a prayer, often I hear her sweet voice praying it twice a day, since the moment we were told to say goodbye to Eva Faith. Through her tears and her own heartache she prayed not for Eva Faith to come home to us, but she prayed for Eva Faith to "have a home". Her faithful 6yr old heart has taught me so much this past year. Hadlee's prayers have been answered.
I want to rewind to where I left off with Eva Faith. We found out that a distant uncle of Eva Faith's would not allow the adoption to an American family. He didn't want to care for her himself, but just wanted to make sure that Americans weren't either. We were hurt and confused. None of it made sense. She had been a part of our lives for 8 months at this point. Learning to crawl, learning to walk, celebrating her first birthday. I am so glad that we have these memories with her.
We heard from the orphanage that the mother had decided that she wanted Faith (as her mom calls her) back. We were still heartbroken and the pain of loss was still so fresh, but having learned so much about orphan advocacy on this journey, we knew that we needed to pray for and encourage her mom to be a mom. I actually had a chance to meet Faith's mom on a couple of occasions at the orphanage. It was hard and it was messy, but it was what needed to be done. To sit in a room with Faith and her mom, having Faith reach for me when her mom was trying to hold her, crying when I left. I realized that I needed to give Faith and her mom the chance that they needed to bond and to begin to break the bond of myself as her mom. This is one of the hardest things I have had to do. The orphanage is literally blocks away from our house. We drive by it multiple times a week. I have never felt the pulls on my heart like I did during this time. Knowing Faith was there, being so close and yet knowing I had to let go.
Although her mom wanted her back, there were still steps that she had to go through in order to get the paperwork she needed. We spoke on the phone a few times and I even met with an advocacy group here that works to reunite children in orphanages back with their birth family. I wanted to see what we could do to help her mom. I needed to know that I was doing all that I could for Faith. The mom was quickly becoming discouraged. Her visits were very rare (she lives about 2hrs away from the orphanage) and she wasn't taking the steps needed to get EF out of the orphanage and back with a family. When I spoke to her she had many excuses of why she hadn't been able to meet with the probation officer and always promised to next week.
Weeks and eventually months began to pass with no visits, no calls, and EF just sitting in an orphanage. Still just down the road from us. It was a new kind of sadness and confusion that I have never felt. What was the right thing to do? What could I even do? There are no guidelines or books. My heart wanted her with us, my heart also wanted her mom to have a chance, but neither of these options was even up to me anyway.
The boys mostly quit asking about her. I think for the older boys it was just their way of dealing with what happened. Hadlee NEVER stopped though. Never stopped praying, never stopped asking if we could visit. Although I still knew it was best for that mother/ daughter bond to be broken, it killed me to think that now her birth mother wasn't visiting either. How abandoned must she have felt? Jason and I finally decided that enough time had probably passed that it would be ok for us to visit with Hadlee. She wanted to see her so desperately.
When we arrived there were some western visitors to the orphanage. One couple had EF. It was one of the oddest feelings I have ever felt. Seeing total strangers holding her and playing with her. Hadlee went up to her anyway and pretty much stole her attentions! The couple was really nice and just watched Hadlee playing with her. They noticed me watching and asked if we knew the little girl? How in the world do I answer that question? Everything in me wanted to tell them. "Yes, she is my daughter", but I knew that wasn't the truth. I am also not going to go into all the details with complete strangers. I just told them that she was very special to us.
Eva Faith seemed happy to see us, but there was a hesitancy with her. She was pulling away where normally she would hold close. I still had no clue if seeing her was the right thing to do or not. Is some sort of love and affection better than none? I absolutely knew it was great for Hadlee to see her. Even though it was so hard for Hadlee to leave. Their bond was so great. When it was time for us to leave EF didn't cry. She didn't cling to me and wail as she did the first few visits. She just turned around and played with the other kids.
For Hadlee's sake, as much as my own, we would stop by and check in on her about once a month. Still no visits in months from her mom. We had no clue what we could do, if anything, to keep her from being forever an orphan. What happens to her if her mom doesn't come back and yet the uncle won't let her be adopted? Even the home she was currently in only kept children usually to age 5. I felt so helpless to help someone I loved so much. I knew that the only thing I could do was continue to pray. To remind myself that God has a perfect plan for her life and that she IS His daughter. He cares for her more than I could ever imagine. I had nothing left to cling to, but hope in that truth.
When we left for the states it felt like I was leaving a child behind. It felt so much like she should be with us, heading to the states to meet the rest of her family. Hadlee and I stopped by to say goodbye to her before we left. That visit might have been the last time we will see her and we didn't even know.
The other day we got the news that Hadlee's prayers have been answered. While we were in the states, around Christmas time, EF's mom did what was needed and Faith is HOME with her MOM! And all reports show that they are doing well. Her mom is holding down a good, steady job and seems to really be taking great care of her daughter. This is all we could have hoped for. After a moment of joy, Hadlee realized though that this meant we would not be able to visit her anymore. The reunion she was hoping for after getting back to UG was not going to happen. Tears started just rolling down her cheek. My heart was breaking all over again for her. We had just sat down to lunch when we received the news. Still crying, Hadlee asked if she could bless the food. In that prayer she gave thanks to God for giving Eva Faith a family. My sweet, 6yo teaches me so much about faith in His plan, even when it hurts.
Thank you for all that have prayed for Faith. Please keep praying for her mom. That the bonds will be strengthened and that her mom will adjust to having a very active 2yo in her house and the demands that it brings. Pray that her mom will know Christ and that someday EF will also. And please pray for healing for Hadlee. She misses her sister so much.