Three years ago exactly. That's when we received the call with a referral. We were so excited to be matched with a precious little one. She was just 7 months younger than our bio daughter, and we couldn't wait to have the girls grow up together.
There was no way at that time that I could have known the way our story would end. There is no way I could have known that in just 7 months from that call, my heart would break into a 1000 pieces. A thousand pieces of my heart that felt like would never, ever heal. I have wondered so many times if I had known the way our journey would go, would I have still wanted to travel it? Would I choose the most devastating time in my life, just so I could have my eyes truly opened to the plight of the orphan?
Yes. Yes, I would. Over and over.
You see, my heart was changed over the course of those few months. I have always wanted to adopt a little girl from China. To bring her home and love on her here. I knew I would travel to China to get her, I just didn't know how my heart would change once I got there. At that time, it stopped being about her, the little girl I so longed for, and became about them.
While our adoption journey didn't end the way I always dreamed of, it ended in a way I never imagined. I am so much more aware of the orphan crisis. Not just in China, everywhere. I believe part of the reason God chose to send us down that path, was to accomplish so much more than making a difference to one little girl. I believe with my whole heart we are suppose to make a difference to as many orphans as we possibly can.
As I have blogged about before, in April, I had the privilege of traveling back to China to serve in an orphanage in Hengyang, Hunan. This particular orphanage is the home of many, many special needs children, as well as adults. I will share about that trip soon, but I just wanted to say that it was that trip when I realized just why we were told to embark on the greatest act of faith of our lives.
We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are called to get out of our comfort zone to love and serve, just as Jesus did. That is my purpose. Miraculously, those children, those adults, that have never known life outside those walls, brought a joy and healing to my heart that I never imagined possible.
It gave me a renewed since of hope. For the first time in 2 years, I felt Faith begin to fill my heart once again. The devastation that I lived every day was starting to have purpose.
I don't know how our journey will continue to play out. I don't know if we will one day, finally bring our girl home. But I do know I will be forever changed. I will travel as much as I can afford to serve. Fortunately, I have built a relationship with the wonderful workers at International China Concern that will allow me to go back as often as I can. So while our actual adoption is on the back burner for now, my purpose is not!
Early in our journey, I discovered Jiayin Designs. For years I wanted a custom charm, but I just couldn't afford it with every free penny being saved. I would often go to their website or facebook page, Jiayin Designs, and just look. Always thinking about what I would get one day when I was finally able to get one.
I have been constantly reminded to have faith. Just have faith, Michele. You can trust whatever Jesus brings your way. You can trust any journey he asks you to take. Faith. So not to long ago, I was looking at the charms again and I knew. I knew what my custom charm would be - the Chinese character for "Faith". I was telling my mom about the charm, and how much I would love one. I just wanted that constant reminder to just have faith, when I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I was so excited this past Christmas when I finally got my charm (thanks momma!!)! I can tell you, it has not left my neck since I opened that beautiful little wrapped package! I love it! It is so beautiful, and hand made! It is honestly one of my most prized possessions, absolutely worth the wait!
So now, when I feel that sadness come over me, I just reach up and touch my charm. My reminder that He is faithful. He will never let me down. I just have to have faith!